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  1. #1

    Default CN Review (5/14/13-5/21/13) and CSA comparison

    Overall we had a fabulous time! At check-in I had only two requests. We did not want to be in building one and we did not want to be on the first floor. It turns out they had assigned us to building one, so they reassigned us to the third floor of building two. I would say that if we go there in the future I will request building three or building four. We were a little too close to the early morning aerobics in building 2.

    The beach was absolutely fantastic. We both liked and disliked everything being in a central location and the resort being smaller. It was nice that we could quickly get back to our room when a thunderstorm came through, but we missed long walks through the gardens. Also with the resort being smaller, if you just wanted to relax on the beach you still heard all of the noise shouting and yelling from the beach volleyball game.

    I really liked the new way that they are stocking the mini bars. Calling for what you need when you need it is much better than having a whole bunch of stuff you won't drink stocked in there every day. The repeaters cocktail party and dinner was fantastic. Don't miss it if you're invited! We liked that the room service breakfast at CSA was just left at your door instead of them knocking and coming in..... There was one morning when we were still asleep when they delivered the breakfast and they kept insistently knocking even though I was shouting I'm coming I have to put a robe on.. They also totally forgot to bring our breakfast on our first morning at CN.

    The piano bar was fantastic but the bar itself is way too small. Once you get half a dozen couples seated at the bar there is no where to go up there and get drink service. They really need servers walking around the room and taking orders. This is the only bar that is open late at night and it gets very crowded. Two bartenders making complex martinis is just not enough.

    Our biggest complaint at CN was actually with guest relations. We had a private treehouse dinner scheduled and when we checked in I asked what time it was scheduled and was told 7 PM. The day before the dinner I confirmed the time with guest relations and was again told 7 PM. Well on the night of the dinner we were dressed and ready to go at 7 PM and we're waiting for our personal server to pick us up at our room. At 7:15 PM when no one had showed up I called the front desk and they basically said it's only three minutes after seven just relax non-mon they will be there..... I'm not sure what clock they were using but it was way off. They didn't even bother to get our room number to check the computer. At 7:40 PM when no one had showed up my husband again called the front desk and this time he asked them to check their computer because we were worried there was a mixup and we were starving. They finally checked the computer and they said our dinner was scheduled for 8 PM. Someone did promptly knock on the door at 8 PM, but that makes me wonder how we were told 7 PM twice and now it was magically 8 PM when they were 45 minutes late. $180 for a private dinner is a lot of money for a mix up on something as simple as the time.

    The dinner itself in the treehouse was very romantic and tasty..... But we do you think that they need to revamp the menu and have something on there that isn't even remotely similar to anything you can get at any of the other restaurants. In our case, the trio of seafood was the same as the trio of seafood at otaheite With just a slight variation on the actual seafood. Plus the rack of lamb dish was exactly the same as the beef tenderloin dish at otaheite, just a different protein. It wasn't lobster season while we were there, but people were talking about getting it at the office of nature. So it would've been a really special dinner if we could get lobster out of season.

    Comparing the 2 resorts....overall we liked CSA better.....for the vibe, the extra space, the extra restaurant, the better gardens, and the rooms. CN had a better beach, even though it was only 1/4 the length, it was 10 times deeper. You could not even hear the beach vendors if you were half way up the beach. In general the staff was friendlier at CN.

    I didn't like that the only breakfast choice was buffet, as was lunch (except for lunch at the grill, but that was basic stuff like burgers and fries). I think that they should expand the grill menu just a little bit in light of the lack of an la carte restaurant for lunch. Maybe add grilled cheese and a cheesesteak or some soft pretzels as a snack. CSA had an additional restaurant that was a la carte for breakfast and lunch, which we enjoyed. CSA also has sea grapes where we got sweet potato chips daily....please add them at the grill at CN!

    We liked Lychee better at CN, but Feathers at CSA better. We really liked that you didn't need a reservation at Lychee and wish they would do the same at Lemongrass. In general the dinner restaurant service was better at CN. Otaheite..... For such a small restaurant there were way too many large tables. We went there twice. The first night that we went they did not have any reservations available for a table for two so they seated us with three other couples at a table of eight. None of us knew each other. We did enjoy this dinner, but at one point when we were all laughing at something I looked around and realized we were being the of noisy big table annoying all of the couples who were there trying to be romantic. I really don't think there should be more than one 8 top table there..... And I think it would be better to push together small tables to making an 8 top if there is a group that knows each other that wants to dine together instead of having a large round 8 top where you seat people who aren't together. If i wanted that, i would have gone on a cruise instead. Our second night there we were at a table by ourselves and there was no one at either of the large tables and the atmosphere was much better that night.

