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  1. #1

    Default Once you go, you'll know .... (LONG CSS review)

    ... everyone on the message board says that phrase, I was so excited to see if we really would!

    Couples Sans Souci
    Oct. 20-28, 2013

    Just a little background info on us, I am 45 and my hubby is 51. We are not althetic or in the best of shape. We never had a honeymoon and I saved for years for this trip. We went to CSS to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and my 5 years cancer free anniversary. I spent the year and a half before this trip reading the message boards, trip advisor, searching you tube videos and reaching out to the Couples repeaters. I wanted to make sure that we knew what to expect from the resort and it's staff. I so appreciated everyone's reviews and helpfulness during our planning stage, I sincerely hope this review helps other people.

    Our arrival into MBJ airport was smooth. We had paid for the Club Mobay meet and greet service and we highly recommend it. I know it saved us time but even if it hadn't, it was nice to have someone walk with us through the "steps" of customs and immigration having never been to MBJ before. The Club Mobay lounge is right next to the Couples lounge, so I checked us in and hubby changed into shorts, we grabbed a rum punch from the Mobay lounge and we were off! It couldn't have been more than a 10 minute wait, it almost felt rushed to me! Don't get me wrong, I was excited to be on the way to Sans Souci, but for me there was no chance to catch my breath between getting off the plane and onto the bus. The entire process was probably only 20 minutes long. So fast!

    Once on board the bus/van our driver introduced himself, explained how long the ride would be and that he would be telling us some Jamaican facts and history along the way. His name was Noel, and I have to say I was impressed with his driving, I felt safe the entire time. We were the only couple headed to Sans Souci the other 5 couples were headed to CTI. He did make a stop along the way for restrooms and beverage break, he didn't ask if we wanted to, just told us he was going to! For me it was ok, as by this point I was a little sick and needed to use the restroom. The ride itself is interesting, especially with a driver like ours pointing out historical facts along the way. A side note here is the driver does not work for Couples so it's ok to tip him and the red caps at the airport who load your bags onto the van can also be tipped.

    It was just under 2 hours and we were pulling into Couples Sans Souci. The entrance to the property is beautiful and we were greeted with cold towels, champagne and our first "Welcome Home." The check in process was smooth and Alceia came over to hug and greet us. I had been emailing her before we arrived with questions etc. so I felt like we knew each other already. We made a few dinner reservations and then Alecia showed us to our room, E-10, as the bell men were busy with other couples. I had been hoping for a room in D block, we booked a Penthouse suite, and I knew they were in C, D, and E block but I decided to just "go with the flow" after all we were in Jamaica, how bad could it be right!?!

    Our tropical flowers were in the room when we arrived and the welcome plate of fruit/cheese and sparkling wine arrived while we were at lunch. Our mini bar was stocked and ready to go. The view from our room was gorgeous, we overlooked the mineral pool, the ocean, to our right was the balloon bar and to our left D block. The size of the balcony was perfect with 2 loungers, table and 4 chairs and privacy walls between the units. Alecia encouraged us to go grab a bite to eat from the beach grill, it was about 3 pm and this sounded good to us. She told us our bags would be in our room awaiting us when we got back.

    So we headed down to the grill, the first of many such trips over the next 9 days! I knew before I got there that I would have a fish taco, Andy got his first jerk burger. I had brought my insulated tumbler with me to get some ice water in it and this is how we met Raydean. He is a trainee employee and in our humble opinion Couples needs to hire him permanently! We encountered him many times over the next week. He is so friendly and always willing to help anyway he can. If you run into him be sure to have him make you his creation the "sunshine splash" it doesn't have any alcohlol in it, but it's so refreshing, we loved them!

    Even though I had done one and a half years of research on this resort I still wanted to take the orientation tour so we did that at 5pm. Richard from entertainment was our guide. I would recommend this to everyone, they do it 2x a day, it's a great way to make sure you know about the things the resort has to offer, etc. For example we encountered a lady during our stay who had been at CSS for 4 days already and just found out that she could eat at Palazzina for lunch without reservations. For 4 days all she had eaten for lunch was soup at the Beach Grill because she didn't think she liked anything on the menu when she could have been eating salads and fruit at Palazzina. There is no reason for that! The orientation explains hours of the gift shop, restaurants, the reservations process for watersports and restaurants and walks you through the resort etc. It’s also a great way to meet some of the staff and get a “feel” for the layout of the property.

    Our first day was finished with unpacking, dinner at Palazzina and a cigar on the balcony. I found the mattress to be a touch harder than ours at home, but it in no way prevented me from getting a good nights sleep. A funny side note here is that even though I had read about the tree frogs it still took me awhile to realize that's what I was hearing at night. That first night I kept thinking someone's smoke detector was going off as I laid in bed, but I was so tired it didn't keep me awake. It wasn't until the next night that I realized that noise was the tree frogs!

    Our next 8 days were spent relaxing, enjoying different drinks, sampling almost every food option available, taking the snorkeling cruise, swimming in the ocean, enjoying the mineral pool and soaking in the hidden hot tub. We joined in some of the games, toured Dunns River Falls, went on the shopping trip and did a private champagne/sunset cruise. We bet a ton of “fun” money during Casino night, made it to the wine tasting and also had a private dinner in the wedding gazebo. Crazy BINGO was a blast! We even found time to do our first ever Couples massage. (Please tip the spa staff)

    It was amazing to us that the resort was fully booked and yet we never felt crowded, never had a problem getting service, a drink, a table, a lounger .... anything ... except popcorn, and this is an inside joke for us. I love popcorn and the popcorn machine was broke the entire time we were there but I have a feeling if I had made an issue of it, I would have gotten popcorn because the staffs number one concern is your happiness!

