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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    10

    Default CSS - Has there been a recent change in management?

    We are not ones to get hung-up on the odd negative review on TA as some people just don't have the experience that they were expecting. That being said, there seems to have been a few more not-so-glowing reviews of CSS over the past few months...what concerns us is that some of the reviews are from loyal CSS repeaters. CSS appears to be getting less positive reviews than the other Couples Resorts. Just wondering if there has been a change in management that may have led to a change in the atmosphere or condition of the resort?

    The reviews have left us wondering whether we have made the right choice to try CSS or if we should return to CN again. Last year we liked CN so much we encouraged two other couples to come to CSS with us this spring (2013). We booked several months ago now and at that time the positive TA reviews and forum comments, as well as the comments on this message board, helped us decide to give CSS a try instead of going back to CN. This will be their first Couples experience and we are hoping it will be as great as our first one was.

    None of us are looking for 5* opulance...just a beautiful lush & tropical resort with great service & food, good booze that is plentiful and clean well maintained rooms. A "drop and flop" with the option of partaking in activities should we choose.

    Not trying to be "Worrywarts" but our 45 day cancellation deadline is quickly approaching. Comments from any CSS first timers or repeaters who have been to CSS recently (past few months) would be welcomed, just as they were when we were researching the trip.

    Sorry for the long post, but my cup runneth over!
    Last edited by Redsolocup; December 27th, 2012 at 07:40 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    356

    Default

    After several trips to Negril, we've decided to try CSS and have booked a trip in March. It was a hard decision, but we believed that the risk was minimal since we're staying at a Couples property. I'm also concerned about a few of the most recent reviews and hope that we haven't made a mistake.....
    Would love to hear from some recent visitors to CSS! We haven't yet hit the 45 day mark and can change the reservation.
    Thanks!
    Jan and Mark
    CN 2009
    CSA 2011
    CSA 2013
    CSS 2014

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    162

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Redsolocup View Post
    We are not ones to get hung-up on the odd negative review on TA as some people just don't have the experience that they were expecting. That being said, there seems to have been a few more not-so-glowing reviews of CSS over the past few months...what concerns us is that some of the reviews are from loyal CSS repeaters. CSS appears to be getting less positive reviews than the other Couples Resorts. Just wondering if there has been a change in management that may have led to a change in the atmosphere or condition of the resort?

    The reviews have left us wondering whether we have made the right choice to try CSS or if we should return to CN again.
    Hey there. We were at CSS Dec. 07-14 for our second time this year. We are multiple CN repeaters as well. Perhaps we are spoiled by what CN delivers, because our experience at CSS was just not up to what CN gives.

    The real disappointment is the food. Most of your meals will be some sort of buffet and our experience witht he buffets has not been good there. Cassanova is exceptional and has no buffet at all. Your breakfast and part of lunch will likely be buffet as well as two dinners which are buffets as well as the repeater's dinner if you go to that.

    We met some multiple repeaters while at CSS and they indicated disappointment in how things were going. /shrug

    It seemed things got worse rather than better between our April and December trips. CN was great in April and seemed a real step up after our first week at CSS.



    The next time we book it will be CN and CSA.

    I know I'll take heat over this, but is my opinion about our experience.

  4. #4

    Default

    Hi,
    I have seen the negative reports too, and have seen most of the issues reported dispelled by other CSS guests or by Randymon. For example, there is no $3 charge for the Red Stripe in your minibar, as was stated by the TA poster.

    Pierre Battaglia is still the General Manager, and I believe he just won 2 very prestigious hotel industry awards--so my expectations are still high for our upcoming trip #6 to CSS! We leave tomorrow. I will definitely post if I find trouble in paradise!:-)

    One Love!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by suzyQ View Post
    Hi,
    I have seen the negative reports too, and have seen most of the issues reported dispelled by other CSS guests or by Randymon. For example, there is no $3 charge for the Red Stripe in your minibar, as was stated by the TA poster.

    Pierre Battaglia is still the General Manager, and I believe he just won 2 very prestigious hotel industry awards--so my expectations are still high for our upcoming trip #6 to CSS! We leave tomorrow. I will definitely post if I find trouble in paradise!:-)

    One Love!
    Looking forward to your review, as I believe I've seen in previous posts that you're a repeater... we're first timers heading to CSS in February and are hoping these reviews are circumstantial as well. HAVE AN AMAZING TRIP!

