Hey everybody. We're new to this board (which is great by the way) and already have our honeymoon booked to CSA Sept 6th-13th (BFVS). We have studied this board and tripadvisor reviews extensively. We understand that there is some 900+ 4/5 star reviews but some of the negative reviews really scared us. If some of you could fill us in on these issues. Here is a list of some of the particular ones I noticed.
>> People actually becoming ill from sand flies and/or bed bugs?
>> Extensive flooding of the resort during rain.
>> Unacceptable amounts of mold in showers and baths.
>> Staff using the term "Island Time" or "Jamaican Time" as an excuse for slow service.
>> Beach chairs or lack there of...
We are very excited for this vacation and just hope it turns out great being our honeymoon and all. We aren't the type that stays in the "Ritz" but are fairly well travelled. I know some of you exclusively stay at CSA, CN etc... for your vacations and I know we can all develop complacency if we never venture away from "the norm". How can you guys compare this to other AI resorts throughout the carribean?
Honestly, some of those just sound like people who have never been away from home and didn't do any research.
>> People actually becoming ill from sand flies and/or bed bugs? Perhaps the person who wrote that has some sort of allergy? I've been to Couples 3 times and have never been bit by a sand flea or bed bug (which I've also never seen). The sand fleas are there. I've seen people with horrible legs from them. Don't go to the beach after dark. I've also heard after rains, but I've been on the beach during and after rains and not had a problem.
>> Extensive flooding of the resort during rain. Never seen this. Been there during some pretty heavy rain and never witnessed this.
>> Unacceptable amounts of mold in showers and baths. What's acceptable to one person may not be to others. There may be some mold or discoloration of the grout, but it is a wet, humid, hot environment. The staff really keeps those bathrooms clean, but short of re-caulking and grouting every 6 months, there isn't a whole lot you can do in the tropics to keep those materials pristine, especially if you have rooms designed so that guest open up the windows and get fresh air rather than an enclosed always air-conditioned room.
>> Staff using the term "Island Time" or "Jamaican Time" as an excuse for slow service. This is not unique to Couples, or Jamaica. Go to any resort in the Caribbean and you will experience this. This one, and the mold one are the ones that make me think this was written by someone for whom this was their first trip to the Caribbean and they didn't do research prior.
>> Beach chairs or lack there of... This has been hotly discussed here; however, I believe the threads are no more. According to several recent guests, Couples was putting out extra loungers to accommodate. The root of the issue, it seems, is caused by guests themselves saving chairs and not using them, or saving more than one/person.
In my experience there were always plenty of chairs on the beach, our bathroom had no mold issues at all, and the sand fleas got us our first night sitting in a hammock but we got up fast and used bug wipes at night if we went on the beach after that. If you are truly relaxed you won't worry about slower service. That beig said, I didn't have any service complaints at all. Your worries are wasted.
What I love about CSA compared to other AIs is the laid back atmosphere. It is simple and elegant and very Jamaican, unlike most AIs which feel like they belong in Las Vegas or any generic tourist area on the planet.The resort is absolutley gorgeous and is on the best stretch of one of the best beaches in the world. Truly.
I also love that they do not nickle and dime you for every little thing. Other resorts charge for lots of small things and offer different levels of service depending on the level of room you book. Couples includes so much for everyone and I love not worrying about money when I am there.
Oh, and I got bitten by sand fleas one night because I forgot to put on my insect repellent below the knees and we were on the beach at night. It was mildly annoying but I did not feel ill. Use your spray and you should be ok.
As for floods, I have never seen that written about. I think you may be referring to a post I did about standing under a beach bar in a down pour and the water collecting around my feet. I would not call it a flood. It was down by the beach and quickly soaked in and then the sun came out.
My wife & I had our honeymooon at Couples Swept Away and couldn't have been happier. It was so beautiful, the staff was amazing, the food fantastic & wonderful activities. Very Romantic as well.
I agree with the posters that said those complaining may not have traveled much or traveled to the Caribian, hwoever, it was my first time there but my wife had been to Jamaica & other Caribian resorts 9 times.
After my first 3 days, I sadi to my wife"This is like paridise to me and so nice, what other places compare to this that you have been?" Her answer" Nothing else compares to Couples Swept Away. It IS THAT much nicer than any other place."
now for your individual concerns...
1)>> People actually becoming ill from sand flies and/or bed bugs?