    The pool bar was better at CN (Franklin and Omar are awesome)...the CSA bartender was a jerk to my husband....really. My husband is a very powerfully built power lifter and the bartender at CSA felt the need to constantly comment on it instead of making our drinks.

    I didn't like the fact that there was nothing around the second pool at CN and we had to walk back to the other side of the resort or to our room for a drink.

    The room was okay at CN, but more hotel like and we definitely appreciated the hut feeling of our CSA room (We were in a premier beachfront suite, but when we return we will probably get an atrium suite). We had a much bigger veranda at CSA as well.

    Because of the small size of CN, it was a quick walk to get anywhere, but everything was centrally located. So, everyone was in the same area most of the day and night, even if they were doing different things (pool, beach, bars, eating). Also, having the rooms so close means that if you were trying to have a romantic time on your veranda with a bottle of champagne, you could hear the music and cheering from the stage 2 buildings away.

    People seemed to gather in groups more at CN because we were always around the same people. Not that I'm unfriendly, but I'm there to have a good time with my hubby. CSA is better for that. Plus because of the small size of CN, We kept encountering this one really annoying woman that we first encountered on about our second day there. I am not going to go into too much detail in case she is on this board. LOL. The first time we encountered her she was quite drunk and quite loud and found herself to be really funny, but in fact she was actually harassing us and we just wanted to get away from her. Yet because of the small size of CN we found ourselves encountering her every day. We just couldn't get away from her.

    The grounds were much more beautiful CSA. I spent a couple of hours wandering around the resort taking pictures of all the beautiful flowers. CN Was a lot of palm trees and very few flowers.

    There was a much bigger problem with birds in the buffet restaurant at CN..... One of them stole my omelette one day. This may be because of the lack of cats at CN.... I missed my vacation kitties.

    The evening entertainment at both resorts is only okay. On our bus trip back to the airport one man from Oklahoma said it perfectly when he said That when we go to Jamaica we want to hear reggae music not dance party stuff from the US..... He said it would be like Jamaicans visiting Oklahoma and wanting to hear country music but instead playing reggae.

    Scuba..... I am certified and my husband got certified CSA last year. The scuba guys at CSA are awesome. We ended up not diving at CN because I had a little mishap my first night there and slipped on the wet tile floor, landing right on my tailbone which hurt like hell the entire time we were there. The thought of carrying all the scuba equipment on my back to and from the dive boat with my tailbone hurting was enough to prevent me from doing it.

    Water sports... We did not do the snorkeling trip while at CSA because we spent all of our time diving. Since we weren't diving at CN we did the snorkel trip. First let me explain that I am 40 years old and have been snorkeling since I was a teenager. I have never used a life vest because I am very bouyant and I am also an extremely strong swimmer. I do understand the policy of everyone having to wear one of those little snorkeling vests but they really should get their act together and tell you that when you were checking in. We had our mask and snorkel so we told them that we just needed fins. They should have informed us that we had to get a snorkeling vest but they didn't. So my husband and I as well as one other couple didn't get one and when we got the snorkeling spot that's when we were informed that we had to wear one, but we didn't have to inflate it if we didn't want to. So then they made us where the actual foam life jackets from the boat which were huge and bulky. The entire time we were snorkeling I had to use one hand to forcefully pull it down otherwise it was going to strangle me to death. This was literally the worst snorkeling trip I have ever been on.

    I guess that is about everything. One final suggestion for CN before I wrap this up..... Have the frozen drink menu at the bars not just been mixed drink menu. We discovered that we could get all of our favorite frozen drinks from CSA at CN but there wasn't a menu out.

    All in all we had an excellent time, but if someone told us we could only go to one of the two resorts ever again it would be CSA.
    CSA - May 2012
    CN - May 2013
    CSS - October 2013

  2. #2
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    Sep 2009
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    Really enjoyed the comparison and though we liked CN and enjoyed our stay, CSA wins (8 stays so far and #9 in 7 weeks) overall for us as well.

    While at CN, we really missed the sports complex (and I missed the guest yoga instructors), the nicer spa, longer beach, large terraces on the rooms and enhanced dining options that CSA offers, as well as more outdoor dining venues. We would consider going back but only if CSA was not available and our dates were firm.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2010
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    We love everything about CN. The birds stealing food off our plates, the pool bar social hours in the afternoon, the closeness of everything, and even waiting a bit longer then normal for things. This is why we go away and leave the hustle and bustle and misery of a big city.

