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  1. #1

    Default Help!!! Need Advice on picking a resort

    Hi!

    Need help! This is going to be my second time in Jamaica,first time I stayed at Secret Wild Orchid. It was beautiful... downfall- the beach! It was rocky! The beach hurt so bad you couldn't use it. Paid 250$ USD to go to Rick Cafe and Margaritaville.... Waste of money.

    So I am 28 and my boyfriend is 33. We are looking for a quiet clean atmosphere. I love the clothing optional beaches I am reading for these resorts. I'm having trouble belieiving that almost anything you want to do is inclusive with the price... Wifi?Boat Trips?Shopping Trips?

    Are the Pools open past dark?

    What is the room menu like after hours?

    Is it mostly older people that frequent?

    I noticed that the beaches are public? Does that means kids walk by?

    Does all the rooms offer tubs?

    Which rooms are the best?

    Out of all four resorts, which is the best and offers the most?

    Which resort offers the most night light? Activities?

    Wrist Bands used?

    Ok! Any feed back,pictures, would be greatly appreciated!

    Rachel-

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    70

    Default

    I've only been to CSA so... I know that the CN and CSA beaches are nice. The only kid we saw go by was a nice shy Jamaican boy who was selling candy bars for his school. The venders stay along the water and don't stop unless you ask them to. We love the Atrium Suites at CSA. There is no TV and no bathtub, but a nice big shower, a huge porch w'a hammock. Check the website cause most rooms do have a tub I believe. You can walk to Margarittaville from CSA. Ages run the whole spectrum. Twenties to sixties. More 30's and 40's than anything else. No wristbands. Hope this helps, Have fun! Oh, no all nude at CSA (though you can go topless) but CN has all nude.

  3. #3

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    Here are some quick differences between the four resorts. We have been going since 2002 and have stayed at all four resorts so I'm happy to share our pics and tips if you'd like - amy.welch@hotmail.com

    CTI (Ocho Rios)- Completely private beach, yet small; Completely separate island (Tower Island) for AN sunbathing. Island open from 9a-5p pending good weather. Access via small boat that runs all day. AN sunbathers cannot be seen from the main beach. Textiled guests cannot access the island. No beach on island, just rocks. 6 restaurants (Bayside, 8 Rivers, Verandah, Patio, Pool Grill, Veggie Bar) including one that sits on the water; the most inclusions (Dunn's River, catamaran cruise). Only 3 buildings with rooms so the resort is very compact and intimate. Everything revolves around a central location. Recently underwent a $30 million renovation - new rooms, new decor, new pools, etc. Swim-up pool bar. Also includes room service from 7:30am - 9:30pm. All rooms have mini bars.

    CSS (Ocho Rios) - the newest to the Couples resort, but not the newest built. It used to be a Grand Lido then Couples bought it. Also has a completely private beach. Completely separate beach for AN sunbathing - Sunset Beach, which opens up to textiled guests at 5pm for the sunset.. Resort is very spread out vertically and built on cliffs. It's split into 3 different levels, lots of steps throughout. Lots of foliage and hidden spots. Does not offer a catamaran cruise. Only 3 restaurants (Palazzina, Casanova, beach grill) but room service 6:00am - 11:00pm. All rooms are suites with mini bars. Rooms are more hotel like as far as the decor.

    CN (Negril)- Sits in Bloody Bay which it shares with 3 other resorts and public beach access. Separate section of main beach used for nude sunbathing, separated by a hedgeline. Individual buildings throughout the resort for the rooms. All on beach level. Somewhat spread out. Huge main pool with swim-up bar. 4 restaurants (Beach grill/Heliconia, Otaheite, Lychee, Cassava Terrace). Rooms decorated in bright colors. 24 hour room service only in select room categories and it must be ordered a day in advance. All rooms have mini bars.
    CSA (Negril)- Sits on 7 mile beach - shallowest water and deepest beach of all 4 because it's the only one not in a small Bay. Separate buildings for rooms that are cabana like, dark wood and white linens. Resort is spread out along the beach but all on beach level. Only resort with rooms right on the beach where you can walk off your first floor patio into sand. Night Club. Some room categories do not have televisions. 6 restaurants (Palm, Patois, Lemon Grass, Feathers, Beach Grill, Sea Grape cafe. No nude sunbathing option. Huge sports and fitness complex across the street.

