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  1. #1

    Default VERY LONG CTI Review - March 12-20

    Couples Tower Isle – March 12, 2010 to March 20, 2010

    Background on us: We are 35 and 36 years old, married for 12 years with a 4 year old son. This was our 8th trip to a Couples Resort (9th trip to Jamaica). This was our 4th visit to CTI (previous 3 visits were prior to the renovations) and we have visited CN 4 times.

    Arrival to MoBay:
    We flew in US Air from Charlotte and landed later than expected (1:20 pm vs 12:30 pm). We breezed through Immigration and Customs (<20 minutes) and headed for the Couples Lounge. We were there approximately 15 minutes (enough time for a couple of Red Stripes) then we were on our way. We shared a small van with another couple. We chose to make 2 quick stops for bathrooms and beer and were at the resort in approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.

    Check-in:
    We were greeted by Bryon; our luggage collected and offered champagne (or something from the bar). We got checked in and given room 2106 (Ocean Jr. Suite). We were taken to our room immediately (it was about 3:45). Neither our Romance Rewards gifts nor our spa/gift shop credits were given to us at check-in. I asked about them the next morning and was told they would be delivered to our room that afternoon, and when we got back to the room at 5:30 pm the next day, they were there.

    Room:
    We had room 2106 – an Ocean Jr. Suite on the 2nd floor of the new building. The room was HUGE! The corner rooms in the new building (2106, 2107, 2206, 2207) all have a sofa type lounger built into the balcony (the other rooms in the building did not). The room was immediately over the gym and the pool grill. We loved being over the gym and hated being over the pool grill. The room itself was great however; we were not thrilled with either the view or the location. The view was mostly of the water feature from the pool (which if you left your doors open, the water feature was all you could hear) and we didn’t like having the smells from the pool grill ever present (I was so tired of the smell of the onion rings, that I never actually ate any). With the sliding glass doors shut, you couldn’t hear or smell anything but it still detracted us from spending any time on the balcony and we couldn’t sleep with the doors open to hear the waves (which is a big part of our vacation and a large reason we booked the suite).

    Housekeeping/Mini-bar:
    We got a bottle of champagne and a savory platter delivered to us the first night, nice surprise.
    We thought both our housekeeper and our mini-bar attendant did a great job. Turn down service was nice as well though they did come fairly early a couple of nights (7:15). No problems, we just continued to get ready for dinner while she turned the bed back. The mini-bar is stocked once per day which was just ok. We typically enjoyed a couple of beers while getting ready for dinner which left us no beer for an evening drink while relaxing after dinner (they only allow 2 beers at a time in the fridge… and yes, it is Carib).

    Beach:
    Yes, there has been some beach erosion. The area near the water sports desks and pier has eroded back pretty far but no one ever used that section of beach to lay out on anyway. The ocean is fixing the beach (with some help from the staff). We noticed that there was a little more beach every day on that end. The remaining beach is just fine. The resort was full the week we were there and there were always loungers, floats and tables available in both the sun and the shade.
    There are a couple of guys bringing drinks and fruit kebobs around throughout the day. (Shout out to Romaine!! He did a great job!) I personally spent nearly every day lounging around on the beach or floating in the water and it was great. The ocean bottom is a bit rockier now then I remember due to the erosion, but not so bad that you can’t navigate it bare footed. We saw a few people wearing water shoes, but we didn’t and didn’t have any problems.

    Main Pool:
    Nice pool. We used it for pool volleyball every afternoon. Occasionally there would be drink service around the pool but it is only 15 steps (literally) from the main bar. It wasn’t hard to find loungers or floats.

    Swim Up Pool Bar:
    This is the only place that you had to stake your claim to some property. There are lots of guests that use the swim up bar and not whole lot of real estate to go around. There were always empty bar stools at the bar and lots of people floating around. Loungers here were at a premium. Lots of people would stake out loungers with towels, etc. and then float in the pool for hours on end. No big deal, but there were lots of us who like to sun outside the pool and would have liked the chairs when they weren’t being used. Most days, there would be a group of 8 of us hanging out together and we would get 2 chairs and then take turns laying out on them while the others floated in the pool… The afternoon “entertainment games” are played in the swim up bar so that always increased the crowd (games like bingo, Pictionary, trivia, etc).

