Can't decide between CSS, CSA or CN !! Going Nuts Here!
Hello fellow forumees,
I have done a good bit of research and am fairly certain of the differences between the 3. We will be travelling the 2nd week of November so I would guess that none of the resorts would be at full capacity?
I like CSS because it appears to be in a tropical jungle!! Lots of nooks and crannies to seek out and it is also a smaller resort. Don't like that the beach does not look to be the greatest, but we do a beach trip (this year to Isla Mujeres) every July and if we booked CSS it would be with the knowledge that the beach isn't the best. We like the fact that this would be a smaller more intimate resort (150 rooms).
CN-like that the beach area is quieter, but not sure how often we would be interacting with vendors. I always enjoy speaking with the locals no matter where we travel and have learned how to speak Spanish from our travels in Mexico--taught to me mostly by locals!! But I do not want to constantly be approached by vendors every time I am in the ocean or heading to teh ocean.
CSA-like that this beach is voted one of the top 5 in the world! But am not sure if we would be sacrificing the peaceful, quiet beach time that we enjoy. We most likely would not be venturing to other places on the beach for drinks, lunch etc. since that would be included at the resort itself.
Shade--My wife and I are fair-complected and generally seek out shade when we are not swimming in the oceans/ pools. Will this be hard to find if we also include pulling our loungers under a tree if palapas aren't available? Wouldn't the issue of "no palapas" be a non-issue since we would be travelling during low season (mid November) ?
Bugs--I read that especially when one is in the shade of the trees, the sand fleas are terrible--is this true? If we use a high deet bug spray will that eliminate the issue?
This is tough, and only you can choose, dig deep and go with the one calling to you the loudest.
I will say this. Your commentary regarding CSS is dead on, most romantic of the 4 in our opinion, the grounds cannot be beat! The Spa area cannot be beat. The beach cannot compare to Negril's beaches but is not "bad", just not a long walking beach. No vendors!!!!!! Except the ones the resort allows on the grounds which are very few.
CN very few vendors in comparison to 7 Mile Beach,
Bugs we had more of an issue at a NON AI on Seven Mile Beach than at any of the Couples.
CN 06, 07
CSS 08, 10
CN 2013 (we had to flip a coin lol) we love them both for different reasons, but we are due for a trip back to Negril, next trip will be back to CSS after that.
Good luck, the planning even though it makes you crazy really is half the fun.
If you like to shop though, CSS might not be for you. If only certain vendors are allowed then you are limited to what souvenirs you get. Seems like you'll be taking home a turtle like everyone else. We like Negril for many reasons, including the most wonderful beach! Also, going off resort into town is a lot of fun. There is a huge artist's market that you can find some of the more off-beat things.
I can only comment on CSA & CN (we went there for the day) as these are the only resorts we have been too, but hopefully this will help.
I love CSA as I think this has a jungle/rustic feel to it. The rooms felt like little private huts. I felt CN was more hotel like.
Although the beach at CSA is not as deep as CN, I didn't find the beach that busy. I found that we could always find a space and I never found it too busy (well occasionally you had a loud guest nearby but only once or twice did that happen). CN beach was so spaced out, you could probably always find a space to yourself.
At CSA the vendors walked by every so often and you could interact with them if you wanted and if you didn't you just ignored them or said no thanks and they just walked on. We were never approached by vendors as we were going into the water, they are very courteous. This was a big worry for me as I do not like the 'hard sell' it was never an issue here. I never really noticed vendors at CN.
The CSA beach is AMAZING, no other word for it. 8 Miles of beach to walk along if you like, or you can just stay on the best part of the beach, which is at CSA. Freshly raked sand every morning, no trash or seaweed. It's just perfect. I liked the beach at Negril, but if I'm honest again I preferred CSA.
The Palapas at CSA are booked fairly quickly but we managed to get one a few days (we were early risers on this holiday) and if there were none available, we just found shade under the trees or the sails. Apparently they are also building more Palapas.
I never had a problem with sand fleas, apart from when we went for a private dinner on the beach in the evening at CSA. Apparently it's worse in the evening but I used Deet and only had a few bites. Nothing to worry about.
I'm not trying to convince you to go to CSA, lol, as I think it's all about personal choice, I just think I'm trying to allay any fears you may have about going there. I'm sure others on here who have been to the other resorts will have equally nice things to say about those resorts also, so you just have to choose the one that calls to you.
I went back and forth for weeks between CSA and CN, and ultimately chose CSA. Why? I went with my heart on this one, although the reviews had a lot to do with it, as well as the great people on this board, but no matter how many reviews I read, CSA.kept tugging at me. My husband didn't really count in my decision because his only concern was food, booze and activities lol! The beach didn't play a significant role either, but I have always wanted to.visit negril. You will drive yourself insane, so go with your Gut and stick too it. May 27th can't get here fast enough !!
This was my very first post on this forum and to not get any replies (prior to yours of course) was a bit disappointing.
I agree with you that planning is half the fun, especially during the colder weather (getting warmer now though) here in Pittsburgh.
