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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    680

    Default Back from CSS, a few comparisons to CN

    A great week at CSS. Food and weather were great! We will go back, but not sure we would choose it over CN very often. Here are some of things my wife and I talked about on the flight home. Please note that we are giving our views and opinions... not yours. If you disagree with anything I say below it is simply because we have different opinions. No harm there! Respect to all!

    Strengths-
    1) I LOVE walking around CSS! There are so many beautiful views and cool spaces hidden around the resort. It is beautiful!
    2) We were in A34 (Beachfront Suite) and loved just about everything about the room.
    3) The food was the equal of that at CN (and better than most resorts by a long shot!)
    4) The renovation at SSB classed up that space a great deal! It looks great and the absence of a nude pool at CN is the one real weakness of that facility at CN!
    5) The Friday Gala was excellent, the food was great and since it is held on the grassy area the sand was not a problem as it sometimes can be. Top notch!
    6) Every staff member we came into contact with was friendly and helpful! Great staff throughout the resort!

    So-So stuff-
    1) Casanova was disappointing the one night we went there. It was extremely hot up there (far warmer than the temps down toward the beach level!) and if the place has A/C it was not on. The french doors out to the patio area were propped open and there was no air moving at all. Some ceiling fans out in the area near the piano would be very helpful, and A/C would be even better given the dress code for long pants. The Piano player was banging away (and seemed very talented) but another band was playing outside the Balloon Bar at the same time and it was like a discordant battle of the bands all at once. Would not have been an issue of they had closed the doors and turned on some A/C. We both ordered tenderloin steaks medium, but one came out bloody rare and one came out cooked to death. We had reservations for another night but we cancelled. It wasn't worth the trek up there for us.
    Otaheite and Lychee are both far better IMO (at least that night with the conditions and the food not being great at Casanova... I assume it is probably much better most of the time since so many rave about it. We just caught them on a bad night I guess).
    2) While we loved our room we won't miss the jacuzzi tub when they do the remodel. The thing took forever to fill up and the jets were weak. Kind of a waste of space we thought.
    3) The Wifi only worked consistently at our suite when we were on or near the balcony, but not well from the seating area and not at all from the bedroom.
    4) The beaches were just not pleasant to walk on due to the rocks and vegetation in the water. Not bad for north coast beaches, but they of course pale in comparison to CN. When/if we go back to CSS we will wear water shoes if we go in the water. We talked to two people who had stepped on sea urchins hidden in the rocks and vegetation and they had to spend some unpleasant time in pain and having spines plucked out.
    5) Showtime at the Balloon Bar ... entertainment was good.... the same as other resorts but the chairs all lined up side by side just is not as nice as a table in the main dining room in front of the stage at CN with ceiling fans blowing and a table to sit at.

    Areas that really need improvement IMO ( and remember... this is simply my opinion and it is no more right nor wrong than yours or anyone elses!)
    1) The repeat guest dinner at CN was great by comparison. At CN last time we had filet mignon steaks with grilled shrimp (out of lobster season) and it was perfect! We were served flawlessly inside the great A/C at Lychee. The steaks were big and perfectly cooked as were the shrimp. At CSS we stood in line for the main dish out around the main pool and were each given a wooden skewer with 4 bites of steak on it and 4 grilled shrimp. It was just not the classy affair that we enjoyed at CN last time. This could use some improvement. I would have chosen another dinner at Bella Vista instead of this repeater dinner, but wouldn't have traded my repeater meal at CN for any other meal!

    Things that were simply awesome at CSS!
    1) Bella Vista was the best place to eat at CSS day or night! During the day it was 1000 times better than the beach grill at CN! Instead of standing around waiting for my number to be called or my pager to go off to go get my food at the counter at CN, at CSS we ordered lunch from a nice menu with cloth napkins and excellent table service! CN needs to up it's game at their beach grill IMO! Bella Vista was even more perfect at night with the cool breeze off the water literally just feet away from our table! As it stands now, if we go back I will eat every night at Bella Vista (when it's open). Just great we thought! Day and night!
    2) The Martini Bar was a great addition at CSS! Loved it!
    3) The sheer beauty of the place! It is spectacular in so many ways!