    Hot Tubs:
    The two by the main pool – 1 was super hot and 1 was cold. The hot one was always full of people on the cloudy afternoons, but you could squeeze in.
    The two by the spa are wonderful, but please be polite to those using the spa and stay quiet while using it.

    The Island:
    We only spent 1 afternoon out there. The group that was on the Island the week we were there were a little too quiet for us. We went over, dumped our stuff on a lounger, stripped down and hopped into the pool. We like to have drinks and laugh and the Island environment just wasn’t up to that this trip. The last time we hit the Island, the folks were super fun and we really enjoyed it. This time, the Swim-Up Pool Bar was the place to be for fun and socializing.

    Bars:
    All the bars were great. We didn’t have to wait more than a couple of minutes at any given time and the drinks would be made exactly as specified (i.e. using Absolute vs well vodka, amount of liquor, etc). There was no Crown Royal on site the entire time we were there (not even the piano bar). The bartenders said they had been out of it for a couple of weeks.
    3 nights a week they host a special martini bar on the roof of the Patio Restaurant (including a martini menu to choose from). The view is great, however there isn’t any top shelf liquor readily available up there. The bartender had to send down for a bottle of Absolute because all she had for the vodka was the well stuff (thank you Teneshia!). Grey Goose is available in the Piano Bar.

    Restaurants:
    Veranda Restaurant
    The food here was really good but the service was a little slow. The menu didn’t change the entire 7 nights we were there but there was plenty to choose from. This place fills up very quickly every night so be prepared to wait for dinner. We chose to wait in the Piano Bar and they will come to find you if you tell them where you will be. We had lobster here on our first night and it was great. I also recommend the sorbet trio or the chocolate trio for dessert. We ate in here twice and enjoyed both meals.

    Bayside
    We LOVED Bayside. We ate here twice. The location can’t be beat and the food was fantastic. The menu changes frequently and the dishes they serve are quite good. They offer chili paste so you may spice it up as you like. The drink service here was fantastic as well. I suggest going to Bayside 30 minutes or so before your reservation to enjoy a drink at the bar before dinner… just a fantastic location, you can hear the tree frogs and the ocean at the same time.

    8 Rivers
    We ate here on our last night (and for the Repeaters Dinner). We had a table for 8 and a seating at 7:45 pm. The food was wonderful but the dinner took 2 ½ hours… yes, 2 ½ hours (and that was without coffee and dessert!!). My husband and I stayed after our group left for coffee and dessert and that took an additional 20 minutes. That is just too long. It looked like the smaller tables weren’t having the same problems we were.

    Patio Restaurant - Dinner
    We didn’t eat here for dinner except for the night of the Pool Buffet. I just don’t care for buffet dinners but other people said the food was good.

    Patio Restaurant – Lunch
    We did have lunch here on a number of occasions and the food was very good (the snapper dishes were to die for). The theme of the buffet varies every day (we personally thought the Jamaican Day was the best). The salad bar and dessert selections were good for lunch as well. The brick oven pizzas are great but they go really fast as soon as they are put out. Beverage service at lunch was very good. They were very prompt with both water and drinks from the bar.

    Patio Restaurant – Breakfast
    Breakfast was good but the selection gets boring after the 3rd day. But to be fair, how many different breakfast foods could there be. The smoothie station is very nice and they were happy to mix up my protein shake every morning. They also have soy milk here for those interested in it. My husband said the omelet station was quite good and the pancakes looked great (they are not on the buffet; they are cooked to order as are the waffles). The French toast is wonderful and be advised, the famous chocolate croissants are located under the heat lamp on the buffet, not in the center section with all the other pastries. The only complaint we had here was the drink service. Most days the coffee and water service were very slow and inconsistent. It just seemed disorganized with knowing which servers were covering which tables.
    An important note: Breakfast really doesn’t start until 7:30 am. We tried to grab something at 7:05 am on our last day and there just wasn’t anything out but a couple of pastries (and I do mean a couple… like 5!) The “early riser” breakfast really needs to start about 6:30 since everyone is having to leave so darn early to get to the airport. We had a large bus full of hungry folks!