    Now, to try and answer your questions - most of them can be answered if you check out the information for each resort on their webpage under Accomodations and Restaurants. There are sample menus, 360 degree views from inside the rooms and activity lists

    Pools open past dark: Technically yes, but on some special nights, like the Poolside Gala, they don't want people in them during the entertainment.

    Room menu after hours: Depends on the resort and how late you are talking. All of them have a grill that is open until the wee hours of the night, like 5am. You can see the sample menus on each resort website. Others have room service until 11p or so. Food is always available.

    Older people only: NOPE! At Couples there are no ages and you'll see people of all shapes, sizes and decades. On our first trip we were 24 and now we're 35 - on every trip we have met other guests from their 20s to their 70s and have become great friends with all of them. Age in Jamaica is just a number.

    Public Beaches: Only CSA and CN have public beaches - CTI and CSS are private. However, even in Negril on the public beaches, it's only at the water's edge, not on the actual beach (that's for Couples guests only). You may see one or two kids with their parents from a family resort walking the beach on your entire trip.

    All rooms have tubs: Nope - read through the room descriptions, some have walk-in showers, some have shower/tub combos, some have jacuzzis.

    Which rooms are best: This is a loaded question and it really depends not only on which resort, but also what you consider to be a good room. For instance, at CSA, many people LOVE the Atrium suites, which have no televisions and are in the gardens. While other much prefer the Beachfront Verandah, which has a TV and is right on the beach.

    Best resort and offers the most: Again, a loaded question. You'll find that everyone has their favorite and least favorite. We've been to all four and for what we like, our best resort may be someone else's least favorite. Also check out the Inclusions page for what each of them offer - it's all very similar. All watersports are the same.

    Most Night life/Activities: Same at all four of the resorts. You won't be bored, I promise. From evening entertainment, themed nights and after horus paino bar sing-alongs, there is always something to do.

    Wrist Bands - NO WAY!! And this is just one of the many, many perks of Couples.

    With so many repeaters having been upwards of 10, 20, 30, even 40 times, you know they are doing something right.

    Hope this helped!
    Amy Welch...Woooohoooo!!
    CTI - 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013
    CN - 2003/2004 CSS - 2008
    CSA - 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014

    CB - 2015


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    140

    Default

    I'm having trouble belieiving that almost anything you want to do is inclusive with the price... Wifi?Boat Trips?Shopping Trips?

    It's true - all that stuff is included - no hidden charges!

    Are the Pools open past dark?

    They are open when you want to swim!

    What is the room menu like after hours?

    You can see the in room menu at each resort on the restaurants page. Just click on "view sample menu". There is a fairly wide selection. Negril and CSA have more limited menus and I think that you have to be in certain rooms to have room service - someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Is it mostly older people that frequent?

    No, there are people of all ages, from the early 20's to the 80's!

    I noticed that the beaches are public? Does that means kids walk by?

    It's possible in Negril and CSA for people to walk by, but at CSS and CTI they are private beaches - no one comes by.

    Does all the rooms offer tubs?

    Tubs are in most rooms, not necessarily jacuzzi tubs. There are some rooms that only offer the big walk in showers however.

    Which rooms are the best?

    Depends on the resort. I can only speak for CSS and CTI. I prefer the ocean view suite at CSS or the penthouse suite. At CTI I like the one bedroom suite.

    Out of all four resorts, which is the best and offers the most?

    There is really no "best" it's all in what you're looking for. CSA is great for sports and a long beach, CN has great food and a long beach, CTI has a private beach and the island for au natural sunbathing and was just fully refurbished. CSS is amazing for it's beautiful grounds and hidden places as well as the great views and spa.

