CSA 1/13 to 1/18 - Full Review (airport, resort, club mobay, etc.) + pics
Just got back from an amazing stay at CSA and cannot wait to return next year. That being said, here is my positive review about our stay in the great house jacuzzi suite:
Airport Arrival: We got to the couples lounge within 30 minutes of landing and were the first people to hit the lounge. Had a few beers and chatted with the friendly employees there. Within 30 minutes we were lead outside to where the van was waiting. Our stuff was loaded and we were on our way. My girlfriend had to use the bathroom about halfway in (be careful about sucking down those red stripes at the airport because you have a long ride!) and the driver gladly stopped at a little bar/shop for her.
Resort Arrival/Check-In: We arrived to the resort around 1:30pm and our room wasn't ready. Check-in is at 3 so this should be expected. We left out bags in the lobby and took a walk to the closest restaurant we could find (Patios) and had an awesome lunch. After lunch and a quick walk we got back to the lobby around 3 and were taken to our room. The property is huge, not in a bad way. It is a good 10 minute walk from the lobby to the great house, and with all of the eating and drinking done, walking is a huge plus for me.
Weather: perfect non-stop sunshine, don't think it rained once.
Great House: The great house is awesome. Inside there is (but not limited to) Aura Night Club, Patois restaurant, Feathers, couples gift shop (branded stuff), regular gift shop (cigars, clothing, booze, lotions, etc.), Casino and Internet Cafe.
Great House Jacuzzi Suite: This room is AWESOME. It's on the third floor DIRECTLY looking onto the ocean. The Jacuzzi is a little small and we actually didn't use it once. In my honest opinion they should just call this room the "Great House Amazing View Suite" because the view you get on the balcony is unbelievable (see pics) and the jacuzzi is so-so. It's just perfect. The wet bar is awesome, it's filled when you arrive and they come at least once a day to replenish it with whatever you need. We had a few bugs in the room (like those tiny ants) but mainly because we were a little sloppy with food. You eat a burger at 3am and leave a few fries on the floor, being in the tropics you'll get some bugs! The balcony at night got a little buggy with gnats so just bring some spray and you'll be fine if they bother you. The only negative thing about this room is the noise you hear, and it's strange. We went to bed early a few nights while the night club was blasting music and you could NOT hear anything. Sure, during the day if you have the balcony doors open you could hear some pool bar noise, but nothing noticeable or annoying. So, the stuff you hear is activity on the floor itself. The doors are heavy but have small cracks so sound travels through them. You will hear a door slamming very loud if someone on the hall gets up early and gets breakfast. You can hear people knocking on doors. It's a hotel atmosphere in the great house but due to the echoes and way it was built you hear that internal noise you wouldn't necessarily hear in a hotel. One morning we got woken up early to like a lawnmower sound for an hour next door (the great house is on the perimeter of CSA property - nothing anyone can do about that.
Some pics we took:
Beach: this beach is PERFECT. I don't know how anyone could complain about it. The resort was mostly full when I was there and we never had an issue getting beach chairs. Sometimes we couldn't get in our spot, but walking down the beach a little you'd find open ones. Some parts are very narrow but since the property is so large as you walk up and down the beach it gets much wider and you have much more room before hitting the water. We didn't find the people walking up and down the beach annoying at all, we actually purchased some really nice stuff from them and would leave you alone once you say no. They can't come that close to the resort so if they bother you just stay a little further from the water line and they won't be able to get to you.
Pools: The beach is the place you want to be, but the pools are also nice and there are a few. We never found the pool bar too crowded (sometimes all seats were taken in water but not out). Pool was nice, little cool but enjoyable if you wanted to get away from the beach. Was by the main pool a few times and saw some people refreshing up on scuba in there.
Restaurants: We went to all of them except for lemongrass. Make reservations when you arrive and you should be good for normal dining times (they gave us 730 for feathers one night and 630 lemongrass another). We cancelled lemongrass because we booked it lobster night and we wanted some regular lobster with butter that the other places were offering and lemongrass had like a curry or thai lobster dish. All of the restaurants are AWESOME. Feathers (and I think lemongrass) you have to dress up for (no hats, t-shirts, shorts, sneakers,etc) but it's worth it. The room is nice and intimate and cool from the AC so you won't be there dressed up and sweating. Patois and patios have menus but patios (by lobby) also has a pasta station, desert station and cheese station. They also sometimes had people setup outside selling cigars, paintings, etc. Definitely the most liveliest restaurant is patios (that also hosts showtime entertainment around 9pm I think). Don't forget about the patio grill (outside the great house) that is open to 5am - try everything on the menu there - the fish sandwich is awesome. Seagrape? (seagrass?) is also great - more like a quick place to grab food on the lobby side of the resort. They have charcoal grills and serve some awesome stuff (felafel, fish tacos, etc.).
