Couples Resorts Guest Spotlight Series: The Raks

Hi Couples family,

This week on our guest spotlight series, we are chatting with Stephen and Meghan Rak from St. Louis, MO. I had the pleasure of meeting this vibrantly fun couple in person at the Couples Negril "Sweet 16" Anniversary weekend in October. They are so friendly and even more so, passionate about their love for Couples Negril and the staff members and fellow guests who are like family to them. Can't wait for you to get to know the Raks and hear their Couples love story with Couples Negril. As a fun fact, since December 2007, the Raks have stayed a total of 71 nights at Couples Negril and have another trip planned for November. Enjoy their story!

Carrie: How did you two meet? 
The Raks: We met back in 2000 at Quincy University, in Quincy, IL. I was a senior in high school, visiting for a volleyball recruiting trip and Steve was a senior at QU. We met at my brother's volleyball game and I had committed to playing volleyball at QU and arrived on campus 2 weeks before school started for pre-season volleyball practice. My athletic trainer at the time was one of Steve's best friends and fraternity brother. It turns out, Steve stayed in Quincy after graduation and accepted a job at the university. His friend told me after practice one day that Steve was looking for me. His buddy just kind of smiled and said "he wants to see you". Later that night, we ran into each other and talked quite a bit. We started spending time together over the next few weeks getting to know each other. Volleyball season was in full gear and I was heading out of town for a tournament. He called me to say I needed to check my mailbox before I left. I ran to the mail room and opened up my mailbox and found the sweetest card inside from him. He stole my heart that moment and we have been together ever since!

Carrie: How many times have you been to Couples Resorts, and which properties? 
The Raks: We just went for our 11th visit to CN at the beginning of February. We have only visited CN...I guess once you know, you go! 

Carrie: How has Couples played a role in your personal love story? 
The Raks: Our first visit to CN was for our Honeymoon in Dec 2007/Jan 2008. We started our married life at Couples and it was the best place to unwind after all the wedding planning, not too mention the holiday season. Also, for our 5 year wedding anniversary, we renewed our vows at CN (see photo above). It was a special time for us, as we had been through a lot already in our 5 years of marriage. Besides those two "bigger" moments, Couples plays a vital role in our personal love story every year! We vowed to each other, no matter the circumstances going on in our life, we will make it Couples at least 1x/year. It is our place to go and unwind, detach, disconnect and leave all of "life" behind and focus on each other. We use it as a place to refresh and reenergize our love for each other and our love for life!

Carrie: What are the top three pieces of advice you would give to a first-time guest at Couples? 
The Raks: 1. Get to know the staff, they are the most friendly, loving individuals we have come to know and love. 
2. Disconnect! We make it a point (although sometimes it doesn't happen) to turn off our cell phones and keep them in the safe for our vacation. 
3.'s really hard not to at CN, but I can't reiterate it enough. You are on vacation to relax. Leave work, worries, troubles, etc at the airport! When you land in Jamaica, there are no worries mon! 

Carrie: In your opinion, what makes Couples so unique? 
The Raks: The STAFF! 100%! On our honeymoon, we got to know one of the bartenders very well. At the time, we didn't get his information and didn't keep in contact with him. We came back to visit 10 months later and when we saw him, he shouted out, "Meghan and Steve, it's so good to see you!" We were sold that instant! Also, Couples is authentic Jamaica. We love the boutique feel of the resort. The focus on service, food/drinks, and relaxation is their driving force. The simplicity of the resort is what keeps us coming back. There is nothing over the top about Couples and that's what makes it so perfect! 

Carrie: In a single word, describe what Couples means to the two of you. 
The Raks: HOME

Carrie: Which staff members or fellow guests do you most look forward to seeing when you return? 
The Raks: Oh my gosh, I hope you have a lot of room in this blog entry for this answer. Here we go: Onique, Jevedo, Deston, Herbert, Franklyn and Kenisha at the front desk/area! Ivylin, Elkie, Camille, Denva, Timar, Amay, Floy, Kenneth, Sharlette, Omar, Tennyson, Lindon at the bars! Denver, Kimali, Cleon, Omar, Godfrey, Sheryl, Dophie, Camicia at the restaurants! Okeno, Bellard, Kiev, Shawna, and Nelly for the entertainment staff. These staff members have become like family to us and we can't wait to see them every time we are heading to CN. We would also like to give a shout out to Donnovan and Andre on the beach! Our vacation is complete when they stop to sing and chat with us! In addition to seeing all the staff that have become like family, we also have a group of friends that has become our #jamaicafamily when we visit in November each year. We always look forward to seeing:

