Unfortunately, we are booked at another resort nearby and I have a bad feeling about it!
We have decided to change to either CTI or CSS. We are a young couple and what we look for is good food, drinks, spa, room service and in-room liquor, nice restroom (lol) and a nightlife. We like to relax but do excursions as well. We are used to more modern resorts but was looking forward to the lush gardens at SGOR.
I understand there is no room service & in-room liquor/drinks @ CTI but we could live with that. Also, are there any cabana's at either properties??
I see you've bumped this one again so I'll take a stab at your question having never been to either of these, but I have experience with CN & CSA. I have been trolling the message board for the last 2 months and the general vibe I get is that you can't go wrong with either, but that CTI seems to have more of the party scene where as CSS is more spread out and private with the lush grounds.
With my upcoming trip (leaving in 9 days) I had originally booked CTI for their added excursions (includes horseback riding & catamaran in addition to dunn's river vs. CSS only Dunn's river) and recent renovation. However, when I showed my husband all the pictures, he really wanted all the lush gardens and seclusion so we switched to CSS (the mini bar in the room was also important to him - go figure).
From my experiences on the other side of the island, I can vouch for the comments that there can be a big difference from week to week based on the crowd that's there. At the end of the day though, I don't think you can really make a bad choice. Couples is an amazing chain of resorts and everyone will tell you that their commitment to their guests is superior to all others.
It says a lot that all four of their resorts were in the top 25 of 2010 Travel & Leisure's all inclusive resorts in the caribbean, bermuda & the bahamas (CTI #1, CSA #2, CSS #3 & CN #19). Three were ranked in the top 10 for World's Best (CTI #4, CSA #5 & CSS #6).
I haven't been to CSS yet (going in December) but have looked at lots of pictures and done a lot of reading on the MB. It sounds like CSS would be more what you are looking for. Each resort is great (have been to CTI). The room service and in room bar I think is a great advantage at CSS. CSS has the lush gardens you mentioned.
CTI has a couple more excursions though. I don't think either one has cabanas.
There are no cabanas at either property. They are both beautiful. CSS is a little more private, less rooms and bigger property. The rooms are bigger. The grounds are lush but the bugs like that. I've never been bitten up at CTI but at CSS I was eaten alive. Bug repelent would have helped I'm sure. CTI I think is a little social/party (not too party though) but you can find that at CSS if you try. Both have beautiful au natural areas (highly recommend trying it at least once at the begining of your trip). When we stayed at CSS we only used room service once so you really wouldn't miss it. Although I would love to go back to CSS, CTI is my "home". You'll absolutely love either one!
I think you will be pleased with eaither Resort. Our favorite of the 2 is CTI. We can live without room service and a mini bar also. CTI is recently refurbished and has more restaurant choices and in my opinion better entertainment facilities. There is a dance floor by the stage to dance to the house band and a separate piano bar that stays open until the last person leaves. We've had many a good time at both. No cabana's at either but plenty of shade if you need it. Good luck with your choice.
If room service, then CSS as CTI has only Continental Breakfast for room service. In room drinks you can get at both, but you have to book a suite at CTI. No cabanas at either property. CSS has palapas and CTI has palms swaying over head.
None of the Couples properties are what I would call "modern" however CTI had a major renovation last year in the range of 30 million. The common areas are very South Beach with sea foam green, white and black.
CSS is very spread out and being built on the cliffs there are a lot of steps, but the grounds are beautiful.
CTI's Spa was just ranked #1. It is fabulous! Pamella and her staff do a wonderful job of taking care of the guests. There are massage rooms that are open to garden areas, two hot tubs, Buddha plunge pool, steam room and dry sauna. They also have a smoothie bar in the spa.
Night life at both is limited but at CTI there is an evening entertainment, then a special event that ends about 11. Then they play dance music on the patio. The Piano Bar has sing alongs and such beginning usually at 10. The bar itself doesn't close until the last person leaves.
Food--I think CTI has more choices for restaurants. For breakfast you can do the continental room service or the Patio Buffet. For lunch--the Pool Grill, Veggie & Smoothie Beach Bar, the Patio Buffet. For dinner--the Patio Buffet, the Verandah, 8 Rivers, & Bayside. For the late night the Grill reopens after dinner and stays open until 5 a.m.
First of all, I think you made a good decision by switching to Couples, no matter which resort you choose. I always trust my gut, and if you're having a bad feeling, there's probably some reason for it.
I can't comment fairly on CTI, since we've not stayed there, but I can and will tell you why we love CSS:
CSS is not the most posh or extravagent resort that you will find, particularly when it comes to the actual rooms, but it is immaculately clean, the service is second to none, and the grounds are absolutely breathtaking. The resort has only about 150 (180? I never remember) rooms, but it sits on 36 acres. The "old" part of the resort was built as residential housing in the '60s (on the remains of a pirate fortress) and retains a very colonial atmosphere. This "section," if you will, is built up and on a cliff with a very tropical, rainforest atmosphere. There are paths and walkways and amazing views, very lush.
The "new" part encompaasses the main beach, main pool, main bar/Bella Vista restaurant, blocks A & B (built in the late '80s but following the architecture of the original structures), and the Palazzina restaurant. There is a large lawn that is set up beautifully on Fridays for the gala. The main beach sits in a natural cove and is entirely private.
There is also an A/N beach that is private and accessed by a short path that goes next to a large fish pond and tennis courts. There is a pool/grotto, bar, hot tub, grill, and this is separated from adjoining properties by a river.
There are no cabanas as I understand you to mean, and frankly, they're unnecessary. There is no "guest heirarchy" at any Couples resort: You will receive the same amazing service no matter what your room category.
The spa at CSS is built at the top of the cliffs, and the huts overlook the sea, most with over 180-degree views of the sea. (You can hear the waves crashing below you). The staff is top notch and offers a huge variety of services.
I first fell in love with the Sans Souci when I traveled there with my mother in the early '80s. It was not a Couples resort at that time, but the property was absolutely amazing. As per the times, it was quite formal (jacket and tie required for men for dinner).
When my husband and I decided to get married abroad four years ago, I found out that the Sans Souci property had been acquired by Couples, and it was a no-brainer. I was not disappointed. The resort has expanded and become a bit more casual (requiring long pants and closed-toed shoes for me only in one restaurant), but it still retained the essense of what I adored about the resort in the beginning.
I'm definitely rambling now, but I will tell you that if you demand marble lobbies and perfectly immaculate and sterile, glitzy rooms, the resort may not be for you. If you want to be social, it's always available, but you also have the option of spending time by yourselves: Ypu can find places where you'll feel as if you're in your own private paradise.