    Pool Buffet (Saturday night)
    We were really disappointed. This used to be the Pool Gala with the dinner stations set up around the pool fully decked out with ice sculptures and fruit decorations… now it is simply a forced night at the buffet with nothing special set up. The food was ok and the sushi was delicious. Drink service was ok. This was the only night we felt disappointed with the food. If you can, I would skip it and go to 8 Rivers.

    Beach Party (Monday night)
    We did the Repeaters Dinner instead but it was set up on the beach and looked like a lot of fun. There were vendors set up on the beach as well. The repeaters dinner ran very long so we didn’t get to enjoy the entertainment but we’ve been there/done that so it wasn’t a big deal.

    Repeaters Dinner (Monday night)
    We had a huge group of repeaters (it filled 8 Rivers). The food was fantastic. The GM spent some time at every table to chat. It was VERY LOUD in there with that large of a group. The meal moved too slowly but I’m sure that had to do with trying to coordinate the service of that many people.

    Pool Grill
    Food was good for standard “grill” type food. The jerk sauce was some of the best I’ve had on-resort. They have a self serve ice cream machine and nachos as well as a soda fountain that also has drinking water. My husband says the late night burgers were tasty!

    Room Service Breakfast
    We only tried to use it on 1 day with no success. We had to leave the resort on our last day at 7:15 am (for a 12:05 flight on a Saturday) so we ordered room service between 6:30am – 7:00 am. We finally left the room without our breakfast being delivered at 7:05 to try to grab something before we had to leave. Normally, a late breakfast wouldn’t be a big deal, but in this case, it was really a bummer. We were starving and in desperate need of a cup of coffee.

    Veggie Bar
    This may be our favorite addition to CTI. The food and the service were fantastic!!!! They changed the menu every 2 days. You must have the sweet potato chips with the different dips. The tuna wrap and the smoked marlin sandwich were to die for. There is a selection of Panini’s available as well. They also make great smoothies (and they have soy milk) and they have a Jamaican Fruit or Veggie Juice of the Day… very good. The granola bars and cookies were really great as well.

    Beach Dinner
    We were in Jamaica this time to celebrate a friend’s 25th anniversary and attend their vow renewal. They coordinated a dinner on the beach for the 8 of us and it was spectacular. The meal and the service were both wonderful. The set-up is right on the water’s edge with Bayside in the background. Simply elegant!!!

    Entertainment:
    The entertainment staff was really fun to hang out with. They aren’t pushy but offer lots of things to do such as: beach volleyball, pool volleyball, mid-day games at the swim up bar, etc.). We had a good time with them.
    The Catamaran Cruise goes out Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 3:30 for a nice ride out into the ocean and then back to a small cove for a little swimming. I prefer the Cat Cruise at CN better because the boat is larger and has room for dancing and a bar. The Cool Jazz is smaller and they only had rum punch but it was still fun.
    The evening entertainment was nice but we’ve been to Couples enough to have seen the same type of entertainment many times before so we never stayed long. We wish the nightly singers would sing more “Jamaican” music and less of the standard Americanized stuff. There is one stand out exception to this… on Thursday night, the Silver Birds steel drum band played and they were FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!! We saw them last year at the B resort (we took our son to Jamaica last time) and they were even better the second time around. This is a Must-See show.
    The piano bar is always a good time. The sing along nights were fun and the Karaoke nights were hysterical.

    Scuba Diving
    Colin and Rasta (Loyd) are the best…. My husband dove every day (most days he dove twice) and he enjoyed every minute of it. These guys are truly top notch.

