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  1. #1

    Default Should I be questioning reviews?

    Hi, I have been reading reviews for a while and don't get worked up one way or the other. This review I did find a little curious, the comments about poor service without a tip at the smoothie bar and especially beach staff trying to rush them off the beach at 4PM, really? Does that really happen anywhere? I would think that there would be some people everyday hanging out to see the sunset. I haven't really questioned reviews before because I respect that everyone has their own experience. Does this review ring true?

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...s_Jamaica.html

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    692

    Default

    Having been to CSS 3 times in the last 2 years, booked for New Year's this year, and also going back in April 2012, you can take our word for it, that review is completely bogus!!! The grounds are beautiful, the rooms very clean, the food is excellent, and the staff are the best we have encountered anywhere (and we've done a lot of traveling!). Pay no attention whatsoever to that review!
    (Karen&Paul)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    240

    Default

    I find the claims very hard to believe. We were first timers last December and did not find any of what that person said to be true. It is amazing how so many people can go to the same place and 98% will say it is fantastic but 2% (or less) say it is a horrible place. Makes you wonder. And why is it we believe the one or two bad reviews but don't believe the other hundreds of good ones (not that you are but some do). As far as the cushions being cleaned, we went to SSB at 1:00 am one night to see the moon eclipse and there was a staffer there washing every cushion with a cleaning solution. Go, you will not be disappointed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    325

    Default

    Sounds like the reviewer stayed at a resort in the Dominican Republic. That sounds like the one I stayed at there. Doesn't sound like either Couples I've been to though. Never an issue getting a drink or getting the premium booze. If this bartender is angling for tips then maybe the management can investigate and show them the gate, like they say they do. I doubt it was happening, people just have certain preconceptions.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    46

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    Thurston4sun .... like all reviews, the opinion of the the author in question is subjective - however in my opinion (to CSS 5 times - number six over the New Year's period coming up) the review is not representative of my (our) experiences, The team members have universally been friendly and supportive and some even remember you upon your return, Regarding the smoothie bar comment, if I wanted to have a drink made "my way" I guess I wouldn't be excited to travel to another country and experience local resort flavours. NEVER have had anyone accelerate our time from any location (bar/ beach/ pool/ restaurant) ... one thing I/we would agree with is the condition of the toilets near the swim up bar at main pool - they just do not match the cleanliness and appearance of the balance of the resort. CTI has updated their public area restrooms - actually our only complaint at all. My wife and I enjoy travelling around the world, enjoying both relaxing and cultural experiences - we return to the comfort of CSS because it has almost become our second home ... hope this helps - Cheers!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    113

    Default

    Thurston,
    I would write that one off especially when they mention more than once about tips. I spent 7 days at CSA and we were never off the beach before sunset nor were we ever pressured to be. I never encountered a single employee who gave any indication of looking for a tip, much less purposely providing bad service due to a lack of tipping.
    Do the math, 1061 reviews on T/A in either the excellent or very good categories, 66 poor or terrible. Go and you will know, all the repeaters that Couples have are testimony to how you are treated.
    Mick 126 days until return

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    593

    Default

    That DOES NOT sound like a Couples resort to me. Although I have only stayed at CN, I am rather confident that they all have the same outstanding service. High expectations will likely be met.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    916

    Default

    In the last couple years, after being on the MB, I have come to realize that there are a boatload of complainers out there. We run into them on the MB and we ran into quite a few on our 3rd trip to CN. Having traveled all over the Caribbean for the last 20 years, Couples is the only place I have returned to three times. There are people out there that are just negative from the get go and with that mentality, things are sure to come up. It's like the opposite of "rose-colored glasses". It's best to just stay positive, have an open mind, and go with the flow. Couples is truly an awesome experience, if you let it be. The food is great, the staff rocks, and the all-inclusive offerings blow away anything you will ever get at an "S" resort. Don't worry about TA. IMO, it's a joke and I never bother to read the garbage on that site. Plus, you will learn over time that people from other resorts will go on there and bash their competitors and there is no moderator, like Mr. Russell, that weeds out the crap. Go there, enjoy yourself, let Jamaica (and Couples) take care of you and you will be back!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,278

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    I have always been leery of T A reports. We have been to CTI 32 times, once to CSS. We have never seen or heard of anything that even comes close to what you describe. Don't worry about a thing. A Couples experience is like no other. You, like many of us, will be blown away.

