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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    113

    Default Just Returned from CSA - AMAZING HONEYMOON!

    My husband and I just returned from an incredible trip to CSA. We were there from Sept 16-23rd. All I have to say is....WOW. We will definitely be returning. We're already researching a week at CSA combined with 5 nights at CTI for next September. I'll try to be brief (no promises though!)

    My favorite things.....and random thoughts:
    -Caribbean Air from JFK to MoBay. We were in Jamaica by 8:35am and at the resort by 10:30am!!
    -Floating. It doesn't get much more relaxing than that.
    -The beach / ocean. It's insanely gorgeous.
    -The AMAZING vegetarian food at Seagrapes. I could eat there every single day....oh wait, I DID! I've been a vegetarian for 16 years so I really appreciated their abundance of delicious food that I could eat, instead of just pasta, like most places. The food is so fresh. I never felt gross or sluggish (except for the day we went to CN, but more on that later).
    -Our Atrium Suite. We had 1219. Although not the best location (even though we requested a room closer to the center of the resort), we ended up very close to the Palms. You could hear the music at night, but it was nice. I felt like I was definitely in the caribbean! The room is so rad. We had a top floor with the awesome ceilings. The temp in the room with the air conditioner and fan was perfect.
    -The relaxed vibe of the resort.
    -Always hearing "no problem mon", whenever we needed anything
    -The food. Again. It was delicious EVERYWHERE. I loved Patois AND the Palms for breakfast. The service at both was fantastic, although Patois may take a bit longer. It depends on if you feel like getting your own food or being waited on. We liked both. Patois was ALSO fantastic for dinner. Feathers food is incredible and the service was so pleasant! Lemongrass has the best atmosphere, but the food is just ok. We weren't nuts over the Palms for dinner, but it's probably because we're not in love with buffets. I just feel like it's hard to keep a conversation going when you're constantly getting up to get stuff, but that's just us. Other people may love the freedom to get a lot of food whenever they wish.
    -The drinks. They are amazing. I really like Ting.
    -The Entertainment. Perfect amount of it. I love that I never felt like I was missing out on something because they didn't have TOO many activities going on.
    -The water sports! We only went snorkeling and on the catamaran, but we'll be using the Hobie Cats next time for sure.
    -The Sports area. We didn't use much of it, but it's nice to know it's there if sand gravity ever loses its charm.
    -The Martini Bar!!! I wish they had extended hours!!! They make THE BEST dirty goose martini's. I love the atmosphere there, and really wish they would just open earlier and close later.
    -The friendly employees
    -The awesome beach bars!
    -The fact that we felt like we had the entire resort to ourselves sometimes.
    -The bonfire....even though they only managed to keep it lit for 4 minutes! It was a neat idea and the singer / guitarist was beautiful to listen to.
    -The trading spaces / places to visit CN for a day. I'm glad we did, because we got to experience the Au Natural area for the first time, but I'm also glad we did because we realized that we prefer CSA. The food at Heliconia at CN left me feeling sluggish and gross because it was all fried. They did have a small salad bar, but they were out of lettuce. I really missed Seagrapes that day.
    -The ketchup! It's really good. Tastes great without all that added corn syrup that we have in the states.
    -The old section of the resort. I really love how it's got such a worn in feeling. I definitely prefer it over the great house.
    -The Piano bar. Awesome.

    My Not-So-Favorite Things
    -Within the first hour of arriving at the resort, we were told by an employee at one of the beach bars that management hasn't been treating them well lately and things are going really badly, so even though we aren't supposed to tip, if we pass them money in a rolled up napkin, they can take it. Excuse me?! It was completely out of left field, and he randomly said this while he was making our first drink of the trip. We love to tip, but it was our understanding that this wasn't allowed, so it was very awkward and left a really bad first impression with us. Had we NOT known that tipping isn't allowed, we would have probably felt bullied into tipping this guy. He probably shouldn't be telling first timers that management isn't treating them well. I won't say his name because he's a long-time employee and I wouldn't want anyone to lose their job. Needless to say, we avoided this person all week because we felt awkward after this initial exchange.
    -The bars were constantly running out of premium liquor. Not just sometimes....all the time. Every single bar. And when I say premium, let me clarify. I think the highest they have at the beach bars for vodka is Stoli, then Smirnoff, then Voli. Well we'd start off maybe one drink in the morning with Stoli, then within an hour the only thing left was Voli. Why even bother advertising premium liquor if all you have is junk? Even the martini bar was constantly running out of Grey Goose or Crown. Either have it all the time (or at least MOST of the time) or don't have it / advertise it at all. There is a quite a difference between a Goose martini and a Stoli martini.

