My wife and I headed back to Jamaica over Thanksgiving for 10 days for the second consecutive year. This year we decided on Ocho Rios and Couples Sans Souci. We were looking to head to a different part of Jamaica since last year we were in Negril.
Arrival in to Jamaica was no problem as our direct flight out of Philly into Montego Bay was a few minutes early. We were through customs, our luggage was waiting off the belt and we were off into the Couples Lounge. We got checked in, where we were handed tags for our luggage and had 3 much needed and long awaited Red Stripe Drafts each. The staff here were friendly, and helpful. There are small bathrooms here in case you want to freshen up, or change into shorts or bathing suit. We were in the lounge for about 20 minutes before we were told our shuttle would be leaving for Ocho Rios. We were in tranist with 2 other couples, 1 couple heading to Tower Isle and the other heading to Sans Souci with us. Our shuttle van, was air conditioned and comfortable. Our driver asked us if we wanted to stop about half way for a couple more Red Stripes or Snacks. We all agreed to do so, and the Bar we stopped at was really neat. It was an open air bar/resturant where we had about 15 minutes to go to the bathroom and grab a couple more Red Stripes. It is safe, trust me. You do not have to worry at all about getting out of the van. The driver locks it up and it is not out of your sight. The total drive is about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Not uneventful, as our driver kept us updated as to what we were passing. Talked to us about his hometown, and how long he has been employed. Very interesting to hear about the locals and their lifestyle. Ask questions. It is more of a major highway drive to Sans Souci as you drive right along the coast the whole time.
Sans Souci was the first stop, Tower Isle is the Second for those wondering. We step off the shuttle, and were greeted with a Yeah Mon, Welcome to Jamaica and most of all Welcome to Couples Sans Souci. We chatted for a couple minutes with the Bell Hop, and into the Lobby we go. Time wise, it is around 230 pm Thanksgiving Afternoon, a little less than 3 hours after we landed. My wife and I are taken back with how quiet the Lobby is, there are no vacationers around. Resort almost seemed empty. We were greeted with cold towels, and asked if we wanted Champagne, my wife obliged, and I asked for a Red Stripe. Within minutes we had both. The Lobby is beautiful, small, and very homey feeling. A few steps out from the roof of the Lobby, and you are looking over one of the pools, the Cassanova Resturaunt, and through a little bit of the Jungle, you see the blue calm waters of the beautiful Carribbean.
Check in was a breeze, we were explained where everything was, given a map, and told, if we have any questions or issues, please do not hessitate to call. Our bags were then loaded into the van and we were driven to our room. We were in in A Building, room 2119. 2nd Floor, Beachfront Suite. Yes, the first impressions are the rooms are a little bit outdated, but honestly, how often are you in your room. Our room, was clean, and our Housekeeper, Sandy, was great. We enjoyed talking to her everyday in passing, making more than just small talk conversation. The room had a great view overlooking the pool and pool bar, as well as the Beach and water. We had a Jacuzzi Tub in our bathroom that we didn't use. Our shower never lacked pressure and we always had hot water. I can see some people complaining about certain things. There was a spot on the ceiling that had some mold/water stain, damage. Did it affect our stay? NO not at all. There were double sinks, and we always had fresh clean towels. Help the resort out, by using your shower towel out more than once. If you want clean towels, throw them in the Jacuzzi tub. Our air conditioner did break twice, these happend in the middle of the night, when it didn't matter much. Two ceiling fans did just fine. A call to the front desk in the am before breakfast about the air conditioner was all we had to do. They fixed it within an hour or two. No big deal. There is a flat screen tv, with a wicker love seat and chair in a little sitting area. There are 2 entrances to the patio/balcony, out there you have to chairs with a table where you can sit, drink you coffee, eat breakfast, or dinner. We did not use the room service, did not feel the need to. Like I said we were in our rooms only to Shower, and Sleep. The bed, well we will have an issue where ever we go. But it was not too bad at all. Firm, lots of pillows. It was a King Bed and at times I would wake up in the middle of the night almost lost because I could not feel for my wife, haaa.
Pool, very clean, and pool bar never seemed to be to crowded. Always a chair with a float to use. Hot Tub, was a welcome. Although I am not sure people coming from the beach understood that there were showers to rinse off the sand right as you come off the beach before you get in the Hot Tub or pool. There was a lot of sand on the steps getting into the Hot Tub and Pool, but nothing to deter you from going in.
