As reviewed by a couple of Couples Resorts newbies! (I see what I did there! )
OK, the plane FINALLY touched down in Jamaica, now we need to plow through Customs. Oh, geez, look at the line already. (30 minutes later) OK, that wasn't so bad, let's get our luggage. Hey, there's the Couples Lounge, it does look nice. Grabbed a Pepsi from the nice fellow behind the bar (I've not eaten since around 10am, and have a low alcohol tolerance.) Hey the shuttle's ready, we've only been here a couple minutes!
Grabbed our electronics bag (had my tablet and her Nook in it) from the cart so it didn't get piled in the bus, the loading of which went quickly. So, we're off to CTI! Jamaica seems like a nice place, lots of small businesses along the way, although the rules of the road are different. The drive was nice, and the driver was amusing throughout.
CTI at last!
Well, the entryway looks nice, hey a cool towel to take some of the sweat off. Oh that felt good. Again have to pass on the alcohol (rum punches,) still haven't had lunch. Checking in went quickly and painlessly, despite a full bus load of about 6 couples, and our room was ready. Bellhop took us up to our room, making conversation the entire way. Room was in building 4, 4th floor. View from the balcony was right into a trio of palm trees, if I stood all the way to the left and tip-toed, I could *just* see the top of one of the huts on the Isle. The view looking down the length of the resort was very nice. We changed into shorts, and went looking for the Pool Grill to get some lunch in us finally. Got to the grill, grabbed a couple Pepsi's, and Roumaine J took our lunch order. We both opted to give the jerk chicken a try. While lunch wasn't quick, it was at a comfortable pace, and hey, we're on vacation, what's the rush? The jerk chicken was great! Roumaine made sure we were doing OK throughout.
Having gotten to the resort when we did, we had time to float around, so we took a few pictures with the wife’s camera, then wandered back to our room to relax for a bit. We took the 5pm resort tour, as hosted by the lovely and vivacious Garicia (I hope I spelled her name right, I know she said it looks like "Garcia" but has an extra "i" in it.) After the tour, we took another break in the room, then we grabbed some dinner at the beach party and watched the show, and called it a night.
What time is it? Oh *come on* I'm on vacation, what's with this getting up at 7am stuff? Ah well, I'm up. Out to the balcony with my tablet to read for a bit in the quite of the morning. Other than the occasional horn or truck engine braking on the road to the east (which with the balcony doors shut we couldn't hear,) nothing but the sound of the waves and the resort waking up. Went to breakfast once the wife got up at the Patio restaurant. Pretty typical breakfast buffet fare, done well. After breakfast, we went to the room, changed into our suits for our first big resort adventure...
Out to the Isle which gives the resort its name. Being first-timers, we were both rather nervous, but made small talk with the other couple going out, and the boat driver. Once on the Isle, we went right to the "quiet" side, away from the bar / pool. All I can say about going to the Isle, was it was *very* refreshing to lie about in the cool Jamaican breezes (just cool enough to offset the Jamaican sun) once we got over our initial nerves...
Back to the room after visiting the Isle, I think we both took a nap, then went down for dinner at the Patio.
We had put out the card for the in-room breakfast, which we had scheduled for a 9-9:30am delivery. We were both up and about by 7:30am. What is it about a vacation where you keep getting up at the same time as at home? After we finished breakfast, we went down and scheduled a couples’ massage for later that night. We went down to the beach for a bit, back to the Pool Grill for lunch, again with Roumaine taking excellent care of us. After lunch, we went out to the Isle again for a bit before our massage. Now, I thought possible we would be given the chance at the Spa to take a "rinse off" shower (separately of course) while she thought not. Next time I'll listen to her. Our masseuses were Winsome and Clover, and they were wonderful! The spa was very relaxing, and worth the money.