There were no bed bugs and the rooms were in immacualte condition and well taken care of.
At night, there ar sand flies....but that is everywhere in Jamaica, & can be easily handled by wearing OFF or similar brand bug spray or jsut not being int he sand during the night time. it's not a big deal...trust me.
2)>> Extensive flooding of the resort during rain.
Flooding?? That was a curious one. It only rains for an average of 15 minutes or so int he middle of the day and yes, the rain comes hard, but is so welcome and makes everythign so refreshing its really nice. We were there 9 days but only had the rain on 5 of those days. There were no flooding issues, unless they count, the designed walkways the waters run and disperse on very effieciently a flood haha. I think someone was exagerating there.
3) >> Unacceptable amounts of mold in showers and baths.
Out bathrooms were clean & I imagine that in a tropical environment they have to keep on their toes to keep it that way. We had no issues there and found the staff to be great at keeping our rooms very clean and stocked.
However...and this is a big however, you will never be in your room exceot to sleep!!! there is to much to do and too much beauty to enjoy!
4)>> Staff using the term "Island Time" or "Jamaican Time" as an excuse for slow service.
Again, an exageration, we never felt anythign was slow, but let me make this point and this is something we really enjoyed. On our first day, we enjoyed the little outdoor cafe on the beach that serves fresh fish and wonderful fruit concoctions..and our favorite lady there was the wonderful lady running it at the time. We can't recall her name , but we loved her...and she said to me," You seem like a man that is in a hurry in business and and always very busy...when you in Jamaica man, relax, look around, so much beauty...relax and enjoy"
Wonderful advice and we sure did. Everyone had that attitude, reminding guests to relax and take it all in...not becuase it was slow sservice...but because they want to remind you that you are on vacation...so do that "Relax mon"
4) >> Beach chairs or lack there of...
No issue for us, there were always plenty of chairs...
We just got back from CSA a few weeks ago. While we do tend to travel to Couples every winter to escape the blasted cold in Buffalo, that doesn't mean we never go anywhere else. I travel extensively for work throughout the U.S. and Canada, and we always take a summer vacation or cruise somewhere other than Jamaica. We choose Couples BECAUSE we have been to many other places, not because we don't know any better.
If you check Trip Advisor, most of the reviews of CSA lately have been positive. And this is the busy season at CSA.
Sandfleas - yup, I get bitten, hubby doesn't. Off works well for me. I have never had too many bites, and I try to avoid the beach at sunset. And I have never, ever in five trips to Couples, seen a bed bug.
Flooding - there was a five minute downpour when we were there; I didn't notice any ponding or flooding. There might be some ponding in the summer months, but the drainage seems to be very good to me.
Mold - never, ever seen it or smelled it anywhere at CSA, CN, or CSS.
Island Time - I've never, ever heard the staff at Couples use the term "Island Time." I heard it once at Sangster airport. While service may be a bit slower than in the U.S., it was really remarkable how quickly we were served in all of the restaurants and bars on our last trip.
Beach Chairs - yup, there have been discussions on this recently. Suffice it to say, if you are going in the summer (non-peak season), it simply won't be an issue. There are lots of beach chairs.
First, congratulations on your upcoming honeymoon. You will LOVE CSA. Here are a few of my thoughts from our experience at CSA and CN.
People actually becoming ill from sand flies and/or bed bugs?
Neither of us have ever had a problem with sand flies/fleas. We spend all our time on the beach, into the early evening. Maybe our blood tastes icky, but they totally leave us alone. Never have used spray either. Bed bug...are you kidding me??? The rooms are spotless. Never heard or experienced that problem.
Extensive flooding of the resort during rain.
We've only had one serious rain storm...we didn't observe any major flooding. The staff have incredible pride with keeping the resort beautiful.
Unacceptable amounts of mold in showers and baths. Not our experience at all.
Staff using the term "Island Time" or "Jamaican Time" as an excuse for slow service. Nope...never heard this excuse from the staff. Sometimes, not all the time, service may be a bit slower than the states. So keep in mind how fast paced and demanding things are over here and that it is such a gift to be on vacation. So you have to wait a bit, relax...you're on vacation...what's the rush? Our experience has been that service is always outstanding.
Beach chairs or lack there of...We spend all of our time on the beach. We are NOT early risers. Often we hit the beach around 10:00 and have never had a problem finding chairs and a table. Always more than enough.