Beach, once again, the resort was supposedly at 95% capacity, but never did we feel crowded, or on top of anyone. Always plenty of room, plenty of beach loungers with pads. The palapa trees seemed a little depleted of palm covering, but once again, nothing to complain about. Little Palm trees also provided enough shade to slide the chair out from the sun for a little break if needed. We found the same spot on the beach everyday next to the Beach Bar/Resturaunt. The water was murky the first couple days there due to some storms that rolled through. Calmed down, and was crystal clear. Another storm rolled through on Thursday Night, and Friday the water was really really rough. Especially for the Carribbean. They have flag service. For those who do not know what flag service is, Couples has Runners, in which you get a Blue Flag on a white stick, you stick it in the ground and within minutes Demar, or Sasskia will be around to get you a drink. Although Demar gave us a flag every day we never used it because him and Sasskia do a tremendous job of keeping your drinks full without even needing to see the flag. The Beach is small, and when I say small, I am not kidding. It might be 75 yards from end to end. Depth from water to back of the beach might be 15 yards. Not deep at all. But it is very secluded. There are no beach vendors walking back and forth selling you anything. We did travel over to the "Au Natural" Beach after 5 pm for the sunsets. They have a saxaphone player there playing as you enjoy the sunsetting behind the mountains.
Food, the breakfast buffet was always good. Fresh Fruit, Omelette Bar, Pancakes as well. I had French Toast every day with Banana Syrup and a spoon full of Cinnamon Sugar. Loved it. Fresh Juices, a Bloody Mary set up, Champagne and Orange Juice Station, Cereal and Yogurt station as well. They serve a buffet lunch here as well that we only ate at once. We found the Beach Bar/Resturaunt very very sufficient and very good. Highly recommend the Jerk Chicken, and the Jerk Burger. If you get the fish tacos, be careful of small bones. My wife found this an issue the last day we were there. But all in all a great spot to hit during the middle of the day.
Dinner, we ate at Pallazina a couple nights, and Cassanova twice. Both of which we never had any issues. Food was great. Never an issue making reservations at all. MEN CASSANOVA YOU NEED TO WEAR PANTS, CLOSED TOE SHOES, AND A SHIRT WITH A COLLAR. I forgot my dress pants, even though I knew I needed them Thank god for the gift shop on the resort. I was able to purchase pants there. Thanksgiving Night we ate at the Beach Hut for dinner, there they had Jerk Turkey in celebration of our Holiday. Absolutely Amazing. Tuesdays is the beach party where they set the tables and chairs up on the beach, and buffet along the grass. The dinner choices were unbelievable. Plenty to choose from. Fridays are the Grand Gala Nights. All I can say about this is WOW. The work that the staff puts in for these events are second to none. The food at the Gala was Great. 7 different stations to choose from. Seafood, pasta, meat, salad, vegetable, dessert, apps. Unreal.
Entertainment, We were awake long enough to see the entertainment at the Gala and Beach Party. The Gala, has a house band with a singer. We saw a group of 3 girls who were there the 2nd Friday Gala, and they were not that bad. After them I believe was a solo guy who covered Inner Circle, Bob Marley, etc. Not bad either. Beach Party Entertainment was Amazing. A little band with an acoustic guitar, a rythm box, and banjo then the Steel Drum band, and Fire Jugglers. Unfortunately they were the only nightly entertainment we saw because we were either to stuffed, and drunk from dinner, or just to tired.
We made our way to the mineral pool one day and it was beautiful, laying on the lounger and hearing the waves crash against the walls. The water was refreshing, and once again, if you put block or sun tan oil on, there is a shower right there to rinse off before you go in. The smoothie bar we had one day as well. There are snacks there for the people that are interested in staying up by the minral pool. Visit Charlie's Cove, stick your feet in the mineral pond. All the fish will swim around your feet and you will feel them nibble on your heels and toes. Very calming in that part of the resort.
We did Dunns River Falls, which is included with the resort. You must schedule in advance before you go. The transfer to and from Dunns River is safe and done by the Resort. There are lockers at Dunns River that cost $8 I believe, but you get $3 back after turning the key in. These lockers are big enough for 2 couples to stick your belongings in. But all you will need is a towel, and water shoes. They have stairs that if you feel unsafe or intimidated to climb you can walk and follow the group. I must admit, this was a blast. Please beware of the vendors as you are leaving Dunns River. You do have to walk through the little shops to leave. We didn't feel threatened at all, but some of the people were a little pressuring trying to sell you their goods. Granted they are trying to make a living and will appreciate some small talk. I did manage to bargain a trade of my water shoes, that were only worn once (Dunns River) for some wood work from one of the vendors. Our group leader though, was full of energy, completely safe and we really really enjoyed ourselves. We also did the glass bottom boat which is also included. They run the tour 2x's daily 1130 am and 1:30 pm. Each tour is about a half hour long. You do have to go to the water sports to reserve the time you want to go. This was a really cool tour as well. They take you and show you different parts of the reef, coral, and see a sunken ship from World War 2 that was brought in.