    Spa
    The new spa is beautiful. The white lounger couches are so comfy you could just melt into them. The juice bar is quite nice to enjoy after a treatment. We used the hot tubs quite a bit but never got into the Buddha Pool (though there were always people in it – more on that later). I took full advantage of the $350 spa credit and loved every second of it. I had an 85 minute aromatherapy massage, a peppermint sea twist wrap and we upgraded our 30 minute repeaters massages to 1 hour… and I only left owing the spa $10 (not counting tips of course). The treatments were all very nice and professional. Be sure to ask Pamela at the spa to give you a tour.
    During our tour, one of the ladies in our group was feeling sick to her stomach. Pamela told us that coconut water would help her feel better. We left the spa and headed to the swim up bar and a few minutes later, Pamela found us with a fresh coconut she had prepared for our friend’s stomach ache… now that is above and beyond service!!!
    For the record, the coconut water worked! It is also great for hangovers.

    The Gym:
    Only 3 of the 4 treadmills were working but it wasn’t a big deal. The gym actually gets a bit crowded in the mornings around 7 or 7:30 am but there is still plenty of equipment to use. They provide towels and a water cooler which was nice. The yoga supplies in the studio were more than adequate but no yoga classes going on the week we were there. The class schedule is really driven by the guest instructors but it looked like spinning happened every week day.

    Resort Credits
    They are super easy to use. You take the one for the spa to the spa with you on your first treatment and then they will deduct as you use it. You simply sign a receipt each time that shows it was charged against your coupon and they will write your balance on the top. The gift and logo shop worked the exact same way. You go in to make your first purchase with your voucher and they will give you a receipt back with your balance written on top. Super easy. The gift shop wouldn’t combine vouches (booking credits and Romance Rewards Credits) but the spa did combine our booking credit voucher with our repeaters massage coupons… in other words, we used our spa credit to upgrade our repeaters massage.

    Photographers
    They were around some but not as much as I remember in the past. The photos they took turned out really well and you simply show up at the photo shop, choose the day the photo was taken and look at them. Then you choose which ones you want and what type of media (print vs. disk). They charge them to your room and it’s usually ready to pick up within 30 minutes.

    Watersports:
    We had green flag seas the entire trip until the last day which was yellow flag. All the water sports were running and there are lots of people enjoying the Hobie Cats, Windsurfing, Water Skiing, snorkeling, glass bottom boat, and kayaking and water trikes.
    I got a great view of all of it from my lounger on the beach and over the top of my Vodka Slushy and Dean Koontz book 

    Check-Out:
    We had a 12:05 pm flight out of MoBay and we were scheduled on the 7:15 am bus (bags out at 6:15 am). Yes, that is 4 hours and 45 minutes before our flight was scheduled to depart. This would have seemed crazy except for last year, when traveling with our son, it took us the full 3 hours at the airport to get checked in, through security and grab a quick bite to eat. We were only in line at the airline desk for 45 minutes (United Airlines) while our friends were in the Delta line for 1 hour and 45 minutes!!! Just to check in! The security line was ridiculous and we were in it for another 45 minutes. The airport was a madhouse… of course it was a Saturday and during the Spring Break season, so just be prepared.
    Our Romance Rewards departure bag was ready for us (it was sitting on top of our luggage) and contained 2 granola bars (which came in handy since we didn’t get any breakfast!). The bag itself is cute and has made a nice lunch bag for me to take to work.

    General Observations:
    The Positive:
    The staff was wonderful. There were so many people we met that went out of their way to make sure we were having a good time. The Guest Relations Manager stopped by our breakfast and lunch table a couple of times to ask if we needed anything. Wonderful…

    We LOVE LOVE LOVE the new beach towel system. You get 2 towels in your room and you can exchange them as many times as you like without having to go to water sports and do the 1 for 1 system. There are clean towels (and dirty towel hampers) located near the main pool, the water sports area and the spa. This is a wonderful improvement!!!!!!!!!

    The water bottles are great! All the guests we talked to agree and everyone was using them. You can fill them up at a filling station (though the filling stations were a little hard to find outside the main building), the pool grill, the gym and the bartenders or wait staff were happy to fill them up as well. The logo wore off by the end of the week from all the sunscreen on my hands but the bottle is really cool and we are already using them at home.