    Richie

  10. #10

    Default

    CSS is wonderful and you will not be disappointed at all. We were there for the first time back in May and thought it was the most beautiful of all the Couples Resorts we've been to (CSA & CN, except for the beach of course). The staff almost w/o exception was exceptional. We did encounter one member of the staff who did hint about a tip (the waiter for our private dinner), but I still did not tip (didn't have cash even if I had wanted to tip) and our service for dinner was still great.

  11. #11

    Default

    Hi, thank you all for the replies and the perspective. I usually like to read the bad reviews and do from worst to first each vacay, I've written off this one and will continue on with my high expectations, lol. We usually go on vacation with a combination of high expectations and a credible sense of doubt that things will be perfect, and we most always have a great time. Looking forward to our first Couples experience at CSS, thanks again.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    276

    Default

    Thanks to all of you who have been to CSS and can provide reassurance about the resort. I too have been reading the Trip Advisor reviews and started to feel a little concerned about our first time trip in three months which has been booked and paid for!! We loved CN and CSA and we hope we aren't disappointed in CSS. Vacations are a luxury- like many other people, we make significant sacrifices throughout the year to be able to go for just one week!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,305

    Default

    What would concern me if I was going to CSS for the first time, is that there are several negative reviews about CSS there on TA. Unlike some others, I do respect Trip Advisor. I travel for work, and when going to a new city, often use TA for guidance. But you do have to look at the trend for any hotel or resort. A few negative reviews should not scare anyone away if most of the reviews are positive.

    Having said all of that, we've been to CSA 5 times and CSS once. What blew us away at CSS was the service and the food! It's hard to believe there would be service issues there - Pierre runs a tight ship. Many of the staff members went above and beyond. On our last day, one of the snorkel team took just me out on a morning snorkel trip so that I could enjoy one last snorkel trip during our vacation.

    The only reason we haven't gone back to CSS is because we do love the beach at CSA.

    And I saw that one of the reviews stated that the people who go to CSS are repeaters and don't know any better. Besides business travel to over 20 states, in the past 12 months, we have traveled to Belize, Puerto Rico and numerous destinations in the U.S. So I know my resorts and hotels.

    Couples is not about ultra luxurious accomodations. But for heavens sake, the rooms are clean and comfy. If you are expecting marble, brass, butler service, and 500 thread count sheets, you may need to look elsewhere.

  14. #14

    Default

    ah yes T.A. reviews....i remember one years ago about Swept Away complaining about the swim up bar before it had been built. lol some info there but read deep before letting one wild post either good or bad assist you in a destination decision.

    Randy
    it's all about the kids

    www.issatrustfoundation.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    416

    Default

    Yes, there have been a "curious" number of less than favorable reviews on CSS in the last couple of weeks. I do find it curious they all back up to one another. We are headed to CSS for the first time in March. We've been to CN 3 times and CSA once. All those reviews sound bogus to me.

    I must say that there seems to be more mentions of tipping on reviews lately than I've notice before (maybe its just me being sensitive to this issue.) We've always respected the Couples policy of no tipping and I'd hate to feel like folks thought we were cheap or unappreciative. We've never gotten that vibe from any member of the staff (well, maybe a person or two who delivered breakfast through the years.) I'd like some reassurance from others that they do not tip and we are doing the right thing, simply by being genuinely appreciative, respectful, and always friendly and warm to the staff members we encounter.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    534

    Default

    "I'd like some reassurance from others that they do not tip and we are doing the right thing, simply by being genuinely appreciative, respectful, and always friendly and warm to the staff members we encounter. "

    I also am wondering about the tipping issue. We do NOT tip and DO respect the rules as well, but on our last trip to CN, it seemed like the person delivering breakfast was hanging around a bit too long waiting for a tip. We met other guests there that mentioned that they tipped and the staff took it no problem. These people had no idea of the resorts no tipping policy and did not think a thing of it. I am reading a lot on TA about staff excepting tips, and I am wondering how strict the resort is on this policy now.

