This is what we have just posted on TA along with 10 photo's
We stayed at CSA for our honeymoon 23rd March to 6th April. This was our fourth time to Jamaica but first stay at a Couples resort and I can say hands on heart this is a wonderful resort in a perfect location / setting. We are 34 & 35 and would class ourselves as middle of the road travellers.
On arrival there was a bit of a queue at visa desks but nothing too bad. Once we got our luggage we went to checked in at the Couples Lounge at the airport but had booked a private transfers with Alfred's Taxi Service. At the lounge we were greeted with a friendly smile and were offered to take refreshments for the journey but we were ok so just set off.
Arrived at the hotel within about 1hr 15 mins (we did not stop on route as we had had a flight delay). We were greeted with a glass of cold Champaign and cool towel to get refreshed and Rick checked us in explaining where we can get dinner and we were off to the room. Was impressed with the check-in time, was very speedy.
We had booked a Garden verandah Suite and was given room 4302 which was a third floor room at the back of the resort - yes you can hear road noise, did we complain - no - we got what we booked and paid for, apart from slight noise the room was all we needed. The room was lovely, the bed was huge, bathroom was probably one of the best we have seen in the Caribbean, clean, lots of towels and all the toiletries ready for you. As we arrived at night we could not see the view but could hear the ocean from the balcony the next morning we looked out and had a partial ocean view and a view over the pond and beautiful gardens.
We mainly ate at Palms, breakfast was great you can have fresh fruit, full cooked breakfast or continental breakfast. Lunch was a buffet lunch with different options each day and evening I would class more a la carte than buffet as you order 3 courses off menu and the only buffet style course is the salad and pasta courses. We are really fussy eaters and did not struggle with food once at Palms.
Patios we tried for breakfast once and this was a la carte breakfast (order off menu) we did not eat here at lunch but again I believe you order off menu and the evening was order off menu again. We ate here twice in the evenings, the ribs and steak was fantastic.
Cabana Grill - this was great for snacks, we only ate here a couple of times, the Jerk chicken was lovely, burgers were huge and we also tried the chicken wings, spring rolls which were nice if you wanted something late at night.
As mentioned we are fussy eaters (well allergies) and after looking at the menu's I realised I would have struggled at both Lemon Grass and Feathers so cannot comment on these - friends went and said both were fantastic.
Hands down my favourite was the Martini bar - we went there every night and had lots of different drinks - ask for a Fraser blended special or Winston's special martini you will not be disappointed.
We always stayed around the Bamboo bar at the beach the green flag service was a fantastic touch (but did not always use it as I would go to the bar as Cardo always kept us up to date on the latest football scores!!)
Arua lounge was fantastic - lots of comfy seats and plenty of dancing to be had. We did not go to the piano lounge as we stayed at the Martini bar until it closed then when to the disco. Some reports have said that it is fairly quiet - the only night it seemed quiet was karoke night other than that it was busy each night.
This is definitely a beach resort and the beach is simply breathtaking, powdery white sand, crystal clear sea and never crowded. We went to the beach most morning around 10 - 10:30 and not once had any trouble getting beds. You had to be up early to get a cabana but I was not playing that game. Only problem I have is when people get up early to reserve a cabana then go back to bed and re-appear early afternoon - nothing that the hotel can do about this - I just think that the people who do this are rude as they are taking up shade area's but not using them.
I said before we went that I wanted to utilise all these wonderful activities - golf, sailing, water sports, catamaran cruise, shopping tours etc. However that all changed once I found the beach - the only thing we did was the catamaran cruise which was a great afternoon out.
We had complimentary massages which were fantastic - very good indeed. Would recommend booking one of these. Oniell did my massage and Rochelle did my husbands and we were both very pleased. The spa is fantastic and we spent a little while in the soothing Jacuzzi - however I did find they were too hot and took a while to get in and you could not spend a long time in there.
We did not use this at all but did take a wonder around there and it looked very professional and well equipted.
Each night they had a different band or singer on at Palms. They also had different activities on each night as well - beach party, bonfire on the beach, piano lounge, talent night etc. The guest relations team are great and work very hard indeed. You will see them around the resort early in the morning and dancing the night away in the disco with you.
Those extra special touches
Turn down service, fully stocked fridge, bathrobes, green flag service, chair cushions / floats, free wifi, Champaign and top shelf drinks, sports complex, beach / water activities, tours this is what makes the resort that little more refined ;-)
I found the staff to be friendly and always happy and smiling, whenever you walked around the grounds and met a staff member they always said hello, how are you. I think that the staff regardless of position be it front of house, cleaners, gardeners, chefs they all seem happy in there work.
Things I could change
Only one - tipping policy! I think this should be optional, I have always rewarded good service and feel that we should be permitted to tip if we wanted to. I know not everyone is going to agree with me here but this is just my opinion. Once you still down for dinner or are at a bar you are asked what you would like to drink then just before you have finished you have another being made without asking, the bar staff got used to me and either checked that I wanted the same or a new surprise. With my allergies I just told them once what I could not have and they remembered. This is above and beyond what you normally get but unfortunately I was not allowed to tip.
This resort is the best we have been to and I would go back in a heart beat
Congrats!!! I loved reading your review as we will be returning on May
5th!! We too have things we say we want to do but I'm sure all that will change once we get there!! I would have to agree with you about the tipping. I understand were Couples is coming from, but it seemed strange not to be able to show your thanks by tipping. Did you leave names on your comment card you received the night before check out? That is the best way to let management know of the great service. I've heard on that they actually look at it and the comments play a role in raises and promotions. We even had staff member to remind us to mention their name if we liked their service. Most of all, I'm glad you enjoyed your stay!!
Great review, sounds like the special time we had when we were there a few years ago. I have to disagree with you on the tipping, I believe that the no tipping policy is WHY we ALL get this special service you speak of instead of just people who can tip. It's best this way in my opinion so that everybody is treated so wonderfully and treated the same.
Thanks again for the review, I'm sure you will be repeaters many times over!
I loved the review. But I do disagree with your comment about tipping. I am looking forward to not having to worry about tipping everyone we encounter on this trip - on past trips to J we have always spent a FORTUNE tipping as everyone deserves it - but it comes to a point when we have to think where to draw the line -- we are not wealthy -just hard working and we are generous - i think sometimes to a fault. Of course for situations where tips are accepted off the property and for the workers we encounter who are not directly employed by Couples we will tip accordingly.... I am so happy for you that your vacation was great.
Great review! I was looking forward to seeing the pictures. I have too agree that we r planning to do many activities once we get there. I like the beach but, I don't have to lay there all day. I am not really a beach person as I am more of a pool person. We r staying @ CTI and can not wait to go (9/2011). I am soooo glad that u have a wonderful time. I like an accomdating resort.