  6. #6

    Default

    Hi Redsolocup,
    This has been worrying us also. We haven't been there recently but are planning to go in May (for our 3rd visit). I always try to read between the lines on TA and it seems to me the reviews have only gotten bad post Sandy. We live on the Florida gulf coast and know how devastating a hurricane can be, especially on morale. The sheer beauty of this resort and the attitudes of the staff are what make CSS so special. The staff are probably struggling right now. Not only do they have to clean up the resort, they may have damage to their own homes. But the Jamaicans recover quickly! I'm sure by the time you get there, everyone will be smiling and things will be running smoothly once again!

  7. #7

    Default

    cakes, you have a good point about how devastating Sandy was to so many Jamaicans with damages to their homes, schools and injuries to families and friends! Jamaicans are known for their resilience as well as their ability to come back smiling.
    We've been blessed with the ability to travel to Couples for a vacation - it's time to show some compasssion and caring for those who've lived through Sandy and are still experiencing hardships while trying to make a living working at the resorts.
    I've been concerned as well about the bad reviews, but have decided to make go with an open mind and enjoy our vacation and our special time together. I know some people are dragging their complaints on and on and on....and perhaps it's time to let it go.
    Everyone goes with different expectations and understandably sometimes the expectations aren't met. It's okay to complain about issues, but state them and move on.
    Anyways, we'll be arriving on January 14th and we're extremely excited to experience all that Sans Souci has to offer!
    I'll post a trip report when we return.

  8. #8

    Default

    We were there in September for the second time and loved it. Not sure why there were any bad reviews.

    Take a look at my blog post: Tiny Tim's Cigar World!: Search results for couples sans souci 2012

    If you're not interested in cigars scroll past them to get to the resort stuff!
    Cigar Dude
    Smoke 'em if you got 'em!

    My cigar blog: http://tinytimblog.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    82

    Default

    Here's my take (and I probably should have gone to TA first to see what is being said but I just want to give my opinion). We were at CSS during Hurricane Sandy. It was our third trip to CSS and we booked our fourth trip there three days after getting home. Pierre was on-site during all days of the storm in rubber boots and a rain coat. He did daily weather updates and, with his staff, made us as comfortable as possible. There had been some changes in the year between visits, most notably, the lack of in room dining and snack choices. Also, room service no longer fills the mini bar from a card with your choices on it. We had to call room service and I'm pretty sure we got our selections in a more timely manner than before.
    "...just a beautiful lush & tropical resort with great service & food, good booze that is plentiful and clean well maintained rooms. A "drop and flop" with the option of partaking in activities should we choose..." I'd say CSS offers all of this! My only concern in "recommending" CSS is that each Couples Resort has its own unique flair and from what I have read, CN and CSS are two very different resorts. People who have been to the Negril resorts often complain of the "steep hills and small beach"...we think of these as the "lush, hilly terrain to work off all of the food and drinks and private beach". We love CSS and can't wait to go back!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    75

    Default

    Was there Nov. 29 - Dec. 6 and everything was fine. Staff was great and tropical paradise is still there. We could not tell that a hurricane have even been through there. No worries mon.... Have a great time. We actually have friends that are there for the first this week and are having a great time.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Thanks for your reply and update SuzieQ. Appreciated!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    10

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    Thanks SuzyQ, your report would be very helpful! Six times to CSS...WOW! If anyone would notice a change it would probably be you.

    Cakes: That is about when I started noticing some changes in the reviews. Understandably a huricane and the resulting damage can cause stress personally and professionally for the staff. If that is the case, hopefully the owners/management will recognize there needs to be some support or and infusion of money to enhance the atmosphere, not only for the guests but for the employees as well.

    We are still pumped about our Couples vacation, whether we end up going to CSS or decide to change to CN.

    Any other recent CSS visitors that can share their experience while we wait for SuzyQ to get back?

