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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    107

    Default Review: CSA 7/15 - 7/22

    We arrived at MBJ airport on 7/15 at about 12:30. Decided before we left to go "carry on" only this trip. This is the way to go and will be doing this from now on. Fifteen minutes from the time we stepped off the plane we were sitting in the Couples lounge. Had about a 10-15 minute wait before we were on our way. Had the same driver as last year taking us to the resort. Ride was uneventful, took about 1 hr 20 min. with no stops except to let one couple off at CN.

    We did the Pre Checkin online about 5 days before leaving but when we got there the computers were down so we were told to go have lunch and when we come back hopefully it would be back up. We had booked an Atrium room and wanted to see if they had something towards the center of the property as we didn't want to be to close to The Palms because of the foot traffic and nightly entertainment. they said we could see what was available once the system was back up and running. Went to the Cabana Grill and had a snapper sandwich and a rum punch from the swimup bar then headed back to the lobby. When we got back they had already assigned us a room and gave us our shirts. We were a little disappointed that we didn't get to see what was available but after looking at the map saw it was in a building on the row next to the beach we thought "ok, not so bad".

    Now, I want others to know this that have never been or thinking about booking an Atrium Room, NOT ALL Atriums have the large porch and hammock that they describe and show in the pictures as we found out. What we got was a room that is on the back side of the Beachfront Suites. Very small porch, the roof overhang extends only about three feet so when it rains you can't sit out there without getting wet unless you are standing up next to the building. Needless to say we were disappointed. We could have requested another room but decided to stay because of the proximity to the beach. Never could figure out why this was called an Atrium Room because there is no atrium. Had to call front desk about drinks that were suppose to be in room from filling out pre-checkin. Took awhile to get them. Wasn't a problem and would have filled out card for next day but there wasn't even any of the cards in the room. One of the negatives also is that the entrnce/exit path to the room spits you out right where all the vendors set up so you can get bombarded everytime you come and go from your room. I know it sounds like I'm making a big deal about this but things do turn around here as you'll see.

    We walked around and got reaquainted with some of the people we met last year. Did most of the activities we wanted to do in the first three days and sat around taking it easy for the last three. The one snorkle trip was out to the "Cuba" site. Wasn't as good as the other two places they took us last year. Were told to stay away from the reef so there wasn't really any fish to be seen in the open area we had to stay in. Catamaran cruise was fun. Happened to be the only day it didn't rain most of the afternoon while we were there. Not complaining about the rain. I know what to expect and it didn't stop us from enjoying anything. Just saying that was the only dry day. We went on the One Love Bus Bar Crawl on Wednesday. Lot of fun and very interesting as we had never been into town. Lembert took us to 8-9 bars ending with Belladonnas were we got some fabulous pizza.

    Food was good. We ate at all the resturants. Not real impressed with The Palms except the breakfast buffet was not bad. Pretty standard, anything you want is there. Patois was always good no matter what meal. Banana stuffed french toast was better this year. Wasn't impressed last year and couldn't understand why everyone raved about it. Chicken Pad Thai at Lemongrass was good. Wasn't impressed with Feathers last year either but decided to give it a second chance. Servive and food was much better this year. May have been a bad night last time around. We did make a much earlier reservation this time so I don't know if that had anything to do with it. The food at the Repeaters Dinner was very good as to be expected but we thought the presentation as a whole was MUCH better at CSS. CSA should take notice of how it should be done from CSS.

    The biggest suprise for us came on Friday morning when we ran into a couple from the UK that we meet at the Repeaters Dinner at CSS last year. We had dinner together that night at the Beach Party and did some catching up. Found out they had the same "ATRIUM ROOM" in the building right next to us. They were thinking of going to Thiland this year but because of it being the rainy season decided to come back to Jamaica. They normally go to CSS but thought they may try something different this year. Unfortunately we weren't able to spend much time together since they came in on Wednesday didn't find eachother until Friday and we were leaving out on Sunday. I think it is a VERY strange coincidence how four people who live in two different countries so far apart, have no contact with eachother, could meet up in again in a third completely different country at the same time of year at a resort that at least one of the couples never has been or goes to. Can you say "Destiny"? We now have thier email addresses and plan to stay in touch. Hopefully we will hook up again in the future at one of the resorts. We have made some good friends that we wouldn't have ever know thanks to Couples. We were never having a bad time in anyway. A few glitches are to be expected but this event REALLY made us happy.

    No issues with our trip back home other than we didn't want to leave. Also learned that we could have used the Kiosk at the airport to checkin instead of waiting through the long line since we only had carry on luggage. Actually was ok though since it burned up some time. Once we got to the gate we only had to wait about 30 minutes before plane started loading.

    All in all we had a wonderful time. We were treated very well. It was good to see people we had meet the year before. Guests and staff. Sorry I didn't get to meet a few people I was messaging back and forth with on the meetup board before the trip. Hope they had a good time also. Have next year booked at CSA already and may be adding on some time at CSS before it gets here.

    CSA Aug. 2011, July 2012, July 2013, July 2014
    CSS Aug. 2011, Aug. 2014

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,036

    Default

    Thanks for the great review. Since you only had carry-on luggage, you should have switched rooms. There are some nice Atrium rooms that aren't close to the Palms. And they actually have an Atrium in the middle. CSA is the best!

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the review. I think it is very hard to be a perfect resort for everyone but I think CSA does a really good job.

