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  1. #1

    Default After reading 25 or more reviews, I think I know what the issue is with CSA

    I have read more reviews that I can count, and although we are booked with CSA, (I am 75% sure we are sticking with this, but I also like CN)......what I am seeing as the issue with many reviews regarding CSA in particular is that most people complained or wrote negative comments about the decor, rooms, and service and outdated at high prices.....whiile at the same time, they mention previous resorts they have vacationed at, same price or less, with high end decor, ie, marble, granite, butler service, great food, friendly staff at these other resorts....

    One thing that I have noticed after reading many comments or reviews here, is that everyone on this board is consistent with their description of CSA,....That is a very good thing...No one has ever said that CSA was luxurious, high end, 5 star quality etc..but you have said, the food is very good, service is great, and rooms are nice and clean...

    Bottom line, I think people are comparing high end resorts they have previously stayed at with CSA, and from what I have read here, they don't compare.....Some have even said CN is more luxurious than CSA, whatever that means... The only reason I am being indecisive now about CN vs CSA is because I want I like the suites at CN, and they seem to be more affordable than the BFS at CSA....but thats it...

    I remind my husband all the time, that CSA is not high end, nor is it marble and granite, but very jamaican in its overall appearance, based on what I have read...His only concern, was good food, good drinks and not boring....and based on that, we can't go wrong either way, CN or CSA....

    what are your thoughts......

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    398

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    That sounds about right!

    Couples Ocho Rios 2005/2006
    CSA 2009/2010/2011/
    2012 x2/2013 x2

  3. #3

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    Your assumptions are correct. We have been to CSS, CN and CSA, and all of them have fabulous food, drinks, staff and service. We have been to an S resort one time and we have been to Couples 4 times, with 4 more booked to CN. That ought to tell you something :-)

    The thing that we like the most about Couples, beyond the things mentioned above are the inclusions. Most of the polished high-end marble resorts don't include nearly the things that Couples does (SCUBA is a big deal to us). We believe that you get far more value for your money with Couples. It also certainly doesn't hurt that when you are at a Couples resort, you actually feel like you are in Jamaica, and not in Europe or Spain, like the other marble and brass resorts. This is just my humble opinion...

  4. #4

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    I've never been to CN so I can only speak about what drew me to CSA and that was the relaxed Jamaican atmosphere which may be due, in part, to the island decor. High end luxury is nice, but sometimes you just want that homey feeling and we found that at CSA.

    Regarding the food and drinks...my husband is very picky as there's a lot of things he doesn't like and we had absolutely no problems with any of the restaurants at CSA. I think there's enough variety to satisfy most tastes. No complaints about the drinks either, but we're not big drinkers when we're at home so for what I'm used to, all the drinks I had were yummy, especially the martinis!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    1,160

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    CN is not better than CSA any more than CSA is better than CN...except in people's opinions. They are two different resorts and really can't be compared against each other. While CSA may not be "5 star quality" it certainly is very close to one. CN is no more, or less, "5 star quality" than CSA.

    CSA is a series of buildings that are spread out and more of a bunglow style. The rooms are nice but not fancy (not the Ritz). CN is nine 3-story buildings that are more hotel style. It all depends on what you're looking for as to which meets your needs. We've been to both and prefer one over the other but enjoy both none the less.

    If you picked CSA...you did it for a reason. Whatever that reason just be assured that you've made a great choice. If you want to see CN be sure to sign up for Romance Rewards and do the Trading Places visit. Then you can see for yourself each resort and decide which appeals to you more. That may help you to decide on a future visit to check out CN. That's what we did and now when we go to Negril...we split our visit and stay at both.

    Hope this helps!

    Bart & Bug

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    242

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    Quote Originally Posted by louiseandjames View Post
    Bottom line, I think people are comparing high end resorts they have previously stayed at with CSA, and from what I have read here, they don't compare.....Some have even said CN is more luxurious than CSA, whatever that means... The only reason I am being indecisive now about CN vs CSA is because I want I like the suites at CN, and they seem to be more affordable than the BFS at CSA....but thats it...