    Other than those two things, everything else was fantastic!! We are addicted for sure. The resort is surely one of a kind and we will be returning next year. Hopefully they re-stock their bars in time for us, teehee!

    Laura

  2. #2

    Default

    Glad you enjoyed CSA. I hear this quite often on the mb that the Palms restaurauant is only buffet style which is not true. Breakfast & lunch are buffet, & Jamaican night is buffet, but for the most part, it is sit down dinner & the food is excellent. It does offer the pasta & salad bar, but sit down is offered as well. We eat every meal there. Just thought I'd throw that out there for those that might not know this.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    16

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    Great Review! I will be there for the first time on Oct 3rd and I think the premium liquor thing would really upset my boyfriend. The bad part is that I have seen this same comment on several threads. Randymon can you address the issue of premium liquor, I'm very curious to know why this would be an issue.

    Nevertheless, I am so excited about my first visit.

    Pearl

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    10

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    My husband and I just got back yesterday, we did not have any problem with them running out of the premium brands.
    It is an awesome resort, you are going to love it. Pay a visit to Dayne at Seagrapes, tell him Deb said to make you one of his award winning salads (not on the menu, his own creation, it will make Miss Janet laugh).
    Enjoy!

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the review - I found it really useful as we're getting married at CSA on new years eve

    Glad to hear you had a good time there. I agree that the member of staff hinting at getting tips would have made me uncomfortable. The premium liquor issue probably wouldn't bother me too much because I'm not a big drinker (in fact, I haven't had any alcohol for over a year), so whilst I do intend to drink while we're there, I'll probably be asleep after one cocktail and I won't much care what they put in it! lol. I agree that it seems odd to advertise premium liquor as part of the all-inclusive and then run out of it...

    I'm really looking forward to my two weeks in paradise! We're staying in a BFVS and I can't wait!! (is it wrong to say that I'm more excited about the holiday than the wedding?? lol)

    Thanks again for the review x

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    345

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    Hi Laura,
    Thanks for the awesome review and it's good to hear that you're now members of the Couples Family. We felt the same way about CSA as you did and will be returning for the third time in 65 days to celebrate my 60th birthday! We didn't have the issues of requested tips or lack of top shelf booze. Standard quality liquor is fine with us so it didn't come into play, except they had an issue with the Tia Maria supplier on one trip. We also ate most lunches at Seagrapes and not being a vegetarian or anything close to it surprised myself by falling in love with their veggie burgers. Trying not to fill up on the sweet potato chips and dip before the main course arrives is also a problem. But it is a good problem to have while sipping a hummingbird for sure.
    Enjoy planning your next trip to Paradise, aka CSA!
    Steve

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    113

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    Quote Originally Posted by steveg52 View Post
    Hi Laura,
    Thanks for the awesome review and it's good to hear that you're now members of the Couples Family. We felt the same way about CSA as you did and will be returning for the third time in 65 days to celebrate my 60th birthday! We didn't have the issues of requested tips or lack of top shelf booze. Standard quality liquor is fine with us so it didn't come into play, except they had an issue with the Tia Maria supplier on one trip. We also ate most lunches at Seagrapes and not being a vegetarian or anything close to it surprised myself by falling in love with their veggie burgers. Trying not to fill up on the sweet potato chips and dip before the main course arrives is also a problem. But it is a good problem to have while sipping a hummingbird for sure.
    Enjoy planning your next trip to Paradise, aka CSA!
    Steve
    I LOVED seeing everyone ordering all this vegetarian food (some reluctant at first) and then hearing them comment on how delicious it was. I really appreciate that Couples is contributing to yummy vegetarian food awareness!! OMG I thought I was going to turn into a sweet potato chip this week! The dips are just to die for!!! Enjoy your trip and happy birthday!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,036

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    Great review. We love CSA too! I really enjoyed reading your review because it brought me back to my paradise. Too bad there are money hungry employees that immediately put a bad taste in your mouth. I would have just told him that you were told tips were included. We go back next year!!! Yay for CSA.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    952

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    Nice read. Sorry to hear about the waiter telling you how to pass a tip though. We will be going to CSA in 26 days for the first time, we have gone the last 4 years including this one to Couples Negril in February, and I hope I do not run into this person either, like you I would feel uncomfortable if I were to be waited on again by him after that happened. We very rarely eat at Heliconia but we have always had good food and service there in the evenings. Sounds like you had a great time and are hooked.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    225

