Hello everyone.. asking a fairly broad based question, but I'd love to hear opinions from folks who have actually stayed at several Couples resorts (as opposed to trying to Google a bunch of web reviews)
My fiance and I are going to be taking our honeymoon the last week of November. We don't have any real preferences as far as where we stay, other than she wants warm weather... Cancun/Riveria Maya...Jamaica... DR... really anywhere in the Caribbean area would be great.
From everything I've read, I'm really liking the Couples resorts due to the actual all-inclusive value and all the extras you get. I'm going to list the things that are important to us and I was hoping I could get some feedback on which Couples resort might be the best fit for us. These are all must-have, but we'd like to have as many as possible in whatever we pick. Thanks in advance!
-nice beach (sandy, not a bunch of rock or seaweed)
-minimal bugs (have read some horror stories about mosquitos and sandflies in some areas)
-swimup bars (this is really important to my fiance)
-pools with water warm enough to swim (have read some reviews about certain areas needing heated pools in late November?)
-near airport (we dont want to have to drive an hour or two to get there from airport)
-decent snorkeling (either at resort or nearby)
-safe area outside resort to sightsee local attractions
-maybe some type of area tour (ala booze cruise) either by bus or boat? Something that allows us to see the area while having fun at the same time
-we know at an AI, food wont be top notch, but as long its decent with several options. A 24hr option would be an extra plus
-decent evening/night life (we're both 30... we're not monster party animals but certainly want to have a little fun at night)
We're trying to keep our honeymoon budget at $4,500 or less, including airfare.
Couples Swept Away has most of what you want. Although any couples resort will have a drive to get to, csa is about 1 1/4 hour drive from airport. The Ochie resorts are a little farther. Believe me, whichever one if you choose couples, will be worth the drive. You get a little Jamaican flavor along the way. You could always take a puddle jumper that would get you to Negril in about 20 minutes.
Csa has the best beach imo, long and you can find shade easily if you need to.
There are sand fleas bust they come out st dusk so put some sprsy on your lower legs.
The pools are not heated except gor hot tubs of course but are refreshing after laying in the hot sun.
It's safe in Negril or anywhere else, just use common sense.
There is a don't miss catamaran booze cruise at all resorts except Sans Souci because of the reef.
Csa has the most dining options and all resorts have better than average food. Ive never been disappointed and I've been to 3 of the reorts.
If you'd like a few pics of csa, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Trip #6 to csa (I think, I'm getting old and losing count lol) booked gg or April. We wouldn't keep going back unless it rocked! Sara
Why not read this message board for information? Three of the four have cat cruises, all four have swim up bars and the food at any of the couples resorts is much better than pretty much any other AI you will stay at. There is also a snack bar that is open when the restaurants are closed so there is food available 24/7. Only you can choose which will suit you and your budget best. Enjoy.
If near the airport is a deal breaker than none of the Couples resorts would work. I will say I do think it is worth the drive though. We stayed in Montego Bay on our honeymoon because we did not want the long drive but the beaches were not nearly as nice and the airplane noise was annoying. Negril resorts are about 1 1/2 hours and CSS is about the same at CTI is about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
None of the Couples resorts in Jamaica is close to MoBay airport, so that could be an issue. Negril is about 1 1/2 hours and Ocho Rios is about 1 3/4 hours (depending on traffic). Couples Barbados is only 15 minutes from the airport. You could always fly from MoBay to Negril on TimAir, but you really won't end up saving all that much time. While the flight itself is 15 minutes, you have to walk over to the TimAir Counter, check in, pay, go through security, etc.
We like to snorkel, too, and we have taken the included snorkeling excursions at CSA, CN, and CSS. They are all fine - they last an hour and you are snorkeling for a half hour. But is it the world's greatest snorkeling? No.
On the Negril side, there is the One Love Pub Crawl that you can take to visit the bars in Negril. We did this in January, and it was a fun and safe way to see that part of town.
I believe all the resorts offer food close to 24 hours. There may be an hour or two in the wee hours when food is not available. For example, the Cabana Grill at CSA offers food during the late night. And while it is an AI, the food is good to excellent throughout the resorts. Feathers at CSA and Casanova at CSS are worthy of almost any fine dining restaurant I've experienced (and I take clients out to ritzy places a lot).
CSA and CN have fine powder beaches, and the sea bottom itself is soft powdery sand - almost no rocks. The beach at CSS is a bit coarser sand and there is some sea grass around CSS. Seven Mile beach in Negril is consistently ranked one of the best beaches in the WORLD.
None of the Couples resorts has a wild and crazy nightlife. There's something about being in the sun all day that wipes most people out. But there is the Aura Lounge at CSA that is open for dancing late night. You always have the option to go off resort, too. The areas around Negril and Ocho Rios are generally safe (if you use the same precautions that you would in any urban setting), although you probably should not walk the beach at night.