    All in all, another great Couples Vacation and we look forward to the next one.
    Last edited by rhallva; April 21st, 2014 at 08:47 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    936

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    Respect Mon! Good read.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    91

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    thanks for the great review! It looks like A/C is the big killer for you in your review. hopefully it will be fixed up good when i get there in about 2 weeks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    680

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    tewkewl,
    Normally the A/C is not a huge thing for me, but in a restaurant that requires long pants I sort of expected AC. The restaurants at other resorts we have visited in Jamaica (and there have been a LOT of them) that require men to wear long pants to eat there have all had A/C. I was surprised to find no A/C at Casanova for that reason. This is not a huge deal to me though overall because we LOVED every minute we spent at Bella Vista so on future visits we might simply opt not to make the trek up to Casanova and instead have another dinner at Bella Vista. No big deal. Though in comparing to the similar restaurant at CN the A/C at Otaheite is a big plus since it requires long pants.
    Plus, I should state again that I am not certain if Casanova has A/C or not. Maybe it does have A/C and they just decided not to turn it on that night. It is beautiful in Casanova, it just was our worst dinner of the week but we were happy with the other dinner choices, so not a big deal.

    I posted some pictures from our trip at https://royinva.shutterfly.com/pictures/5 if anyone is interested.
    Respect and good travels!

  5. #5

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    Thanks for a great review detailing the differences! Big Up!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    26

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    We will arrive at CSS in 11 few short days. It is a little concerning that I will have to wear water shoes to enjoy the ocean or risk stepping on sea urchins. We went to CSA last year & LOVED the beach. Thought we would try a smaller resort this year & the photos of CSS are beautiful. Thanks for your review.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    799

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    The air conditioning must have been out when you were there, because the last time we ate inside at Cassanova it was so cold I needed a sweater, and they had the doors closed. We usually eat outdoors. But then we always went in December, and being from Wisconsin, we wanted as much outside as possible.
    Linda

  8. #8

    Default

    As others have stated, the a/c is usually cranked up high in Casanova. Also, depending on the time of year you go, the repeaters dinner is held inside the conference suite with sit down service. Glad you enjoyed CSS, it lured us away from CN with its beauty.
    Jamie & David
    CN 11/2005 & 10/2008 & 11/2011
    CSS 9/2007, 9/2009, 9/2010, 11/2011, 9/2012, 9/2013
    CTI 9/2013

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    57

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    The best part of Casanova is eating outdoors under the stars. No worries about A/C. Skip eating indoors altogether! You've paid good money to be in Jamaica. Enjoy every moment you can be in the fresh air.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    635

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    We were at CSS late July early August and the 3 nights we dined at Casanova it was very warm, also we enjoyed Bella Vista and was our favorite dinning spot, would probably dine there most the time same as rhallva states. We spent all our time at main beach for 10 days and never felt we needed water shows, ocean bottom may change during different seasons with different currents. We also stayed in A building and loved it also will not miss the tub.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    78

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhallva View Post
    tewkewl,
    Normally the A/C is not a huge thing for me, but in a restaurant that requires long pants I sort of expected AC. The restaurants at other resorts we have visited in Jamaica (and there have been a LOT of them) that require men to wear long pants to eat there have all had A/C. I was surprised to find no A/C at Casanova for that reason. This is not a huge deal to me though overall because we LOVED every minute we spent at Bella Vista so on future visits we might simply opt not to make the trek up to Casanova and instead have another dinner at Bella Vista. No big deal. Though in comparing to the similar restaurant at CN the A/C at Otaheite is a big plus since it requires long pants.
    Plus, I should state again that I am not certain if Casanova has A/C or not. Maybe it does have A/C and they just decided not to turn it on that night. It is beautiful in Casanova, it just was our worst dinner of the week but we were happy with the other dinner choices, so not a big deal.

    I posted some pictures from our trip at https://royinva.shutterfly.com/pictures/5 if anyone is interested.
    Respect and good travels!
    Wow, those are some INCREDIBLE photos! I'm guessing you did not shoot those pictures with a camera phone... excellent quality. I just wish Shutterfly would allow me to copy and paste pictures into an e-mail, so I can send some of them to my wife (this is how I have been teasing her / getting her excited about our trip to CSS in July).