I have narrowed it down to CN or CSS. Still can't decide, but we won't be going until November anyways so I have plenty of time to think about it--won't book mostly likely until August or Sept.
Since I have your attention, I would like to ask you a couple of questions if that's ok? I think that my hesitancy is this:
Are the resorts in Jamaica centered around lots of partying and a hootin and hollerin good time?
My wife and I enjoy more of a relaxing time while spending our days at the beach or pool--I know that sounds boring, but we like the peace and the sound of the waves. We (me especially) will drink many adult beverages at night to make up for it ( I know that at the AI's in Mexico, we are one of a few couples out after 11 p m because we don't party during the day).
We have been to Mexico 6 times in the last 3 years and we stay at higher end resorts, where we can find peace and quiet by a pool or beach. If it gets loud where we are, we simply move to a different area of the resort.
I just dont want to spend all this money to get to Jamaica and have it not be the right fit for us.
Also, I realize November (our anniversary) is the tail-end of hurricane.rainy season. What are your thoughts on travelling to Jamaica during this time? (beginning the 2nd week of November). It is rainy/hurricane season as well in Mexico during that time, but we have always lucked out with beautiful weather.
We have only been to CN and are returning with friends that we "talked" into it. As far as partying goes...you can find whatever you want. We met some new friends there, and had a really good time a few nights. Others, we just hung out and chilled like we are used to doing. Its really all you make of it. You can find a quiet spot, or you can find a party (usually in the piano bar). I never found people to be intrusive or too loud to enjoy our private conversations. There were a few nights when the wifey and I spent in the billiard room with nobody else around. We played a few games of pool and ate popcorn. Even though we both stink at pool, we endured, and had a ton of fun. The beach is NOT an ongoing allday party. We found most folks were simply interested in relaxing. We did have a few conversations with others and thoroughly enjoyed their company. This is not spring break for single college kids. We are in our mid 30's (closer to 40), and enjoy a good time, but we met a few couples that could be our parents, and they were awesome! We also met a few couples that were in their early 20's and just beginning their lives together. They were awesome too! The vendors are NOT terrible. You did have to say No Thanks once in awhile, but that was the end of it. They have money to make, and if you show them no consideration, they will move on. We had NO promblems with vendors. However, if you do engage them, be ready to "make a deal." People have a great time here, and dont intrude on others. If you want to have a private party on the beach, others will probably not even notice. Its a really cool place, and we will continue to return, year after year. God Willing!
We have been to all three of the resorts, and they all have very different vibes. From reading your posts and listening to your interests, I, personally, would highly recommend CSS for you. Here's why:
CSS = laid back romance.
CSS = we stayed in a Beachfront Suite, Building A or B. These rooms are MUCH nicer than any room at CN, and we've stayed in all levels. The separate bedroom and the marble bathroom sound like more your style.
CSS = the food here was as good as CN.
Although the beach isn't they powdery white sand, it is very private. Even though they were at full capacity, it seemed empty. When we were there, the weather wasn't cooperating very well, but that's not the resort's fault.
It sounds like you are healthy, so the stairs at CSS shouldn't be an issue. The spa at CSS is lovely. Get a massage on the point overlooking the ocean.
Here's a link to my slideshow showing the differences between CSS and CN.
Thank you everyone for all of your nice (and informative) replies. Part of me is still thinking," since this will be our first time to Jamaica we MUST go to Negril for the beach". The other part of me is thinking, " we will just have come back (july) from a gorgeous beach (Playa Norte) in Mexico and it would be really cool to have the tropical environment of CSS, rather than another "beach" trip".
I think we will wait until we return from our July trip to make our final decision. Either way, I feel that we are very blessed to have such a "problem" as to where to vacation.
My wife and I have only been to CSS, our honeymoon last year and absolutely loved it. We knew the beach there is not as nice as CN, but for us, it was the more laid back, quiet nature that attracted us. The beach is private so there are no others from other hotels crossing by. There are no vendors crossing by, only those that the resort allows onto the property and they only say hello, unless you buy something. The main beach is not that large but still nice, and if you're into the au natural thing, that beach is totally separate. The 150 rooms are spread over 35 acres and there are many very private quiet areas there too, as long as you don't mind stair climbing. We were so impressed, we are returning again this October. I have checked out many different resorts and none have the loyal following that Couples does, so there really is no way to go wrong with choosing either resort. I do warn you though that once having experienced a Couples resort, you probably will become "Couples addicts" like us, and spend the kids education funds on going back "home".
We too have been to Mexico 4 times, we are trying Punta Cana this year and returning to JA next year.
Be aware, Couples Resorts are not glitz and glamour and marble and fancy. It is a very casual atmosphere, and the rooms are not brand new and opulent like many of the Mexico hotels. I just want to make sure you realize the pics are what you get, BUT having said that, I have yet to find a place with the atmosphere, the service, the food, and the inclusions you get at Couples. There is a reason they have so many repeat guests. It is not because of the rooms.
CN and CSS (my personal favorites) are as different as night and day. We love them for entirely different reasons and I can change my mind every 5 min as to which is my favorite.