    Which resort offers the most night light? Activities?

    Night life and activities are about the same..more sports at CSA probably, but the rest are about even.

    Wrist Bands used?
    NO!!!!!

    You mentioned clothing optional, there is topless at each resort in certain places, then at all the resorts besides CSA there are au natural sunbathing spots - CTI has the island, CSS Has it's own beach and pool and CN has a designated are of the beach. They are not clothing optional however - they are fully nude.

    We're about to head out for our 4th trip (2 to CTI, this will be our 2nd to CSS) in 43 days!!! You won't go wrong no matter which resort you choose!
    Susan & Chris
    CTI 2003, 2004
    CSS 2008, 2013!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    732

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Dippel View Post
    Hi!

    Need help! This is going to be my second time in Jamaica,first time I stayed at Secret Wild Orchid. It was beautiful... downfall- the beach! It was rocky! The beach hurt so bad you couldn't use it. Paid 250$ USD to go to Rick Cafe and Margaritaville.... Waste of money.

    So I am 28 and my boyfriend is 33. We are looking for a quiet clean atmosphere. I love the clothing optional beaches I am reading for these resorts. I'm having trouble belieiving that almost anything you want to do is inclusive with the price... Wifi?Boat Trips?Shopping Trips?

    Are the Pools open past dark?

    What is the room menu like after hours?

    Is it mostly older people that frequent?

    I noticed that the beaches are public? Does that means kids walk by?

    Does all the rooms offer tubs?

    Which rooms are the best?

    Out of all four resorts, which is the best and offers the most?

    Which resort offers the most night light? Activities?

    Wrist Bands used?

    Ok! Any feed back,pictures, would be greatly appreciated!

    Rachel-
    Hi Rachel,

    Yes Pools are open always unless closed for treating or cleaning
    Not every resort offers room service for all 3 meals
    CSA & CN the Negril resorts have traffic from other resorts they are public CSA is located on 7 Mile Beach which has much more foot traffic than CN which is on Bloody Bay a shorter span of 7 mile beach.

    You will see all ages at the resorts, but if you are expecting a late night party crowd, it really does not happen after drinking in the sun all day even the younger people don't make it as late as they think they will.

    No wrist bands

    Not all rooms have tubs, do your research.

    Not all rooms have views of the ocean again do your research. CSS is an exception.

    Each resort has it's own inclusions click under each resort go to the inclusions tabs and look.

    There is no "best" resort or "best" rooms, it is all a matter of personal preference and opinions.

    Go to Tripadvisor and look at travellers photo's for the resorts read the reviews, there will be one that pulls you more than the others that is the resort for you.

    There are no hidden charges at Couples, no safe fee's, no internet fee's, everything really is included. The only thing you would pay extra for are Spa Treatments, if you ordered bottles of wine that were not their house wines, or if you booked a "private dinner" night snorkeling other than that you can Water Ski, go to Duns River Falls (CTI, CSS) take a Catamaran sunset Cruise (all but CSS I believe) Scuba dive if certified (or the resort course and dive is included) golf greens fees are included (caddy/cart fee's apply). You really do get alot for your money at Couples. The rooms are jsut not marble and glitz they are very average, but everything else, top shelf liquor, food, service is top notch.

    Enjoy!
    Marie

    CN 06, 07
    CSS 08, 10
    CN April, 2013 soon come

  6. #6

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    Rachel,
    I can address some of your questions but only as they related to Couple Negril.

    Everything at the resort except spa services and some wines is included in the resort price. WIFI, Snorkeling, Glass Bottom Boat, etc. Items off the resort are not typically included.

    The pools are open 24/7 except for about an hour a day when they are cleaned.

    There is no room service (other than Breakfast) at CN except in the suites. Then it is a limited menu and must be done a day in advance. However, if you stay in a suite, the in room dinning is a must do. It was very well done and very romantic.

    The age of the guests will very. When we were there it was from 20 to 70. Everyone we met was wonderful.

