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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    44

    Default My name is Jamaica Joleen and I am a Negril - A - Holic

    Yes, I said it. I LOVE Negril and I LOVE the people and I LOVE the Vibe of the long beach and the bay. However, I have been drawn to the Ocho Rios side of the island for a while and have finally made the leap.

    If you go to the Negril portion of this website and look me up by name, you will find my last trip report and that tells you a lot about me and my prior travels. You will note, there is no trip report from last year.

    I am ashamed to admit it, but I spent my hard earned travel dollars in the Dominican Republic last year. My best friend's daughter had a wedding and my travel agent was just dying to get us out of Jamaica, so we went elsewhere. I won't spare you with tons of details, but I will tell you we will not return to the Dominican for a multitude of reasons….the main being you can't drink the water (I had severe stomach issues), and the DR just doesn't have the wonderful feeling of Negril.

    We chose to go to Ocho Rios this year because I knew that if we went to Negril this year after spending last year in the DR that we would never go elsewhere. You see, I want to LOVE the entire island of Jamaica. I believe it is possible.
    *************
    This year we are flying first class with a layover in Charlotte, NC. The cost of this flight was almost the same as a coach non stop flight. We thought it would fun to see how the other side lives. We are flying US Air this time. We are hopeful the meal time flights and drinks with being first on and first off the plane will be worth the hassle. Unfortunately, in order to arrive in Jamaica at a reasonable time, our flight leaves MSP at 5 am, which means we have to leave home at 2:00 am. My parents are taking us to the airport and picking us up and taking care of my little dog while we are gone. I am so thankful to them. It is so wonderful to be dropped and picked up at the curb.

    In the end, we decide the layover is not worth the upgrade to first class. US Air does not provide meal service if you flight is under 3 hours (both legs were like 2:50), they don't offer us drink service before we take off and the stewardess simply sneers at me when I ask for champagne. In lieu of champagne, I settle for white wine which is served in a plastic cup. And, there is no movie or some sort of in flight entertainment. Over all, I am pretty disappointed with our flights.

    One advantage we do find is that there is plenty of room in 1st class for our carry on baggage. This is the first year we carry on in lieu of checking bags and we are thrilled with the fact that there is no baggage to wait for.
    ***************
    Club Mobay
    This is a service I cannot and will not EVER again do without. We arrive into MBJ at around 2 pm on Saturday and this place is PACKED. We are met at the end of our gate by a rep from Club Mobay holding a sign with our name on it. She wisks us past what seemed like 1000's of people and we stand in line for about 15 minutes before we see our immigration officer. The CM rep apologizes for this delay, which just makes me giggle. One guy walks up and demands to be able to purchase the service NOW and is told he must pre purchase. He was NOT happy. For some reason, his unhappiness makes me giggle (you could tell this guy was not a nice person). Because of our carry on bags, there is no bags to claim (YAHOO). And we do the 2nd leg of customs with literally no wait at all.

    The CM rep takes us over to the Couples Lounge and it is busy. The Couples rep comes over and say "Welcome Home" and decides he is going to take my bags and put them in a pile of other bags. I tell him I will be happy to keep my bags. We have come to far together for me to lose site of them now. Honestly, the Couples lounge was pure chaos and I don't think I was over reacting.

    The CM lounge is right next door to the Couples lounge and because Couples only offers beer, we decide to go over to the CM lounge and have a rum punch (HEAVEN) while we wait for our transfer.

    We waited for about 15 minutes and our driver grabs us and another couple for the drive over to Ocho Rios.

    The couple we are with are ADORABLE. Late 20's/early 30's, she is pregnant (obviously so) and from Oregon. This is their first trip to Jamaica and they will be staying at Couples Tower Isle. They are vegetarians and seem a little concerned about what they are going to eat and having been to Swept Away in the past, we tell them they have no concerns as Couples caters to your every need.

    We stop half way to our destination at a roadside stand, get a couple of drinks (I have the Red Stripe Light with Lime and really kind of like it, even thought I am not much of a beer drinker), and we buy our driver a juice. Hubby and I split a patty, which was just okay.

    By the time we get to Couples Sans Souci, we are a little drunk. Remember we flew First Class and of course took advantage of the free cocktails (there was not much else to take advantage of…lol), we fast tracked thru immigration, had rum punch at the lounge and then 2 beers on the way to the resort with only half a patty each.

