Feedback after CN and CSS visit -- also Reggae Half Marathon
We arrived at CN on 11/30, and were there for three days so we could do the Reggae Half Marathon. When we first arrived, we thought CN was lovely. The staff weren't particularly outgoing or friendly, but no one was outright rude either. The beach was beautiful and we had a fun few days relaxing before the race. Lychee was our favorite restaurant by far. Lobster at Otaheite was overcooked, but the restaurant ambiance and service were wonderful.
The race went okay, but it is stinkiní hot at 5:15 am in Jamaica and it just got hotter. I donít recommend the race for anyone who isnít in good shape and used to running in that kind of heat. We werenít (either in good shape or used to running in the heat and humidity), and as a result, didnít fare all that well. We did finish the race though and got our medals. The volunteer staff for the race were very supportive and friendly (especially Aramand, our bicycling companion for the last several miles of the race).
After the race, we transferred to CSS. We were somewhat dreading the three hour shuttle ride to CSS, but were blessed to have Philip as our shuttle driver. It was just Philip and the two of us. We had the most wonderful, friendly, funny and informative conversations. Learned a lot about Jamaica, its politics, teenagers, family life, and history. Could not have been happier with that shuttle ride.
Once we arrived and were greeted like old friends at the bell hop desk and then the lobby/check-in staff, it was a completely different experience from CN. CSS is beautiful beyond explanation, lush, tropical and romantic. The staff are amazing, from Thelma & Kenny, who gave us an amazing couples massage, to Karla, the wedding coordinator who organized our vow renewal, to Michael Walters, manager of the scuba/watersports and his entire team, and the bell hops who were undoubtedly some of the nicest, friendliest people we've ever met.
We had a wonderful room on the top floor of building A, right in the middle of the action. One night we ordered room service and ate on the balcony overlooking the main pool, lawn and beach. Serenaded by tree frogs, it was quite romantic. We enjoyed our room. Had a great view of the ocean and the grounds and we could watch the beach party and the starlight gala from the balcony before we headed down, and after we came back (we tend to turn in early).
We wandered all around the property, walked around the pond, met Crackers and Anita, walked around the mineral pool, the wedding gazebo, the area with the giant chess set, and the spa huts. Found every set of stairs I think and managed to use them all. Loved the hidden jacuzzi by the mineral pool. Took a few naps in the two hammocks that are located on the cliffside of Building D.
And, we got up our nerve and tried the AN beach/pool. Warren says it was an "interesting" and "liberating" experience. I just flat-out loved it. We used lots of sunscreen so no sunburns on places that don't usually see the sun, and we just simply had a great time. Spent the first day on chairs by the beach to get used to things and the next two days laying beside the pool.
Before we left we were already planning our return trips -- hopefully next August/September AND the following April/May.
All in all, we had a spectacular time and canít wait to go home again!