Just because the beach is "public" does not mean it's crowded. The "public" can't come up on the beach of Swept Away, they have to stay down at the water's edge. We actually kind of like watching and listening to the vendors come by with their wares, and also just people watching as other guests from other resorts walk by. Where you sit on your loungers is on the resort property and is only other resort guests with you. We have been to all four Couples resorts and the only one we would not go back to is CTI... the other three really do it for us. And as far as the rooms at CSS, we thought they were the most upscale of all 4 resorts. The main beach at CSS is very quiet and small and nice, the water is not as clear but it certainly is a beautiful beach, the resort itself is large and spread out... you will never feel crowded at CSS. CN's larger beach has a gorgeous sunset each evening, the water is clear, and also they have the cat cruise which is not offered at CSS. I can't tell you which resort to pick, but if you want a more quiet location, I'd go with CSS. Honestly I believe you will be happy at any Couples resort you pick. You may even love CTI, we just felt it was more of an industrial/hotel feel instead of carribean feel, but that's just us. But if you want a recommendation based on what you say you are looking for, I think you should give CSS a try and then when you return (which you will!) then go to CSA or CN.
You've pretty much nailed the basics and the dilemma. CSS has gorgeous grounds but the beach is a disappointment (at least it was to us). But the food and the Gala are spectacular there. It is very romantic. We found the rooms to be nice at CSS.
We've also gone to CSA. I'm not sure what you mean by it "having a nice beach, but as its public it will be crowded." The beach is private. People can walk on it in the water line, but only the guests can use the lounges, etc. It has a huge beach front and we find it not to be crowded. I thought how they lit up the pathways at night at CSA to also be very romantic. The beach at CSA is my vision of what a tropical beach should look like and it is the wow factor at CSA.
We looked at both CN and CSA before we chose CSA. There are a lot of factors that go into how you chose, but here's what I found and why we chose CSA. CN is smaller and it's focal point is its pool. It appeared because of those two factors people tended to meet everyone there and friendships formed that had groups going back year after year together. It's beach is divided between the prude beach and the nude beach. It's beachfront is smaller, but the beach is deeper. It also doesn't have as many vendors walk down it as does CSA.
CSA's focal point is the beach. Because of the large beachfront you tend to see a portion of the population everyday, but not everyone, so if you are a very outgoing person who wants to meet lots of people CN is probably the best choice. We liked CSA as it could just be the two of us or when we felt social we could easily meet other couples. We did like the rooms better at CSA compared to the rooms we saw in the CN pictures. We aren't in to the nude beach thing so CN have a nude beach was a deterrent rather than an attraction to us. The athletic facilities at CSA are the best in Jamaica, so if you want to work out at all it is great.
Between CSS and CSA, my favorite is CSA and my wife's is CSS. We are going to CSA at Xmas and it was easy to convince Jackie that it was the one we wanted to go to (they are both wonderful in their own way).
We stayed at CSS for our first visit to Jamaica and we loved it.. I don't know who told you the accomodations weren't all that good, because they were fantastic.. heck our room was HUGE!! very clean, very relaxing. There are two beaches at CSS one is the main beach which is small but the sand is soft and you can walk half way out without rocks or hard things under your feet. The beach on the aul natural beach is nice but once you hit the water there are rocks so you need to wear boat shoes unless you have really tough feet. If you want romance and relaxation I would strongly recommend CSS, the feel there is very romantic with many lil quiet places you can sit and relax, many hammocks that are tucked away that you can swing and grab a quick nap in. The grounds around CSS are very nice with some truely breath taking views. And I strongly recommend the couples massage, they have two places that have such a view you almost hate to put your head down to enjoy the massage, but once you let the fresh ocean air sink into your lungs and take that first relaxing exhale as they massage you, you realize you have come pretty darn close to heaven and total relaxation.
Just like Rubigal says, the beach at csa is large and never feels crowded to us, (6th) visit in april, once to css. It is also the most beautiful beach I've ever seen and I've seen many. I enjoy the people watching at csa while we were bored silly at css. Css is gorgeous and a very unique property but I know we won't visit again. I have to say that the service and good was outstanding and we did have a great trip but the beach is what we go for and Negril can't be beat. I also like the freedom to be able to walk long bay and you can't do that from cn. Cn might be just right for you. Good luck deciding. If by chance you'd like to see what csa looks like email me for sone pics at firstname.lastname@example.org
As you were asking about CN, just realize that the same things that have been mentioned about CSA apply to CN (i.e. although the beach is open to the public it's only for them to transit...they can't stay and play). And while people from other resorts can pass through CN's beach area, there's not a lot of foot traffic, they have to stay below the water line and aren't be allowed to loiter. As has been stated already, CSS has a private beach but does not have the soft, white sand that would be found at CN. Either resort is as "romantic" as you'd like it to be. To us CSS is the most romantic with many places to roam and get away without leaving the comfort and hospitality of the resort. CN has some also...just not as many. As for accommodations...those at CSS are just as nice as CN and would not be considered sub-standard. Hopefully this helps in choosing your Couples Resort.