We have now been to all 4 Couples resorts. Our plan was always to try them all but to be honest, CTI appealed to us the least when we first started investigating the various choices in 2006. So, it was with a little apprehension that we traveled there last week.
We knew not to try to compare them as they are all so different but what we were not prepared for was how much we liked CTI! Was it perfect? No. Would the imperfections keep us from returning? Definitely not.
After a long day we arrived at the resort at a little after 5PM. (We just missed orientation). The time from getting off the plane to leaving from the Couples lounge was only about 45 minutes.
Check in took a little while as there were two buses that arrived at almost the same time but we were greeted with cold towels and a rum punch that had quite a punch! There was a plumbing problem with the room we booked (Ocean Jr. Suite) and they offered us the choice of a Premier Ocean room or to wait a half hour so that they could turn the water back on. We chose to wait and we were glad we did. The room (3404 - top floor in main bldg.) was lovely; spacious and comfortable with a gorgeous view! The bathroom was also large with separate jacuzzi tub and shower. The shower had a large enough lip that no water ever got on the floor. Each room had it's own balcony as well. We loved our room!!
We took advantage of many of the offered activities and water sports as we are not a "lie on the beach" couple. The beach however was nice and the water perfect. We never got into the pools but they looked fine as well.
Food was good overall and service excellent for the most part.
We did not enjoy the food at Bayside and the service was very rushed. Others liked it but it was not for us. The Verhanda and 8 Rivers were great; we had dinner at each twice. The Patio tended to be a little repetitive at breakfast in our opinion but at lunch time you had a choice of the Pool Grill and the Veggie Bar as well as the Patio. We are not big "foodies" but this is the one area we were slightly disappointed with.
The staff from the groundskeepers on up were friendly and helpful. You certainly get the feeling that you are a valued guest! I must attribute this to management as they set the tone for the entire resort. The GM, Mr. Leonard Henry, was almost always present. We had two minor problems (that I won't go into here)which were addressed and resolved within 10 minutes.
One suggestion that I might offer is that upon check-in guests that are pre-registered receive a packet containing their return perks; that is, massage vouchers, gift shop voucher, invite to Repeater's Dinner, Couples shirts, etc. We received nothing without asking. We also never received any departure info at all.
In spite of these minor flaws we thoroughly enjoyed our stay and in fact rank it as one of our top two Couples resorts.
Would be happy to answer any questions.
Thank you for taking the time to post on two sites (I think you put a more brief review on trip advisor)? Why didn't you like the Asian? Also because the Asian is open air, what was the weather like? I have very long hair and I get hot easily so I was thinking of dressing lighter when I go to Bayside. Was it the food? What did you eat that you loved at 8 rivers/the Verandah. I am a foodie and have been dieting for this trip. I love resort food! Did you guys do any excursions? Thanks!
We just did not enjoy the food at Bayside and felt it was inferior to the Asian food at CSA and CN; but that is just our opinion. We also felt that the service was way too rushed. We were not too warm. Even though it is open air there was a nice breeze and we were quite comfortable.
We were at 8 Rivers for the repeaters dinner and had steak and shrimp and another night we had the lamb. We loved every course both times and the service was excellent!
I really don't remember what we had the first time at the Verhanda but I know that we liked it enough to come back a second time. Our second visit was Friday (lobster night) and my husband had the chicken dish and I had the lobster. We enjoyed both and all other courses.
We did the horseback riding excursion only. We had been on the Cat cruise in the past and since I tend to get sea-sick decided not to chance it.
Hope you have a wonderful trip and enjoy CTI as much as we did!
I very much enjoyed reading your detailed review. Again, it seems a common thread thruout all CTI reviews is the excellence of service provided by the staff. They just seem to shine quite unlike any other. However, if there has been one inconsistency in these reviews, it's been regarding the food. Of course in fairness, there have been way more positive than negative opinions, but just enough of the latter to hope that management is aware of this and is striving to improve.
I like how you described that you're not "lie-on-the-beach" type of folks and opted for the water activities. We're kind of the same way. Not that we won't lie around here and there, but we prefer to be more active. I would love to know how the horseback riding went, as this is one of the activities we have on our "must do" list. I hope you enjoyed it.
Reading is fundamental. It's just that for some, it's more mental than fun.
Hi Ron & Rosa,
Thanks for the kind words. Yes, we did enjoy the horseback riding excursion however it is not really riding but rather the horses following one another along a trail. There is about a half hour of waiting around (paper work, picture taking, etc.) before you get going which was a little annoying but there was a man playing music and singing which was enjoyable. They match you to a specific horse (based on size. weight, etc.)and you ride through the plantation. The guides describe the various plants, trees and flowers. You make a couple of stops for views and additional photos. You also make a stop to learn about the various fruits and spices of Jamaica. Here you can try coconut milk and the meat. It was interesting and you have another photo op! You are able to buy a DVD at the end so bring some money for tips and the DVD if you like the pictures. (It was $15.) You are away from the resort for less than 2 hrs.
The entire trip was only about 1 and 1/2 hrs.
There is also another horseback ride that they take you on. We have done the plantation tour 2x and really enjoyed it but wanted to check out the other trip. It was up in the mountains, one photo stop, no DVD and it took longer than the plantation tour. The ride up the mountain on the shuttle was hair raising to say the least, but we can say we did it.
Vicky....Bryan and I did that one the last time we were at CTI, and I was a nervous wreck by the time we reached the place where we ride...hair raising is right!!! I thought for sure we were goners more than once, I kept saying, "We are going to die in a van, over a cliff, in Jamaica!!" Scariest ride I have ever been on!!!