    CSS checks us in quickly, takes us right to our room (E10) which is a Penthouse Suite. We decide in lieu of unpacking, we have to go and get something to eat. It is now about 5 pm and we have been traveling all day, drinking all day and not eating all day.

    We head down to Bella Vista and we have the egg roll, salad, the Surf and Turf (steak and shrimp) and dessert. The food is good. They continue to keep our wine glasses full. There is a live 3 piece reggae band playing in the background and we are sitting steps away from the ocean. We are beyond happy, but also exhausted. We collapse into bed to the sounds of the live music coming from the Balloon Bar and sleep well.

    Tomorrow we unpack, take a look at our new home for the next week and decide if CSS will satisfy us. If not, I have a plan…….I will simply go to the front desk and kick and scream and throw a fit until they agree to transfer us to Negril.

  2. #2

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    Can't wait for more of this story...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    337

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    I am looking forward to hearing more about your trip! We are also Negril addicts who have decided to explore the other side of the island this year. After several trips to the 7 mile beach, we will visit CSS for the first time in November.
    Thanks for taking the time to write the review!
    Jan and Mark
    CN 2009
    CSA 2011
    CSA 2013
    CSS 2014

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    2,321

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    Css will be fine. Please don't scream,(I hope you're just kidding)! Enjoy your time there, the beach isn't Negril but it's still pretty and the resort is gorgeous.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    339

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    How dare that travel agent for you try to get you out of Jamaica! Welcome back... Have fun!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    44

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    Day 2. Will we like it here?

    I think we were asleep last night by 9:30 pm, so I wake up around 5:30 am. I do a quick search of the Couples.com message board and confirm that we were indeed given a Penthouse Suite. Past vacations (not in Jamaica) have taught me to always confirm that I have been given the room I paid for.

    Our bed is king sized and nice and firm. We have a Tempurpedic mattress at home and both feel like this mattress is comparable in firmness. The bedroom has a nice sized closet with a safe, a flat screened tv and a dresser. The bedding is adequate and we have been given multiple large pillows with 2 additional pillows in the closet. The bedroom has its very own air conditioner.

    There is a separate living room with tv and it's own air conditioner and a small kitchen with fridge and mini bar. We can see the Martini Bar and the Mineral Pool and fitness center from our large balcony. We can also see our neighbors and they can see us as there is not much of a divider. We both do not like the lack of privacy on the balcony. Seems like it could be remedied pretty easily with a bit of lattice.

    I am disappointmented with the bathroom. I guess when I purchased the Penthouse Suite, I expected a better bathroom. Don't get me wrong. It is clean and adequate, but extremely tiny. A single sink, stool and tub and shower and that is it. The good news is the towels are plentiful and very nice. I have long hair and packed my own conditioner. The shampoo does a good job and smells very nice. The hairdryer is pretty standard and with my long hair it takes a pretty long time to dry.

    Around 9 am, I head to the fitness center for a run on the treadmill. The fitness center literally sits right on the ocean. While on the treadmill I face a mirror that has the reflection of the sea in it. Air conditioning works great in the fitness center. I get done with my run and head up to the smoothie bar where they are just getting ready to set up. I think it was around 10 am. It would be nice if they were set up a little sooner, but not a big deal.

    After my run, I finish unpacking and shower and we get down to the beach and find all of the little huts taken but there are still multiple chairs w/cushions available. We lather on the sunscreen and park ourselves for the day.

    My first step into the water is almost emotional. It always is when I know that I have come to the right place. All I can do is just stand there and breath. This place is magnificent and I am so thankful to God that I can be here to take it all in.

    After a little swim, I head back to my chair where hubby and I both take naps as the gentle breeze cools us while the sound of the ocean relaxes and calms us.

    Today I am not drinking alcohol. I am also avoiding dairy. Why? I have hired Carolyn Barret to pick us up at 6 am tomorrow morning and take us for a run. I am training for a marathon and have a 10 mile run scheduled. She has agreed to map out a run for me that is safe, not real hilly and hopefully somewhat shaded. After the run, we are going swimming and then out for Jerk at a her favorite road side stand. I arranged all of this with Carolyn about 1 month ago and she told me she used to do marathons and if she can, she will even run with me. So, today, is all about hydrating, keeping any stomach issues in check (hence no dairy) and getting to bed early. Dear sweet husband of mine is supporting me….thought he thinks I am a bit crazy.