CN has the biggest swim up bar, although CTI was just voted best swim up bar in the Caribbean (in Travel + Leasure). All of the resorts have swimup bars, though.
And as far as bugs, it's the tropics, there are bugs, including sand flies and mosquitos. I always get bitten and Bob does not. Bring Off and use it especially around dusk.
Based on your desires, go to Couples Negril. Best beach (one of the best in the world), great swim-up bar (active all hours and central to the resort and pool), pool is fully exposed to sun so probably warm in November (we've never been there that late in the year), it's the Couples closest to the airport (1:15 drive or 15 minute plane ride via Timair), snorkeling is solid, Negril is safe, plenty to do offsite if you want to leave.
And actually, the food *is* top notch. Not available 24 hours, but pretty close to it.
Please note, we've been to CTI, SA and CN. CN is our favorite so we're biased. But for good reason, it's the best (note that we are going to CSS for the first time soon so we'll see).
You will have a 1-1/2 hour drive from the airport to any of the Couples resorts. But it is well worth it. What's an extra hour if you're spending several days there. Don't let this stop you. Negril is so much nicer than Montego Bay that I wouldn't even consider going there just because it's close to the airport. Both Couples resorts in Negril (CN and CSA) have everything you ask for except the distance from the airport. The Coupes resorts in Ocho Rios (CSS and CTI) have everything except the world class beaches in Negril. The beaches are nice, be the ones at CN and CSA are some of the best in the world.
The food is top notch at all Coupes resorts. You will be amazed. He honeymooned at Couples Negril and it was perfect!
Based on what you are looking for I recommend Couples Negril. I also recommend using the Tim Air flight (they have a website) from Montego Bay to Negril it will get you there in 15 minutes and the airstrip is directly across the street from Couples Negril. We do this every year. We've also been to CSA and CTI and CN is our favorite.
Just a quick addition to what others have said, although all the Jamaica Couples resorts are 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours drive, Couples offers a free transfer to the resorts for your convenience. So you can sit back and relax on your way to the resort.
My 2 cents The weather is warmer in JA in Nov/Dec then the other countries you mentioned. We have been to them at that time of year. CSA has a slight edge over CN due to your interest in sightseeing local attractions. Congrats!!!
This is what the Tim Air prices were in May for Negril. Ocho Rios is alot more.
The one-way price is US $125.00 per person, inclusive of all fees and taxes.
The round trip price is US $242.00 per person. If you can share the flight
with another couple then the price reduces to US $110 per person one-way and
US $212 per person round-trip, all fees and taxes included.
I want to say Tim Air is about $115 per person, and Airlink is the same. But riding on the bus and seeing Jamaica OUTSIDE of the resort is a definite must do for your first time. It makes being on the resort that much more meaningful. Plus the bus drivers are usually really fun too. Our bus trip to Sans Souci, we had Triple R as our bus driver, and he played some Bob Marley along the way, and told us all about the local places we passed. Plus, I have read some peoples posts where they took the plane instead of bus, and because they have to go check in at the TimAir desk and have to walk to plane and such, they ended up arriving basically the same time as the bus did, so it didn't really save them any time.
As far as the food goes, it was THE BEST food I have EVER had in my entire life! Not only the taste, but the presentation of it was out of this world. Every little detail about everything on the plate was prepared with excruciating detail.
We will be going to Negril for the first time next April, and I can't wait!!
Thank you all for the responses. And thank you to softail19 for the photos you sent!
We have made a decision... going to Couples Negril! In the end, it was between CN and CSA and it was a couple hundred dollar difference in price so we went with CN to save a little bit.
Last question... I have a hold on the reservations with the travel agency and must put the down payment in by tomorrow. There is the optional travel insurance to protect against weather/illness/etc. I would think the chance of hurricane at the end of November is really rare... how many of you would actually do the insurance? FWIW, it's $300 for the both of us.
We always buy it as we had to cancel a trip once a few years back, would have lost alot of money. Stuff pops up, you never know but that does seem a little high. It's about 170.00 for both through couples but you have to book with them to get that price.
We've been to CSS and CSA. If you want a great beach you need to stay in Negril.
I've never been to CN, but from what I've read they do have a great swim up bar and being smaller you get to know pretty much everyone as they funnel to the pool and then to the beach. CN has a nude beach as well as a regular beach. Food and service at all the Couple Resorts is outstanding.
We are going back to CSA in December. We really love the place. It has the best sports facilities in Jamaica and the beach is absolutely stunning. What made us go there were two points. We weren't sure about going somewhere with a nude beach and we liked the pictures of the rooms better at CSA than CN.