After reading this post I have to say to each his or her own. We have been everywhere including the "S" resorts. We like the Couples resorts for the small size, attention to detail, great food, excellent employees and the laid back feel.
We do not like all the shine of the "S" resorts and the hoity toity butler stuff but do like the Jamaican "chic" all the resorts couples has more than an place we have ever been. We go back to Couples every year and the hardest decision to make is which one to go to again. (We go to CSA in May for our "fix")
It all depends on what one defines as "high end". Granite, marble, crystal and whatever else mentioned as high end could be considered as nothing more than material garbage. Luxury is not about what something is made of. Life is full of luxuries that are not visible with the eyes but with the soul. You can't buy true friendship or true love with luxuries. Swept Away may not have what some define as high end but it sure has all the qualities of the simple things in life that give one the luxury of have a pure clean soul. That in my book is "high end"....
Amen to that Jamaica97!!!! My wife and I have been to Couples only once, but we are hooked and will be back this October. We chose Couples CSS because of the things it didn't have. It didn't have 1000 rooms, 1000's of guests, elevators, granite, marble, kids, groups, line ups, or party atmosphere. If I wanted that, I can just go to Vegas. Vacations for us is something relaxing where we are not tripping over 1000's of other guests to get anywhere. There is something much more personable about Couples that no other resort has even come close to. It IS our home away from home. Prior to booking our first trip, I looked at many different resorts, as it was our honeymoon, and the one thing that really stuck in my mind was the amount of repeat guests. THAT alone tells you something! And when we arrived, we immediately found out why Couples seems to have such a loyal following, for which we are very happy to be a part of. Fancy decor does NOT make a resort a "5-star". It is the staff and food and service that does. October is a long way off for us, but just knowing that we will be returning "home" has put an extra bounce in our step.
You are going to love CSA. The rooms are classic Caribbean with lots of wood and white linens. You are going to love your BFS because you can sit on your huge verandah and see the beautiful water right in front of you. Also, the sunsets are beautiful and again, you can sit on your verandah with a cocktail and enjoy the view. You made the right decision and you will feel right at home once you are there.
Fish tacos can be had at Seagrapes. Not sure about chicken tacos. The wood fired pizzas at Patois are delicious too. The food, drink, and atmosphere is the best and you are going to love your very relaxing and fun stay at CSA. CSA ROCKS! Perfect choice.
Ah yes, flash and glitz vs fit and function. Returning to CSA is like a family reunion for us. The good kind, not the kind that makes you want to run and hide! Generally speaking, I believe "stuffy" people probably don't enjoy themselves regardless of where they go. They're too busy nit-picking everything to death. Me? I'm too busy sipping rum cream on ice while swaying in the breeze in my beach hammock. Priorities, you know?!
Intereting topic.... We are newer to couples and had our first stay at CSS over New Year's last year. We are now looking at a trip to CSA and a return to CSS. I have thought a lot about what might make couples special. I have been to a lot of resorts, many with the high end marble feel, very ornate and dramatic decor. It can be impressive and make things feel luxurious. However, when we arrived it was an instant connection for me with CSS - not because of decor but because of the intimacy and the romance. We had an extremely romantic trip there. I am hoping that I am right in thinking that couples does something right to create or maintain an atmosphere that is very conducive to this. For example, we have been to some S resorts. I don't like their product and we won't be going back. If you believe their marketing, they are deigned for romance. I actually found it to be one of the least romantic places. Weddings were done assembly line style right outside our room and the place ran like a giant bachelor/bachelorette party at night. That is not for us....
After my long winded thought, I would advise you to really assess which resort speaks to you? When you go to read reviews or look at pics which do you check first? Which pulls your heart strings? CSA is expensive. I am worried whether it can fill the bill after we had such an amazing trip to CSS. But, it is pulling my heart strings... We will let you know how it works out!
I think the OP hit the nail on the head. I have not yet been to CSA (going in May), but I did look at the S resorts when I was planning my destination wedding because I had been to one before. The reason I went with Couples over the S resort was that I could get a lot more inclusions for less money. Do I like marble and granite? Sure. Is it necessary for me to enjoy myself? No. When I stayed at S many years ago, I can say I never spent more time than necessary to sleep, shower in the room. I also recall the food not being very good.
Basically, at Couples I could get one of the rooms with the best location and the vibe I wanted (beachfront suite) for the same amount of money as the cheapest room at S. Also, S really has a caste system in place. If you have enough money, you get a butler. If you have enough money, and stay in a butler suite, you get extras that others at the resort don't get, like restaurants that are only for you. That's not something I personally enjoy.
Could I have afforded $10,000 for my weddingmoon, instead of the $4,300 I spent for Couples....probably. Would it have been worth it? No. I'd rather go to Couples twice. Just sayin'....