    CN is our second home now, and we can't wait to go back!

    No problems mon!
    Couples Negril Nov 13 - 20, 2010

  4. #4

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    One thing both reports need.....a pillow top (or less firm) mattress. I had to lay on pillows by day 3 day both resorts because body parts fell asleep on the super hard mattresses. My husband, who has no back problems had severe back pain every morning by day 5.
    CSA - May 2012
    CN - May 2013
    CSS - October 2013

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by caviargal View Post
    Really enjoyed the comparison and though we liked CN and enjoyed our stay, CSA wins (8 stays so far and #9 in 7 weeks) overall for us as well.

    While at CN, we really missed the sports complex (and I missed the guest yoga instructors), the nicer spa, longer beach, large terraces on the rooms and enhanced dining options that CSA offers, as well as more outdoor dining venues. We would consider going back but only if CSA was not available and our dates were firm.
    I totally forgot to mention loving the sports complex!! There was hardly anyone over there every time we went. It was awesome!!

    I think we are returning to CSA in May 2014 for our anniversary.

    We are looking forward to CSS in October though!
    CSA - May 2012
    CN - May 2013
    CSS - October 2013

  6. #6
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    Mar 2013
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    Hey! Interesting post!

    I have a question about snorkelling... I too am a very strong swimmer, and hearing about life vests is disappointing to me. We are headed to CSA, -and we'd like to snorkel. I can handle wearing an uninflated life vest, but would prefer to avoid the foam strangling variety! Im confused - do they provide foam ones, and you have to purchase the type you inflate? Can any body who is familiar with CSA snorkelling excursions shine some light on this for a first timer?!

    Thank you!!!

  7. #7
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    Jun 2009
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    One of the things you disliked is one of my favorite. I love to sit on my balcony at night and listen to the band play. I've even been known to dance a bit while up there. I always feel like it is my own private concert.
    Juliann & Jeff
    Jamaica Soon Come

  8. #8
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    Jun 2009
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    please don't get pillowtop mattresses, they are very uncomfortable and I don't think the mattresses are overly firm.
    You can soften a hard mattress but you can't harden a pillowtop.

  9. #9
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    Jun 2009
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    Nice review and comparison! Sorry you weren't able to SCUBA at CN.

    Excellent point about tables in Otaheite. We've fallen into that trap as well. One of the most uncomfortable nights we've had at Otaheite was being seated with a couple who HATED the resort and spend the whole dinner complaining and talking about how XYZ resort was much better.


    Only one other comment:

    It wasn't lobster season while we were there, but people were talking about getting it at the office of nature. So it would've been a really special dinner if we could get lobster out of season.
    That's one thing I don't like about the OON. People have to make a living, I understand that.. but IMO, it's poaching. I'm glad Couples doesn't do that. Hopefully you'll be able to have lobster on your next trip to CSA.

  10. #10

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    A couple of answes to different posts. They provide the type of vest that inflates. You can ask for a bed topper to make it more softer. Just ask guest relations

  11. #11
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    Oct 2011
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    Mellow, the vests at Swept Away are the type you blow into to inflate. You open the valve and squeeze to deflate. There is no foam in the vests. Also, the vests and snorkel and masks are on the boat, you get the fins at the water sports hut where you sign up for the trip. The vests are a drag, but without inflating you can still dive down without a problem.

  12. #12
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    Aug 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by leoconnor View Post
    That's one thing I don't like about the OON. People have to make a living, I understand that.. but IMO, it's poaching. I'm glad Couples doesn't do that. Hopefully you'll be able to have lobster on your next trip to CSA.
    I'm not sure when people were getting lobster at OON during off-season and which OON this was at, but everyone I have spoken with said that from April 22nd to June 30th, the original OON with Gritty and company only serves grilled fish, not lobster. That would be interesting to find out for sure, because it would be a huge bummer if they got shut down, because of that.
    "Brutalize me with music..."

    CN: 11/2007, 11/2010, 11/2011, 11/2013

  13. #13
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    Sep 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacie & Chris View Post
    It wasn't lobster season while we were there, but people were talking about getting it at the office of nature. So it would've been a really special dinner if we could get lobster out of season.
    I'd like to emphasize what another posted has said about this. Lobster is out of season 1 April - 30 June because its their mating season. If we don't let these tasty creature reproduce, they're will be none of them to eat in the future. The two species Jamaica has a closed season on are Lobster and Conch. Conservation requires enforcement and Jamaica has very little money for enforcement so its critical to the health of these sea critters that we follow the rules and do not create a demand out of season by seeking out illegally sold seafood.

