We got back last week from our 6th trip to CSA and 7th trip to Couples. Others have posted much more detailed reviews lately. I would just like to highlight a few areas.
First of all, the service EVERYWHERE was outstanding! After some recent reviews on this message board and TA, I was on the lookout for any and all service miscues. Here is a complete list of the service mistakes: 1) Bob ordered steak medium rare twice and both times it was served rare; and 2) our pre-meal cocktails were not delivered at Feathers. END OF LIST. Even one of my own personal pet peeves, the check-in process, was smoooooth as silk. We had done the pre-checkin and everything was ready for us, including our two resort credit certificates and repeater gift. Our mini bar was set up that evening. Now that's service.
Things we absolutely loved: The new coffee carafes that they leave on your table at breakfast at the Palms. The new eliptical and bike at the gym. The spa (I had a facial and we had our Couples massage). The entire snorkel crew. The Super Bowl party was a blast (3 big screens, great sound system, tons of food) - well, until it reained. Good thing we had a room with a TV.
We were in room 3117 - first floor beachfront verandah suite. We love our BFVS rooms! You can't get any closer to the beach for the price in my experience (and I travel every week for work). The first night I left our verandah door open while we were both reading in bed, and the security guard actually knocked at our door to let us know our door was open. How is that for attention to detail?
We walked the beach one morning toward and past Margaritaville. In spots, the beach is eroded all the way to the front of buildings, so CSA is very fortunate with their beach.
Every year we seem to have a different favorite restaurant, I guess depending on the mood we're in. This year we LOVED Lemon Grass. Keep in mind that Lemon Grass is not so much a Thai restaurant as a Pan Asian restaurant. I got the snapper and the pork ribs on two visits; Bob got the Pad Thai both trips. The service was attentive and friendly. Our wine glass never got less than half full!
Since I mentioned wines, it seemed to us that the house wines have been upgraded. We found them all to be pretty darn good.
We did miss the little bottles of aloe vera in the room!
The maid service was outstanding. The room was spotless. I saw no signs of mold or cracking grout or anything else like that in our room. And of course there's the super comfy bed!!!
I will try to attach a photo with a view from our room.
We met so many lovely people, both old and new friends. Special hello to those wacky kids Randy and Donna, Cindy and Todge, Karen and Fred, and Kristen and Dan.
OK, and a final word about the beach lounger situation. I've posted elsewhere already, but here goes. There are MORE THAN ENOUGH loungers with floaty pads on the beach. During our first five days there, the chair saving was ridiculous - people saving 14 chairs together, even though all 14 people are never there at the same time. They also block access to the beach when they do this. Don't even get me started on the people who save two sets of chairs. But all of this vanished our second five days there, and it's not because there were fewer people on the resort. The clientele during the second half of our trip simply weren't the 6:00 a.m. chair saving types. I know that CSA can't play good cop/bad cop with the chairs. However, maybe some sort of policy that you can't have 12 or 14 chairs together blocking the beach? Maybe the watersports guys can politely let people know that 14 chairs together are blocking access?
Finally, was there partying? You betcha, including us. One evening, a group of 20 was crowded in the jacuzzi for a few hours. But you know what? They were out of there by 7:00, and it wasn't a problem at all. Lord knows what people thought of us doing Bob Marley shots on Bob Marley's birthday to celebrate Donna's scuba certification (congrats again Donna!).
A word to newcomers - go and enjoy Couples! It's not a five star resort, we've stayed at 5 star resorts in the Caribbean, but do you know where we come back to year after year for our winter vacation? Couples.
Hello to you guys! Darn if we did not see you while we were there. Our room was in the 1100 garden suite so we stayed over by the Palms. I had to use my cane a lot so it was easier for us to stay down at one end. We also tried to walk to Maragitaville and wow the water was right up to some chairs or one wall we had to walk around. Did u see a brown haired woman limping a lot? That was me
We checked out the Super Bowl party and i danced on the beach to Toes in the sand!
