We have just returned from a glorious 3 weeks, mainly at CSS and CSA, but with 2 days traded to CTI and CN. Apart from a gruesome return journey with Virgin ( 41 hours door to door – see my other post) it was all great.

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I thought some of you might like to hear what we thought was best about each resort, given we saw them all at virtually the same time.

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CSS – our first trip. Persuaded to try it for a week after reading your comments here. Truly top notch service, with a culture of excellence that permeates all the way through – that can only come from the top right? We just loved the quiet friendly atmosphere especially around the mineral pool. Our room – F7, right at the top – was a lovely spacious suite. More hotelly in feel than our regular CSA , but a really winning hotel with glorious gardens. Loved the Balloon Bar, and especially loved the breakfasts at Palazzina which has become our favourite breakfast place in the world. The steps were no big deal at all: I had no intention of ever running up them so a leisurely stroll up, stopping on the way the look or chat was nothing but a pleasure. We will certainly be back.

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CTI – our first visit. Well, the best pool and view in the Couples family IMHO with ludiciusly picturesque vista over the sea and island. We enjoyed our day sitting by the Main Pool on the most comfortable loungers in Couples. CTI turned out to have more of a hotel feel than the other resorts, which are more embedded in their gardens. We ate breakfast in the Patio Restaurant: the service was poor and the food was mediocre, but maybe we hit it on a bad day. We ate lunch in the Pool Grill and it was fine. We weren’t hugely taken with this resort in general, but I guess that’s why we love a choice so we can all suit our own tastes.

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CSA – our 5th visit - this time for 2 weeks- and I think still our favourite. The feel is rustic and very low rise so it seems to sink into its beautiful garden and beach setting. Best gardens, best rooms (atrium), best beach by a county mile, best lunch setting ( Sea Grapes), best evening dining ( Patois Patio), favourite evening bar (Patois Bar), best sporting facilities, best old friends. We had a room issue which was dealt with by the team. Sadly there was a very thoughtless large party of about 8 couples from Michigan who somewhat spoilt the ambiance for everyone in our last week - not just a bit of rowdyness in the pool bar which you expect occasionally, but hours of shouting “fun” in the restaurants and hours of loud music and communal singing from their verandah. I like to hear people enjoying themselves, but not for an hour at 2 am three nights on the trot. For the first time in years we attended the Repeaters Dinner and found it great fun, and with superb food. All in all, so welcoming, so relaxing and so beautiful.

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CN – we have stayed a fortnight here in the past but came only for a traded day this time around. Good all rounder, but not standing out on any feature for us. If the long beach isn’t an essential for you but you want a good big pool, pretty gardens with the rooms amongst them, only a few steps to manage plus good dining this is a very good bet. We hit a post-storm, seaweedy beach day, but staff were working hard to create some space to swim in the sea. We had an excellent lunch at the Cassava Terrace. From a previous visit I remember being very impressed with the Otaheite Restaurant, but we didn’t stay for an evening meal on this day trip. I wonder if maybe CN has the best overall food?
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I am really looking forward now to reading the first Couples Barbados reviews so we can make next year’s decision.