    We hit the martini bar before dinner. (OK- ALMOST no alcohol). Hubby isn't much of a martini drinker. I suggest a Manhattan - its a mans martini, right? I have the Flirtini. I love the Flirtini and he hates the Manhattan and promptly orders a flirtini. Suzette is hosting and Andrew is tending bar. Andrew opens up a can of Lychee with a big dull knife and almost gives me a heart attack.

    We had dinner at Bella Vista again. It is once again very good. The Appleton Rum Cheesecake is to DIE FOR.

    Gotta get up early tomorrow for my run. More to come.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    341

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    Live updates are the best. Thanks Joleen.

    BTW, the ultimate man's martini is just that, a martini, made with gin the proper way. No dirty or vodka or anything like that. Just gin and a waft of vermouth. All others are just poseurs.

    Look forward to more updates and enjoy your time.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    44

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    Day 3, the day of the 10 mile run in Jamaica.

    We get up at 5 am, drink a full bottle of water with Hammer Electrolytes, eat a Cliff Bar and a banana. I apply body glide to all of the appropriate nooks and crannies. Then, pack the bag. Change of clothes, swim suit, sun screen, pair of sandals, cash, Hammer Heed (think powdered Gatorade only much better) to put in the bottles of water that Carolyn is bringing us.

    We get down to the front desk at 5:55 am and tell the clerk we have a driver coming at 6 am to take us for a 10 mile run. At 6:05 am the front desk clerk offers to call. I tell him "No problem Mon, we are on Jamaica time. If she is not here by 6:30, we will call her". At 6:10, he talks me into calling her. He dials the number I provide him. Carolyn answers on the first ring. "Good Morning Carolyn, this is Joleen". "Joleen, who?" "Joleen- the runner at CSS". "Huh?". "You were supposed to pick us up at 6 am for a 10 mile run. Remember, you were going to map out a run for me, bring water and maybe even run with me if your knee could handle it?". "Did you make a down payment?". "Yes, I did….$100 via Paypal." SILENCE.
    "Oh my gosh. There you are. I am so sorry. Can we resched…….". "NO, we cannot reschedule. Please refund the money.". and I hung up the phone and started to cry.

    Front desk clerk- "Please don't cry. I can have a driver here for you in no time." I politely decline. I don't explain that Carolyn was supposed to plan out the safe, dog free, no hill, slightly shaded run. She was supposed to take us to a someplace really cool to swim after. She was supposed to bring me water. She was even going to run with me. Then, we were going someplace local for lunch. I don't explain that if I don't do this run today, I will not likely run again on this trip. This was my strategy to keep me preparing for the marathon during vacation.

    Front desk clerk- "You could run around our pond. It is 1/3 of a mile". Me- "You want me to run 10 miles - 1/3 of a mile at a time around the pond?".

    Hubby tells me that we need to go for a walk and figure things out. (God bless him….he always keeps me from losing it). We walk down to the pond. We run around the pond 6 or 7 times and actually got in a little over 2 miles. This place is really beautiful. There are turtles and birds and it is really lovely. When we are done (ok bored), we go and investigate the nude beach (before anyone is there). The "nudies" got it pretty good. I try to convince Hubby we should make a visit later in the day. I hear they have Bocci Ball. He says- "NAKED Bocci Ball? I will pass". Makes me laugh.

    We head back to the room, shower and change and head down to the beach. By the time we get down to the beach, it is 8 am and we have our picks of chairs (remember we have been out and about since 6 am). We chose our favorite spot and go for breakfast. Today, they have brown stew chicken and dumplings on the buffet with boiled banana. I am in heaven. I LOVE Brown Stew Chicken and Dumplings. Flavor is fantastic and the dumplings are good and chewy.

    Anyhow, back to the beach chairs. Richard and Christopher from watersports are raking the beach and Richard strikes up a conversation with us. We end up booking a private snorkeling trip with them for later in the day.

    As the morning goes on, we meet Conroy- he is our beach waiter. He gives us a stick with a blue flag on it and instructs us anytime we need anything, we should waive it and he will bring us whatever we need. Later in the day (after our snorkeling) things slowed down a bit on the beach and he visited with us. He told us he was a trainee. Trainee's wear black pants and white shirts. Once they are no longer on parole, they are allowed to wear the polo shorts and shirts. Conroy really likes it here. He says it is a good job and he hopes he makes it on permanently.

    Christopher and Richard come and get us around 1 pm for our private snorkeling excursion. The 4 of us head out. They had the boat equipped with a cheese and fruit plate and a 6 pack of Red Stripe.