We had a few dining issues but it was so busy sometimes that the poor waitress had a lot fo people to see to. So all we did was remind her if she forgot a drink. One time we had 3 people waiting on us in the Palms on the Sunday of all that rain. We were loving the rain but they keep on asking if we were okay. Three people got my hubby his Pepsi. And our glasses were never empty. I would get 1/2 down of my wine and even when i wasnt looking it was full again. I could not drink all that i was given.
The chair saving was a pain but i did see what you did with the huge groups of chairs blocking the beach. I figured it was a party group. Maybe the Super Bowl week was the issue?
What a week of rain? It was cloudy a lot too. We went out on the caterman and were poured on.
I love how so much detail is thought of at swept away. I loved the full bottles of shampoo and lotion (used lots of it) our bed was hard for us BUT we loved the pillows. Do u or anybody know what pillows they use? We loved our garden room and the lushness of all the plants
The staff were amazing and made us smile all the time. We truly felt pampered. No wonder you go so often. We wanted to go back as soon as we got home. We are planning another trip either there or another Couples. SO hard not to return to swept away though. I think we would compare everything to it but we are open for new adventures on the other side of the island
Thanks for the review! I was a little worried about the reviews on service and it's great to see that everything is fine. The chair saving is no problem for me. I'm sure that it's easy to tell the chairs that are being "used" vs "saved". If I see a chair not being used, then I'll use it. If these people aren't using the chairs during the day, then I guess they won't know. They might start getting the hint after coming back hours later to a wet towel. If they come while I'm using it, I'll get up and ask for forgiveness.
Thanks for the great trip review. We are first-timers at CSA leaving from Minneapolis on 2/25/12. In spite of some of the not-so-positive reviews, it was the overwhelming great reviews that prompted us to choose CSA as our first Jamaican vacation destination. Can't wait for the experience.
Great review. We are going to Couples Swept Away for the first time in October, but in just a very long 28 hours we should be sipping champagne while checking in at Couples Negril for the 4time. As far as loungers go, I believe they do have enough, even some extras, but when a lot of couples are reserving more then 2, then they may appear to be short, or actually are. So my message to all, is folks, if you must reserve a spot, only reserve 1 chair for each person. If you want to move between shade and sun, I do it all the time, get up an move the lounger, usually no more then a few feet, the exercise is good for you and it makes people walking the beach wonder what kind of animal tracks those are.
BrookenSeanVT - that really is the view from our verandah. When they say beachfront they mean beachfront.
Hey Cindy - You're right, more chairs could certainly help the situation (and some of the floaty pads do need to be replaced). But the day after you left, it was unbelieveable, the chair saving situation totally changed from the week before. No huge groups of 12 chairs lumped together. Chairs available anytime during the day. It was very weird.
MickeyandMinnie - sorry we missed you! It is funny how you tend to hang out at the part of the beach that is closest to your room.
Thanks for posting your review! My husband and I are going to CSA in May for our first visit. We are really excited and reading these reviews definitely helps put my mind at ease since this is our first beach vacation :-)
Hi Margi - we did not book directly through Couples. I have a travel agent that I use. I also book my air separately since we use my frequent flyer miles. I think being sure to fill out the pre check in form on the Couples website helped with the registration. They really do seem to have it down to a science this year. I usually do pre check in several weeks before we arrive, so I don't know if that helps, but it might.
Just returned from CSA 2/10-2/19 for our 5th trip in a row. Let me preface the following remarks with the fact that I think the staff are simply amazing. If you had never been to CSA before you will think the staff were extremely friendly, courteous and go out of their way to make your vacaton special and you would be correct!. I do however think there was a different feel for me at the resort this time. I saw the General Manager on multiple occasions where in the past I may see him once or twice. In speaking with some of the staff I was given the impression that they are not as happy as they have been in the past and that something was going on. I also saw staff accepting tips on multiple occasions which tells me they are willing to put their job at risk to make a little more $$. If the owner of CSA can afford to increase staff starting salaries and merit increases based on job performance and length of time employed I highly recommend it. The staff are the major reason CSA is a vacation destination like no other and the reason my husband and I keep coming back year after year.