Let me start by saying....we LOVE Couples.....specifically, Couples Negril! We had an opportunity to visit Jamaica twice this year, so we decided we would try another Couples. After looking at all of the information we could find on this message board, and asking questions of many regulars, we decided that we would give CTI a try also!
First of all, let me say, the renovations are stunning! The resort itself is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! We arrived a little later in the day than we had expected due to weather delays, but after a brief 10 minutes in the lobby we were taken up to our room. We had decided on a Premiere Ocean Room, which was lovely, however I was originally not very fond of the location. We were on the second floor just above the lobby and right off the elevators. I had concerns about noise due to the location, but because nothing else in our category (or higher)was available, we decided to stay put. Things ended up working out, as there was little to no noise! ;-}
The food....well, it was good. Certainly better than any other brand of all-inclusive we have been to, but not CN standards. The buffets were very small compared to what we have become accustomed to; the salad bar was VERY small. We were there celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary, and decided we would do a private beach dinner to celebrate. I would recommend the beach dinner to anyone that has a special event that they are celebrating. The food for the beach dinner was the best meal we have ever had at any Couples! (This was our 6th trip.)
The activities....we chose not to do any of the off site excursions. We have never done the off site excursions at CN and have never once been bored. Unfortunately, this was not the case at CTI. The event staff at CN has always participated with the guests throughout the day (pool bingo, volleyball, beach ring toss, etc....) and we have always learned the names of all the event staff. I could not tell you one name of anyone on the event staff at CTI. They truly were not around during the day. One day we did decide to do the trading places to CSS and that day, the event staff there were very involved. (Maybe this is not something that appeals to the usual CTI guests?) We noticed that things were winding down nightly around 10:30, we prefer to be up a little later, but can certainly see why this resort calls to people who like to turn in early.
The staff......while we were there, we didn't really get to know the staff as well as at CN. It felt like we had to go out of our way talk to them. They were friendly, don't get me wrong, just not as outgoing as what we are use to.
Overall, we had a good time, we made our own fun. CTI is a very beautiful resort, just not for us! We will however continue to be loyal to Couples and return to CN! If nothing else, it confirmed to me that CN (my original Couples pick) was the right choice for us! Unfortunately we ran into several guests during our stay that had never before stayed at a Couples resort, and I fear that they never will again (they had many of the same feelings and concerns that we did). We tried to convince them that all of the Couples resorts were different in their own way, and they should at least give another one a shot.
Wow, Hawkgroup! We just got back from CTI also, and we had a totally different experience! We were probably there at the same time as you--I know we saw a couple of private beach dinners while we were there.
This was our second trip to CTI, and we have also been to CSA. We haven't been to CN, so I can't make the comparison, but we love it at CTI. We have always found the staff to be extremely outgoing and friendly, and we were at the swim up bar most afternoons when the event staff came up and tried to get the crowd involved in games. Some games went over better than others, but the staff were definitely there.
Sorry you missed the trip to Dunns River Falls--it is something everyone should see and do at least once. Horseback riding was also fun, but I would probably rather be back at the pool or snorkeling. Hopefully you took advantage of some of the watersports--the crew there is great! And hopefully you had a chance to do the catamaran cruise--it's another "must try."
We are usually early to bed while we are there because we wear ourselves out during the day and wake up early, but when we have stayed up there's always a good crowd in the piano bar.
I guess each couple has its own favorite resort, and it probably has alot to do with which resort you visited first and what you like to do while you are there. We hope to visit CN and CSS at some point, but CTI will forever be our Jamaican home. At least we all love Couples!
Thanks for the honest review, Hawk. I guess this just makes for further proof that not every Couples resort has the highest appeal to every loyal customer. Some resorts just seem to click more than others with various people. And that's good. If everyone all thought the exact same way, then everyone would be going to the same place and doing the exact same things. Diversity of thought helps shape opinions and loyalties for each of the four locales and subsequently drives how each resort operates.
Being that we'll be making our Couples/Jamaican debut next year and our trip will include both CTI and CN, this will provide us a golden opportunity to directly compare the two resorts features, food, activities, etc. Looking forward to this big time.
Reading is fundamental. It's just that for some, it's more mental than fun.