    I remind my husband all the time, that CSA is not high end, nor is it marble and granite, but very jamaican in its overall appearance, based on what I have read...His only concern, was good food, good drinks and not boring....and based on that, we can't go wrong either way, CN or CSA....

    what are your thoughts......
    I think you hit nail on said head...the room/accommodations. Some people would rather have a nicer room and sacrifice other things. I've been to the big resorts, stayed in beautiful suites, but in my opinion that is not why I go on vacation. I want a beach i don't want to leave, food i cant stop eating, and people that are genuinely nice people.

    Room/view means nothing to me. We stay in GVS at CSA so we can stay longer, because that is important to us. Not that there is anything wrong with it if you want a nice room, but yes I think that is reason for negative reviews.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    41

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    I appreciate very much the non-typical style of rooms at CSA. I didn't think they were run down much at all. A few touch ups maybe, but nothing serious. The rooms make me feel more like I'm in Jamaica. If I had a cold marble fancy hotel room there, it just wouldn't feel as authentic. It would be like every other hotel room you can get anywhere in the States. I thought it added to the romance!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    1,288

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    I think you hit the nail on the head, people who go to CSA looking for fancey over the top in your face type decor are going to be disappointed. One of the things we love about about CSA and why we picked her in the first place is for the tropical feel of the whole resort, why travel to an tropical island and stay at a place that looks and feel like something you could stay at in the states. But I wouldn't say thats CSA isnt a 5 star resort, its just differant form of 5 star. Its better!! its not potentious.

  9. #9

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    CSA has a feel all to itself. Most buildings are not the large connected high rise or sprawling hotel feel of other resorts. You stay in a kind of beach house with usually 4 units in the 2 level buildings and 6 units in the 3 level buildings. Winding tropical foot paths run between these giving you a feel that you are more at home while living on the beach. If I am looking for the sparkle and shine of polished brass, marble, and crystal I will stay on the strip in Vegas. This is a relaxing layed back true to the island style beach resort. By the way...the Beachfront Suites at CSA are actually only steps off the beach. They are amazing!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    952

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    I am a CN addict, but we are going to stay at CSA in October. As I have said several times in postings on the message board, even in paradise rain must fall. Are they perfect to everyone, no, but they are clean, the food is great, the drinks are plentiful, the grounds are immaculate, the staff is 90% fantastic (always going to have a few having a bad day) and it is not boring. Your assessment is right on. We stayed in a Garden Suite at CN for 2 years, but then this February we went to the cheapest room they have and loved it. We determined 2 things to make the switch, 1) we really are not in the room that much 2) the difference in price went a long way to paying the air fare. You are going in with the right frame of mind. Enjoy.

  11. #11

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    we have been to CSA 2x. You are right, it is far from glamorous. What it lacks in high end finishes, it more than makes up for in quality of food and service. There was not 1 staff member who was ever rude to us, they would do anything to help you, your drink never goes dry and your room is always clean! The first time we went, we made friends with several of the staff. When we went back a year later, the staff recognized us and welcomed us home. To me, it's amazing that they can see 1000's of people, yet still remember them a year later. That speaks volume. Do plan your catamaran cruise as soon as possible, because those do fill up, but I think they do them pretty much every other day. Snorkeling you have to book the day before (we did not have to do this the 1st time we went, so it was kinda a bummer when we went the 2nd time). Feathers and Lemon Grass are the reservation required restaurants. So we booked those as soon as we got there, so ensure that we could go at least once. I think we booked about 2 days in advance for them, and we were given 6:30 reservations. But yes, if you want last minute to try to go, you will probably get the 8:30 slots.