    Hubby explains he is not much of a swimmer and has never been snorkeling. I, on the other hand, am pretty sure I am descended from Mermaids (Mermaids Body of Evidence- watch it!) and am just fine. As we motor towards the snorkel site, Christopher points out all of the hotels and names them. I gotta tell ya- I was not impressed with S beach. CSS has a 1 million times better beach then either of the S properties.

    Anyhow, we stop around the reef and Christopher takes a great deal of time to walk Hubby thru the process, how to snorkel, how to breathe, etc. Even has him use the tube before he gets in the water. Over the side we go and Christopher stays with hubby and is so patient and kind.

    IMHO- the snorkeling was just ok. I had much better snorkeling a few years ago near Booby Cay (Negril), but in any event, I did see a few cool fish. Honestly, I was just happy to be swimming in the sea.

    We decide to swim back to the boat where Richard is hanging out as Captain. He helps Glen and Christopher in the boat. I take off my life jacket and mask and snorkel and hand it to Christopher and then do a quick swim out and back 20 or 30 feet and then decide I need to show the boys I know how to do a somersault in the water…..so either part Mermaid or part kid- not sure.

    We get back to the beach and hang out a little longer (that was when we got to visit with Conroy).

    We managed to get reservations at Casanova on short notice tonight, so we head up to the room to get ready for dinner. On the way to the room, I pick a great big orange flower (think Hibiscus) and later put it in my hair. Prior to dinner, we hit the Martini bar for multiple Flirtini's and great conversation with Andrew and Suzette.

    Dinner at Casanova's was fabulous. Sunshine (the hostess) - is really a great big dose of sunshine and is just a fabulous lady. She made us feel really special.

    During dinner, I happen to see one of those little tiny tree frogs hanging out on a window on the building. Obviously have heard the little frogs, but never saw one, so was pretty excited. He was about as big as my thumb and pretty darn cute.

    We are in bed once again pretty early- getting up at 5 am, running 2 miles, snorkeling, lots of great sunshine and copious amount of Flirtini's and Red Wine with dinner have just plane done us in.

    The day started out very disappointing but turned into an absolutely magnificent day.

    By now, I can tell you, we are in love with this property and the people who work at this property. The employees are happy and go out of their way to make you feel important and special.

    Thanks for hanging with me as I document our trip. More to come tomorrow.

  9. #9

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    Keep the review coming. We are going to CSS this year after two trips to CN. Have CN also booked for 2015. Hoping we will enjoy CSS as much as CN but the bar is pretty high.

    Kurt and Angela
    CN 2011, 2013 and 2015
    CSS 2014

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    223

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    Thank you so much for your posts! I have been enjoying them and look forward to your next entry! Sounds like you're having an AWESOME time!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    44

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    Day 4
    We had some early morning rain and the seas are a bit rough today. No snorkeling or hobby cats. Water sports has deemed it a red flag day.

    Not only am I training for a marathon, but I also have a Half Ironman on the calendar so need to get a swim in today. Because of the "red flag", I decide to swim at the main pool. I pace it off and it appears to be a 25 yard pool. Before the bar opens, I do a bunch of laps and look to the hubby to critique my stroke. He doesn't swim, but I tell him what I want him to look for and he is happy to comply from his lounger.

    We do take part in movie trivia at the pool bar which is hosted by Milton from the entertainment group. A bit Kookie but fun anyways.

    We have lunch at Bella Vista and decide that we are in love with the french fries and ketchup. We are strictly Heinz ketchup people so we find it funny that we LOVE this ketchup. When I say LOVE, I mean we actually talk about drinking it….lol. Glen has the Sans Souci Burger and I have the Jerk Chicken with Cocoa Bread and Coleslaw. SO YUMMY.

    Dinner is also at Bella Vista and it is just ok. Our server introduces himself by name, shakes our hand and takes our order. Because I don't want him to get into trouble, I will not name him. But, I can tell you we didn't get our salads and our medium rare steaks came well done. We didn't wait around for dessert and finished the night at the beach bar.

    Again, early to bed….like 9 pm. I am hooked on Call the Midwife which is available via Netflix and I have great internet service in my room.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    276

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    Jolene! Thank you for the great posts and sharing your experiences with us. I can't wait to try the Flirtini! Are the bartenders the same ones each night at the martini bar?