    The first 10 feet or so of the beach is public. There are not a lot of children walking it however. More vendors etc. They are not pushy however.

    I believe all but the handicap accessible rooms at CN have tubs.

    All the rooms are great. CN is really nice. We stayed in a garden suite before and it was wonderful. That being said the garden rooms are very nice as well. You spend most of your time out of the room so just take that into consideration. Also, none of the rooms really face the beach. Look at the CN map and you'l see what I mean.

    CN did not use wrist bands when we were there. The room keys were on a wrist, ankle, etc band and so that was what was used.

    Hope this helps

    Kurt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    90

    Default

    We just got back from CTI and thoroughly enjoyed it!!!! In fact we're already planning on going back this year because it was just that good. The most outstanding thing was the food. My wife hates buffets typically but she could hardly wait to get there at lunch to see what they were serving, and the 3 other restaurants were outstanding, hard to pick a favorite. We chose CTI because the beaches are private, therefore no public, including kids, walking by. The beach is not huge but it never felt crowded. The AN option is out on the island, separate from the rest of the resort. We noticed overall a real huge mix of ages. No one age group seemed more than the rest.

  8. #8

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    Heh, you're going to get *swamped* with replies! And I'm going to help! Please note, all my experience is from Tower Isle. The beach at CTI is a nice, sandy beach, and the sand goes out a good ways into the water, far enough that you can start swimming if you want without hitting rocks.

    As for the A/N area, CTI is also nice for that, as it's out on the Isle, and the Isle is ONLY A/N. So no "gawkers" walking by on the beach (although the Isle doesn't have a beach , but you can still get into the water)

    So, first, yes, EVERYTHING listed on the site is included at no charge. That's not to say that if you go to (for example) Margaritaville / Rick's Cafe you won't need money, but the resort will take you there at no charge. On-resort, EVERYTHING is included (spa excepted.)

    Wifi: Included
    Glass bottom boat / snorkelling / SCUBA (including resort course if needed) / hobie cats / kayaks: Included

    I believe the pools are open at all times, except when the staff are cleaning them (generally from what I saw, very early in the morning)

    Room menu is OK, but I don't think they do room service after dark. CTI has a pool grill that is open almost 24x7.

    When the wife and I went, we saw a range of ages, from grandparents to 20-somethings.

    CTI, which is probably the smallest beach of the resorts, has a completely private beach. So no kids / vendors / other resorts guests walking by.

    CTI, at least in the room category we had (Superior Ocean I believe) did not have tubs.

    All of them! Seriously, I would say that you spend so little time in the room, it doesn't matter much, but our room was neat, clean, and comfy.

    Everyone is going to have their preference here, and I'm biased towards CTI.

    Night life, can't say, we tended to crash hard about 9:30-10pm ourselves.

    NO! No matter what room class you take, you get treated exactly the same. Took the deluxe garden room to save some money? Get treated the same as the guests who took the ocean suite room!

    Here's a link to our photo-album from our trip: https://picasaweb.google.com/json.a....eat=directlink
    And finally, a link to my (and the wife's very brief) review of our trip: http://couples.com/mb/couples-main-m...-review-16632/

    No matter which resort you pick, you won't go wrong!
    Jason
    CTI again in: 95 days!!!!

  9. #9

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    Wow!

    Thank you for responding! Great Pictures Warren! I live on Trip Advisoer, I'm one of those people who will read at least 200 reviews in full before I make a decision. I've never seen a resort offer a message board and that's why I took this opportunity to chat,get to know people and learn from their experiences so that I can make a good decision.

    Whats important to me- Safe soft beach. I need a beach that is NOT rocky that I can throw on my snorkel gear and swim out nice and far and see things on my own. I want to be able to order drinks and snacks while I lay there for hours. Like I mentioned about Secrets, insane price tag with a rocky painful beach....(Had a blast...just couldn't use what I deemed the most important part of a vacation- The Ocean)

    Night Life- Important that there are many shows and theme nights. I'm not a partier/club goer. I enjoy a good bar and a relaxing atmosphere. Best Part of my previous vacation was a Piano Bar.