    Thanks in advance,

    R.S. Cup

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    681

    Default

    suzyQ,
    To be fair to that poster you mentioned (who was roundly attacked and called a liar by some) it seems that CSS was indeed charging extra for Red Stripe when that person was at CSS. Randymon has confirmed this, but also clarified that they are no longer charging for the Red Stripe at any of the Couples resorts. I'm not sure that everyone who attacked that person for saying that has gotten around to apologizing yet, but to their credit, some have.
    Back to the issue... I would not hestitate for a single second to stay at any of the Couples Resorts, including CSS. It is a beautiful and romantic property. Nothing is perfect, but Couples chases it better than any resort company I have every known. There will never be 'no room for improvement', but at Couples price point they are the best by far IMO. I say, 'Fear not!'

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    2,403

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    We haven't been to css recently but had an outstanding trip in 09. We have received great service at all the resorts we have visited(csa,#5 booked, css once and cn on a trading places day. I was blown away by the service we received at css especially. I wrote a letter to the gm Pierre and got a personal letter back. I was flabbergasted to say the least! My "letter" was on my comment card so they really do read those things. We got a nice fruit and cheese plate one night and I just couldn't get over the personal service from everyone. Is couples perfect? No, but I don't think you have anything to worry about.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default

    My husband and I (in our 50's) returned last night from our 8 day honeymoon at CSS. We chose this resort because of our incredible experience in March 2011. There were some differences in our stay this time. The transportation to and from the airport was much different. We were crammed into a small van with little or no leg room. Unlike our fun chatty "tour guide" in 2011, the driver said nothing to us the entire trip. On the way to CSS he pulled over on the shoulder and said something to a man walking on the side of the road and the man ran and hid in the bushes. (Kind of creepy). Our driver stopped again, with no explanation to us to talk to yet another man on the side of the road. It became clear our driver was lost! OK, no big deal, there were many detours due to road construction. The welcome to the resort was nice as we remembered it. Our room request for Beachfront was granted. The weather was wonderful. 99% of the staff were just incredible! We had one mix up in communication about our private dinner. We were compensated fairly. The couples massage at the spa was absolutely incredible. Get the seaweed peppermint wrap! Worth every penny! I think I lost 10lbs of water weight! The beach party food was delicious, MUCH better than 2011. The Gala was beautiful! Repeat dinner was very nice. However, I found out you can order anything, anytime including Lobster for room service. The Pasta made to order at the Pallazina was awesome! I also found the hidden Jacuzzi by the Mineral Pool! A beautiful resort with wonderful service. Pierre was there every day, including Christmas. We love to be by the main pool and were a bit annoyed by the noise of the power sander on the main stage, especially on Christmas day. However, we just moved to yet another of the many beautiful places on this resort to get away from the noise.(Believe me, there are sooo many beautiful places to be alone at CSS)! They were getting ready for the New Years celebration. We will return to CSS when we can.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    497

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    I've been following the bad reviews lately too. The only thing that really concerns me is the introduction of more buffet dinners. For us, buffet nights are the worst meals of the week and we really only tolerate them. The only exception has been the International buffet at CSA which is spectacular. We found the gala at CSS 2 years ago a disaster with cold food, long lines and no plates. If they are now doing a buffet for the repeaters dinner we wont participate. i am sure there is a good reason for the change but no thanks. We are headed to CN in 3 weeks and I am glad we made that choice this year in light of the recent reviews.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    694

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marnies View Post
    I've been following the bad reviews lately too. The only thing that really concerns me is the introduction of more buffet dinners. For us, buffet nights are the worst meals of the week and we really only tolerate them. The only exception has been the International buffet at CSA which is spectacular. We found the gala at CSS 2 years ago a disaster with cold food, long lines and no plates. If they are now doing a buffet for the repeaters dinner we wont participate. i am sure there is a good reason for the change but no thanks. We are headed to CN in 3 weeks and I am glad we made that choice this year in light of the recent reviews.
    We were there 1-8 Dec for our 7th trip and it was just as awesome as it always has been. The only buffet they've added is the repeater dinner and that's only because they are holding it outside by the main pool and have a wonderful BBQ dinner, lobster, filet mignon and the fixings, all wonderful food. The atmosphere is so much nicer outside and very romantic, with a fellow singing and playing guitar for entertainment. There weren't any lines as one table at a time went up for their food. We've always enjoyed the gala and never had problems with cold food or no plates. Staff, services, food, all was just as good as all our other trips.
    (Karen&Paul)

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    198

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    My wife and I just got back from CSS (15-26 Dec). We are very enthusiastic about going back next year. Grounds and beach are in great shape, food was excellent, rooms clean, booze plentiful, and staff extremely welcoming and friendly without being overbearing. The negative comments we read on TA proved completely unfounded. Do you have any specific concerns I may be able to help with?

