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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    1

    Default cn/csa review 2/10-2/20

    Just returned from 3 nights at CN and a week at CSA. This was our first trip to Couples but have been to Jamaica and Negril on and off for the last 30 years. Having followed the message board prior to our trip we were well prepared with high expectations. All of the arrival things went well and we were at CN about 2 1/2 hours after landing. CN is a very nice, compact resort with beautiful grounds and fabulous beach area. We didn't have a chance to try out much with restaurants as we were there for both the beach party and lobster night. The beach party was great with good food and a beautiful setting. The breakfast buffet was adequate but service was not up to what we expected, especially beverages. I am not a coffe drinker and 3 mornings I ordered a diet pepsi and 3 mornings it did not come. Coffee service was not much better. Overall there was not a good vibe amongst the staff. They did not seem very happy. This is not what we expected after all we read. The bar and beach service was all top notch and friendly. The day we left we waited over an hour past the time we were to be transported to CSA. While these may seem to be small issues,when you go to Couples you are paying a premium for premium service. It is getting the little things right that make a resort truly memorable. With this said we were a bit apprehensive about our week at CSA. We were in a BFVS, second floor near the wedding area. It was a perfect place to sit and watch weddings and all the people moving around. The room was very functional and everything worked fine. Did have some ants that were a bit of a pain.

    With service it was like night and day between CN and CSA. Everyone from the guy raking the beach in the morning on up seemed very happy and pleasant. The entire week there was only one issue and that was our room not being done until 5pm one day. Everything else was great and we like the fact that the resort is spread out as it gave us a chance to walk around the beautiful grounds which to us was one of the best things about CSA. The beach party was great {bottled Red Stripe} and the food excellent. Also like that there were a lot of Jamaican foods at meals and things like fish tacos,snapper sandwich, and nachos for snacks. Overall what we experienced at CSA met the expectations we had from what we had read here. We also were impressed by Couples dedication to going green and their recycling efforts.

    Negril has changed much from our first trip there in 1981. For shopping you really have to go to the craft markets to deal with native Jamaicans. We enjoy the markets and try to remember these folks are just trying to make a living in difficult times and show them respect even if they can be a bit pushy.

    We enjoyed our 10 days and would recommend CSA in a heartbeat, not sure about our feelings for CN. I know some people will think that my concerns are minor, but when you really love something, it is easy to overlook their faults and make excuses for them. There are many resorts that do the big things well, you have to get the small things right to be great.

    Thanks for listening and all your help, there were really nothing that was a surprise.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    636

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    Your feelings or take on CN are/were just the opposite of ours first week in Feb, after our first morning breakfast coffee was brought to our table with out us requesting with a big good morning and how are you today. I do not understand your mention of not trying meals on Lobster night as the rest of the menu is still available to select from as I did as believe it or not I am not so big a lobster fan. The pepsi situation I really can't say what happened but to get to the buffett you pass the bar and could have requested one and brought it to your table as I did with a bottle of water each morning. All the entertainment staff and dinner stafff were also very friendly and appeared ready to go out of their way for anyone. The gardener would come and chat every morning with us on our terrace and even cut down a coconut and gave us the milk! This was our first trip and we did not overlook minor things for our love of the place the week was absolutely perfect.

    Leaving the resort an hour after you expected, its Jamaica man it was not like you were going to be late for a flight you were going 3 miles the most!

    I don't know maybe we are so relaxed and do not have such high expectations of what staff should be doing for us, we were like friends with them and didn't expect them to wait on us hand and foot.

    Glad you enjoyed CSA we did the day exchange and were happy we decided on CN because of its intimacy.

  3. #3

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    Very well said. I agree, the small things are often the things that make a real difference. You might want to try CTI. We've been CSA enthusiasts for 4 years, but tried CTI this year and it was wonderful. Frankly the service there cannot be beat. Glad you had a nice vacation.
    Sharon "gravysgal"

  4. #4

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    Well, that was hardly a ringing endorsement for CN. LOL

    But hey, you calls it as you sees it. If CN didn't quite cut the mustard for you as CSA did, then hopefully the word gets back to CN mgmt that some things were not exactly hunky dory with two of their guests, and perhaps they can strive to improve.

    By the way...."There are many resorts that do the big things well, you have to get the small things right to be great".....just love that statement, packs a lot of oomph into those few words.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Ron

    Reading is fundamental. It's just that for some, it's more mental than fun.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,036

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    Great review. We will be going back to CSA this fall and we also love it for the spread out nature. This will be our second time. CSA ROCKS!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    789

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    Kaydon - thanks for the review. We happen to be big CN fans, but believe your experience. Occasionally we see a waiter/waitress that is not in the best mood or have them forget something. Seemingly small things, particularly in the impression-setting early part of a vacation, can make a huge difference.

    As far as waiting over an hour past scheduled departure... am a little surprised they let that happen. Hopefully they will continue to improve.

    Glad you enjoyed CSA.
    Last edited by rudi; February 27th, 2010 at 10:05 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    665

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    "The day we left we waited over an hour past the time we were to be transported to CSA"

    Did you ask anyone what the delay was about? You could have grabbed a Taxi - it's less than $10 to go down the road, even with luggage.

