Let me start with a little background. My husband went to CN 4 years ago, and before that trip I did a TON of research. We wanted a relaxing resort, that was not just a generic hotel that could be on any beach in the world. We were not at all disappointed with CN. So when my niece asked us to join them at CSA, I agreed with mixed feelings. I knew I loved the Couples brand, but would CSA live up to our expectations? Well, the answer is YES!, and then some!
We stayed for 8 nights, from March 30 - April 8, in an Atrium Suite. We did not have any view of the sea, but were surrounded by lots of foliage. Every night we were sung to sleep by the tree frogs, and every morning we were greeted by a variety of birds (a Dr. Bird or streamer tail hummingbird visited twice - I was very excited to see it) and lizards, as we sat on our patio enjoying our wonderful Jamaican coffee, fruit, and pastries. Our morning room service was delivered accurately and on time every day. The room was exactly as I expected, with screens and plantation shutters (glass on the atrium side, which adjoins the neighbor) and crisp white linens. Everything was in proper working order, from the lamps and fans to the shower and toilet. Yes, there was some dust on the fan, the lampshades are a little worse for wear, and the grout is discolored, but there was no mold or anything we found disgusting. As others have said, it is a rustic room, you will not find anything glamorous and shiny, but it is very comfortable and the maids did an excellent job daily. As my husband has a back problem, we were probably in the room more than others, and even though at times we disrupted the maid service, we were always taken care of with clean towels, a clean bathroom, and swept and mopped floors. A word of advice, bring a shower pouff, as the bath gel lathers much better than with the washcloth.
We found the Palm restaurant to be only average for breakfast and lunch, preferring Patois Patio for breakfast/lunch (banana stuffed french toast and the pizzas are great), or Seagrapes (sweet potato chips with a variety of dips) or the Cabana Grill (jerk chicken or jerk pork wraps-ask for extra meat) for lunch. One note regarding the Palm, some have stated there was little variety. We found that while the buffets were similar, they did offer a different grilled fish, carved meat, and salads daily. Also, it seemed that there was a 'theme' most days, which switched things up. That being said, it is still a buffet, and the other options offer a great deal more variety, with most menus changing after about 3 days.
The Cabana Grill was good for a change of pace, and I really enjoyed the jerk pork wrap. Of the two times we ate there, once the service was very fast, despite it being very crowded. But the next time it was pretty slow, even though it was not nearly as busy.
We loved Feathers, and ate there twice during our stay. The coconut shrimp were the best I've ever had. The service was perfect on both occasions, with just enough time between courses for some wine and conversation. Note: Yes, the portions are small, however, if you order a full 5 course meal with appetizer, soup, salad, entree and dessert, then it all comes out just right. We left feeling full, but not over stuffed or uncomfortable. Next time though, I WILL have to indulge in an extra serving of the coconut shrimp!
Lemongrass was our biggest disappointment of the week. While the service was great (we showed up early for our 9 pm reservation, asked for and received a table on the rail to watch the show) we were just not impressed overall with the food.
I read reviews which stated the food is under seasoned and bland. My feeling is that the food is seasoned far less than we are used to in many instances in the US. But my husband and I agreed, this was not a bad thing. The food was very good, and the scant seasoning allowed the natural flavors to be expressed. The coconut shrimp I had at Feathers was only very, very lightly breaded, with just enough coconut to enhance the flavor of the shrimp, rather than overpower it.
We never encountered a rude or unresponsive staff member. Yes, there were a few who were not as quick to smile or gush, but a kind word and a smile from us usually was enough to change that. The only people that seemed at all reluctant to help us, were the bartenders at the Palm. They seem to normally get their orders from the wait staff, but as we were sometimes sitting out on the pool deck watching the show (we are smokers) we would go up to order our own drinks. We were always served, but they did seem reluctant to do so.
I also want to address the complaint I saw about the lack of flowers on the property. All I can say is that they must have not walked around at all, or else they were out of season.
We were not able to participate in any watersports (husbands back problem) but the staff there were always offering their services to us and others who passed by.
The beach was beautiful, and the staff was out early each morning raking up debris. My only complaint here is that while there are plenty of chairs, as others have said, you may just have to drag one to where you want it, the floats were not as plentiful. We were usually late comers to the beach, and really felt like we were getting the last two each time.
All in all, it was a great trip, which we would do again.
As much as I hate to say it, I think I have a new love, and will have to relegate CN to the wonderful memories category as, moving forward we will probably return to CSA.
Great review, and I could have written it from our trip. We have been to CN for 4 years in a row, and in 2012 went to CN in February (normal time for us) and to CSA in October. The only 2 things that we thought were really better at CN then Swept away, was the buffet and the Piano Bar, and then not by much. So, with that said, this year we are going to Swept away October 23-29 and CN October 29-November 5th. Then we will head back to CN in February of 2014 and Swept Away in October and that will be our schedule from then on. Hmm, I wonder if we visit the other Couple locations if my wife would agree to 5 trips a year, one to each. I like that idea.
Thank you for taking the time to post such a detailed and well written review. We love the ambiance at Lemongrass, but agree that the menu needs a shakeup. We are spoiled since we have several Thai restaurants at home near our house.