    Sorry to hear about your disappointing experience with your pre-arranged run. Glad you didn't let it spoil your trip.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    107

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    Love the real time trip report. So glad you are enjoying CSS. We did a CSA / CSS split a few years ago and are doing again this year. We also were in E10 when there. When we did the split we went to CSA first for a week then transfered to CSS. I have to say it took about 3 days to grow on us. The vibe of the place was so much different and we wanted to go back to CSA at first but by the time we left we knew we'd be back to CSS. Wife was crying on way back to airport because we had to leave. We absolutly love Negril but last year found ourselves craving to head back to CSS. Had to book another split because we just CANNOT come to Jamaica without going to CSA. My advice to anyone thinking about trying the other side of the island for the first time, whichever way your headed, is to go with an open mind and attitude. Stay for a few days and let it soak in. It's not going to be the same but you just may find a second or third home.

    Keep the trip reports coming. Living vicariously through you till we return.

    152 days soon come....

    CSA Aug. 2011, July 2012, July 2013, July 2014
    CSS Aug. 2011, Aug. 2014

  14. #14

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    LOVING your review. I'm not even going to CSS but you are just a wonderful writer, it's like reading a novel to me, and I'm envisoning your experiences in my head as I read. I 'm sorry your run didn't work out Looking forward to the rest of your review~

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by kurt and Angie View Post
    Keep the review coming. We are going to CSS this year after two trips to CN. Have CN also booked for 2015. Hoping we will enjoy CSS as much as CN but the bar is pretty high.
    You never know, Kurt and Angie, you may even like CSS more. My husband does. We honeymooned in CN 2009, gave CSS a try in 2013, and are going back to CN for our 5th anniversary. But he's already thinking about returning to CSS!!

    Loving your stories too, Joleen. Hope to read more.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    249

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    Love the real time update/reviews... We have been to all four of the resorts and we alternate between each side of the island. Yes, we love the Negril side and will stay a week at CN and CSA and then on our next trip we wii stay at CSS (CTI is great, just not our vibe).

    Since CSS is one of our favorite, we are really enjoying your daily posts. We will be there (CSS) at the end of April and look forward to the changes.

    Thanks for you sharing and delighted that you have experienced one of our favorite places. Trust you are also taking advantage and enjoying SSB??

    Wish we were there now. Thanks.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    44

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    Day 5
    Ok. I have a confession to make. I am not actually at CSS right now (though I would love to be). Hubby and I got back on Saturday and I am reliving my trip one day at a time. You see- I live in Wisconsin and we have had a brutally horrible winter. In fact, while we were gone, we got about 18-24 inches of snow and the high temperature today was a balmy 9 degrees. I am looking forward a high of 3 degrees tomorrow.

    Tonight, I want to tell you about the Repeaters Dinner and the Beach Party.

    The Beach Party is pretty cool. It takes place sort of in front of the Watersports building. The employees of CSS do an amazing job of transforming the beach into a …..well sort of a Hawaiian Lua.

    Just off of the beach bar, we enter and there is a couple of large prints of Bob Marley and the resort photographers are there to take your picture. We enter the table area and are a little confused as to where to sit. Hubby points to a table with 2 other couples at it and we walk over and ask if we can sit with them. We quickly become acquainted with Bart and Nonnie and Cel and Morgan (Please forgive me if I misspelled or even stated their names wrong). Bart and Nonnie have been to CSS 7 times and Bart states every time he walks into the lobby he feels like he is at home. Nonnie is just lovely and real talker. She keeps us all entertained. Cel and Morgan are pretty quiet, but still delightful.

    They announce dinner is ready and Nonnie (the 7 timer takes off for the meat station). I try to go for salad but people are starting their own lines and well- after collecting a few tomatoes, I finally decide to head back to the table. Hint- don't go to dish up right away. Wait for the masses to get ahead of you and then go in for dinner. They have plenty of food and I promise CSS is not going to run out of it.

    Table service is fantastic. They take our drink order, keep our wine glasses full and even bring us Rum Creme for our coffees after we hit the dessert table. The food is very good. I really enjoyed the Jerk Pork, hubby likes the Jerk Chicken and they have Cocoa Bread which I am addicted to and wish I could get in the states. We tried the Curried Goat and decide that it tastes just like the Curried Goat we had at a road side stand that was supposed to be the BEST IN NEGRIL. It still tastes like old lamb with a bunch of curry powder on it. Blech.

    The entertainment was cute. Some younger gals came out and did a dance……think Dance recital (for those of you who are Dance Moms and Dads).

