Just getting settled after returning from our first trip to CSA. We hate coming back to reality after spending so much time in the crystal clear blue water. That being said I have seen some of the following things mentioned before and am not trying to upset anyone or say our opinion is the right one. This post is just our feelings and observations from this trip.
This was our first trip to CSA. We has been to CN twice, the last time being last year and CSS three years ago so this was not our first time at Couples so we felt we knew what to expect.
We flew in on AirTran from Chicago Midway on a non-stop flight. First time for a non-stop and loved it but not the long drive home when we had to return. We arrived a few minutes early and were ready for some serious beach time and a few (Many) rum based drinks.
We booked Club MoBay for arrival and departure. The representative met us on the ramp as promised and she was very friendly and helpful. She checked our paperwork and we proceeded to the fast track immigration line. We went right through then to the luggage carousel where waited for maybe 5 minutes for our bags. Then on to customs where we again breezed right through. (We need to keep Club MoBay a Secret so it does not get crowded. ) We had scheduled TimAir and she took us to their desk, then to the Couples Lounge to check in. We really did not use the Club MoBay arrival lounge since we almost immediately went out to our short flight to Negril. We were delayed about 20 minutes but it was due to weather and nothing TimAir could control.
Took a short cab ride to CSA from the Negril Aerodrome and we very excited to be back at Couples. We did the Trading Places last year and went to CSA so we had a general idea of the layout. We walked into the lobby and stood there for a minute or two. An employee walked by and asked if we were checking in and we said yes. He said he would be back and to go to the front desk. No welcome, glad your back or anything. He came back with two cold towels and asked if we wanted some champagne and we said yes. We went to the front desk to check in and were again asked if we were checking in. I filled out the paperwork and started the short process but again not a welcome, glad your here or anything. A complete opposite of our three previous trips.
Once we finished checking in we were told to wait in the lobby and a bellhop would come get our bags. He arrived and I showed him the paperwork listing the room we were in and we were on our way. No talking and information from him during the walk to our room. We were used to the bellhop filling us in on things while going to the room.
We got to the room and the view was great. We had booked a Beach Front Veranda Suite and were lucky enough to get a first floor room. Unless you live on a boat I don't see how you could get a room closer to the water. Very beautiful sunsets from our patio. The room was what we expect when we go to Couples. As some have said maybe some of the rooms need a freshening up but we are in the tropics and things do wear out. We do not want or expect the shiny marble, polished concrete and those things. We like the tropical feel of Couples. I have read posts about the lighting in the bathrooms and on this I must agree. They are very dark and I even had trouble shaving. I would hate to be a women and try to put makeup on. We have never had an issue with the hairdryers. This room was the exception. My wife has short hair and it took forever to dry her hair.
We did the pre-registration and had the same issue as others have mentioned with the mini-bar. It was not stocked. I called and was told they would try and fill it. They eventually did. On the pre-registration I asked them to just stock diet soda as we would not drink the regular. There was no diet when it was stocked. I marked the diet soda the first several days and finally gave up because we never got one bottle of diet.
Changed into our suits and headed out to find our friends we were meeting there. Had a few drinks, retreated into the great water then dinner. The food was as good or better than we expected.
I forgot about being able to order a continental breakfast for the room but remembered the Palms was listed as having the continental breakfast from 5:30am until 7:30am so I went down to get some coffee and rolls only to be disappointed. We only had one packet of coffee in the room and usually had two or three. As I was walking in I was told they were closed. I tried to explain the website and information in the room said they served a continental breakfast during those hours. I was again told in a get out of here tone they were closed. Not a good way to start our first full day.
During our first several days we noticed a HUGE difference in the attitude and friendliness of the staff. Almost every employee we encountered seemed to have the attitude they did not want to be there. In our past experiences the staff would always speak to you and ask how you were. We did not have that happen. Even the roving photographers would look away. It got to the point I would make sure I spoke to every employee we passed so they would have to talk.
We were closest to the Bamboo Bar while on the beach and would go there for our drinks. We rarely used the flag service for drinks as we were close to the bar. When I would walk up to get a drink the usual response was a "what do you want"? At the other resorts it was a much more friendly reaction. This really shocked me as it was so out of the ordinary for a Couples Resort. One of the rudest persons we met was the bartender named Judy at the Bamboo Bar. I think I saw her smile one time during our week there. There were two highlights at that bar. Both were Trainees. One was named Jason and the other was Jodiann. They were always friendly and outgoing just like we remember.
I have read how some people say you get what your give and we totally agree. We always made sure we said please and thank you. Nothing wring with being polite and friendly. The staff are people too and not slaves to the guests.
