I know all the resorts have their strengths, but I am wondering about how happy we would be at CSS if we are big fans of CN?
Obviously CN has nicer beaches, but how nice are the CSS beaches? (Are they bad enough that we would want water shoes to get in the water?)
How do the restaurants compare? One of the things we like about CN is that we can have the option of an air conditioned restaurant that does not require reservations or long pants (Lychee). Is there anything similar to that at CSS?
What is the least expensive room we would need to book to be in a nice room that is located convenient to the nude beach as well as a good place for breakfast without having to climb a lot of stairs? (Happy to climb as many as we need to for dinner)
If you are CN fans and are thinking of going just to CSS, I'd stick with CN.
The beaches don't compare even a bit. You would want water shoes to use the beach at SSB. The facilities at SSB are very good and many don't go in the ocean. The pool is big enough and things are very social there.
The food at CN is much better than CSS and CN has fewer buffets. The repeater's dinner at CSS is a buffet!
If you do a beach front suite, there are no stairs for breakfast.
CSS is a very pretty resort to walk around and explore but everywhere you go will be either up or down stairs. No big deal to us, but just know there are lots of stairs as it's built on the side of a hill.
We do a split stay (A week at each of two resorts) and have decided we just won't do CSS until something changes with the food. We're doing CSA instead of CSS and then CN next year.
The beach front suites are where you'd want to be with an easy walk to SSB.
We've been there three times and have enjoyed our stays but for our money and time we've decided to opt for CSA as our food experience at CSS has been the deal breaker. You may love it and the food and you may really enjoy the great AN facilities.
rhallva... We love both CN and CSS. We go back and forth between the two. CSS has a nice beach, just smaller. You don't need water shoes. You may on the nude beach; we never go there. You will like the AN beach at CSS. It is very private with its own pool and bar. Book the Beachfront Suite. They are our favorite rooms. They are right by the beach, pool and 2 of the restaurants. Pallazzina is open air or you can eat inside and the same with Casanova. The beach grill, which is open for lunch or dinner is also open air. The food is really good at CSS. It is a beautiful resort. You can also eat dinner on your own balcony with the in-room dining option. The nightly entertainment is always good and the staff is fantastic. It's a nice break from the beach vendors also. Plus if you like to do a little shopping, the shopping in Ocho Rios is much better than Negril. Go for it.
We are HUGE CN fans .... That beach & pool area are PERFECT!!!!! We also loved the beach at CSA the one time we stayed there. We went to CSS once when we did the SR in 2009. We're glad we tried it because it's a beautiful resort but that being said, I have no interest in going back. I missed the beaches in Negril way more than I thought I would .... I didn't realize what a huge part of our vacation it plays until we didn't have it or that central pool/pool bar .... CN's layout makes it so easy to make friends but at CSS, we'd meet people & then never see them again the whole week. Also, missed the food & the drinks at CN ..... I'd ask for a drink that I loved at CN (from their drink menu) & the bartenders would have no idea what I was talking about. The beaches at CSS are pretty but nothing at all like CN .... dark rough sand more like you'd find at a lake or river here in the midwest. It didn't help that when we were there, it rained every single day (most to all of the day & evening - One day it was a monsoon all day) & we'd hear that it was sunny in Negril. Some people prefer CSS but if the beach is a huge part of your vacation, like it is ours, don't expect the ones at CSS to compare in any way.
We went to CN 2x before trying CSS, and we loved CSS and are going back next year. The beach is definitely nicer at CN, but it is also very nice at CSS. My husband did use water shoes to get in the water because he didn't care for the seagrass, but it's not a big deal. Since you use the nude beach, (we don't), I have heard that the CSS area is much nicer than the CN area. They are both private beaches without the vendors you get at CN.
We thought the food at CN was great our first trip, still good but not as good our second trip, and thought the food at CSS was definitely better than either of our CN trips. You do need reservations for either of the restaurants that have indoor space, but we didn't have any trouble getting reservations, and as another poster said, you can always do room service for dinner which you can't do at CN. We also thought the service and friendliness of the staff was just a notch above at CSS. (although it was also fantastic at CN.)