    The next night (I think) was the Repeaters Dinner.
    You see, if you have been to a Couples Resort before there is PERKS. This was our second visit and we received a $100 resort certificate, 2 water bottles (they are pretty cool) and an invitation to the Repeaters Dinner.

    The Repeater's Dinner is held on Wed night at Sans Souci and is held at the main pool. I can't even begin to tell you how amazed I am again at the transformation. Again- tables with white linens, napkins and nice chairs. We are one of the first ones in the door and are greeted personally by Mr. Peter Batagglia, the General Manager of CSS. He shakes our hands, thanks us for coming and hands us a raffle ticket. We are guided to our table and seated with……Bart and Nonnie and Cel and Morgan!! We are destined to be friends with these lovely people.

    The waiter comes to take our drink orders and I follow suit with Nonnie and order Champagne as does the other 2 ladies at the table (I wouldn't have recognized the option had Nonnie not started it). We spend a few moments chatting and then Mr. Peter Batagglia sits down with us and tells us he will be having dinner with us. There is a manager of some sort or another at every table and this is the night they thank their repeat guests.

    Mr. Batagglia gives a very nice speech thanking everyone and the table service begins. We were served salad and soup. Then, when those courses were done, we where instructed to head to the buffet where they had mashed potatoes, steak kabobs and grilled lobster. AMAZING FOOD!! Dessert was some kind of amazing custard with a crispy fried banana stuck in the top and coffee (of course they brought us Rum Creme for our coffee).

    Then, the managers were introduced and they handed out some raffle prizes. WE WON a $50 gift certificate to the gift shop!!

    After dinner, once again, we are a little drunk, extremely satisfied, a little sunburned and mostly just very happy. We head to bed and DREAM OF NOTHING.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    44

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    We leave tomorrow.

    We start the day with a short run around the pond then back to the room to shower before our 80 minute couples massage.
    We check in at Charlie's Spa and are taken to the Hideaway. The Hideaway sort of hangs over the ocean and has open windows to sea. The breeze and the sound of the sea hitting the rocks below is amazing. We both enjoyed our massages and will definitely do it again. However, we decide we should have had the massage's early into the trip.

    After the massage, we head up to the photo shop to print our our boarding passes and to review the pictures. We actually find 3 pictures we like and purchase them. They have a special- 3 pictures and a silver Couples photo frame for $65. Not a great deal, but when you are middle age and little chubby you will pay whatever the asking price is for a good picture….lol.

    After picking out our photographs, we head over to the beach for our last day in the sun.

    Shortly after we get into the sun my neck where I am sun burned starts to itch and burn like crazy. I can't tell if I am sun burned or am having a reaction to the massage oils or a reaction to the massage oils combined with the sun screen or a little bit of everything. All I know is that I HAVE TO GET OUT OF THE SUN NOW. We head back to the room and I get into the shower and when I come out hubby is there with Aloe gel from the gift shop. I apply to the itchy area and lay down. I feel bad but today I am going to have to stay out of the sun. After the shower and aloe application, the area starts to feel better.

    At this point, we finally decide to use our balcony. Our neighbors are not home and so for the 1st time this trip, we hang out on the balcony and enjoy the view, the sounds of the ocean and the breeze. There is a pair of doves that I think must be nesting in the Pine -like tree just to our left. One of them comes and hangs out in the gutter where there is a drain tube from the air conditioner. Apparently he/she loves the distilled water.

    We order nacho's from room service. They show up about 10 minutes after we order with a plate of corn chips sprinkled with fresh chopped peppers and onions and 3 little cups- one with warm cheese sauce, one with sour cream and and one with salsa. It was all very fresh and tasty.

    I tell the hubby that I think we should stay in tonight and pack and rest for our long travel day (I am kind of a nervous traveler), but he thinks we should take in the Friday Night Gala. We decide to just start with getting dressed for dinner (casual shorts tonight) and take in the sunset over at SSB. We have not yet seen a sunset on this trip and considering my love for Negril am a little surprised that I haven't even thought of it.

    Over at SSB, everyone has either left or put their clothes on….lol. The saxaphone player is there and the bar is still open, so of course we have a drink. Rum punch tastes pretty good. We sit down and take in the sunset and it is just as magnificent as I remember Negril's ….maybe even a little better in that you have some mountains (or foothills) in the background.

