Compare CTI to CSA - without a which is best argument please :)
Hello all! I have been to CSA 6 times, and I looooove it, but I have decided to venture out and go to CTI this year in May to check it out - I have never been to CTI. Can anyone who has been to CSA (and loves it as much as I do) and CTI compare the two? I don't want a message board fight over which is best; I just want a comparison of the two - telling me what I will like better, what I will miss, what is fun there etc. so I know what to expect Some of my favorite things about CSA are the long white beach, Lemongrass, the shops to the left of the beach, Negril, Aura (nightclub/lounge), Rick's Cafe and the verandah's on the rooms. Thanks for any input!!
Out of all of the Couples, CTI and CSA are our two favorites, so I say go for it!
Here are some quick differences:
CTI - Completely private beach, yet small; separate island for nude sunbathing, 5 restaurants including Bayside that sits on the water; the most inclusions (Dunn's River, catamaran cruise, horseback riding in addition to the others). Only 5 buildings (3 are connected) with rooms so the resort is very compact and intimate. Everything revolves around a central location. Just underwent a $30 million renovation - new rooms, new decor, new pools, etc. Fantastic food.
CSA - Sits on 7 mile beach. Separate buildings for rooms that are cabana like, dark wood and white linens. Resort is spread out along the beach but all on beach level. Only resort with rooms right on the beach where you can walk off your first floor patio into sand. Fantastic food. Night Club. Some rooms do not have televisions. 5 restaurants. No nude sunbathing option. Huge sports complex across the street.
Here is how CTI compares in the things you mentioned you loved about CSA: the long white beach: CTI has a great beach but it's very small and not long enough to take walks on,
Lemongrass: then you will LOVE Bayside - same menu as Lemongrass but the restaurant sits on the water,
the shops to the left of the beach: CTI has a completely private beach with no public beach access, vendors or hotels. However, Mike the shell guy will be on his surfboard with his morning find, there is a potter up the road and a craft market across the street,
Negril: You won't know if you like Ocho Rios until you try it ,
Aura (nightclub/lounge) You'll love the Piano Bar at CTI
Rick's Cafe: Check out Dunn's River Falls
the verandah's on the rooms: None of the rooms at CTI have Varandahs or walk out porches like at CSA. However, all of the rooms at CTI (with the exception of garden room) have amazing, ocean front views of the beach
The only way to know is to try! We were at CSA this past April, are returning to CTI this April and have already booked a CTI/CSA split for 2011!
We were in the same boat as you. We have been to CSA 4 times and loved it! We decided we should try the other side of the island this last year, and we finally settled on CTI after much debate between CSS and CTI. Our first impression was that we would not necessarily go back to CTI, but after spending the week there, we too fell in love with the differences it offers. Our favorite is still CSA, but we will definitely go back to CTI. I also had in my mind that the beach would not be CSA's beach, which you must remember, or you will be very disappointed. So, for comparisons:
Beach--You will miss CSA's beach, and you will miss CSA's calm, warm, shallow-for-a-great-distance water. But, it was actually nice to have a private beach. We didn't think we'd like that, but it was quite nice. It was always easy to find chairs/cushions on the beach without reserving early. Our favorite activity is to walk the beach at CSA in the morning for exercise, so we really missed that. We were able to walk the road, though, without any problems. Some people recommend not doing this, but we survived and it was actually quite interesting and enjoyable. Not as nice as the beach though! Also, when you walk into the water at CTI, it is not as nice and smooth as it is at CSA. It was seaweedy in some places, rocky in others, and had drop offs in others. We didn't spend as much time as usual in the ocean. But, actually the pool areas were quite nice, even if the pools were rather cold!
Lemongrass--Bayside has very comparable food to Lemongrass. We enjoyed our dining there as much as we enjoy Lemongrass. Bayside is very cool!
Shops on the Beach--You will miss these too, but they bring in a huge craft market on Monday morning that sets up in the front lawn. We were able to find just about everything we wanted to purchase. There are a few small craft places within walking distance of CTI also, but we never checked these out or went on the shopping trips.
Nightclub--We did miss that a bit, but we probably only go there once or twice during our week there. We tend to be early to bed and early to rise when there. The sun wears us out too much, I guess. They still have a nice show in the Patio, and I heard the Piano Bar is quite fun (but we never made it there either). It's more of what you and the other guests make of it.
Verandahs on the Rooms--Not sure which type of rooms you usually get, but we usually go with the Garden Verandah Rooms at CSA. We love the verandahs also. The patios/verandahs at CTI are much smaller, but they are nice enough. We LOVED the view from our room. We were in a Premier Ocean Room in the new building, which was also nice, because we actually had to walk outside to go where we wanted to. Some people complain about being in the main building, as you basically never have to leave the inside to walk from your room to the lobby, the Piano Bar, any of the restaurants (except for Bayside), etc. I originally requested to be in the Main Bldg, because I heard that was better. We didn't get it on check-in, and I forgot to ask again. After a day or two, I was glad to be where we were. It was a bit loud at night from the entertainment, but it never affected us getting to sleep.
Rick's Cafe--We've never been there, so I can't comment on this.
Other perks CTI offers--We enjoyed the Dunn's River and horseback riding excursions, which are not offered at CSA. If I had known we were coming back to CTI for sure, I would have not done both of these this trip. We missed out on beach and relaxation time by doing all the things offered, but now we know what we like and what we would be willing to do again. I've read it many times on this MB, but it is hard to believe until you experience it. The staff at CTI are second to none. They are unbelievable!! They are the main reason we will be going back to CTI again. Also, having everything centrally located is very nice. We never minded walking the distances at CSA to go from one end of the resort to the other, so I was surprised how much we liked not having to walk that much each day! The repeater's dinner was the best out of the 5 we've been to. The food was exceptional, and it did not take nearly as long as it does at CSA. The last one we had at CSA lasted until 10:30 p.m.!
Other Observations--We did not like the catamaran as much at CTI. It was rough the day we went out, so the catamaran could not come in to CTI. They bussed us into Ocho Rios, and we left from a resort in town. The scenery on the catamaran ride was not as nice as from CSA. I'm not sure if it would have been better leaving right from CTI or not. It was quite a bit windier at CTI, but I'm not sure if it was just the week we were there or if that is usual.
Just remember it is not CSA, and try to enjoy the differences. If you are like us, you will miss some things, but you will find things about CTI you will love and will miss when you go back to CSA!
My wife and I are huge CSA fans having been there twice. Last December we went to CTI, just to see what it was all about. Like you I had some worries... They were completely unfounded. I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I liked CTI and Ochos Rios. CTI is just like CSA in the way that it will have its own vibe, and if you allow yourself to get into it, you will be rewarded with a fantastic time. We are headed back to CSA next December, but the truth is, we are kind of split between the two. Maybe we'll do CTI in 2011.