CSS you cannot beat the grounds, they are lush and junglelike, there are alot of stairs because the resort is built into the cliffs, it is part of the rustic charm of this resort. 4 pools (counting the one at the A/N beach which is clothed in the evenings for sunsets). The service we have experienced here is in our opinion the best. Since you have travelled to Mexico several times you realize you are on Caribbean time, and on vacation. Service in the Caribbean is much slower than we are used to, relax you are on vacation. (one of the things you will come to love about JA is the "no problems, it's all good" way of life. It is addictive. If only we could live it everyday.
CN is the beach.... It is an outstanding beach. The pool is the central spot the epicenter of the resort, and can tend to get loud. I do, however love that pool.
This is tough if you are looking for quiet and romantic, CSS would be my first pick. If the beach is really really important to you, then I would choose CN. Take your time go onto Tripadvisor and look at the pictures and go with the one pulling at you the most. Between them you cannot make a bad decision.
ps. Posts are not realtime on this message board it can take awhile depending how often the moderators get on here.
CN, by far, for a couple of reasons: It's in Negril. If you're looking for serenity, beach, no hassle from vendors (because the security keeps them moving), and all of the other amenities, there is no difficulty; at least for us. CSS is hilly, which might be nice, but difficult to imagine if you're looking for the 'beach experience'. CSA has many more vendor encounter possibilities, which can be both positive and less-than-that, and seems less exclusive (due to the 7 Mile beach it's on), But, it is in Negril.
If you haven't figured by now, we're partial to Negril. In part because of Bloody Bay and the 7 Mile beach; but, also because of the long history of folks going there and finding serenity....not to mention, the wonders of nature.
Anyway, would recommend CN; which also has a nice AN area, not to be missed!
We have been to both CSS and CN (CN being our first love).
What you have posted is dead on for both properties. CSS has wonderful little nooks and cranies to hideaway in. The beach is ok, we spent most of the time at the pool. What is wonderful at the pool is that I could lay in my chair and still see the ocean. It never seemed crowded or full. I can tell you that there is not always a lot of shade at CSS. There are few umbrellas around the main pool but they go fast. The same with the palapas on the beach. The staff is wonderful at CSS, the spa is charming and wonderful.
CN, ahhhh what can I say, for us this our home away from home. The beach is the draw for us, it is beautiful, the water is calm and no you won't be harrasssed by vendors. And although there are 234 rooms at CN it also never really feels crowded. The food is wonderful, the staff are now friends. The sunsets will take your breath away. I could go on, on and on about this place.
In answer to your question about a wild party place, no neither of the resorts are, if there is a louder group, there is always some place else to move to. We go for the relaxation and quiet.
Thank you Blondie , TonyS, Novastar, Mzambo, TravandAmy and anyone else I may have missed; for your wonderful and informative replies! Wow! What a great forum and what nice people!
Blondie may have helped sway our decision more towards the CN side, as my wife and I NEED shade during the day, or we wouldn't last more than 2 hours for the entire week--lol. We are not opposed to pulling our chairs under the trees if no palapas are available.
And yes Mzambo, we are fully aware that there will be no glitz and glamour in Jamaica compared to some of the resorts we have stayed in Mex. But we are fine with that, as we are only in the room to sleep, shower and some other things that are better left to one's imagination---lol. And besides, we don't have marble and Mexican tile in our home in Pittsburgh.
My wife is the typical Irish lass with lots of freckles, strawberry blonde and creamy white skin that just SCREAMS for a sunburn. While I get all of my sun from hours of swimming/playing in the ocean and hanging out in the pool. Yes, I am one of those nerdy guys who is not afraid to wear a t-shirt in the ocean (and usually need one by the 3rd day of our vacation). (At least I am not one of those men who are so white that their skin looks "blue" without a shirt on--not that there's anything wrong with that )
So, is it true then that we would have trouble finding shade by CSS's pools or ocean? We usually don't hit up the beach or pool until around 11 ish since we sleep in a little and then have breakfast (hey, we're on vacation--we are allowed to sleep in a little, right?)
Thanks again everyone! Again, we will see what kind of beach time/weather we have during our July trip to Mexico and then we will make our decision re. CSS or CN. And yes, we have been to Mexico in July last year (HOT, HOT, HOT) and still managed not to get sunburnt to a crisp.
I think CN would be the one to try...it's a happy medium between all three in size, has amazing food and all four restaurants are in the centre of the resort (and only Otaheite requires reservations), it is fairly quiet but can be lively, a great pool area, has an outstanding 2 mile beach for strolls and clear turquoise water for swimming, the beach isn't as busy with vendors as CSA (although the guards do a great job of keeping vendors from bothering guests at both resorts), it has beautiful foliage, and so on!! Experience it for yourself and you'll see!!
Mzambo, how far from CN is Pelican Bar? And I know this is a strange question, given the name of the bar, but were there a lot of birds? Hubby is not comfortable around them due to a childhood attack from a rooster, would love to go but the name alone kinda of puts him off.