    You will love CSA. We have booked our next vacation to to Dominican, and I must say, I do feel sad that I cannot say we wil be returning this year (we are 23 and 24...we want to visit more places, but we will deff be back in the future). Just keep in mind that CSA is not all about the high end finishes. They cater to couples in love. It's all about the ambiance, and just taking a step back to look at the big picture of life. If you go with that in mind, you will not be let down.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    470

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    I think you are way over thinking all of it! EITHER resort is going to be WONDERFUL.

    CSA & CN are styled in the same way.....Jamaican! Neither are luxurious, both are clean, well managed, offer the same level of amenities, service and inclusions. CN does not offer bottled water if that makes a hoot of a difference to you.

    If you STILL can't decide then do a split stay!

  13. #13

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    I've stayed at CN twice and CSA 5 times, which should tell you what my preference is. I prefer to stay in the older section of CSA, particularly the Atrium and Beachfront Suites. Clearly it's a matter of personal taste, but I find the rooms in the older section to be more individualistic and charming than the newer rooms. I believe that the older rooms are a bit larger, especially when you include the patio/balcony space, and much more private. If you stay at CSA, or go to CN and make a day visit, walk the beach, and look at the different room types. I much prefer the "original" CSA rooms and I'm glad Couples doesn't charge me extra for them.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    305

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    So here are my two cents worth
    We have been on the Ocho Rios side (CTI once, CSS 5 times with 2 more booked)
    but I think my comments are still applicable

    We have stayed at R resort, S resort, and C M resort
    The food was great, drinks were great, and beach was great
    All were nicer looking on the surface than Couples but
    and this is a big but
    each of those other resorts was much larger
    more people
    everything was more crowded
    I think that is a big difference from Couples

    I never went to a place before Couples where the people knew your name, remember your drink, poured your coffee with sweet n low because they knew that was the way you liked it. I don't think it was because the people were rude at the other resorts. But when there are 1500 rooms at a resort they have no idea who you are personally. They can't because there are too many people.

    At CSS there are never more than about 300 people. You get to know the people that are there because you see them regularly at breakfast, at the beach, at the bar, etc. We really like that intimate feel.

    I am sure that Couples could build a huge resort with 1500 rooms and fill it up. They could probably charge about the same and make more money because of the volume. They could bring in larger groups at discounted rates. And because of the masses they could put in marble and granite and brass. But that would destroy the feel of Couples. It is the fact that I know the bell man, the checkin staff, the bar tender, the waitress at breakfast, the waiter at dinner, the activity staff, the guy that fills our mini bar, and the wonderful lady that cleans our room that makes CSS special. And it helps that we know Pierre the GM and he remembers us and talks to us.

    So, if you want granite and brass and marble--pick an S or D or R or C M. But don't say I didn't warn you. It will look nice. You will enjoy your vacation. But it will not be your home away from home.
    I have never heard anyone call one of those resorts home

    Sorry for the length, but this is MHO
    John

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    987

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    "Welcome Home" is more than a marketing phrase. I don't see it mentioned too often, but one of the things that draws us back (trip #6 coming up in June) to CSA is the feeling of being at someone's home, not just a hotel or resort. The tranquil atmosphere, the attitude of staff and even other guests. It just feels different than any place we have been to before for a vacation. We are just as comfortable and relaxed while at CSA as we are in our own home. It's like a big o'l house and a big o'l yard with a big o'l beach (and a pool!) that we all go over to play and spend the night for a week or so.

    Can't wait to get back.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    140

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    louiseandjames, your husband sounds just like mine! Thats all he cared about too. We are booked for our first trip to Jamaica this July, I picked CSA for its authentic feel. we stayed in a fancy looking resort in Mexico, it was nice, but I didn't feel like I was in Mexico, and my Hubby didn't like the food and the dress code for ALL the dinner restaurants. So Couples seemed like the perfect choice. We also wanted a really nice beach and CSA had more restaurants than the other places so CSA it was! We can't wait!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by redinthehead View Post
    I think you hit the nail on the head, people who go to CSA looking for fancey over the top in your face type decor are going to be disappointed. One of the things we love about about CSA and why we picked her in the first place is for the tropical feel of the whole resort, why travel to an tropical island and stay at a place that looks and feel like something you could stay at in the states. But I wouldn't say thats CSA isnt a 5 star resort, its just differant form of 5 star. Its better!! its not pretentious.
    I totally agree with this opionion. We have stayed at CSA 12 times and think it is certainly a 5 star resort, just with a more relaxed,tropical island feel to it, which is what the Couples team were trying to do. In terms of inclusions, quality of food and drinks, level of service and genuinely :coolfriendly staff, this resort comes in way above some of the "marble and granite" mega resorts. I'll take the Couples style any day!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    786