    S/F
    Scott and june

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    12

    Default

    We just returned from CSS 2 weeks ago- I did post a review, and yes I had some negatives that I pointed out- however, the postives outweigh the negatives. The staff were amazing when we were there!! We did not see any signs of Sandy- everything was operating very smoothly. (Well, other than staff were cutting down a big tree and it landed on 2 cars...oops) They were at that time charging for redstripe in the minibars (according to the order sheet in our room)- but I think they were "trying" it and got shot down so that is no longer an issue. This was our 5th trip to Couples- 1st to CSS- we love CN and aren't fans of CTI. We favor CN or CSS- we go to Jamiaca every year and CSS will be in our rotation....I will also say at the beach bar- we never had issues getting premium alcohol...the pool bar never seemed to have any, but they are a very short distance apart- so if it matters to you...walk and get it...

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    29

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    We were there Nov. 16-24th as first timers to any Couples Resorts. We FELL IN LOVE with CSS and Couples. So much so we booked a return trip for next November within two weeks of being home. It was exactly what we were looking for. Food, drink, service, room location and cleanliness, all hit 5 stars out of 5. We were looking for a great place with good food and drink for a week of drop and flop - today's decision: beach or pool. Maybe things were better before, but we sure didn't feel like we were missing anything! If we had one complaint, it would be minor, that the rooms need a freshening. The couch was stained and looked rough, the dresser was also quite worn, but it didn't affect the end all be all of our trip. It was phenomenal!

  21. #21

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    We were also there during Sandy and I think a lot of those giving negative reviews neglect to understand that the staff has lives off of the resort and sustained quite a bit or personal property damage. How would you perform at your job had your home been severely damaged and you had to go to work and accommodate people without a care in the world there to enjoy a vacation? Give these people a break and enjoy what you're there to enjoy (your spouse and some down time I would hope). Be thankful that you can go places like this. If you don't like it, don't come back plain and simple. Leaves more of CSS for my spouse and I to enjoy when we go back!!

    Sincerely,

    A Proud CSS Visitor

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Thanks for all the responses. It looks like we will be keeping our CSS reservations for this year. When we booked our CN trip last year CSS was calling out to us as well and we want to experience it before deciding which resort we will return to in the future when travelling to Jamaica.

    We have been to several of the R resorts in the past and, while they were nice, we enjoyed the atmosphere and service that Couples offers. Many of the big resorts have put large amounts of money into opulance and grandiose architecture but lack in service and quality of food when trying to serve a thousand or two guests.

    We are sure we will enjoy CSS because of the standard of service and overall romantic atmosphere that Couples offers.

    That being said, instead of Couples trying to expand by trying to buy resorts like Breezes in Negril, spending a small portion of that money to update CSS would help maintain their high level of standards and attract new repeat customers. It sounds like some small investments in paint, fixtures, new bed linnens, towels and some worn furniture would help the appearance and guests' impressions for what sounds like a lovely resort with breathtaking views/grounds. For the past few years there has been several comments on this message board and TA stating that the resort, especially the rooms, need a refreshing/updating.

    Acting on constructive criticism is a great way for a business to enhance their product and increase customer satisfaction which usually translates into increased brand loyalty. Ignoring constructive criticism over a period of time stagnates or diminishes one's previous hard work and reputation.

    Writing this response caused us to have a discussion on brand loyalty and it highlighted for us the importance of it. We were very much R Resort brand loyal until we experienced Couples Negril. One negative experience can cause a loyal customer to search for a new brand or product, or even if they weren't dissatisfied with their previous brand (as was us in our case) but experience a superior product then Brand loyalty can change instantly.

