Posted this on Trip Advisor today...its a bit long - sorry...
We just returned from our third, fabulous 7 night stay (8/21 – 8/28) at Couples Sans Souci in Ocho Rios, this time in the Hibiscus Cottage.
We arrived in Montego Bay and were through immigration and customs (bags in hand) in just over 20 minutes. We were very disappointed to be stuck in the Couples lounge for 45 minutes while another group sorted through baggage issue. They finally sent us on without them only to call us back to the airport to pick up the same couple. After an hour and one false start we were finally on our way. We drove straight through with no stops and arrived just after 6pm.
As soon as I gave them our name at the front desk they handed us our check in package including repeaters t shirts and perks – no discussing the room since we had booked the Cottage. I was disappointed not to see our spa and gift shop credits were not included in the package. The clerk said he would have to investigate and get back to us since you had to book at a special time to get the credits not just everyone got them. I told him that I knew that but that my confirmation listed the perks. After digging my confirmation (glad I had brought that with us) he apologized but said it would be morning before the manager would be there to sign off on our vouchers. Oh well not off to a great start but we are in Jamaica so we tried to take a breath and move on. The bellhops tried to load us into the van with the same couple who had the previous baggage issues for a ride to our room – we said no thanks and just walked over. I guess they felt bad because another bellman arrived to show us the Cottage just as we pulled our luggage to the gate.
First impressions made up for all the hard feelings from before. If you can afford it, this is the place to stay at Sans Souci. Perched on the cliff, as you walk through the gate to your own private gardens there is an infinity edged in ground hot tub with a gorgeous view of the ocean. Further on down the stairs is a sandy area with two lounge chairs just below the hot tub, closer to the Cottage on the lower level there is a hammock big enough for 2, an outdoor shower and (surprise!) your own massage room for two with a half bath. Back up to the top level as you follow the path up a few steps in your patio with 2 lounge chairs (although they mysteriously delivered a third chairs at one point during the week) and a table and 2 chairs. Inside the Cottage there is a big round table immediately in the room (which became our “stuff” depository for the week) and a king sized bed (actually two twins pushed together) behind the table against the windows. To the right was a living room with flat screen TV and white (aren’t they brave) big giant fluffy oversized chair and sofa. Off the living room is the kitchen which you own full sized fridge (stock with lots of water, cokes, fruit juice, beer, tonic, club soda) with freezer (including ice trays) and fully stocked bar. The kitchen also had a coffee pot and tea kettle. On the other side of the bedroom is a huge bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub (never bothered) against the windows) dual sink vanity and walk in shower. The bathroom also shared the space with an enormous closet.
After the first night of melting while trying to use the hot tub, we asked them to turn off the heat and we used it as our own personal plunge pool (just big enough to fit two floats!). We did seem to always have an array of visitors (water sports to check the hot tub chemicals and clean it, mini bar, house keeping, grounds keepers, etc.) so it was not quite as private as I thought it might be but still very nice. We did book two couples massages in our massage room (no extra charge). I was a little leery about doing it because the room smelled so musty but the therapist showed up about an hour before and lit some candles and sprayed some stuff and it was perfect. So decadent to be lying in the hammock and have someone show up and ask if you are ready for your massage!
Our first morning someone arrived at 7:15 (quite the wake up call) and delivered to resort credits – I was so pleased we did not have to nag to get that taken care of. Most days we went down for breakfast at Palazzino’s (standard breakfast fare), did the 9am scuba dive, spent the rest of the morning on the beach, grabbed lunch and then headed back to the Cottage for the afternoon. That seemed to minimize the disruptions since most of the folks taking care of the Cottage came by in the morning.
Bella Vista was a nice first night dinner, never have been able to time it right so we could eat on the beach. We went to Palazzino’s for dinner as well. The antipasti bar and pasta station had us so full when they showed up with our entrées I was not sure I could eat it (of course I managed it and dessert). Our favorite is Casanova’s – totally worth dressing up for the food is great and they have different standard wines – yay! We went for lobster night on Wednesday and they had a tomato basil lobster tail which I thought was so creative and delicious. We ordered room service most afternoons for a snack. Service was always prompt (within about 30 minutes), hot and as ordered. We tried most everything on the menu and did not have anything we did not like. We skipped the beach party and ordered dinner and ate on our patio which was really very lovely. The repeaters dinner was delicious as always, it featured a steak with a seafood skewer. The Gala is always so beautiful and has just about everything you can imagine for food. I was really good this year and skipped the dessert buffet (but I did hit the flambé station that was new this year).
The weather was warm night and day. We had one day of dark clouds and thunder all day but it only rained for about an hour first thing in the morning and another night of thunderstorms between 2 and 4 in the morning (which is the perfect time for vacation rain I think).
The diving was good. The reefs looked better than I remembered them last year. Dennis and Phil in the dive shop make quite a team – they always had us laughing.
The good bye bus came all too soon. This year it took us an hour to get through security – the longest ever but we have not traveled on a Saturday before so that may be standard. After such a nice week moving at a snails pace through the line was like being stuck in the 7th circle but not enough to discourage us from going back.
All in all we loved it. The Cottage was definitely a splurge we could not do every year but it definitely made for a really special visit.