Visited CN over Christmas. It was our 9th visit and, as with the others, terrific. There’s a reason we keep returning and will do so again in 2014. Rather than capture our entire visit, will focus on a few things that were particularly memorable.
Let me start of by saying that Club MoBay was our savior. When we got off the plane, the customs line LITERALLY started 10 feet from the jetway. We'd probably still be in line were it not for Club MoBay – seriously, we were facing at least 2, and probably 3, hours in line. Instead, we were whisked through customs in less than 5 minutes. And, on your return, it’s a great place to relax, have food and drink, avoid the crowds, etc. Well worth it!!!
Once at CN, check-in took an unusually long 25 minutes (at nearly 6 pm); but hey, it’s vacation. The new room keycards are great. They’ve repositioned the in-room safe so it now opens to the front making it much easier to place things inside. For those interested, we were told that, in remodeling the bathrooms, no changes will be made to the suite bathrooms. Renovations will continue as occupancy allows, so no specific timetable. No real changes to the rooms.
Mini-bar service was SUPER prompt; we never waited more than 10 minutes and sometimes it seemed they were waiting outside our door when we called! And it was always delivered with a smile. I thought I’d hate the new approach but, after two trips, I like it better as we get exactly what we requested (which didn’t always happen under the prior system). Love the Red Stripe in the mini-bars -- would like to have bottled water as well. WiFi was generally fine -- a bit slow at times but it is nice to have it available in your room and faster service is available in the Internet room.
The new towel system (no need to trade one-for-one by room #) is wonderful! The only downside is that some people leave their towels on chairs when done for the day such that it’s not clear whether they’re returning or not. The towel bin is only a few feet away – be considerate and turn yours in.
Speaking of lack of consideration . . . sadly a few repeaters showed none for their fellow guests. These folks would come to the pool at 7 am and dump their stuff on prime chairs with umbrellas. And then leave. For hours. They’d spend maybe one hour in their chairs the entire day. Folks, there are plenty of chairs – don’t hog ones that you don’t actually plan to use. You book a room, not a pool chair, and your right to be able to sit in it whenever you want to doesn’t trump someone else’s right to sit in it during the 7 hours a day you’re not there. Thankfully, it was only a couple of folks who did this so there were always plenty of chairs.
The Christmas Eve/Day events were excellent. This year, there was a Christmas Eve cocktail party with oysters and other terrific food stations (and drinks, of course) with an opportunity to meet the staff. The Christmas church service was special for those of us who wanted to celebrate the religious significance of the day. And the band that played during Santa’s arrival – FANTASTIC – could have listened to them all week.
We ate at least twice in all four restaurants and found the service and food terrific throughout. I’m not as enthralled with the new Otaheite menu as the prior one (miss the Caesar salad and plantain soup) but that’s personal preference. Lychee’s menu allows you to choose your protein (or veggie) and sauce which is very flexible -- love the new hot and sour soup! Heliconia remains one of our favorites.
Was a bit disappointed in the lack of Couples logo items in the shops – for women, only a handful of (frankly, tiny) T-shirts and polo shirts for guys. Couples, we want to promote you – give us the chance!!
The spa was great. However, NOTE that your Romance Rewards massage coupon cannot be used (as partial credit) for a deep tissue massage. This represents a change in policy but is not stated up front. Not a huge deal, but something to keep in mind. The massage itself was, as always, excellent.
The staff was friendly as ever -- great to see Tennyson and Ivylyn still there. THEY (the entire staff) are the main reason we return over and over again; best in the business!
Overall, there were few significant changes to CN since last year – it was familiar and comfortable and wonderful, just like home. Happy to answer any questions.