    For us, we really liked our first experience at CN and we anticipate continuing to enjoy what Couples offers...we hope that our loyalty will continue to grow with our visit to CSS.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default No Managment changes at CSS

    Quote Originally Posted by Redsolocup View Post
    We are not ones to get hung-up on the odd negative review on TA as some people just don't have the experience that they were expecting. That being said, there seems to have been a few more not-so-glowing reviews of CSS over the past few months...what concerns us is that some of the reviews are from loyal CSS repeaters. CSS appears to be getting less positive reviews than the other Couples Resorts. Just wondering if there has been a change in management that may have led to a change in the atmosphere or condition of the resort?

    The reviews have left us wondering whether we have made the right choice to try CSS or if we should return to CN again. Last year we liked CN so much we encouraged two other couples to come to CSS with us this spring (2013). We booked several months ago now and at that time the positive TA reviews and forum comments, as well as the comments on this message board, helped us decide to give CSS a try instead of going back to CN. This will be their first Couples experience and we are hoping it will be as great as our first one was.

    None of us are looking for 5* opulance...just a beautiful lush & tropical resort with great service & food, good booze that is plentiful and clean well maintained rooms. A "drop and flop" with the option of partaking in activities should we choose.

    Not trying to be "Worrywarts" but our 45 day cancellation deadline is quickly approaching. Comments from any CSS first timers or repeaters who have been to CSS recently (past few months) would be welcomed, just as they were when we were researching the trip.

    Sorry for the long post, but my cup runneth over!

    Thank you for posting your review on our Message Board. We would like to assure you that there has been no change in our management. It is our goal to provide total guests satisfaction for which Couples Sans Souci is renowned. Travel leisure magazine recently release is rating for the region ( 2012) and again CSS was rated the highest of all the couples resorts.
    We did have several challenges after Hurricane Sandy which affected the hotel that could have had some negative impact with our repeat guests.
    One of the areas that was most affected was the Au Naturel facility. Several weeks of clean-up had to be put in place to restore the area to its natural beauty. Also we lost the use of our Penthouses for over a period of 8 weeks so as to repair damages that had occurred.
    A few changes were also made with regards to our Mini bar procedures – not variety or quality – (all resorts had the same adjustments) which made some of our Repeaters concerned about our changes from that time. We have already reversed some of those procedures to accommodate all our valued guests.
    We wish to thank you sincerely for your concerns but also want to reassure you of our full commitment to the product of our resort and looking forward to your future visit.
    Pierre Battaglia
    General Manager Couples Sans Souci

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre.B View Post
    Thank you for posting your review on our Message Board. We would like to assure you that there has been no change in our management. It is our goal to provide total guests satisfaction for which Couples Sans Souci is renowned.

    We wish to thank you sincerely for your concerns but also want to reassure you of our full commitment to the product of our resort and looking forward to your future visit.
    Your response to this thread is greatly appreciated Pierre! As first time CSS visitors this coming February, we were concerned that maybe we should have picked CTI, but your acknowledgement of the issues at hand assures us that our CSS trip will be nothing short of spectacular!

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    694

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre.B View Post
    Thank you for posting your review on our Message Board. We would like to assure you that there has been no change in our management. It is our goal to provide total guests satisfaction for which Couples Sans Souci is renowned. Travel leisure magazine recently release is rating for the region ( 2012) and again CSS was rated the highest of all the couples resorts.
    We did have several challenges after Hurricane Sandy which affected the hotel that could have had some negative impact with our repeat guests.
    One of the areas that was most affected was the Au Naturel facility. Several weeks of clean-up had to be put in place to restore the area to its natural beauty. Also we lost the use of our Penthouses for over a period of 8 weeks so as to repair damages that had occurred.
    A few changes were also made with regards to our Mini bar procedures – not variety or quality – (all resorts had the same adjustments) which made some of our Repeaters concerned about our changes from that time. We have already reversed some of those procedures to accommodate all our valued guests.
    We wish to thank you sincerely for your concerns but also want to reassure you of our full commitment to the product of our resort and looking forward to your future visit.
    Pierre Battaglia
    General Manager Couples Sans Souci
    Mr B., in all our years of travel we have never encountered a GM who is as visible around a resort as you are. The staff are a huge reason why we love this resort so much, the respect they have for you comes across in the way they treat each and every guest. We are made to feel very special there and miss it every day. Can't wait to return in April!
    (Karen&Paul)

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