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    Glad you enjoyed your stay. I'm pretty sure they'll be contacting you about that employee. They was totally out of line and against their policy. We have been twice (with our 3rd trip MONDAY ) and never had that happen. Glad you all still enjoyed your trip!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    366

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    I do recall bartenders at the beach bars saying they only got one bottle per day of the premium stuff. That makes sense from an opening standpoint but it seems like they should be able to get replacement bottles during the day. Between the 2 beach bars and swim up bar I always managed to find a bottle of Appleton VX though.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    113

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    So envious of anyone going back soon! I remembered a few more random things I wanted to make note of:
    -We brought bug spray and only used it on two or three nights. We only received about 4 collective bug bites. Score! I didn't see a single bug in our room and other than an enormous cockroach in the lobby ladies room (not shocking in the tropics, you should have seen the mouse sized one we accidentally brought home from Mexico in December), we didn't see very many bugs at all. I used the restroom in our friends beach front suite right across from the beach bar and they had the mini ants on their sink that many speak of, but we had none.
    -We bought a $12 flexible mini tripod from ebay. Totally worth ten times what we paid for it, based on the awesome sunset photos we managed to get. We wrapped it around palm trees, poles, whatever was stationary.
    -The roasted nuts at the martini bar are NOT to be missed!! I love the unexpected touches that you find around every corner of this place.
    -Omar is hilarious, and largely responsible for not letting sand gravity completely take over our entire vacation. He had us playing pool vollyball, beach vollyball, and managed to get us to the Aura Lounge on a few nights. He is a gem. He really REALLY wants everyone to be involved and have fun.


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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    398

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    We have been going to Couples for years and never had an issue with an employee asking for money until last year (Oct) when my parents went with us. One of the employees sweeping and cleaning the beach approached my dad about a sick relative that needed help and asked my dad for money. My father felt very uncomfortable and awkward. We didn't say anything to management but I wonde now if we should have. We were back in April and didn't see him there. We will be there next month at the end of October with my parents again and hopefully we don't have anymore awkward situations like that.

  14. #14

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    Great review Killafee. We love CSA too and can't wait to get back at New Year's. PurpleDragonfly, congrat's and maybe we'll run into each other. We'll drink a toast to your happiness. Certainly will be lots of champagin flowing that night.

    Killafee, I'm sorry about the bar tender soliciting a tip and the comments about management. This is really out of characture and unacceptable for a CSA employee. We've been to CSA 12 times and have never experienced this kind of behaviour. Hopefully this person was having a bad day and wont do this again. If he does, it's only a matter of time before he'll be reported to mangement and out of a job.

    Karon

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    366

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    Omar, he is the best. I miss him.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    9

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimpat1 View Post
    Omar, he is the best. I miss him.
    Omar is the best, we had a great time with him in May. FYI.... he is no longer at CSA, he's gone home to Ocho. I'm not sure why, he just said he was taking a break.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    135

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    We also just got back from CSA on our 4th trip and have never been approached about a tip by the staff... However this time I did have an unnammed watersports member ask me to get him 2 beef patties from the grill cause he couldn't (made me quite uncomfortable as well)... I also noticed several patrons slipping tips to staff and was slightly disappointed to see it... While I have no problem tipping when appropriate, part of my CSA devotion is that I put my wallet in the safe day 1 and don't see it until the dreadful departure day!!!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    113

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    Quote Originally Posted by Surfhary20 View Post
    We also just got back from CSA on our 4th trip and have never been approached about a tip by the staff... However this time I did have an unnammed watersports member ask me to get him 2 beef patties from the grill cause he couldn't (made me quite uncomfortable as well)... I also noticed several patrons slipping tips to staff and was slightly disappointed to see it... While I have no problem tipping when appropriate, part of my CSA devotion is that I put my wallet in the safe day 1 and don't see it until the dreadful departure day!!!
    Yes! That's so weird! A few friends that we'd made towards the end of the week kept tipping in the Aura night club also....they had (like many of us) been to AI's in Mexico...Dominican...etc...where it's expected that you tip after every drink or every few drinks, so it makes sense that they would do that...but I was a bit surprised that the bartenders kept taking her money with no objections at all! Oh well. No big deal I guess (shrugging shoulders) but it IS sort of a bummer, since I thought that Couples wasn't like that. We shall see!! It does sort of stink though, because there are so many people I'd LOVE to tip...but I'm trying to .ollow the rules and enjoy the actual "no tipping" policy!
    I'll still be back in 2014. We're going to Bermuda next year, but I'm counting the weeks until I'm back at CSA, no matter what!!

    Much Love!
    Laura & Mike

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