This resort, is great. Never a crowd in any particular area, Reggae Music playing over the speakers at the beach bar and pool bar. NO KIDS!!!!!! My wife and I never knew the difference of a resort with/without kids until now. And from now on, ADULTS ONLY RESORTS. The Staff, Words cannot express what I want to say about them. Honestly, they really really make you feel important. They work extremely hard, they are dedicated, respectful, and want nothing more to make you feel at home. So do the same in return. Be respectful, let them know how much you appreciate them and how hard they work. Talk to the employees, get to know them, ask questions. Find out about where they are from, how long it takes them to get to work, where their families live. Trust me, you will appreciate your vacation more.
I feel I need to single out some employees here. Demar, beach runner/waiter, One of the best guys we have had the pleasure to deal with. Honestly, we enjoyed seeing him every time he came over to us, during the morning, and night. Truely a hard and dedicated worker. We got to know him well. Exchanged emails and will be in touch with him for sure. Sasskia, once again, always had a smile on her face. Back and forth from the beach to the pool bar. Always made sure to stop, say hello, ask if we needed anything, always wanted to take care of us. Courtney, wait staff, was our waiter more than a handful of times. Always greeted us with a fist pound, a smile and a "YEAH MON YOU HAVIN A FUN TIME MON?" Outstanding service from him, especially at the Gala. Stopped what he was doing, came over to our table and asked if we needed anything. Great Great Guy and even better employee. Melissia, whe was our waitress during our breakfast almost every morning. Always a smile, remebered us by name after our first visit with her. She is OUTSTANDING, and really one of the most genuine people we had the pleasure of meeting during our stay. We got to talk to her, get to know her background, about her family, what she likes doing on her days off. Such a great way to start off your morning and seeing her smile as you walked into the Pallazina. Sandy, our Housekeeper. Spectacular, always had a conversation with her. She was always very helpful with anything we needed. Room was spotless, had flower art a couple days. Turndown service as well. Just a great all around person and employee.
There were a few couple minor issues. Nothing I would say ruined our trip at all, but something I am going to bring up here. Cats, yes there are a handful of wild cats on the resort. They do run the grounds and do seem to hang around the palazina during breakfast, lunch and dinner. My wife and I are not cat people at all. We were a bit disturbed by this, because people do tend to feed them by dropping food on the floor. This is bad, because if the cat/cats are not interested in the food, then it sits on the ground and that is how the bugs become an issue. Once again, not cat people, and requesting to sit inside avoids the cats. Second, was all of the flys at the Beach Hut for lunch. Granted I know we are outside, and there are 10 tables on the deck eating at once, but possibly having some of those glue fly traps hanging around and changed out a couple times a day would help from an over population of them.
All in all, this was a very much needed relaxing vacation. The resort grounds were kept clean, and we always felt safe. The Service and Staff were outstanding.The food, in my opinion was the best food we have come across at an all inclusive hands down. Drinks were never watered down, always an open spot at a bar if you venture to one. I was basically a Red Stripe guy, however I did go a couple mornings where I would have a couple frozen Margarittas and then switch to beer. My Wife was on the Bloody Marys for a bit, during the day, had the Rum Punch, Dirty Banana, Miami Vice. We met some great couples from Canada, Michigan, and New Orleans. Venture around the resort, take a walk around. You never know what you are going to find. Hidden grottos, hammocks, little lizards, mongoose, hummingbirds, and even a Parrot that likes to say Hello, goodbye and will tell you when he wants a cracker. Talk to the employees, find out the history about Charlie the Turtle, go to the pond feed the turtles, and fish. Most of all, enjoy yourself. Thank you Couples Sans Souci, My wife and I really appreciated spending our 2nd Thanksgiving with you. You really made us feel comfortable and enabled us to start calling your beautiful country "Our Second Home". Thank you again, and we are looking forward to next Thanksgiving. Pictures to follow
A and B Block are ground level and do not require to much walking to get to where you need to be. Be...
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