Being a beach front resort I could not believe how they ran out of clean towels anywhere from 2:30PM to 4:00PM. If the swim-up bar are was out you had to walk all the way to the other end of the resort to see if they had any which they were almost always out of towels also. That being said we saw many towels just left on the beach for the employees to pick up. One day we saw the Water Sports guys picking up probably close to 20 towels in the area by our room. Come on people. Is it to hard to drop your towels off where they go? While on that general subject I could not believe how people just tossed their trash down anywhere. One day I was getting our chairs and someone had evidently not liked the pizza or was full and just tossed the remainder on the sand. Another day someone left their plate, basket and half an order of fries all over one the the chairs. While walking to dinner one evening someone had just set their tall glass on the sidewalk. The only reason I saw it was it was by a light. NOT a smart thing to do when many people walk barefoot or in thin sandals or flip flops. I would hate to step on the broken glass and have my vacation ruined because someone was too lazy to put their glass in an appropriate location.
I decided to try scuba for the first time. I was a little apprehensive based on some of the posts I've seen. I usually only get a chance to swim while at Couples. I thought I was a decent swimmer but I guess I was wrong. The swim test is 8 lengths (4 laps) of the pool by the scuba shop. Well I was not as good of a swimmer as I thought I was because I did not make it. (I won't say how far I did go . I will say the instructor did try to put me at ease and was very encouraging. He told me to come back and try again and take my time. It seemed like I had a friend there instead of an instructor watching me. I did not get his name and he was not there the next day. The following day we were leaving breakfast and I saw him. I went over to talk to him and before I could say anything he called me by name and asked how I was doing. I asked him what his name was and he told me. I just want to say thank you to Anthony for your help. You made me feel very comfortable and I will try it next time.
The repeaters dinner was great. I don't know how the food could have been any better. The food is always great and it surprises me how they seem to to always take it up a notch or two for this dinner. We had Cleopatra who is in charge of the food and beverage areas at CSA at our table. She is a very sweet lady. We talked to her afterwards and she really listened to our issues. She also passes things on to her employees. We had a waiter named Avious (AKA Trouble) who was great. We mentioned this to her among other things. The next day Avious found us on our patio and stopped to talk. Cleopatra had told him what we had to say and he stopped to thank us.
Some other employees who were great are Mickesha who was a Trainee in housekeeping, Adrianne at the piano bar, Jermaine who is a waiter at Patois and Toniann at Feathers. They were all very outgoing and extremely helpful.
Speaking of Feathers it is a great restaurant. The food and service were outstanding. Patois and Palms also had very good food. We did not go to Lemon Grass so I can't comment on that. We had heard so much about the Banana Stuffed French Toast and Breakfast Pizza at Patios. The rave reviews did not lie. They were both delicious and we had them twice during our stay.
We actually stayed up long enough to go to the piano bar and see Ultimate Chocolate. He was great as mentioned. With him was a gentleman who called himself the Wedding Singer. I think his name is Tino. If I am wrong I apologize. He was a lot of fun, tried to get everyone involved. He also has a great voice
I'm sorry this is such a long review but I wanted to try and be thorough.
As this was our fourth trip to Couples I feel we know a little of what to expect and at first we did not get that at CSA. By the middle of our trip it did improve. I'm not saying we will not go back to CSA however, if this was our first trip I am not sure we would be in such a hurry to go back as we always are. We still love Couples and had already booked Barbados for next year before we went to CSA.
I hope this did not offended anyone as that was not the point. Just our feelings.
Thank you for your review. We will be first timers to CSA in two weeks. It took a lot for us to try a new resort, not going to the one we usually go to, so I have high hopes for CSA. I really hope staff attitudes change a bit. One of the main reasons we love Jamaica is for the friendliness of staff at the resorts. Thanks again for the review!
We also considered CSA our second home, but had some of the same experiences on our last trip there. We tried CTI and loved it so much that we now consider it our second home. My biggest regret about not going back there is the dive staff. They are extremely good and I have enjoyed diving with them for 3 years. Anthony is a great guy and you cannot go wrong with him as a divemaster. I do not want to leave out Shaggy and Franz as that is who I generally dove with and they are equally as good. I will miss you guys. The dive staff at CTI though is equally as good, so I am in good hands there also. I did notice a big change from our first trip and second trip to our third trip in the help at CSA not being as friendly and helpfull. I equate this to management as there was a change there for our third trip. A lot of the faces were the same and did remember us by name, so no problems there, but the new faces just seemed not to care. Sometimes it took an act of congress just to get a drink at the bars or having your water glass refilled at meals. We especially did not like Patois being closed for breakfast and lunch. The reasons given for that were it was the slow time, but we always go at the same weeks each year and it was not closed in previous years. This is not sour grapes, just an honest statement. We love Couples and cannot imaging going anywhere else except another Couples Resort, which we did, CTI.