Wow - I sure hope you are wrong about the staff. We stayed the first time at CN as well and it was awsome. I loved the staff. It was one of the best parts. We also enjoy staying out later and mingling with the other guest and staff. Hopefully CTI staff reads this and will improve. I am still looking very forward to going to CTI. Will be there Sept 25 thru Oct 1.
I hope that CTI hasn't changed since the remod. This will be my 3rd trip to CTI and this doesn't sound like the CTI I know. Most of the time the staff takes time for everyone. Was the place packed with people???
Considering the Stefan is the new head chef over all the Couples and he comes from CN, I am surprised that you didn't find consistency. But then our trip was a different trip than yours and after our visit to CSS we know that CTI is our home. That is what makes Couples so unique, they offer different things at the individual resorts that are unique to that resort.
one thing for certain is that the first couples you visit tugs on your heart strings and finding faults with the others comes easy. although we enjoyed your review, we must state our case. after 19 years of going to tower isle the only thing we bring home is the beautiful memories of the people that work and serve to make our vacation worth coming back year after year. there are friends that have worked there that we have known, who have moved on and some who are not with us anymore but we must say, all the people who work at cti are wonderful and caring people. open your heart and they will be there for you. will we be going back? you bet, the end of feb 2010 and you can count on us enjoying our friends that we have made over the years.
Hawkgroup: thanks for the honest review, we have not long been back and i was nervious about posting a review for fear of the comments i might get back. Most of the Staff Kirk all the bell gang where as fun as always but i did find that some were not as outgoing i put it down to them being young and new to the resort, there was one instance when at 8 rivers we asked for champagne and when it didn't come after 10 mins we asked again and was told to "wait a minute" we didn't complain the girl must have been having a off night. I would say personally the only thing we found disapointing was the food. I didn't think it was of a good quality and we didn't like the fact that at Bayside and 8 Rivers you had no choice of starter, you had to have a little of everything, and some of the choices i didn't want. After CTI we went to CSS which was wonderful as always - which do we do prefer well in all honesty CSS the food was much better for a start, It will not stop us going to CTI again we must go to see all our friends Kirk, Uylesses and everybody, and all out friends at CSS are just down the road so we will keep doing splits.
We've been to both CSS and CTI and I have to say the staff at CSS does not hold a candle to the staff at CTI.. I will say that the CSS entertainment staff rocks because they stole our beloved Simone away during the renovations. I believe the entertainment staff at CTI are still trying to find their niche. I believe they were all new to the company, and new to that line of work. Give them some time and they will figgure it out.
We were at CTI at the end of opening week and did find the food lacking. Passed it off to the staff having to work out the kinks after the renovation. But I am dissappointed in the change of Cuisines in the various restaurants. My husband did not care for the Asian at Bayside at all. We always had wonderful evenings at Bayside when the food was Italian, and with the change, I doubt we will be eating there on our next visit.
Wow, 71 days until we go back to CTI to see for ourselves what changes have taken place. We have been to CTI, CSS and CN and we love CTI (before renovation). Frankly we were not overly impressed with the food at CSS or CN, so we'll see what CTI holds now. I must say that when we were at CN and CSS none of the entertainment held out attention, also the staff were OK, but nothing special. What you have to remenmber is, if you have been to the same place several times you build familiarity with the resort and the staff. We didn't feel the same way about CTI after our first visit, as we do now. That being said we are going twice this year and we will be returning to CTI and giving CSS another go. I dare say in the future we will also return to CN. I do agree that with the same Exec. chef the menues are looking very much like CN's. I think this is a shame as many who go to CTI loved the local Jamaican food (goat curry etc), which I didn't see at CN. Please don't make them all the same, the differences are what make them special.
Please let me point out that I was not trying to imply that the staff was mean or nasty in any way. Ava at guest relations was WONDERFUL, as were the bell staff. It was the everyday interactions with bar staff, wait staff etc. that I felt could use some improvement. The spa staff couldn't have been better!
We truly felt as though we were going to CTI with an open mind, and truly tried not to make comparisons, unfortunately when CTI was lacking in an area that is exactly what we found ourselves doing.
CTI and CSS blow CN away with their AN areas. We loved the island, and maybe the fact that we spent a lot of our time out there during the day is why we missed out on the event staff. Where were they at night though?? At CSS we visited Sunset Beach and the event staff was there almost the entire day.
I guess in the end we will just have to chalk it up to all of the resorts offering something a little different....to appeal to the many different people that LOVE COUPLES!