    We like the new décor… except we really miss the flowers in the lobby. It is a little sterile. The soft colors look great and we love the new uniforms the staff is wearing. The turquoise ones look great and we love the solid white linen ones at night!! The lobby is fantastic at night with those cool light fixtures against the black and turquoise chairs… very nice. The green pool loungers are super comfortable and they look great. The new pool decks and walkways are fantastic as well with all the shell work mixed into the concrete… the staff spent every morning buffing them to a beautiful shine.
    The gardens were in great shape and there were some nice private hammocks located out there near the birds. We love the classic white buildings against the lush greenery… very very tropical.

    I have always liked the size of the resort. It is small enough to have the activity centered but large enough to get some space. The beach was perfect sized for the number of guests. The reservations seem to fill up quickly, but be patient. There are always no-shows for dinner (or the Cat Cruise) so just show up when you want and see what happens. Of course, be flexible and polite! Once everyone with a reservation is handled, they will be happy to seat additional people (we saw this at Bayside, 8 Rivers and the Cat Cruise).

    The Less Positive (and in no way Couples Issues… these are people issues):
    The Buddha Pool and Spa hot tubs are a double edged sword. It is nice to relax QUIETLY in however, later in the day; the crowd grows and gets louder. We had our couples massage at 4 pm and there was a couple that had to be asked repeatedly to be quiet as they were disturbing people in the spa. The treatment rooms all open up to the Buddha Pool so please, be polite and stay quiet!!!! Same goes for the hot tubs and steam rooms.

    Men just shouldn’t wear a tank top to dinner… I don’t care what restaurant you are eating at, a man with pit hair hanging out of a tank top is just not cool to have to see while I’m trying to eat dinner. At least wear a T-Shirt… please?!??!?!?

    Please be polite to the staff… they are working very hard and they shouldn’t have to deal with you acting like an ass. For that matter, I’m on vacation and I shouldn’t have to deal with you acting like an ass.

    Summary:
    We had a great vacation at CTI! I would happily recommend CTI to any of my family or friends and we plan to be back. Now that we have a child, we will be rotating between family resorts and Couples and we still plan to rotate between CTI and CN so needless to say, we can’t wait for our next Couples vacation!!!
    CTI Staff – A huge Thank You for giving us such a wonderful experience!
    Please feel free to ask any questions you might have…
    Ashley

  2. #2

    Default one thing I forgot...

    for those getting married at CTI, be sure to check out the area by the sea wall for the ceremony. Our friends had their vow renewal here and it was by far the prettiest setting on the resort.
    Ashley

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    772

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    Ashley - Great Review!!

    Can you PM me? I would like to get some info on the family resorts you have chosen in JA. veronica at dvdconsulting dot com.

    Thanks

  4. #4

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    Wow.... Thanks for the review... Can not wait for May 22nd!!!!!

  5. #5

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    Great review and appreciate all the facts of your report. You are right manners cost nothing and as for looking at other blokes armpits at any meal is gross!

  6. #6

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    Ok Ashley, would you mind terribly if I start out by saying how much I hate you? Because that was the most detailed and informative review I have ever read, and I just know there's no chance in h-e-double hockey sticks that I'll be able to top that when I give my post-trip review at some point next month. That was one fantastic review, so honest in its detail and description. I do have several comments and a couple of questions tho.

    Did you at least try to get your suite relocated? I know part of the location was positive, but I can understand why you grew tired of the fried onion smell after a short period.

    I'm glad you brought up the beach erosion, yet focused more on how little negative impact, if any, it had. There have been way too many questions from people these days on this subject, so hopefully opinions like yours will qualm the fears.

    Thanks for discussing a bit in detail on the pool and beach party/buffets. These usually seems to slip by when folks provide their reviews. I'm hoping that steel drum band plays at least one night when we're there (17 days and counting). You really seemed to enjoy, so I'm sure we will too.

    I guess the key to having faster dinner service, at least at 8 Rivers, is to make sure we don't dine in a larger group. At least the food itself was great, as was the case with Bayside for both food and service. It's our intention to dine at both of these fine establishments at least twice. Like you, we're not all that whippy on buffets for dinner, except of course when it's an intregal part of the evening's package, such as the poolside and beach parties. And it's great to read such a positive opinion on the Veggie Bar. We are looking forward to snacking there in the afternoons, and in fact it just may be the first place we hit to grab a bite to eat upon arrival at the resort.