Kevin and Becky - England
Shannon and Don - Ohio
Dave and Laurie - Arizona
Tammy and Wayne - Indiana
Mike and Kim - Indiana
Amanda and Corey - Indiana
Billie and Dave - Toronto
Chris and Caley - Vancouver
Ernie and Linda - New York
Paul and Yvette - Seattle
Eric and Wendi - Portland

These people have become our #jamaicafamily and we all met because of Couples Negril. When we're all at Couples Negril, most of us do our own thing but usually meet up in the afternoon at what we officially call "the office" which is the pool bar to reconnect and just hang with great people.

Multiple great things/stories have happened because of this group. Here are just a few great stories:
1. Four of the couples visited Vancouver, Canada last Labor Day weekend to celebrate Chris and Caley's wedding. We all had met Chris and Caley when they first started dating at CN. Every year we would see Chris and ask when he's going to pop the question. He said, "I have a master plan." It was a long running joke with the group. It was great to celebrate with them and their friends and family. The best part...none of their friends believed that the #jamaicafamily existed. When we all arrived at the wedding, everyone greeted us as the #jamaicafamily and we even got mentioned in the father of bride speech. It was like we were famous. It was hilarious.
2. The best story has to be an ongoing surprise war between Kevin and Becky (they have visited CN 26 times) and us. When we visited in May of 2014, Kevin and Becky surprised us in the lobby. They had told us that they weren't going to be able to make it during May in 2014. But while filling out our paperwork, they came around the corner with Onique and surprised us. We were totally shocked. Well this February, we got them back. We knew they we going down in February and realized that when we were going to visit with friends from home, we would see them for their final two days. We worked with Onique to get them back. We arrived on Becky's actual birthday and they had no idea. So we brought down her favorite, Cheetos and a note. Onique personally delivered the Cheetos and note to Kevin and Becky and said this came for you today. Then he said there's a bigger gift in the office. We were waiting in the office while Onique made them close their eyes, when they opened we yelled surprise and happy birthday! It was classic. We had finally got them back. 

Carrie: Fill in the blank: Our ideal day at Couples consists of...
The Raks: ... waking up around 6:00am, having our cab driver friend, Keino, pick us up and take us down to St. Anthony's Kitchen to volunteer for the Get Kids to School Program. We hang out with the kids and the kitchen staff, Ms. Pearl, Andrea, Miss Pun, & Miss Biloxi. We help prepare lunch for that afternoon for the community of Negril. We head back to CN around 9am, have breakfast at Cassava, drink delicious Blue Mountain Coffee and take in the feeling of being Home. After breakfast, we head back to the room, get ready for the beach and head out. We spend our mornings on the beach, relaxing, lounging in the water, and listening to Donnovan serenade us all! Around lunch time, we head up to either the Beach Grill or Cassava, depending on the lunch choices of the day. After lunch, we move to the pool! We stake out spot, that is affectionately called "The Office," by all of our Jamaican family we have met down there over the last 11 visits. The afternoon consists of drinks made by the amazing pool bar staff, while lounging in "The Office, " and/or laying the mats out on the waterfall! After watching the beautiful sunsets in the bay, we head back to our room to get ready for dinner. We have a tradition that started on our honeymoon to set our timer on the camera and snap a picture in front of our balcony windows! I have lost count on how many we have now! We then head to the Piano Bar for a pre-dinner cocktail and chat with the bartenders. Then we head to dinner, which I feel ends up always being Lychee...the pad thai is to die for! After dinner, as long as we aren't too stuffed, we usually go back to the Piano Bar for the entertainment. Some nights we make it out late night, and other nights we could be in bed by 9pm! Either way, it's perfect and we wouldn't change a thing. We head to bed and wake up and do it all over again!

Thank you, Stephen and Meghan for sharing your story!
One love,

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