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    We picked CSA for the West facing beach and the sunsets. Then CSA picked us.

    5th trip soon come.

    Life is good

  19. #19

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    The last 30 posts on Trip Advisor have been a concern. Obviously there is a large disparity between Excellent - 1452 and Terrible - 56.....but there are some yellow flags. I think your reasons are on point. Also, the beach chair game, which is an issue everywhere.....

    Going in May for the first time....hope it's fun.

  20. #20

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    You guys are AWESOME!! which is why I like coming here and reading your reviews and comments....Great responses to my post, I really appreciate it....We are sticking with CSA, and will probably do what others have suggested and get a day pass to CN to check it out...This is our 2nd trip to Jamaica, (we were married there in 1994) but our first stay at a Couples Resort.... I can't wait to check out the Martini Bar and SeaGrapes...Can I get chicken or fish tacos at CSA??

    May 27th cannot get here fast enough

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    41

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    Simply stated, this is the epitome of a "beach" vacation. Everything you could possibly want to do, is included. The beauty of this, is that you aren't nickled and dimed to death while experiencing what a so called 5 star resort offers!! Why else would we be returning for the 17th time this year????? It's in our blood mon.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    10

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    louiseandjames, we specifically look for midsized resorts with a comfortable beach feel to them. We have family who will not travel with us if we donít go to their overpriced, mega sized stuffy resorts that have 10 restaurants, 15 bars and 1000ís of people. They eat alone and rarely get to know anyone. We come back with stories of all the couples we met, the good times we had laughing together after only knowing them for a few days. If they were to go to a beach resort like CSA I could very well see them posting a negative review on a travel site. They would spend too much time over analyzing the physical facility instead of enjoying the company of others. We on the other hand worry about how to get a group of 10 a table for dinner. Everyoneís vacation is personal to them and if you go into it with a set of expectations that are not met then a bad review could result. When I see several in a short period of time I think of perhaps a group or wedding party not getting the special treatment they think they deserve. In my opinion when you have a resort like CSA that is rated high by major travel agencies the positive reviews that mention a minor bump in the road are most apt to be true. I would book CSA in a heartbeat however they are missing a feature the other 3 resorts offer.
    Last edited by Clawmaster; March 23rd, 2012 at 03:06 PM. Reason: Misspelling

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bilal Anwar View Post
    The last 30 posts on Trip Advisor have been a concern. Obviously there is a large disparity between Excellent - 1452 and Terrible - 56.....but there are some yellow flags. I think your reasons are on point. Also, the beach chair game, which is an issue everywhere.....

    Going in May for the first time....hope it's fun.
    This will our first time at Couples too. Leaving May 27th.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    708

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    We've stayed at the glitzy places with the fancy rooms but they didn't give us the "feeling" that Couples gives us ..... Once we found them, we've never looked back. We're going on vacation for that relaxed, fun, you're "home" kinda atmosphere with a gorgeous beach & nice pool where we can meet some nice people & spend some time as a couple. We prefer CN to CSA (that's just our choice & think CSA is great) but we've NEVER been anywhere before that we think about every single day after we've come home & start counting the days until we can be back there until we found CN ..... Trip # 6 to CN booked - It will make our 8th trip to Couples. Once you go, you'll know what the rest of us are going to Couples for ...... Get ready to relax & have some fun.
    Julie

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    23

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    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"....

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