    For anyone esle just traveling with carryons you do not have to use the kiosks at the airport. Better to use the computers at the resort and print your boarding pass. You will need info from your passports to obtain the boarding passes so please have them before logging on. When we got to the airport- walked right past the long lines and went directly to customs/immagration

  4. #4

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    We always stay in Atriums and this year we got a room as you described. I love the verandah and spend time reading on it and that room as you said had a small one. It is sort of beachfront and I guess i should have tried it but we did ask for an Atrium room with the larger verandah and they were happy to change our room. Also nice review. Glad you enjoyed your stay.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    107

    Default

    Didn't want to give anyone the impression that I was complaining in the review. These are just the things that happened this time around . I don't expect any trip to be "perfect". There are always a few setbacks. I know we could have changed rooms but as I said we chose to stay in what we got because of the close proximity to the beach. By the end of the week we were ok with it. It 's just that for a year you are looking forward to and "expecting" big porch and hammock and we got something different and smaller. Felt shot down at first.

    Love CSA and CSS for different reasons. Like how busy CSA is and all the things to do but also like CSS for its tranquility and peacefulness. Nice to end you stay on the island if you can swing a split stay between the two.
    Had a great time last week. Miss it already.

    CSA Aug. 2011, July 2012, July 2013, July 2014
    CSS Aug. 2011, Aug. 2014

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    398

    Default

    Good review, thanks for sharing.

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

  7. #7

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    Yes- but you did come across as complaining whether you meant to or not.. but then that maybe me in my " ....." world

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    107

    Default

    @mainesunlover : The trip as very enjoyable as I stated but it wasn't all sugar plums and fairy tales. Felt like I should list the "negatives" along with the "positives". Also as I said "no trip is perfect" and I don't expect it to be. We just roll with it as it comes and adjust to the situation. We wouln't be going next year if we didn't enjoy being there. Sometimes when you write thing out it comes across different that if you are saying it in person. May have been taken wrong. That's why I went back in and restated what I did.

    Respect

    CSA Aug. 2011, July 2012, July 2013, July 2014
    CSS Aug. 2011, Aug. 2014

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    50

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    I agree, you really didn't really say much thy was positive and you very very general in your review. As a person who has never been there, I didnt find your review very helpful. However We still can't wait to go in Nov!
    Last edited by JohnieReb; July 30th, 2012 at 10:32 AM. Reason: Was too harsh

  10. #10

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    I'm not sure what the big deal is...this seemed like an honest review from a repeater, and this person wrote both positive and negative things. We've been to Couples twice and have certainly found minor issues or things that could be improved, we just don't usually focus on those things. An honest review doesn't have to be 100% glowing.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    604

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    nova13 - thank you for your review - not everything is perfect, and I think you highlighted the pluses and minuses without (imo) coming across as a negative nelly....I think it's important for newbies especially to know that not everything may be rainbows and kittens, but that the Couples staff does try to make things right to the best of their ability....

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    291

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    We too have stayed in what they call a Beachfront Atirum. We enjoyed the room, but the verandah is small and the room didn't have a hammock. We stayed in 1229 when the normal Atriums did not have the mini bars and this room did. We felt it was an upgrade, at that time. Now that the Atriums have mini bars I think that I would want a room with the large verandah.

    Great review. You listed good and bad points. It's like any trip-you are on vacation--enjoy yourself.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    55

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    When I read review I'm looking for the good and the bad, thank you for the honest review I personally enjoyed reading it. I'm not sure why people would be emotionally touched by the negatives as when travelling there is always something that isn't quite up to expectations. I thought a review was to point out all the positive and negatives from a travelling experience, not to paint a pretty picture.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    107

    Default

    Thanks everyone.

    Looks like most of you "get " the point of reviewing a trip and sharing your experiences so others can learn from it. A few others seem to live in some "utopian" bubble that I don't and they don't understand the concept of constructive criticism. May be repeating myself ... again.... but as far as the room situation goes, I just wanted anyone who has never been to Couples or has not stayed in an atrium suite to know that not all Atriums have the large veranda and hammock. You may be put in what Yazmon called a beachfront atrium. "We" didn't know this and were just taken back a little since resevations were made almost a year prior and I haven't seen anything on the website showing this. We also KNOW we could hae requested another room but gave up the veranda and hammock for the beachfront location. It was OUR choice to do so. Also felt there were several improvements over last year with the food and stated so. This was OUR experience and doesn't mean that just because it may not have been as good the week we were there last year that it is that way all the time. Never said that.

    Things happen the way they did and there is no changing that. As I said it wasn't a bad trip. We enjoyed it very much. You that have been will understand when I say I how it makes you feel good to go somewhere that everyone is so friendly, wants to know who you are and where your from what you do and some will remember you when you return. For instance our shuttle driver was the same guy that took us to CSA last year. How many thousands of people do you suppose he encounters a year and one of the first things he said to us this year was "I remember you from last year". This after only spending an hour and fifteen minutes driving us a year ago? Several others on the resort that we only had limited contact with last year CAME UP TO US this year saying the same thing. Was pretty amazing and really made you feel good. To those of you who have not been yet, enjoy your trip, roll with the punches if any, get to know some of the staff, treat them with respect and you will be amazed with what they will do for you. They will practically bend over backwards for you to make sure you have everything you need and that you are happy. It is the way it should be everywhere.... allways.

    Thanks again to everyone who "got" the review. To the others, sorry if I popped your bubble.

    I'm done beating this dead horse.

    Respect to all.

    @ Yazmon : We were in 1229 this trip also.

    CSA Aug. 2011, July 2012, July 2013, July 2014
    CSS Aug. 2011, Aug. 2014

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