    Rooms- I need a tub! LOL My apartment here in NJ has the shallowest tub. Since I live right outside of NYC,everything in my apartment is SMALL! So I really look for a big bathroom that I can easily share with my partner, and a tub I can share as well. Nothing like a nice dinner and then a return to a bubble bath.
    I also think that TV is important. Not so much for me, because I normally after a day of sun and walking fall fast asleep by midnight, (Only if I took a nap before dinner can I stay up later). Being able to directly see the ocean is important. If I can't see it, I don't feel its fair to pay for an upgrade. Thats why I was wondering about garden rooms. If you can't see a Ocean... better off with a delux garden room?

    Pools- Great! Last vacation pools were dark and no one was in them after 7pm. It was strange. I was hoping they would have been somewhat lit for the after hour pool goers... So I'm happy that any of the four resorts offers late night swimming.

    Au Natural- I love this option. Here in NJ we have ONE beach, full of Gawkers. I have no issue baring it all, however my partner... not to keen on baring himself. Will this be an issue. I read that it is a MUST to bring your partner onto the Nude Beach. However is it a MUST that they be nude as well?

    I also read that CN has a Nude area that offers a hot tub? Can anyone elaborate on that? Is it topless optional?

    My partner is not interested in a "Desires,Temptation"Style resort. He doesn't mind a few topless women heh heh, but he doesn't want anyone feeling up my thighs in a hot tub. I'm sure swingers attend this resort, but does the resort push or promote these type of activities where the non swinger type of couples feels uncomfortable?

    Week- We are looking to go either week of the 9th or 16th of June.

    Split weeks- Anyone ever split there vacation week between TWO resorts? Was it worth it?

    Activities- I'm a beach/Water Girl So diving,snorkling,and glass bottom boat tours are Great! Also I want to be able to see the isle. I've been to Ricks- LOVE it! One of the guides there, took me snorkeling around the cliff and even inside the Cave... for FREE! I gave him a very generous tip because I couldn't believe he didn't require payment for over an hour of his time. I paid a lot of money for the resort to send me with someone SAFE to drive us to margarita ville and Ricks. I kept asking to go to Bloody Bay but was told its not private and its dangerous.... Forgot the reason why I wanted to go soooo badly.... I think it had something to do with them cooking lobster right on the sand for you. Anyone ever do any type of activity like that? So I didn't really get the outside resort experience I was hoping for. Thats why I am so shocked of all the inclusions with these resorts!

    Sorry for yet another Long post, I just figured I needed to add background to give you guys an idea on what my preferences are...

    I really do appreciate all the great feed back!

    Rachel-

  10. #10

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    Au Natural- I love this option. Here in NJ we have ONE beach, full of Gawkers. I have no issue baring it all, however my partner... not to keen on baring himself. Will this be an issue. I read that it is a MUST to bring your partner onto the Nude Beach. However is it a MUST that they be nude as well?
    Yes, the rule is if you and your partner go to the A/N area, you both must be nude. Truthfully, I think if someone went to the A/N section and stayed in a suit, they'd end up being more uncomfortable...


    My partner is not interested in a "Desires,Temptation"Style resort. He doesn't mind a few topless women heh heh, but he doesn't want anyone feeling up my thighs in a hot tub. I'm sure swingers attend this resort, but does the resort push or promote these type of activities where the non swinger type of couples feels uncomfortable?
    NO, no, no, no! Couples does not encourage, condone, push, or promote any type of swinging activity! Well, OK, if you find one of the chair swings open, you can "swing" there, but not the type of swinging you mentioned ... The type of people we met while out on the Isle at CTI were quite respectful, no gawking / staring / etc. I would say, the best comparison would be an AANR (American Association for Nude Recreation) type resort in the A/N areas.

    Jason
    CTI again in 91 days!!!!

    PS, thank you for the compliment on the pics!