    The resort is so beautiful. The grounds are immaculate, there always seems to be someone sweeping, or raking on the property and yet they are not intrusive. The flowers are gorgeous, the geckos so cute and the spiders are scary as crap, they are HUGE! It was so nice to arrive on property, put away our wallets and not have to think about money again for the rest of the trip. Everything except the spa, gift shop and photos are included, and there is a no tipping policy. So relaxing to walk around without worrying if we have enough cash on us!

    We never had a bad meal, we tried almost everything, but my favorite things were the soups, the snapper sandwich at the beach grill, the dips and sweet potato chips at the smoothie bar, the salmon and mushroom risotto from our private dinner and the lovers pizza from room service. Our favorite drinks were the "Touch of Purple" and the "IDK". I did a Bob Marley shot (a small one) but didn't use the straw, I will do that on our next trip. We ate in all three of the restaurants and enjoyed the meals and service in all of them.

    Everyday we tried to take a new path or at least a different way back to our room or down to the beach. There are so many different ways to get around, if our legs were real tired we would use the road behind the rooms (no stairs just a gentle "uphill") or on a few occasions we called for a ride from the watersports hut back to E block. You constantly encounter hidden coves with chairs, hammocks, table and chairs … you can honestly relax in a new spot everyday!

    I can not say enough about the staff of this resort. They are truly AMAZING! Everyone tries to make sure you are happy, having a good time, that your needs are met and that you are "Irie". After the resort tour we even began to answer the staffs "How are you doing?" with "We are Irie!" I have never in my life encountered a place where every employee seemed to be happy, having a good day, concerned for you, and truly desirous to please. They work so hard and yet are so very gracious. The general manager Pierre Battagila and operations manager Nicholas Lynch were visible on property almost daily.

    I had requested certain items I brought with me to be placed on the table for our anniversary celebration (25th anniversary champagne glasses, and a few decorations) this was taken care of with a "No problem mon" .... at the end of our private dinner they surprised us with a wishing lantern on the beach. Such a sweet gesture and a great memory for us!

    For me the beach was perfect. It's in a cove so no big waves, just gentle motion. The mineral springs flow into parts of the ocean so there are these sections of COLD water near the rocks that are so refreshing. Loungers, floats and towels are available to everyone - everyday. I loved the “feel” of the resort. I love it’s old world charm, it didn’t bother me that it’s not all fancy and marble, I hope CSS stays like she is for a long time to come! It’s a beautiful resort, with beautiful people working at it whose purpose seems to be to help you and your loved one have the most special time ever.

    If you are reading this and want to ask us any questions, feel free to e-mail us. ridgways@mac.com

    I enjoyed my research into CSS before our trip almost as much as I enjoyed the actual trip. So many nice people shared their insight and pictures, we would love to do the same for others. From my research I had made a hand written list of 16 Secrets of CSS ... and we did 14 of them! The other 2 are going on our next trips "to-do" list!

    I never got tired of being referred to as "Mi'lady" and I will miss hearing "No problem mon!".

    We booked this trip thinking it would be a once in a lifetime trip ... but hubby has given me permission to begin saving for another trip. So perhaps we can celebrate our 30 year anniversary there … although 5 years seems a long time to hear "Welcome home!" again.

    So happy we can say … “Now we know!"

  2. #2

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    Great review. So glad you enjoyed your trip.

  3. #3

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    Great review! We just booked for late January at CSS - can't wait!!! I have been researching like crazy too...would love to read your list of secrets : ) Glad you had such a special trip!

  4. #4

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    What an awesome time you had! Thank you for sharing!!

  5. #5

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    I'm so sad that our paths didn't cross! We could have had a small Bob Marley together! I know we were there at the same time. We were there October 19-26. Perhaps we will meet again...don't wait 5 years, mi'lady!

  6. #6

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    I'm so glad your trip was so wonderful. Our's exceeded our expectations. Thanks again for organizing the Meet Up thread on this message board and for creating the Facebook page.
    Kelly & Troy
    CTI 2010
    CSS 2013
    CN 2015

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by mama2789 View Post
    Great review! We just booked for late January at CSS - can't wait!!! I have been researching like crazy too...would love to read your list of secrets : ) Glad you had such a special trip!
    I agree with mama2789... I would love to read your list of 16 secrets. Please share ;-)

  8. #8

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    Just email me for the secrets, and I have a pretyped list I can and out now.

    ridgways@mac.com

    Thanks!
    Brenda
    CSS Oct 2013

  9. #9

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    You are welcome for the fb page and the meet up at thread contributions! And we will strive for sooner than 5 years, but ... it's probably gonna be 5 years! lol At least it's a goal right?!?

  10. #10

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    I really enjoyed reading your experience at CSS. My husband and I cannot decide which Couples resort to chose this yr. We stayed at CSA last winter and truly loved it! We wanted to try a different couples this winter. We narrowed it down to CN and CSS. But after reading your review we might just decide on CSS...lol
    I'd love to find out about your hidden secrets.
    Thank you

  11. #11

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    Can send me the list too? Only gonna be there 3days after 11 days at CN want to make the most of it

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