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MnK View Post
    Yes, there have been a "curious" number of less than favorable reviews on CSS in the last couple of weeks. I do find it curious they all back up to one another. We are headed to CSS for the first time in March. We've been to CN 3 times and CSA once. All those reviews sound bogus to me.

    I must say that there seems to be more mentions of tipping on reviews lately than I've notice before (maybe its just me being sensitive to this issue.) We've always respected the Couples policy of no tipping and I'd hate to feel like folks thought we were cheap or unappreciative. We've never gotten that vibe from any member of the staff (well, maybe a person or two who delivered breakfast through the years.) I'd like some reassurance from others that they do not tip and we are doing the right thing, simply by being genuinely appreciative, respectful, and always friendly and warm to the staff members we encounter.
    I also was concerned when I saw the comments about tipping, Trip #1 we did, and realized what a no-no it was (before we really got on MB) and we have never done so in the other trips. So this concerned me with our first trip to CSS, not that I am cheap I just don't want to get anyone in trouble. Last trip we brought chocolates and left them out everyday with a note.

    Tammie & Mike
    CTI-Feb'08/CSA-Dec'08/CSA&CN-Mar'11
    CSS Mar'12/CSA Nov '12/CSA Dec '13/CSA Feb '15

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    140

    Default

    Hi MnK

    We too are concerned about the 'tipping comments' in reviews, not just on TA but also on this MB. Like yourselves we always respect the Couples policy of no tipping, not wanting to put staff in the difficult position of having to refuse money (which would obviously be very welcome to them) or accept and risk being fired.

    However, we also hope that we are not appearing to be mean or unappreciative to the wonderful staff at Couples' resorts. Hopefully, those guests who blatently disregard the stated Couples policy and persist in tipping Couples employees are in the minority. Hopefully, if we all continue to abide by Couples' request not to tip, then those staff who are 'looking for tips' will no longer do so.

    Mad about tennis

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    2,399

    Default

    I have never got the feeling that someone was fishing for a tip in 5 trips to CSA and 1 to CSS. I did witness a lady tipping someone at the Gala at CSS and confronted her (nicely I thought) and she just blew me off. I just dropped it as I didn't want to see the person get fired. You are doing the right thing by being respectful and appreciative to your server for good service. We remember the special ones(and there are many) and mention them on the comment card at the end of our stay.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,093

    Default

    Yeah, don't go to trip advisor....bah

    CSA 2009, 2014 [20th anniversary]
    CSS 2010
    CN 2011

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    416

    Default

    I appeciate that I'm not the only one with this concern! Thanks for the feedback.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    9

    Default

    What about this review from tripadvisor! How true is the comment about Kingston cos thats where we are landing?

    http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUse...ECK_RATES_CONT

  23. #23

    Default

    We have found that reviews on travel sites are a lot like the old Olymics scoring method. You throw out the top2 and the bottom 2 and average from there. Some people take the term critic way too litterally and feel if they are not finding fault they are not being interesting. My wife an I were married at CSS and went back for our first anniversary. We have been to CSA the last 2 years after trying one of those S resorts on another island and we just booked our next stay at CSA for this coming April. Trust us when we say that Couples does all inclusives right! From the friendly service, groomed grounds and beaches, great assortments of food, lounge chair floats you can actually take into the Caribbean waters, and fun activities you can't go wrong.

  24. #24

    Default

    I couldn't find any news about a recent bus ambush in the Jamaican Gleaner.

    This reviewer obviously didn't research too much because looking at a couple of pictures would give you an idea of how big the beach is. Their take on the conditions of the room is how they observed it comparing it to a more luxurious resort in Mexico. The comments though may help others set their expectations and could be helpful to some.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,953

    Default

    If you want to experience the most excellent service, then stick with Couples (our preference is CTI). If you want marble and glitz with brass, extra charges for everything, then look somewhere else. The tipping issue here and on reviews on TA comes up all the time. Does it happen? I am sure it does after all Couples does have to hire new staff from time to time. Is it supposed to happen? No, therefore don't offer and then write that you had to tip. The policy is "No Tipping". Couples wants you to sit back relax and enjoy!
    Vicky

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