    After sunset we head over to the area where they have set up for the Gala and sure enough we run into Bart/Nonnie and Cel and Morgan and decide we should have dinner with them once again on this trip. Now, if you are impressed with the Beach Party or the Repeater's Dinner, the GALA is gonna blow your socks off. Seriously AMAZING. The best food we had on the entire trip. They had multiple food stations set up…..grilled cornish game hens, a whole roast pig, prime rib, stir fry, pasta, salad, sushi, cherries jubilee, an ice sculpture and other beautiful and decadent desserts. Of course our wine glasses were never empty and we once again had rum creme with our coffee.

    After dinner, we bid our new friends adieu and promise to try to connect on Facebook.

    We walk the beach and hike the stairs to our room one last time and turn in early, this time, not because we can, but because we have too. Our ride to the airport comes at 7:30 am tomorrow.

    I am so glad hubby was the voice of reason and took me to the Gala tonight. It was the best night we had with the best food and I didn't think the prior nights could be topped. If you visit CSS, make sure you are there to enjoy the Gala.

    Tomorrow I will tell you about our ride home and cover any ground I missed (there is a few things )

    Thanks again for following along.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    503

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    Ok, we need to be friends! As I was reading I kept nodding in agreement...flight attendant sneering, up early to run, from Wisconsin, water is almost a religious experience.

    You actually are making me reconsider CSS. We have visited twice on trading spaces and love the layout as well as ssb. However, we are crazy foodies and there doesn't appear to be the options there that are at the others. It would be fine for a couple of days , but I just do t think we can do a week. That's unfortunate bc the staff there always seem to be so very friendly and engaging.
    I loved that.

    Thanks so much for such a great review. It's helping me through this dreadful winter!!!!!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    44

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    Saying Good Bye…

    We get up early- 5:30 am, get ready and get down to check out by 6:30 am. We don't wait for someone to come and get our bags. We check out and review the bill and everything looks kosher. Our ride is set to pick us up at 7:30 am, so considering we are checked out by 6:35 am, we have 55 minutes to kill. Coffee and pastries finally come around 7 am and we help ourselves. The front desk clerk takes one last picture of us with my phone before the bus finally comes.

    I don't ask, but do wonder where my "good bye snacks" are. Nothing was given to us. I wonder if this is just a rumor.

    Because it is just hubby and I, I think we must have our own driver. Unfortunately, a large mini bus shows up with about a dozen guests from CTI. The bus has 2 seats on one side and 1 seat on the other side. All of the 2 seaters are full and we are stuck riding in solo seats. Would have been nice to be able to sit next to each other, but not a big deal. All passengers on the bus are pretty somber including us. It is a sad day.

    We get to the airport and we wait for them to unload the bus. Their are baggage people there and hubby and I tell the baggage people we are fine. We grab our bags and head for Club Mobay and are immediately whisked right to security. The Club Mobay rep even stays with us thru the beginning of security. We really don't need his help but I think what a great service for people who don't travel/are nervous about travel. After security, we head right to the Club Mobay lounge. We are hungry!! We have coffee with rum creme and fresh bagels with cream cheese. The bartenders are making latte's and cappuccino's for other parties who request them. Not us. We are taking this one last opportunity to enjoy coffee with rum creme.

    After getting something to eat, I leave hubby and head out to the airport to do some last minute shopping. I return within 20 minutes with the goods I need and order a bloody mary. The actually make a pretty good bloody. I ask for a beer chaser and am given a bottle of red stripe as they are cleaning the lines of the tapper. Hubby follows suit and agrees the bloody hits the spot.

    About 11 am they bring out the patties, sandwiches, sushi. We have chicken and beef patties and agree they are tasty.

    We head to our gate and start the long process home. I won't bore you with the details about the flights home, except I will say that I continue to be disappointed with US Airways. Pretty generic. Customs in North Carolina was no problem.

    What we will do again:
    Carry on our luggage. Huge time saver. Sun screen is available at CSS for $9.50 (US) for Hawaiin Tropic. If you want the aerosol can of sunscreen, it will set you back about $22.00.
    Club Mobay coming and going. I don't care if we are the only plane in the gate. We LOVE this service.
    Martini Bar….loved it. I would just love a Flirtini or a Lychee Martini right now.
    Jerk Chicken and Cocoa Bread (I would pay dearly for some right now)
    Photo shoot…..we loved the pictures Delsena took of us.
    Massage at The Hideaway
    Private Snorkel with Christopher and Richard
    Beach Party, Repeater's Dinner, Friday Night Gala….don't miss any of them…
    Rum Cream with every cup of coffee
    Drink Champagne while I walk the beach
    Run around the pond before 7 am

    What we won't do again/would change:
    Instead of the Penthouse suite, we will book a Beachfront suite
    Use bug spray (1 week later I am still dealing with bug bites…hubby has NONE)
    Massage at beginning of vacation instead of end of vacation
    I won't book an outside excursion. Any excursion we do will be right thru the resort and will be booked when we get there.
    MORE Sunsets at SSB.

