My husband and I just came home for our first trip to CSA. We had an awesome time - although we left yesterday at 12 pm and JUST got home two hours ago (thank you, Tropical Storm Andrea and a cancelled connecting flight). I am happy to say that I can now cross "sleeping on an airport floor" off of my bucket list. I also have no idea where my luggage is, but whatever.
Our trip down was smooth enough. We arrived around 3 pm on a Saturday and quickly went through customs. We were able to have a red stripe in the couples lounge before heading out on our trip. There were three other couples in the van with us. We knew the trip was going to be about 90 minutes. Our driver was interesting He stopped so we could get jerk chicken and red stripe, but no one wanted to get out of the van, so we continued on. Check in was super easy too. We had booked an Atrium suite, and the person checking in asked me if I minded noise, or turned in "early". This concerned me a little but we decided to keep an open mind and just try the room out for a night. We had Atrium Suite 1232 which has beach views (partially obstructed of course) and a full view of the pool, palms restaurant, and lemongrass. I loved how in the bathroom I could open the slats while taking a shower and look out at the beach!! It was awesome. Our bar was not stocked when we arrived but within five minutes of arriving they were there to do it.
The first night we did turn in early and the music from the Palms was loud, there is no way around it. However the entertainment ends around 10 pm - 10:30 pm, and we usually go to bed around 11, so it was never an issue. You can hear the tree frogs - which take some getting used to. In the end I ended up being soothed to sleep by them! In this suite you can also hear the waves crashing on the beach. I wake up at 6 am - "self proclaimed type A" - so the morning noise of the carts and such did not bother me. Damien, my husband, likes to sleep in and he was never bothered it. I did like how the atrium suite could become quite dark with the slides closed - with the air conditioning on, it was very cool. When the slats were open, it felt like a tree house. It was very.... "rustic chic", if you will. The room was always clean. Overall we were very impressed by the room.
The grounds are meticulously well kept and very lush. We often saw gardeners out and about pruning. I just found it so charming! The resort is also spread out so even though there were a lot of people at the resort, it never felt crowded. The resort is split in two, almost. At one end is the Palms (with Lemongrass and the Martini Bar at the top), the pool, the beach sports, and Sea Grapes Café. There are two beach bars in the middle of the beach, and then at the other end is the Great House (with contains the Aura Nightclub, Feathers, Patois, the internet café, the gift shop, the main pool, and the cabana grille. So we often planned our activities around this, because it is a 5-10 minute walk from one end to the other.
Let's see...food. And I apologize if I seem a little scattered with this interview, but I didn't sleep well on the airport floor I did want to do this when it was fresh in my mind. We ate at Feather's twice, Lemongrass once, Patios twice (one dinner, one lunch). We also ate breakfast everyday at the Palms, and alternated lunch between the Palms and Sea Grapes. We have spent a lot of time eating out on the Boston scene, and I have traveled extensively (although not the all inclusive scene) and I have to say we were impressed with the food. Was it five star dining? No. Was it really good? YES! I did not care for Lemongrass, so we only ate there once - but it was not bad. My husband liked it a lot, but we agreed if I did not harass him about the amount of Bob Marley shots he did, we could eat at Feather's twice. It just did not impress me enough to go back more than once. We loved Feather's - especially the dessert trio. I am not a buffet person by any means but I liked the selection offered at the Palms so we ate there a lot. I have to say that the only thing I ate all week that I did not like was a duck from the buffet. Everything else was great. Sea Grapes was awesome - I ate the sweet potato chips everyday. We also went across the way to get smoothies from the sports bar, which were also good.
D and I both decided to get massages from the Spa. I got the stress relief, and he received the Swedish massage. We showed up a little early to hang out in the pool and use the steam room. It did get a little crowded from honeymooners coming in to get their free massage. I LOVED MY MASSAGE! I think it was one of the best that I have ever had, and I get them on a regular basis. So pleased with the spa. I would definitely recommend it!! I also used the running trail daily at the sports complex, it was very nice.
The staff was great. James from the beach sports was really funny and took us out sailing a bunch of times. I think I forgot to put him on our comment card so I feel bad. There was also of course Kevin - who cracked us up. There was a guy who did flag service at the beach bar everyday who worked SO Hard - he wore blue sunglasses? He was just so nice. Overall the staff was super friendly. I think if you are just polite, you will get the same in kind. You know?
I don't think I need to talk about the beach, it speaks for itself. We always managed to get one of those little hut things - but that's because I get up really early and like to read on the beach. The sand fleas seem to be worse during the early morning. Make sure you bring bug spray!!! Flag service was always really good and at times I had people bring over lemon scented towels and fresh fruit randomly. It was pretty awesome.
We did the One Love Bar crawl, which was fun and I highly recommend it. There was a Pensive Toddler on our tour (sorry, inside joke). I was surprised that there was a baby on a bar crawl, simply because I didn't think it was safe (no carseat) but...umm....he seemed to have fun? I know we did! It was a cool way to see another side of Jamaica.
We also met a few other couples that we socialized with, which was really nice. I did like how you could be as social as you wanted, or not. My husband is a really friendly guy, so it was good for him. And I always like making new friends!! Overall we were really pleased. Would definitely go back (we are thinking June next year again) but would also like to try another Couples resort. I wish it was easier for us to get to Barbados, we would love to try that. I think maybe next time we will do a split between CTI and Swept Away....but unfortunately it seems like The Spawn might want to go to a resort with us. So we shall see. I hope everyone enjoys their trips as much as we did!! ONE LOVE!!