    Good to see you took full advantage of the resort credits, we intend to do likewise. Any suggestions as to which treatments for us? We want to at least have one aroma therapy massage apiece and Rosa is dying for a nice facial. I was also thinking of the seaweed wrap. Oh, and solid advice for those using the Buddha pool and hot tub while patrons are utitlizing the Spa. Consideration goes a long way. Thanks for passing this on.

    I wasn't aware of those hammocks near the birds, may have to steal some time and lay in one of those for a bit. And I promise, yes PROMISE to not wear a tank top to show off my pit hairs at dinner!!

    Really, this was a tremendous review (hence the hatred). Very much appreicated.
    Ron

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    317

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    Ashley,

    I have to say thank u for the very detailed recap of your vacation. I do have to say, from some of the things that u said in your recap, I would say that u didn't enjoy yourself. My husband & I r booked for 09/2011 to stay at CTI and after reading your recap, I was actually rethinking my decision. I hope to have a great time and hope that we haven't chosen the wrong resort as our 1st Couples experience. We r so excited about our trip that we r about to burst open.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by spice505 View Post
    Ashley,

    I have to say thank u for the very detailed recap of your vacation. I do have to say, from some of the things that u said in your recap, I would say that u didn't enjoy yourself. My husband & I r booked for 09/2011 to stay at CTI and after reading your recap, I was actually rethinking my decision. I hope to have a great time and hope that we haven't chosen the wrong resort as our 1st Couples experience. We r so excited about our trip that we r about to burst open.

    Spice, did you read Ashley's last paragraph?

    "Summary:
    We had a great vacation at CTI! I would happily recommend CTI to any of my family or friends and we plan to be back. Now that we have a child, we will be rotating between family resorts and Couples and we still plan to rotate between CTI and CN so needless to say, we can’t wait for our next Couples vacation!!!
    CTI Staff – A huge Thank You for giving us such a wonderful experience!
    Please feel free to ask any questions you might have…"



    She was critiquing certain situations as she experienced them. That's what a good, detailed and objective review is all about. Contrary to the picture that many people paint in their reviews, which is often for the sake of brevity, there's no such thing as a perfect vacation. There are always things that go wrong her or there, or at the least could have been better. That's life. Ashley simply told it like it was, warts and all. And the warts were few and far between.
    Ron

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

  9. #9

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    Ashley... Great review... I really only have one question... As a 8th time repeater in 18 days myself...I was wondering if Ulyses is back making omelets? He is one of our favorite employees there, and we have heard that he had to take some time off... Thanks so much for your wonderful review. And thanks for the info on Ulyses, if you have any for me.
    Amy

  10. #10

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    Hi Ashley,

    Thank you for your detailed review! We are leaving 3/29 (a few days away) for CTI. Your review was very helpful.


    Mitch

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,036

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    Great detailed review. We have three kids and are curious about the AI family resorts also. Could you email me what you thought about the B resort and which one it was(location)? My email is margineff@hotmail.com. Thanks a lot.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashley View Post
    Couples Tower Isle – March 12, 2010 to March 20, 2010


    Men just shouldn’t wear a tank top to dinner… I don’t care what restaurant you are eating at, a man with pit hair hanging out of a tank top is just not cool to have to see while I’m trying to eat dinner. At least wear a T-Shirt… please?!??!?!?
    great review enjoyed reading it objective and detailed very nice .. now in your opinion if the men went the "mettrosexual route" and shaved their pits would a tank top be more "acceptable"

    again great review

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    393

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    Great review! I agree that some guests can ruin the tranquility of the spa area. Also keep in mind that if you book your wedding by the sea wall for late afternoon it is very close to the new swim-up bar which can be very busy and rowdy late in the day. In January there was a group at the swim-up bar that had been drinking all day on the island. One guy was trying to get his fellow islanders to skinny dip in the pool while there was a wedding going on right behind him. It was all in good fun but not what I would want for my wedding setting.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    12

    Default Additional comments (3/13-3/20)

    We were also at CTI, suring March, for our tiny wedding on the 15th.