    Overall, it was an absolutely perfect vacation. We loved our time at CSS. We loved the people. We loved the charm of this resort. We never felt "compounded in" or trapped. We loved every minute.

    I started this report with the statement "My name is Jamaica Joleen and I am a Negril Aholoic." I end this report telling you I am no longer a Negril Aholoic. I am a Jamaica Aholoic. Couples has taught me there is more to the island than just Negril. There is beauty in other areas of the island and the people of Jamaica continue to amaze me.

    Will we be back? You bet we will. In fact, we have already booked 2015……only 345 more sleeps and I am back in paradise at CSS.

    Thanks again to all of the wonderful staff. Those that made us feel particularly special: Andrew, Suzette and Dalton at the Martini Bar, Sunshine at Casanova, Christopher and Richard in Watersports, Maselle at the pool bar, Conroy at the beach, Milton and Michael in Entertainment and of course, Mr. Peter Batagglia who sat with us at the Repeaters Dinner. And, one final thank you to the front desk clerk who tried so hard to keep me from crying and tried so hard to find a solution when the driver for my run was no show. I am so sorry I cannot remember your name, but you were a real gem that day and me and my husband thank you.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    8

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    Love this review! It's a great read for a new MB addict whose coundown to CN (first time!) is just under 300… Good details and easy to read style!! Thanks for all the time you've put in!

    Anyway… I've been exploring the first 20 or so pages of this board, and see you all over - and discovered that you are very close to us in Wisconsin, Jamaica Joleen! My husband and I live in Comstock (right outside Cumberland) and I teach in Hammond! We both went to college in River Falls and love the town very much. (Madtown Mom, we also love your city - we go to Madison every year for the music ed conference and it is our "mini" vacaction to get us through till the next Jamaican getaway!!)

    This winter is a killer, I tell you. Stay strong, ladies, and think warm thoughts!!!

  22. #22

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    Hi joleen,

    First off, EXCELLENT review! We went to CSS last March and loved it. We are so happy you loved it as well. My wife and i both got warm fuzzy feelings when we saw you booked a return trip to CSS. We want to check out the other resorts, but couldn't stand to be away from CSS, so we have a 2 week split stay booked for negril and sans souci. I hope we love negril as muchas sans souci!

    Second, since you were just there, can you tell us if some other people are still there?

    Peter - he was a trainee bartender at the beach bar
    Kadian (sp?) - she was also training at beach bar and sunset beach bar
    Sasha, spaghetti, linguini - entertainment staff, the latter two also known as the twin towers
    I can't remember his name, but a guy from the watersports team, his name started with a D.
    Is this Love that I'm feelin'?

    CSS March 2013, April/May 2014
    CN April 2014

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    249

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    Hi again Joleen G.
    As noted in an earlier post, loved your on-going review (as if you were still there).

    And am so delighted that you fell in love with one of our favorites. We likewise love the Negril side. Then tried the Ocho Rios and fell in love with Couples Sans Souci. When we return to CSS the at the end of April, it will be our 5th CSS visit, our 17th to Couples (CN - 7 times, CSA- 4 times, and CTI - 1 time.)

    We are constantly ask which is our favorite -- and as we say, they are all fantastic, each is different and each has their own specialness. We encourage folks to try each of the four resorts and you may find the one that is your ideal or like us, we now rotate between CSS, CN and CSA.

    Again, thanks for sharing.

  24. #24

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    Joleen! Loved your reviews! Reinforces why we love CSS. One thing, I think the name of the GM at CSS is Pierre and not Peter...wishing you many happy Jamaican vacations!:-)

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    794

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    Joleen, Where in Wisconsin are you from? I am from Loyal, a little town about 60 miles west/southwest of Wausau. I sure missed our annual trip to CSS this year, as my husband cannot travel any more per his doctor. I keep reliving others peoples trips on the board. Thanks for the review.
    Linda

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