Thank you for taking the time to post such a detailed and well written review. When we were at CSA in January, we were amazed that people would bring bottles of Red Stripe from their in-room mini-bar down to the swim up pool bar. They would leave the bottles on the edge of the pool area while they went swimming or went up to the bar. Bob and I would scurry over to the bottles and remove them as soon as we saw them sitting there. First off, there's plenty of beer at the bar. Secondly, why would you risk a broken bottle in a pool? It's like the thought never even occured to them that if the bottle breaks, the entire pool will have to be drained and carefully cleaned of glass. Leaving glasses on the sidewalk path is just as bad as a person could get cut badly.
I think it was a good review. Probably the one thing I noticed at Swept Away last year was some of the staff seemed, aloof or indifferent more so then at Couples Negril. I thought this was because they had just gone through Hurricane Sandy, and by the end of our stay things seemed better. In the end though it was not enough to keep us from going back and we will be there in just 36 days. Then Negril in 42 days, so I will be making a better comparison. I realize it is hard for all of them to be having good day all the time. I saw no reason you would offend anybody either. WE need realistic reviews on here, especially if Couples is reading them. Is good mon!
Great review. It's always nice to hear both positive and negative thoughts. I hope someone addresses the issue of the Bamboo Bar (others have mentioned the same terrible service). It sounds like the people that have been working there just don't care and leave it up to the trainees to do all the work. That is not fair to the guests or the trainees. Please have someone from management go there undercover to see what it up. We are headed there in 18 days with 3 other couples that have never been to CSA and I would hate a complacent employee to give them a bad impression. Get rid of the dead weight! There are too many good people out there that need jobs.
Thanks for being honest and I'm glad your stay got better as the week went on.
Great report, very similair to our experiences as we were vacationing at CSA the week before. We checked in on 8/31 our check in was pleasant though. We experienced the same issues with our mini bar. I dont drink soda, the GF likes her occassional Diet Cola, we would request it and receive everything but. We would also request pineapple juice and again, only receive about half the time.
We too thought the bar staff was cold and standoffish, we sometimes felt like we were troubling them for a drink. The one day at the bamboo bar I walked up, there were 3 bartenders. The first asked if I needed a drink, I ordered a pina coloda, he took the order, walked away and never returned. I then ordered from the second bartender after he asked, he began cleaning the bar and never filled the order. The third bartender then saw that I had been there for awhile and asked for my order, apologized for the others and made us an amazing drink in the blender instead of using the frozen machine. He said he made something special for our wait, it was prob the best drink of the trip.
The flag service was non existant the first three days and then it got lots better. Its hard to say the service was poor because we did encounter so many amazing employees like Marcus-Dane a bell hop. He remembered us the whole week and always greeted us with a smile and handshake asking how our trip was going? We had a similair odd breakfast experience. I walked to Palms and they were 30 mins before opening. A worker at Palms told us to go to Patois as they were open, we made the trek and guess what?, they were not open either. Anyone who has ever made this walk can understand the frustration.
We thought the facility, the beach in particular was amazing. We loved the feel of the room, only complaint bathroom is way too dark. The resort exceeded expectations in cleanliness and beauty. We are in the process of planning a May trip and we are still considering CSA as our top pick and just hoping the service is a notch better. We are not the type to get upset on our vac over little things and feel that the natural atmosphere and design of the resort makes up for the service issues. I also should mention the food is beyond amazing!
Also, can we get bottled beer at the restaurants at least?
Thanks for the review. We noticed the first time we went to CSA that the staff we not as happy and friendly as the other Resorts. We are headeded back in two Weeks. I hope everyone is happier in their jobs this time. We are only there for 4 days. We then go to CTI for ten days. they have the best staff ever.
Well I hope this does not post twice since I think I hit the wrong button once.
I realized I did not have the last two parts on my original post.
We took some school supplies to the front desk. The girl asked what room we were in and sort of said thanks. Later when we got back to our room there was a nice bottle of wine and a very nice thank you card from Couples. This was something we never thought about or expected but an extremely nice gesture.
We had book Club MoBay for departure also. When we arrived at the airport we walked right up to AirTran's ticket counter. This was nice as every time we have been there AirTran's line was always longer than the other airlines. We then went to Club MoBay's desk. They checked our paperwork and took us to security. We were again surprised how short the lines were. Once though security we went to their lounge. A very nice comfortable lounge with a nice selection of appetizer and snack foods and good drinks. We will definitely use their services again.
Well that is all for our CSA review. Sorry it was in two parts. Now we just have to start our countdown to Barbados next year.