    There were a few things I wanted to let people know before they arrive. Make sure to get all vouchers due to you at check in - don't wait because there may be a harder time getting them later on.

    There are literally no ashtrays on the grounds, except for a very few left on tables by the pool. We try to be considerate smokers, but worried about the wildlife around the property and so extinguished our butts and then carried them to our room because there are also no trash cans anywhere to throw the butts into. Don't spend the time that we did looking for ashtrays - they don't have any. (Not really sure why?)

    Make sure to book the catamaran cruise as soon as humanly possible when you get there. We even tried to book the next morning after our arrival, as we got in very late the night before, but there were no available spots left for any of the sceduled cruises. We were put on a waiting list but never were able to cruise. A benefit or free excursion only counts (in our book) if you actually have access to it. Very sad to have missed the fun of the one excursion we really wanted to take advantage of.

    We found the meals as well as the staff at the buffet dinners exceptionally good. We liked the dinners and really took our time enjoying each course, while listening to the lovely performances of Fusion, the house dinner band. We also loved the bluesy band called Soul4Soul! They have a great set and lots of snuggly R&B numbers for romantic dancing. Just outstanding musicians performing every night. We loved that aspect of the resort.

    If you really want to enjoy a private moment, make sure that your 'do not disturb' sign is out (no matter what time of day). Also, get in the regular habit of locking your door latch EVERY time you enter the rooms. Sometimes if you have not had service to your room during the day hours (until 4) the staff will come and do a turn down service later, and even if they knock, if you are out on the balcony, you won't hear it and you may be suprised to see the lights come on suddenly and a housekeeper in your room. It was our fault entirely when this happened to us, but just wanted to pass on the advice for newcomers.

    I agree with those who have said that the staff members at CTI really appreciate kindness and courtesy, and richly deserve it. Whenever possible, try and be extra kind and warm to these lovely people. They are some of the nicest servers I have ever encountered anywhere in the world.

    If you would like some lovely photos taken of you as a couple, as a memory of your trip, please see Rohan in the Photoshop. He did our wedding photos and a set of honeymoon photos for some friends of ours, and in both cases, the results were more than impressive. He has a great sense of humor and of course, all the photographers there would do a good job. However, he was ours and I highly recommend him.

    Thanks for your review and I am glad I was able to ade some comments as well. All of you looking forward to an upcoming trip make me envious! We are already to go back again and we have only been home for a week. The place has a spirit and a soul, and if you are open to them, the staff will embrace you with care and love as well. They are what makes it our new resort of choice.





  15. #15

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    Thanks for the additional info Sara Lee. That is quite informing about the lack of ashtrays on the resort. It's pretty bad when courteous smokers such as you want to do the right thing, but have this inconvenient obstacle before them. While we still shouldn't excuse those who leave their butts in the sand or on the grounds, perhaps if there were sufficient numbers of receptacles for those to discard their butts, trash, etc, this could better serve as a reminder to do so.

    Memo to Couples management: More ashtrays please.
    Ron

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

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,505

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    There are enough trash cans, and ashtrays at the bar, that making sure the cherry is out and popping the butt in your pocket for a couple of minutes makes a fine alternative.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,953

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    " We were put on a waiting list but never were able to cruise. "

    We know of people who were on the "waiting list" and also showed up at the cruise and were able to get on as well as people who just showed up. They were the last to board and it's really a matter of some couples get "side tracked" and don't make it to the cruise. The key even if on the waiting list is to show up at the water sports hut in plenty time to grab that spot.
    Vicky

  18. #18

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    What a wonderfully detailed and helpful review. Thank you so much for taking the time to post it. We will be there 4 weeks from today!!!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    141

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    I just wanted to say thanks for the reviews, we have CTI booked for a week next June and it's nice to know we made the right choice. And note to self: book the cat cruise early!!! got it.

  20. #20

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    Hey Sara Lee...I'm glad to hear your wedding went great! I kept an eye out for you two at CTI but I guess our paths never crossed.