Off we go to the Patio for breakfast again, with a brief stop at Guest Services to let them know the wife is allergic to mushrooms and to not have anything with mushrooms on the menu for our dinner on the beach (and to let them know it was her birthday.) We also had plans to meet mrs2cool from the forums out at the Isle around 1:00. After breakfast we went out on the 11am snorkeling excursion. While we brought our own gear (mask, snorkel, boots and fins,) that was too much of a hassle to pack, so next time we'll use the resorts' fins. About 3/4 of the way through the snorkeling, the wife starts getting nauseous from the salt water, so her and I went back to the boat after informing the fellow from the resort who was the guide. Once we got back, she was still feeling under the weather, so we went back to the room and she crashed for a while. Around 1:30 or so, she woke up, feeling better, and we went out to the Isle around 2pm. Once there, I hung my t-shirt on the back of the lounger for mrs2cool to find us, and raided the lunch buffet. As I was to find out later, mrs2cool and her husband were both too tired to come out to the Isle that day. About 4:30pm, we went back to the resort to rest a bit before our dinner on the beach. She went down to get some souvenirs and tsotchkes for some people at work. Once she came back, I realized I needed to pick up a couple things, and we went back down to the gift shop.
We went down to the beach for our dinner, and met our waiter Adrian. He was wonderful through the entire dinner, took some pictures of us with our camera, he was funny and joked around with us. Finally, for the dessert course, he brought out the plates, with a candle in the chocolate / mint, and sang happy birthday to my wife. The chef had written “Happy Birthday Kathy” in chocolate around the rim of the plate as well. After dinner, we took our time and walked back to our room, and eventually called it a night.
Our last day... Breakfast at the Patio again, where we had a nice talk with a couple from the UK who had just arrived the night before from (I think) Devon. We went to the photo shop, and found one of the pictures the resort photographer had taken, which the wife really liked, so we purchased it and a frame. We then went to the main lobby, where we sat looking out at the Isle. As we sat, the wife noticed a couple go by in t-shirts from an amusement park near our home, I ducked out and met with the wonderful mrs2cool and her husband for a couple minutes. Finally, it was time to board the bus back to the airport, and leave CTI.
So, while the above seems more like a vacation chronology, it is really my review. I found *nothing* (not that I was looking) during our trip that would have caused me to complain or be unhappy. I sort of wonder just what Couples is paying their staff, as everyone from the front desk staff to the guy emptying out and refilling the beach towel bins by the Patio restaurant were always cheerful and happy! The beach was always clean, empty drink glasses rarely stayed out for more than a few minutes, and we had no problems with the room. Well, OK, one tiny problem which had zero impact, our hair dryer didn’t work, and it didn’t seem to be the fuse on the side (Room 4407 if it helps.) Seeing as we generally just towel dry our hair (mine’s short,) it didn’t affect us. At this point, as I told someone while we were waiting for the bus (the manager maybe?) we’re going to become the Detroit branch of the Couples Resorts Advertising Agency. We’ve got one co-worker getting married in a year or so, we’re going to suggest they go to CTI for their honeymoon, and we’re going to suggest it as a trip for our other friends. If we could book that far in advance, we’d be booked for a visit for our 15th wedding anniversary in 2013 already…
Okay, so here's the 'she said' report on our trip. Although, really, Jason wrote a very complete review/recap so there's not much for me to say. Except how very much I enjoyed our visit to CTI and how I'm looking forward to going back in roughly 18 months for our 15th anniversary.
Everything about the resort was wonderful and the only complaint I have is that we weren't there longer! The staff was friendly and courteous, the room was spacious and comfortable, I loved having the sound of the ocean coming through the balcony doors at any time of day or night... And, to be honest, I loved that there were no kids around. There are plenty of other all-inclusive resorts around but the main selling point for any of the Couples chain, at least for me, is that they're adults only. That may sound selfish but we don't have kids and if I wanted to be around them while on vacation, I'd go to Disney.
All in all, I'd recommend CTI to anyone and everyone looking for a nice, romantic getaway. The service, the accommodations, the location... it just doesn't get any better.