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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    197

    Default CN Review (Dec 2012) -- Another Great Stay!

    Just back from yet another fantastic stay at CN in late December. Overall, it was as great as ever and left us ready to come “home” yet again. For repeaters and newbies, below are some thoughts, focused mostly on what’s new or changed from our last visit about a year ago.

    Christmas Day worship service: First year it was held on site (at Lychee). It was a wonderful non-denominational Christian service with a local pastor and choir of CN employees. A special event for those who want a religious activity without going into town.

    Mini-bar: Super fast service! Never waited more than 10 minutes and usually less than 5. Loved the Red Stripe. Only negative is that dirty glasses were removed and not replaced so guests were asking for glasses at the bars to take back to their rooms. Would be great if housekeeping replaced used glasses.

    Dinner: Loved new (to us) menus at Heliconia, Cassava, and Lychee. The presentation, food and service were uniformly excellent. Special menus for Christmas Eve/Day were nice. Lobster night featured two tails and was very tender and tasty. At Otaheite, we missed the Caesar salad and great soups of the past; the current menus didn’t really appeal to us.

    Speaking of Otaheite . . . disappointed in the service. Our waitress spoke barely a word to any of the diners and almost threw plates onto the tables – possibly just a bad night. We’ve not traditionally been Lychee fans, but in our view, it’s now tops for service and atmosphere.

    Breakfast and lunch: No lines at the omelet station even when the resort was full. The Heliconia lunch “buzzer” service is quite efficient. Jerk chicken includes sauce on the side and option for white or dark meat –delicious as ever. Unless you’re really hungry, ask for a half-portion. Please bring back the hot cheese sauce for the nachos!

    Entertainment: There was more on and around Christmas than in prior years and it was terrific. The “Jamaican traditions” music and dancing was a standout. The steel band was fantastic as ever. Loved all of it -- including Santa's arrival.

    Piano bar: There seems to be a real effort to use this venue, including a lovely Christmas night wine and cheese party. The room could use more cushioned (non-stool) seating to encourage people to stay longer.

    Beach: They’ve added a roped off lap swim lane at the edge of the wading/swimming area. Also, the annoying jet ski guys were almost absent – never came up to anyone during the times we were in the water – the lap lane helps!

    Pool: Kept super clean! There are new chairs outside of the pool bar. The lounge mats were in good shape – quite a few new ones on the beach. Red flag service was speedy even at the end of the day and dirty glasses were removed promptly.

    Towel Service: THANK YOU for listening! There is still an exchange but you don’t have to give your room number or get a receipt upon leaving. The only downside is some people leave towels on loungers at the end of the day, making it unclear whether the chairs are taken. Not CN’s issue but please be considerate and, if you’re done, take your towels. It might help to have a dirty towel bin poolside.

    Speaking of pool loungers: There were a few guests who put stuff on chairs at 6:30 a.m. (no kidding) and then basically disappeared until mid-afternoon. Yes, there are plenty of loungers but it’s not nice to reserve chairs/an umbrella all day when you’re not using them 90% of the time.

    Rooms: Kept very clean and housekeeping service was always finished early. Recent renovations have, in our view, taken away from the Jamaican décor. Not sure if permanent, but yellow bedspreads have been replaced with white . . . well, they look like hospital blankets. They’re comfortable enough (and washable) but not attractive and don’t match the wallhanging over the bed. The new seaweed green bedskirts clash with the drapes and neither goes with the stark blue/white striped chairs or the peach window treatments. Basically, nothing matches and nothing evokes Jamaica. All clean and functional but . . . hope it’s temporary.

    Shops: Suntan lotion is now sold in a beach shop, which is open during beach hours. For those who do carry-on bags, prices are reasonable.

    Spa: Great massage – the therapist made a real effort to personalize the treatment.

    Thanks CN for another great trip. As always, the people make it special and keep us coming back year after year. Can't wait to return.

  2. #2

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    Thanks for posting and update. We return in May and are looking forward to just unwinding again
    CN, Oct 2012, CN May 2013, CN Dec 2013, Booked CN Dec 2014

  3. #3

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    Great review. Thanks for the updated information.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the great review! No cheese sauce for the nachos?? What is there to put on them now?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    757

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    Great review. We were there in November for our 4th trip and had a wonderful time as well. It seems to get better every year and I don't know how that happens when it seems so perfect at the time.

    On the Nacho Cheese...at least when we were there in November, they had moved it to the grill counter. If you took your nachos over there, they would put the cheese on them for you.

    Good to see continued happy comments from repeaters. This place is paradise.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,034

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    Thank you for the review. I was transforming myself back to CN throughout everything you said.

    Mariann

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    496

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    Hi!
    You mention a change to the menu at Otaheite. Is the new menu the one shown on the website or is it something different??? I would hate to think the soups are suffering.

  8. #8

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    Thank you for your review. It should make us home sick to be there. Only 176 more days. Irie Mon!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    866

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    298 days till home again at CN, but, 292 days till home again, CSA.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    197

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    To answer questions above . . .

    For your nachos, there is guacamole (decent, not great), salsa, and sour cream. If there was cheese at the grill, no one I saw seemed to be aware of it. A sign might help or I guess I could have asked . . .

    As for the Otaheite sample menu vs. what's there now . . . some items are the same; some aren't. Shrimp bisque was there; I don't believe the other soups on the sample menu are offered. Appetizers look different to me as well. The salad option is now basically a garden salad with things such as raisins, tomatoes, cranberries and walnutus. The night we ate there, entrees were: tenderloin, duck, lamb, salmon and a vegetarian option. And, I definitely understand that food preference is VERY subjective so the current menus may be very appealing to others.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    702

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    We were there at the same time approx. --- Dec. 18 to Dec. 26 --- for our 6th trip to CN (our 2nd Christmas there) & had a GREAT time & will be returning. Freaked out a little ourselves about the cheese sauce missing with the nachos because we like it on our fries but they have it behind the counter & give it to you in a cup or will put it on your nachos for you .... Do miss the spicy bean dip they used to have, though, so PLEASE bring that back. Thought the food & the service (THANKS Marlon) at Heliconia was THE BEST ever. We actually LOVED the new white bed covers & pillows in our room ..... Looked much cleaner & nicer to us .... Definitely glad they got rid of the big bolster pillows on the bed .... Those always seemed "dirty" to us & we were always looking for a place to put them to get them off the bed. We also LOVED the addition of the swim lane to add some space between the swim area & the jet ski guys. To us, it seemed like there was not as much Christmas type entertainment building up to Christmas like there was last year but for us that was a good thing since last year, we felt like everything was geared toward Christmas music & activities for the entire week before .... Liked it better this way. One thing I really did NOT like this year was the location of the cocktail party on Christmas Eve ..... For all us women in our high heels for the repeater's dinner or whatever, it was impossible to stand up on the grass with heels & it was incredibly crowded so could barely move .... We were all looking to find a flat stone to stand on & a place to sit our drinks .... Plus there was no breeze there by the spa, making it VERY HOT & HUMID .... We were both drenched in sweat & my hair looked like I'd ran through a sprinkler after spending an hour styling it .... It did look beautiful with all the trees wrapped in lights but it's much nicer up by the pool .... We only stayed 15 minutes & then went to the piano bar to wait for the repeater's dinner. Thought the staff was EXTRA GREAT this time ... Not one complaint there. The beach & pool were very clean & well kept, like always. Also, glad they got rid of the beach towel policy & agree that a dirty towel bin by the pool would help with people leaving their towels on loungers when they are done. Can't wait to return ...... The countdown has begun again.
    Julie

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