    And thank you for your excellent review. With everything we have read, I think CSS is going to be everything we are hoping for (and more!).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    26

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    Quote Originally Posted by calgontakemeaway View Post
    As others have stated, the a/c is usually cranked up high in Casanova. Also, depending on the time of year you go, the repeaters dinner is held inside the conference suite with sit down service. Glad you enjoyed CSS, it lured us away from CN with its beauty.
    Rhallva, just wondering if you tried the trading spaces & went to CTI. If so, what were your thoughts?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    91

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rhallva View Post
    tewkewl,
    Normally the A/C is not a huge thing for me, but in a restaurant that requires long pants I sort of expected AC. The restaurants at other resorts we have visited in Jamaica (and there have been a LOT of them) that require men to wear long pants to eat there have all had A/C. I was surprised to find no A/C at Casanova for that reason. This is not a huge deal to me though overall because we LOVED every minute we spent at Bella Vista so on future visits we might simply opt not to make the trek up to Casanova and instead have another dinner at Bella Vista. No big deal. Though in comparing to the similar restaurant at CN the A/C at Otaheite is a big plus since it requires long pants.
    Plus, I should state again that I am not certain if Casanova has A/C or not. Maybe it does have A/C and they just decided not to turn it on that night. It is beautiful in Casanova, it just was our worst dinner of the week but we were happy with the other dinner choices, so not a big deal.

    I posted some pictures from our trip at https://royinva.shutterfly.com/pictures/5 if anyone is interested.
    Respect and good travels!
    Casanova has A/C. It was out... It was out once when I was there too. that's why i am hoping it's not out when i'm there!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    680

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    Hiya Beachgirl!
    We did not do Trading Places at CTI, though we considered it. We have several people and places we visit outside the resort when we are on the North Coast and just didn't make the time to spend a day at CTI. I think the main reason we decided to skip CTI for a day was that we probably won't ever book a vacation there. I know it's awesome for a lot of people in a lot of ways, but there are a couple of things that just don't work for us.
    1) We spend most of our time at the nude beach at CN and CSS, but we come and go a lot during the day. I like being able to wander away for a bit without having to take a boat back and forth to the nude area. Plus the lack of much beach area on the island is not quite what we look for.
    2) Friends of ours who were at CTI once found that some of the days during their trip the island was closed because of the water conditions. I don't like the idea of having the nude area closed for the day when I'm there, even if the chances are slim.

    There are resorts that are right for different people for different reasons, and for us CN and CSS are the best fit even though we know all of the Couples Resorts are awesome in their own way.
    All the best-

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    680

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    Hi all!
    I just want to add to my points here about our experience at Casanova last week that yesterday I received a really nice email from Mr. Lynch at CSS. He said that the A/C at Casanova was actually broken for several days while we were there as they waited for delivery of a part needed to fix it. Apparently it is fixed now and all is back to normal at Casanova. He also mentioned the possibility of the installation of some fans (and I'm a big fan of ceiling fans in Jamaica!). While he was apologetic about the lack of A/C in Casanova during our stay there is certainly no reason for apology. Things break down sometimes and no one is better at getting things back close to perfect that Couples.
    It would have been nice if someone had simply mentioned that the A/C wasn't working when we made the reservation or when we arrived, but that is not a big deal either. It was a nice gesture for anyone to take to time to contact us, I certainly didn't expect it nor seek it, but it still stands as an example of what a class act Couples, CSS, and Mr. Lynch are. These are the types of things that earn our vacation dollars year after year.
    Respect and good travels!
    Roy

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    9

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    My husband and I have been to both CSS and CN. We are choosing to return this year to CSS. We visited CSS to celebrate our 20th anniversary, CN for our 25th, and are going back to CSS for our 30th. We loved both resorts, but preferred CSS to CN mainly because it seems more intimate to us. We won't visit CSA because it does not offer an AN beach/area. CTI gets rave reviews, but none have convinced us to choose it over a repeat to CSS. Maybe we will try trading places for a day to see if it would be a good option for us... Final thought, either of the resorts we have visited are worthy vacation destinations. You will not be disappointed!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    652

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    We had dinner last night at Cassanova and everything, including the AC, was perfect!

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