  11. #11

    Default

    Whats important to me- Safe soft beach. I need a beach that is NOT rocky that I can throw on my snorkel gear and swim out nice and far and see things on my own. I want to be able to order drinks and snacks while I lay there for hours. Like I mentioned about Secrets, insane price tag with a rocky painful beach....(Had a blast...just couldn't use what I deemed the most important part of a vacation- The Ocean) None of the Couples beaches are rocky and all are safe.

    Night Life- Important that there are many shows and theme nights. I'm not a partier/club goer. I enjoy a good bar and a relaxing atmosphere. Best Part of my previous vacation was a Piano Bar. All four properties have a Piano Bar - they don't close until the last person leaves.

    Rooms- I need a tub! LOL My apartment here in NJ has the shallowest tub. Since I live right outside of NYC,everything in my apartment is SMALL! So I really look for a big bathroom that I can easily share with my partner, and a tub I can share as well. Nothing like a nice dinner and then a return to a bubble bath.
    I also think that TV is important. Not so much for me, because I normally after a day of sun and walking fall fast asleep by midnight, (Only if I took a nap before dinner can I stay up later). Being able to directly see the ocean is important. If I can't see it, I don't feel its fair to pay for an upgrade. Thats why I was wondering about garden rooms. If you can't see a Ocean... better off with a delux garden room? If you want to see the Ocean, book a room with an ocean view. This will be a different Room Category depending on the resort. If the ocean doesn't matter, then go with a garden type room - again, depends on the resort.

    Au Natural- I love this option. Here in NJ we have ONE beach, full of Gawkers. I have no issue baring it all, however my partner... not to keen on baring himself. Will this be an issue. I read that it is a MUST to bring your partner onto the Nude Beach. However is it a MUST that they be nude as well? Yes, ALL persons on the nude beach or island MUST be nude or they and their partner will be asked to leave. But you and he might be surprised. Get there when it first opens, before it gets crowded so he can ease into it.

    I also read that CN has a Nude area that offers a hot tub? Can anyone elaborate on that? Is it topless optional? No, the nude beaches (to include their pools, hot tubs, etc) are ALL NUDE, no exceptions. Topless is allowed only on the CSA, CN and CSS main beach and CTI pier but not allowed in or around any of the pools or hot tubs.

    My partner is not interested in a "Desires,Temptation"Style resort. He doesn't mind a few topless women heh heh, but he doesn't want anyone feeling up my thighs in a hot tub. I'm sure swingers attend this resort, but does the resort push or promote these type of activities where the non swinger type of couples feels uncomfortable? Nope, not at all. Couples is about romance and enjoying time with other people who value being in a relationship. It's not Hedo and it's not Spring Break.

    Split weeks- Anyone ever split there vacation week between TWO resorts? Was it worth it? Yep, LOVE IT! Best of both worls. Especially if you split within the same town, you won't lose any travel time. This year we are splitting CTI and CSA so we will either fly or drive from Ocho to Negril. We are only doing this split since we are staying 11 days.

    Activities- I'm a beach/Water Girl So diving,snorkling,and glass bottom boat tours are Great! Also I want to be able to see the isle. I've been to Ricks- LOVE it! One of the guides there, took me snorkeling around the cliff and even inside the Cave... for FREE! I gave him a very generous tip because I couldn't believe he didn't require payment for over an hour of his time. I paid a lot of money for the resort to send me with someone SAFE to drive us to margarita ville and Ricks. I kept asking to go to Bloody Bay but was told its not private and its dangerous.... Forgot the reason why I wanted to go soooo badly.... I think it had something to do with them cooking lobster right on the sand for you. Anyone ever do any type of activity like that? So I didn't really get the outside resort experience I was hoping for. Thats why I am so shocked of all the inclusions with these resorts! Believe it! The resort will provide transportation to any inclusion they have provided. Also, in Negril at either CN or CSA, you can get fresh lobster on the beach from vendors, when it's in season.
    Amy Welch...Woooohoooo!!
    CTI - 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013
    CN - 2003/2004 CSS - 2008
    CSA - 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014

    CB - 2015


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