    S/F
    Scott and June

  14. #14
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    Nov 2009
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    "I didn't like the fact that there was nothing around the second pool at CN and we had to walk back to the other side of the resort or to our room for a drink."


    If you are referring to the pool behind the dive shack that is mainly used by the dive crew and is very nice as is very private and quiet when not being used by the dive crew, I think it was not intended to be there as a regular type pool as the main pool is, basically mostly you see people going in for a 10 to 15 minute dip never have really seen people lying around it lounging for the day, not what its intended for.

  15. #15
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    Jun 2009
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    Loved your comparrison of the 2 resorts with CSA coming out on top! We too love CSA and tried the trading places to CN 2 yrs ago and was glad we did, but CSA remains our favorite!

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by sharker View Post
    A couple of answes to different posts. They provide the type of vest that inflates. You can ask for a bed topper to make it more softer. Just ask guest relations
    I would like to believe this. I did read on the board once that you can ask GR for mosquito candles. I asked and they didn't have any (at CN...I brought my own to CSA). So, I will ask at CSS because those mattresses are as hard as the floor.

    Inflatable vest question....Just make sure you get one from water sports before you get on the boat.
    CSA - May 2012
    CN - May 2013
    CSS - October 2013

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by columbo View Post
    "I didn't like the fact that there was nothing around the second pool at CN and we had to walk back to the other side of the resort or to our room for a drink."


    If you are referring to the pool behind the dive shack that is mainly used by the dive crew and is very nice as is very private and quiet when not being used by the dive crew, I think it was not intended to be there as a regular type pool as the main pool is, basically mostly you see people going in for a 10 to 15 minute dip never have really seen people lying around it lounging for the day, not what its intended for.
    Yes, I was referring to that pool and I rarely saw it used for diving, except early morning. Intent? It's a pool, it's intent is for someone to swim on it. Yes, I liked the privacy of it, but already expressed what I didn't like.
    CSA - May 2012
    CN - May 2013
    CSS - October 2013

  18. #18

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    In a month, I will be able to add in a comparison with CSS!!
    CSA - May 2012
    CN - May 2013
    CSS - October 2013

  19. #19

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    To reply to everyone about my lobster comment. I was unaware it was illegal, and based on the reasons you guys are giving me, I now understand. Oh, and about OON....it is my understanding from reading the board that there is the original, authentic OON and another place calling themselves that. I don't know because I have been to neither.

    Although, I still stand by my comment that the dishes themselves should be different from the restaurant menus, and I don't mean exactly the same recipe with lamb instead of beef. I mean entirely new dishes that you can ONLY get if you pay for a private dinner.

    There, is that better?
    CSA - May 2012
    CN - May 2013
    CSS - October 2013

  20. #20
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    Jan 2013
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    We love CN. We did the trading places one day and went to CSA. We walked around a little then made our way to the beach. I got us lounge chairs and my husband stopped to get us beach towels. No one was at the towel hut so he waited then a worker showed up and said to him he'll get him some towels but then asked for a favor. He asked him to get him and his buddy some beef patties for the grill wrapped in plastic wrap for lunch. He told my husband they're not allowed to have them?! So we haven't been at CSA for more then 20 mins and they had us working for them on our vacation. We felt this was so unprofessional. This would never happen at CN. The staff at CN bends over backward for the guest. We feel because of the big size of CSA you loss the friendliness of the stuff you have at CN. CN is way more intimate. Looking forward to vacation in less then 40 days!

  21. #21
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    Jun 2009
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    It was interesting reading the comparison between the two resorts. We've been to CSA and CSS. When we first were looking at Negril and were trying to compare the two, I did notice that CN seemed to be more of a resort with groups coming back year after year. The smaller size meant everyone knew each other and from what I read the center point seemed to be the pool and the swim up bar.

    Like Stacie and Chris, we like a resort where it can just be us when we like it to be that way. At CSA we found that and we found the people and the activities gave you plenty of opportunity for meeting new people. I found the comment about the beach interesting. We like CSA's beach because you are close to the water. CN has a much deeper beach which Stacie found to be better than CSA's. We probably will do a visit to CN to see the differences.

    We are headed back to CSA mid December and are really looking forward to it.

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