Choose a beachfront suite to be close to the nude beach and the breakfast buffet without the stairs. They are down at the beach level.
It's true what everyone says about CSS being the most romantic of the 4. We loved CN, and may go back sometime, but for now CSS is our resort of choice.
It's been a while but we have stayed at both CSS and CSA. They are very different.
If you are a beach lover and that is your deal breaker you won't like CSS. That's not its' charm. It has beautiful rooms, and striking landscaping. It has rooms both near the beach and on clifts (there's even an elevator you can take to those rooms). Food is outstanding at both CSA and CSS, but their Friday night Gala is truly something to enjoy. Their dessert chef was an award winning one and their desserts we so good.
My best description would be, if you wanted to get married in Jamaica, I would go to CSS. If you wanted to honeymoon only, I would go to Negril.
I thought the facilities and the beach at the Nude beach at CSS was better than the regular beach (we didn't partake, but went there for sunsets). We basically deserted the beach and went to the pools. My wife likes CSS better while I like CSA.
So if you want a great beach stay at CN. If you want great desserts, go to CSS.
We went to CN 3 or 4 times before trying CSS. We liked CSS but the food was better at CN. We liked the rooms and a/n beach better at CSS. We tried CTI last year and loved it, going back to CTI this year.
Last year CSS was having a deal we couldn't refuse with an added resort credit and I think a free night, so we made the jump from CN (where we've stayed 3 times) to CSS. It was nice to experience something different, where we knew we'd still have an amazing time.
Beach: I think both my husband and I prefer the Negril beach and water, since it is so much larger and there is not sea grass. I also like the roped off lap-swim lane at CN. But my husband loved how quiet and relaxing the beach at CSS was. It took us a couple days to realize it was because there were no jet skis or boats or vendors. That aspect was really nice.
Pools: I loved the choice of pools at CSS - epsecially the mineral pool. That was a great place to sit at the end of the afternoon. Great view of the ocean from there. There were also some semi-hidden jacuzzi's at CSS which was nice.
Food: Comparable at both. Think I liked the options at CN better, but really nothing wrong with CSS. We went to the repeaters dinner and it was not a buffet for us like a previous poster mentioned. I think we had lobster. Also loved the smoothie bar by the mineral pool at CSS.
Grounds and rooms: CSS is fun to explore and I think is bigger, but I like the layout of CN better. I did like the birds and the pond and the cats at CSS, though. I really love the garden view rooms at CN and felt a bit exposed having a room at CSS that overlooked the pool (even if it gave us a view of the water). I also prefer the rooms at CN, even if what we had was smaller. Also found the restocking of mini-bar at CN was better (ie, they replaced what we requested).
Snorkeling: Nice to go to some different spots at CSS, but water is calmer and clearer at CN. Staff that took trips out at both places were great.
Staff: Excellent at both places. No complaints at all.
Spa: We both had two massages at the most amazing hut which overlooked the ocean. The sounds of the waves crashing against the rocks while having a massage surpassed any of the locals at CN. Serisously amazing.
Overall: I would certainly return to CSS, but prefer CN. We're heading to CB in September. Then we will have at least visited every resort since we did the Exchange to CSA in the past and to CTI last year. CN is our favorite, then CSS, then I'm not really sure - maybe CSA, though we enjoyed our time at CTI as well.
We've been to CN three times and CSS once and really enjoy both. What we loved about CSS: The rooms are fantastic! The view from our "garden" room was beautiful. We were right over the ocean. Our patio was almost like having another room and we loved having the coffee maker and mini bar outside on it. We spent a lot of time there. Loved the hidden natural jacuzzi and the mineral pool. Loved the birds and the fish/turtles in the pond. We didnt' really mind the stairs but I think we would go beach next time to save a little on them. The beach was perfectly fine and the food was good. We also didn't have a buffet for the Repeater's Dinner. That being said, I really missed the beach from Negril and the vendors/musicians. I think that really adds to the vibe. I didn't appreciate the number of buffets and I actually think the food is a little better at Negril. So, if you want to be alone and romantic then I would choose CSS-if you want to mingle with other guests, CN. Just my two cents.