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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    20

    Default CSA 1st timer (message board addict) review

    About us: I'm 33 and my husband 35. We visited Negril for our 5 year wedding anniversary. We were also celebrating the recent birth of our second child. We hadn't been on vacation since our honeymoon, so needless to say, we were ready. We booked our vacation 7 months out so I had plenty of time to research on TA and the Couples message boards. Due to the young kids at home we only stayed 3 nights at CSA, Saturday to Tuesday.

    Message Board: I will never go on another trip without researching on TA and frequenting hotel message boards when possible. I felt like a repeat guest and it has it's advantages. I knew what to order from each restaurant, what drinks to try, where to go, etc.

    Pre trip: We did not stay at CSA our first night in Jamaica. I knew that Couples would not be able to provide the free transfer from the airport due to insurance and liability issues. This info was on the message board and was confirmed to us by the hotel. I was hoping we would be able to use the provided shuttle from our hotel on the Island on our check in day so I emailed CSA. I quickly received a response from Shelly Ann Simpson and was extremely impressed with her Customer Serice. She apologized for not being able to provide a transfer and offered to make our dinner and catamaran reservations. I was over the moon because I was worried with such a short amount of time at the resort I would have a challange getting reservations.

    Arrival: Because we were already on the island we arrived at the resort around 9:45am. The lobby was packed with very depressed people all headed home. Check in was quick however because our room wasn't ready we would have to return. They let us keep our bags by the front desk. We checked back twice before the room was ready. I made the mistake of asking then if we would be on the first or second floor. We were on the 2nd but they had a first floor availabe and gave us the option. We chose the first floor. This made us have another wait for the room to be ready. We didn't mind because we were exploring the resort drinks in hand. Our room was ready around 1pm. The precheck in mini bar was not fulfilled, but I blame that on us and the room change request.

    Room: We stayed in a Premiere Beachfront Suite (1126) It was exactly what I expected. Everything you read about the rooms are spot on. We loved the room but would not recommend paying for the "premiere" beachfront. Again, I read it and it's true, all you are paying for is a bigger porch/balcony. If you are going in a group it may be worth it if you want to socialize on the porch. We also requested a first floor room because we thought the views and ability to walk right out to beach would be worth it. Ultimately, the room was set back further then the beachfront suites and the view was blocked by lush vegetation. The foot traffic is heavy but we were expecting that and didn't mind the people watching. It rained in the afternoons and we enjoyed sitting on the porch and still feeling like we were on the beach. My only complaint is about the porch furniture. They should put more comfortable chairs, add a 2 person chaise lounge and a hammock to these rooms. The bathroom was the best part of the room. The wrap around shutters let you choose to keep the beach in view or close for privacy. The tree frogs are louder then the loudest you are expecting. I had to wear ear plugs (another great MB tip) to drown them out. My husband liked it, as many do.

    Food: The food is incredible. We enjoyed everything we ate. My husband made a comment at every meal about it being the best he'd ever had at a resort. Like everyone says Seagrapes Fish Tacos are delicious. Very fresh and not to filling. We ate there everyday. TIP: you can order them even if they are not on the menu. The Cabana Grill takes forever. TIP: order your food then go in the pool or enjoy the swim up bar while waiting. They give you a beeper. Also, get the snapper sandwhich there. Lemongrass was our favorite dinner. TIP: Try to get the first seating as you can enjoy the sunset from your table. Feathers was a bit of a dissapointment. The dessert sampler however had us leaving with a smile. Patios pizza was amazing but the service for both dinner and breakfast there was the slowest at the resort. The bar drinks were good. Vodka slushy was a great find on the MB. I wasn't impressed by the bar staff service at any location. I tried to engage everyone I met and had no success. Yes, we were polite and patient. Even after waiting 3 times as long as you would in US, I tried to make jokes and have them chat with me and nothing. A recent review states that it's good to know on your 1st day what to expect from the Jamaican culture and their service. That should be added to the "wish I would have know that thread" Once your on Jamaican time it doesn't seem to bother you but when looking back I can't help but acknowledge it.

    Activities: Paddleboarding was a blast and very accessible. Make sure to go to your knees when close to the shoreline or you will fall. Snorkel trip was good however I was bummed that my request for the Mexico site wasn't acknowledged. We were signed up for the late trip but due to the afternoon rainshowers we wanted to go out earlier. We were able to get on just by waiting at the watersports hut. Watersports staff gave us bread to feed the fish and that was a great experience. TIP: Bring bread with you and a underwater camera. The fish will eat the bread right from your fingers. Catamaran was a blast. Quiet going out, rowdy once anchored. The slide was fun and faster then expected. TIP: Sit on the front left net if possible. Also, do not make dinner reservations on the same night as the catamaran cruise. You will be tired. Water sports staff was cool when teaching husband to waterski. Although lesson was lacking. Pool and beach scheduled activities seem to not take place during the day except for basket weaving and tye dye shirts.

    Entertainment: Music during the day is lacking. Beach vendor musicians are good but hard to enjoy if you are worried about making sure to tip appropriate. Piano bar was fun but the crowd makes all the difference. The Reggae performance on Monday night by Kevin Clark was great. Sadly, we stayed on days that made us miss the famous beach party, bonfire and steel drums. We will be booking next time in conjunction with these special nights.

    We loved Jamaica and CSA. We never thought we would be repeaters to any one destination but are already planning our return trip.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    254

    Default

    I enjoyed reading your trip report, and I'm glad that overall you had a great trip and are planning to return. We love CSA too and although no trip is perfect or without little things that could be improved, it's almost like being family. Some things about your family you wish you could change, but you love them anyway and you know that changing them would make them less of who they are. LOL The things like wait time I think we've just gotten used to. It really doesn't bother me anymore to wait for a long time while I'm there. I just sit back and enjoy the surrounding beauty and spending time with my hubby. Sometimes too it takes awhile to bond with the workers at CSA. Many are private and they don't really open up until about day 5 of seeing you repeatedly, at least that's been our experience. Of course there are some who right away you can connect with. I don't let this bother me too much anymore either. I'm there to reconnect with my husband so he's my focus while I'm there. Anyway I guess what I'm saying is if you go back again and again, you'll find that somethings never change, but they don't really bother you anymore. You're always sad to leave. There's just something magical about being there, flaws and all.
    CSA - May 2009, May 2010, March 2011 (wedding), December 2012, May 2014 CSS - December 2011

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    612

    Default

    Ahhhhhh…..Room 1126…..Our favorite room at CSA! Thank you for the photos and for the detailed review. We really miss CSA!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    472

    Default

    Great photos!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Thank you so much for posting! I have been an addict on here as well. We are headed there in August (first timers) for our honeymoon!

  6. #6

    Default

    Nice report! I am addicted as well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    434

    Default

    Another long time CSA here and we are very happy that music is "lacking" during the day and hope it stays that way forever.

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