My husband and I just got back from 9 glorious days at CTI. We had previously been to CSA but decided to try the other side of the island. It wasn't without it's hiccups, but it was a truly amazing vacation!
Getting to the resort went smoothly. We had a full bus on the way there, but no worries. I slept most of the way. Check-in was seamless, except we had to wait for our room. No problem though, we were escorted to the beach grill for some lunch while we waited. All of the bellhops knew our name within 4 seconds of setting foot on the property. They came and found us when our room was ready. The wait was well worth it. We had booked a premier oceanfront suite, and I think we got the best one on the property...2106. The room was huge because it was on a corner. We had a sitting area, the king size bed was dwarfed by the size of the room, and we had a little built-in "chaise" lounger on the balcony. The room was right above the beach grill, overlooking the main pool. There were only 2 downsides, but they weren't a huge deal. #1, you could smell the grease from the beach grill at night if you were sitting on the patio. You couldn't smell it in the room though if you kept the door shut. #2, you could hear everything going on at the Patio restaurant and sometimes the entertainment went a little late for our taste. Again, these weren't huge issues, just something to be aware of.
The resort is beautiful. We spent quite a bit of time just walking around and exploring. I highly recommend going on the nature walk. The guys are so knowledgeable about all of the foliage, and you get to see some parts of the resort that you normally wouldn't, like the parrots, and the greenhouse where they grow all of the beautiful orchids they use around the resort.
On our first full day there we did the Dunn's River Falls excursion. This is a MUST DO! I was scared when we got there and I saw it, but it was so much fun. I had such a sense of accomplishment when I reached the top. It's a great time, and the scenery is beautiful. Fair warning, the water is a bit cold, but you get used to it pretty quickly.
Another must do, is the island. Again, this something I was freaked out about, but once we got over there, I forgot what I was freaked out about. There is something so exhilarating, yet comforting about feeling the sunshine and ocean breezes on your backside. I realize it's not for everyone, but try it early in your trip. If you don't like it, you can go back. If you find you do like it you have the rest of your trip to enjoy it.
This is the first time I utilized the spa on vacation, and the ladies there are amazing. We did a couples massage, and I did a hot stone massage and the peppermint twist. I also did a steam bath. The entire setting was so relaxing, and the staff is exceptional at what they do.
The food and drinks were amazing! But I expected nothing less. I gained 11 pounds while we were there We ate at all of the restaurants except Patio for lunch. 8 Rivers was our favorite. We ended up eating there 3 times (once for the Repeater's Dinner). Bayside is not to be missed. The food is fantastic and the view is even better. I would have to say my only complaint about the food is that there is really only one option for breakfast, Patio. It's a buffet every morning and for the most part they have the same thing every day. I looked at the room service menu and it looked like they offered the same things that were on the buffet. By day 9 it got a little old. I usually had a light breakfast so I could enjoy some sweet potato chips and dip at the veggie bar, and a nice lunch of numerous fried things from the beach grill. Try the calamari and the jerk burgers. We also treated ourselves to the private island dinner. We were the only ones out there and it was a very nice, relaxing dinner. They grilled our steaks and lobsters right there on the island. The food was great, and our server, Romando was superb!
Something completely out of Couple's control is the fact that both my husband and myself got sick while we were there...typical cold and flu symptoms. Mine wasn't too bad (had to take a box of tissues with me to the private dinner), but my husband was down and out for 2 full days. The cool thing was that even though I was basically on my own for 2 days, the staff and guests made me feel welcome and helped keep me occupied.
The New Year's Eve party was amazing! The staff really out-did themselves to put on such a fabulous event. The buffet they set up was unreal, and I never had to wait to get a drink refill. It started pouring shortly after dinner (the seating and stage were set up around the main pool), but within 10 minutes they had everything moved inside and the party continued. The steal drum band, The Silverbirds, were my favorite part of the evening. They were incredible!
When we went to CSA 2 years ago, the entire experience made us want to go back...everything from the resort, to the room, to the food, to the staff, to the activities, to the beach. This time, it was definitely the staff that left an impression on me. When we were sitting down for dinner on Monday night I started crying saying that I didn't want to leave because I didn't want to leave my family. I really feel like the staff there became my surrogate family over Christmas and New Years, and I truly do miss them. Everyone from Loyta at check-in, to Byron in the lobby, to my favorite bartenders Reinel and Oshane, to our server Jermain, to the entertainment staff who kept me occupied while my husband was in bed, made this trip unforgettable.
One other note to mention, if you are on the fence about getting passes for the Club Mobay Departure lounge, DO IT! It was worth every penny we spent. When we got to the airport the line for security stretched all the way down to the end of the check-in counters. It would have easily taken us an hour or so to get through. The club passes allowed us to by-pass all of that and we were through security in about 10 minutes. The lounge itself is really nice too. It's much better than sitting in the terminal. The chairs were comfy and there is complimentary food and beverages, including alcohol. The complimentary wi-fi was really fast, and there were a couple of TV's. You can come and go as you please, and they announce boardings for outgoing flights. There are also monitors with the flight information. I definitely see us using that service on all future trips to Jamaica.
We just signed up as we were checking out at the resort. I've noticed that for new bookings, if you book on the Couples website you can book it when you make your room reservation. I think you can also book it directly with the loung, just google Club Mobay departure loung and you can find the info.