    "service was not up to what we expected, especially beverages. I am not a coffe drinker and 3 mornings I ordered a diet pepsi and 3 mornings it did not come. Coffee service was not much better"

    Did you ask your sever again? Or just sit and wait for it to come to you?...They get busy, just like in any restaurant ... you could have just grabbed a Pepsi from the bar or kindly asked another server to help you.

  8. #8

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    Gosh - that makes me sad to read! Glad you had a good time at CSA. Wonder what was going on with the staff that week?!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    232

    Default Bar open in morning?

    Hi -

    Kaydon, great review - honest and straightforward. We have experienced both great service and mediocre service at both resorts.

    Columbo and WandA - Is the bar by the restaurant open in the morning for breakfast? I seem to remember seeing a "bar closed" sign there every morning. So, I don't think he could have just gone to this bar for his Pepsi. Or is it staffed anyway?

    Is there somewhere else Kaydon could have "grabbed a Pepsi"? Thre's a lot of morning Pepsi drinkers out here. It would be nice to know.

    Beergirl

  10. #10

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    Great review!! The honesty is very much appreciated!!
    -Otter,


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    665

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    I don't know the answer to the Bar question- I was really just making a point...about sitting and waiting for something to come to you. Pepsi is not really a morning drink for most, but
    I have never gone without something I wanted/needed at any Couples resort- it's easy enough to ask someone else. Or take one from the room ( if you have a minibar) or make your own at the Soda Fountain.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    789

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beergirl View Post
    ...Is the bar by the restaurant open in the morning for breakfast? I seem to remember seeing a "bar closed" sign there every morning. So, I don't think he could have just gone to this bar for his Pepsi. Or is it staffed anyway?
    The "bar" is closed, as in there is no normal service of alcoholic beverages. However the past couple of years the mimosa, screwdriver and bloody mary fixings have been moved to the bar area near Cassava. It is also staffed (normally by a "non-bartender" like Delicia) to assist with smoothies and other drink refreshments.

    Not suggesting this lessens kaydon's complaint in anyway, just answering the question.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    232

    Default Bar closed?

    Hi again,

    Rudi - I was thinking that the soda/water/pepsi fountain dispensers would be locked or shut after the Cassava bar closes at night. That would make it hard to get a Pepsi unless a bartender or manager can unlock the fountain.

    I remember there's usually a staff member there making smoothies, but I don't think it's a bartender. She's dressed more like kitchen or wait staff.

    WandA - do you know - is the soda fountain in the Beach Grill open early in the mornings? I don't know of anyplace else to make your own. I know they don't unlock the beach self-serve until 10 am or so.

    This is an interesting dilema for people who drink Pepsi in the morning. I'm just wondering if this is the norm or an off-week. Me - I'm a Blue Mountain kinda gal in the morning - they keep that coming for sure!

    Beergirl

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    636

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    You can obtain water bottles, juice, soda, Mimosa, fruitshakes during breakfast at the bar. Only the alcoholic beverages are not available, there is also an area where you can grab your own coffee in containers to take with you or cups if you would like to carry them to your table. Most times if I grabbed a cup of coffe heading back to my table with my breakfast as I entered the restaurant area a staff member would come to me and offer to carry both my plate and coffee to my table for me. Maybe because we were there Bob Marley week every one was extra HAPPY and the following week they were re-couping from Bob Marley week I don't know but as I said kaydons experience sounds as if it were a different resort than where we stayed.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    22

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    Nice try trying to keep CN all to yourself kaydon. Night and day..... really? We have had nothing but exemplary service at CN. 11 more day to paradise.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    434

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    kaydon, well written review. I always the details of a stay and agree it is the small things - both good and bad - that have the most impact. Attention to detail means a lot.

    We are CSA fans and are headed there in 3 weeks - can't wait!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    789

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beergirl View Post
    I was thinking that the soda/water/pepsi fountain dispensers would be locked or shut after the Cassava bar closes at night.

    ... She's dressed more like kitchen or wait staff.
    Hi, Correct - the bar is locked up at night, but the breakfast person opens up portions for breakfast, per above (and I don't believe the dispenser itself is actually "locked" in anyway, it is just behind a counter that is obviously closed).
    Delicia has manned it in the AM our past 2 visits and she works in pastry. There was a tall guy running the smoothies in the past when it was over near the salad bar area and he was also dressed in kitchen staff attire, but don't recall which department he was in. We do occasionally see a bartender (e.g. Ivy, Carrie, Elkie) in that area in the AM, but they are just prepping the bar for later and not actually serving anything.

    You are correct about the beach self-serve unlock time and the soda fountain at the Beachgrill is not locked. I actually am there to get ice and ice-water very early every AM, but the soda dispensers are available.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    232

    Default Bar closed sign

    Hi -

    I guess my point is, that since this was Kaydon's first visit to CN, how would they know they could go get a Pepsi at a "closed bar" when they didn't get the one they ordered at breakfast.

    I'm still wondering why they didn't get the one they ordered three days in a row.

    Rudi - nice information to know about the Beach Grill soda fountains running, even in the morning. Maybe it will help the next guest.

    Beergirl

  19. #19

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    thanks for taking the time to share your true experience with us. we have had trips to Swept Away when service wasn't the same as it had been before. it happens.

    i am sure your comments will be noted and passed on to CN.

    Randy

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