First Time Review to CSA - 18th April - Loved Up - Long
Firstly thank you to all on this forum and tripadvisor who helped us in our decision to stay at CSA - we have just arrived home and are already missing the Jamaica vibe, weather and people.
We will focus on a first timers view from the UK (not that it matters) on CSA.
After a 3 day break in NYC first we were excited to arrive at Montego Bay airport - the warm air reached us and as we walked towards the couples lounge we could feel the holiday starting. A cold drink and a word with the luggage guys and we were happily inside the lounge relaxing and awaiting our transfer. All sorted quickly and we were on our way. One thing we did notice - never having been to the USA or Jamaica before - we had read up on the tipping customs and had some money ready for the luggage guys and driver etc but it still seemed odd to us to start with. We tipped the guy who watched the bags when we were in the lounge, but he also told us to tip the guy who we next met - that would be the guy who wheeled the cases to the van - I don't think he even loaded them onto the van but stood there with his hand out as we got on the bus - we tipped. one couple did not and we were shocked to hear the guy mouthing at the young couple - similar age to us maybe abit younger - early - mid 20's I would say. This was in front of a full bus of new arrivals and it did take us aback. I'd like to think this was a one off - but it did happen again - elsewhere at Dunns River - 3 people demanded a tip for the dvd that did not ask for or buy, for the guide (who we did tip) and some other guy who never had met before)- however they were the minority.
Driver was great talked about the island, and pointed out bits as we went along - stopped of for a drink on the way - beer abit pricey to our mind - started to think that they had a tourist price and a local price - and who were we to argue? Quickly got to CSA and given cold towel and champers to help us fill out forms etc - then after 5 mins we were on our way to our room - a ocean verandah - as we wanted the minibar and tv (although never turned it on so need to re-think that one in future)and realised we may not get the view of the ocean we wanted but were excited about the room. The guy started to take us abit too close to the main road for my liking - and I quickly said it was an ocean front room - he was taking us to a garden room by mistake. So around we went and to block 15 I think - up 3 floors to room 3310 - none of the keys worked. HOT HOT HOT - we were - the guy quickly went back to swap the keys - and we were in the room in a jiffy - AMAZING - sea view and everything - lovely and high up room - can understand why floor below may not get the view) so felt very very lucky.
Looked around room - great - minibar great - bed lovely, room clean. Then the bathroom - was worried as had expected it to be abit more.... dated lets say - I had read that some people had commented the rooms smelling fusty, mouldy etc - well I am fussy and were perfectly happy with the bathroom and bedroom. One moan - there were little ant things in the bathroom, crawling along the wall, and around the sink etc - I had read about this before we left and remembered someone said they came from the lovely fresh flowers - so removed them to the balcony - sprayed the ants I could see with my mosquito repellant and away they went!!!! Great.
As late afternoon - went to the beach grill for snack and drink - food was OK but we did not eat here again - also only quibble I did have with the resort was the swin up pool bar - it may be rare - and just our experience - but we went to get our first drink - and husband actually came back without one as said bar was a real mess - glasses being picked up and used looked dirty - the waiter was just quickly washing them under a tap when had other drink in them before - and putting new drink in and giving it another guest. The bar looked busy and think there was only 1 guy so maybe why - but did expect more - and we never had a drink from here.
Apart from that more than happy with cleanliness and service at all other bars and restaurants - loved sitting at the main bar and the martinis we had above the palm I think its called. Loved the food at feathers and lemongrass and had dinner there every night. Had breakfast at the palm - and lunch - loved it - especially the music from the two guys - they were truely amazing and made the meal times a true delight. Much better than the music and live band at Royal Plantation we would find out.
Beach was perfect - I was one of those people who was concerned about the lack of palapas - is that what they are called - the hut shade things - and when we were there we never managed to get one of these - I heard a couple saying they got up at 4am!!!!!! and they were ALL already taken - but we always managed to choose a good spot under a nice tree which could give us the shade we needed - however on the first day - even with high factor screen on - I burnt like a pancake!!! So the next 3 days of our stay no sun for me! We met some lovely people from the US and Canada who gave me some pain killers and were so lovely - pleasure to meet with them! I sat there in the shade thinking - why don't they build more of these shaded covers along the beach - like I thought they should before we even left the UK - after reading peoples comments here and on TA about the lack of them - and then it hit me - Because CSA is about the natural beauty, the romance of the place - to line the beach with covers would ruin the entire beach for me - there is something tropical about sitting shaded under swinging palms and trees - so CSA stick to your guns! The view is too special to be ruined.
last day my husband was really poorly - just starting vomiting for 2 hours - nurse was very helpful - gave me some tablets and salts - also as we had been waiting in P P for lunch - just before he got ill - I explained we had to leave to get to the room as he had been ill - and they wrapped up the food we ordered for me to take to the room with us - and they really cared about him being ill. Thank you CSA!. It meant we missed the snorkling trip which we had booked for that day - so can't comment on that - really regret missing it but sat with the hubby for the afternoon being a good wife haha. The cat trip was good and ricks cafe lovely - got stung a few times by tiny jellyfish i think and so did husband so we got out when realised what it was - and others got stung too but kept going back in so can't have been too bad for them either.
Beach bonfire was something we really looked forward to and it delivered - so romantic - we sprayed with mosquito repellant day and night and never got one bite - we also took vit b before we left - not sure if worked but got no bites........
All in all loved CSA and so glad we went - the beach drink staff are attentive and worth their weight in gold - all the staff - even a guy on concierge who managed to fit us in on our last night at feathers - because husband had been ill we had missed a day of fun and the trip - and he said would let us know if cancellation came up - I checked at 4 - and he said there hadn't been any - but we sorted it out for us - thankyou!
I would advise my friends and family to come to Jamaica and CSA as its so much more than just how it is presented in the media in the UK - the people are fair and honest - they were friendly and we felt safe at all times - we went parasailing and the security made sure we came back etc - can't praise all the staff enough.
Thanks CSA and the fellow guests who helped us make the right decision in going to CSA and starting a new romance for us with jamaica!