Bars: The bars are also great. The martini bar on top of patios is great. The bar at Aura nightclub is nice, but people are correct some parts do smell funky. Pool bar outside is awesome and so are the ones along the beach. There are certainly some bees at the outside bars but there's really nothing anyone can do about that - having tons of sweet liquor and mixers at a bar will attract bees. They weren't a nuisance and looked to bother the bartenders "area" than where you would be. There is quite a distance between the bartenders and where you sit...
Nightlife: Showtime was great and there was also a beach party which was cool - I think it's on Friday night so don't miss it. You must hang out with Ultimate Chocolate @ the piano in Aura Night club. I think he goes on from like 9-11, just ask. He is awesome and it's real fun to sing songs while sipping Appleton reserve! After he leaves DJ or band goes on - that was hit or miss. Showtime @ patios was great with Soul 4 Soul - you should check them out.
Casino: This was empty every time I walked past it (anytime I went to my room as it's also in the great house) except for once when it was packed. Maybe they had a special casino night or something. This room is very small, has some slots, a roulette type thing and a card table. The only time I went in there was to buy a pack of cigarettes at night when everything was closed (they have one of those old school dollar taking machines that come in handy!).
Check-Out: This was relatively smooth and had to check out by 11 which was coincidentally when the bus came to take us to airport (for a 3pm flight). Check-out process was smooth and we purchased passes for Club Mobay for 30$ US each. Just be careful, everything at the resort is cashless and charged to the room. And by anything I mean cigars, lotions, clothing, jewelry.
Internet Cafe: This is also in the great house and has about 10 machines and a functional printer. Air conditioned and is what it is. Nice to have the printer, other resorts I have been to either don't have it or you need to pay for it.
Spa/Health Center: The pool in the spa is great and relaxing, anyone can use it so I suggest checking it out. We got a couples massage and it was awesome - pricey, but awesome. The health center is located across the street from the lobby - a simple walk across gets you there - they have security guards that stop traffic (if there is any). They have what looked like endless tennis and raquetball courts, a bar with some beers and gatorades/arizona ice t/redbull/fruit infused water/vitamin waters and fresh fruit. There is also a pool table there and an open air lounge area with seats and a flatscreen. The lap pool was empty but looked awesome.
Club Mobay: When we got to the airport it was generally empty. With club mobay you get VIP past security (there is a separate line which actually got us RIGHT through). Right when you get into the airport however, where the air lines have separate areas, I do not think the mobay pass will get you ahead of people so if there's a ton of people waiting to get boarding passes for jetblue, you have to wait. Printing stuff out the night before didn't help us (at least for jetblue). The lounge is all the way by terminal 9 (past margaritaville) and you need to take stairs or elevator once you get past the attendant checking tickets. The lounge has a bar, is very large and comfortable (couches, cushioned chairs, room for kids to play, beautiful bathrooms, spa). It is all you can drink (they have everything pretty much) and the food is so-so. They had some yogurts, cut up sandwiches, light snacks. They also serve the full menu from the bobsled cafe, which you need to pay for, but is awesome - which is what we did. I would recommend this.
Can't wait to get back there next year, truly an awesome time!
We have stayed in that Cat. There are a few drawbacks. The view is over the pool/pool bar and cabana grill as opposed to a BFVS that is straigt on ocean. And you need to go up down or one of two flights of stairs, depending on what floor, and thru 2 heavy glass doors and down a long hallway from the back of the GreatHouse to the front to get to the room. Unlike BFVS where you just walk up to your door. We have stayed in BFVS and OVVS and both have a much larger balancony than the GRHSJCST. The jacuzzi is too small for two people and is inside the bath, not on the balcony. like other resorts we have stayed at.
Shammer - thank you for posting such a well written, detailed review. We will be back at CSA next week, and are so excited. We stayed in the Greathouse JS last year, and it did seem different staying in a "hotel-like" setting as opposed to our usual BFVS.