    In regards to making reservations, I have had some people tell me that they had called prior to their arrival and made reservations for the catamaran cruise. I don't know if this is standard procedure snd/or if other reservations, such as restaurants, can also be done in advance.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    317

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    Hi Ron and Rosa,

    Yes, I read the entire recap. Did u read my very first line? I thanked her for her very detailed recap. I am aware that there are good and bad that happens when u go on vacation. I guess I am stupid because, as detailed as it was, I got mixed messages. Sometimes it seemed she had a great time and then at other parts, she had a horrible time or didn't like her trip as much. It's only my opinion and it may not agree with yours. I am just trying to make sure that we made a good decision as far as resorts becasue, it seem that in this message board, that CTI gets a lot of unfavorable messages. That's just my perception!

  22. #22

    Default Thanks all!

    Thank you all for the positive comments on our review. We DID have a wonderful time and will definately be going back to CTI in the future...

    Ron, I asked at the desk about changing suites to the main building and they were full at the time. There would have been one open late in our stay (like 3 days left) so it just wasn't worth moving. We don't really spend much time in our room so it was only a minor inconvenience. It will however, keep me from booking a suite again and stick to the premier rooms for the view. We used the mini bar quite a bit (which was nice) but we never used the whirlpool tub and the shower is the same as the regular rooms.

    Steverlinda... while a "man-scaped" under arm would be better I would still prefer a T-Shirt as a minimum requirement at dinner

    We didn't notice a shortage of ash trays, but no one in our group was a smoker.

    The trash can issue is simple to resolve. We simply took our trash to the bars and the bar tenders took care of it. I actually think the lack of trash cans is on purpose. Trash cans can get stinky pretty quick when they are out in the sun and could detract from the atmosphere. By taking it to the bars, it gets handled in a nice timely manner. There are also trash cans in all the bathrooms.

    The entertainment was good, we just happen to prefer local sounds instead of a version of older R&B music.

    Margi and Vee, I will shoot you an email
    Ashley

  23. #23

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    Spice,
    We did really enjoy our vacation as a whole but there were some things that we weren't happy with. We've been vacationing for many years so we don't let a couple of negative things overwhelm the positive experiences.
    In fact, every morning at breakfast, hubby and I would discuss what to cover in our review
    We had been to COR 3 times prior to the renovation so that is the only reason we were disappointed in the "Pool Gala"... it used to be a full blown affair set up around the pool, now it is just the typical buffet night.
    We definately believe some of our servie problems at 8 Rivers were due to our party having 8 people in it. The smaller tables didn't seem to have any problems with a timely meal.

    I would be happy to answer any questions you might have...
    The
    Ashley

  24. #24

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    Ulysses is not back and the staff wasn't sure if he was coming back anytime in the near future...
    Ashley

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by spice505 View Post
    Hi Ron and Rosa,

    Yes, I read the entire recap. Did u read my very first line? I thanked her for her very detailed recap. I am aware that there are good and bad that happens when u go on vacation. I guess I am stupid because, as detailed as it was, I got mixed messages. Sometimes it seemed she had a great time and then at other parts, she had a horrible time or didn't like her trip as much. It's only my opinion and it may not agree with yours. I am just trying to make sure that we made a good decision as far as resorts becasue, it seem that in this message board, that CTI gets a lot of unfavorable messages. That's just my perception!
    Hi back spice,

    Yes, I know you thanked Ashley for posting her review and I never thought you completely wrote off her experience as a complete negative, but the second line from your response:


    "I do have to say, from some of the things that u said in your recap, I would say that u didn't enjoy yourself."

    That's what got me to respond to you as I had. I actually wondered if you didn't finish reading her review, which concluded with an unabashed ringing endorsement of her stay at CTI.

    Personally, I always appreciate a review that comes with what I referred to as the 'warts'. Most people gloss over that aspect of a trip, which is understandable, being no one wants to necessarily state the negative parts of a vacation, not to mention want to hold the reviews down to a readable length. But I likes em long and I likes em accurate, which is why I really loved Ashley's detailed review. Hope that clears it up a bit, sorry for any miscontruance on my part there. After all, it's all good in da Couples hood.
    Ron

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

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