I have waited quite awhile to write this review to really see how I feel about the trip we took this June. My girlfriend and I explored almost all options in the Caribbean when planning a getaway trip. After coming across the Couples resorts, we were attracted to Tower Isle based on the listed amenities, the reviews here and the resort's own declaration for it being "the most romantic" of their properties. We travel quite a bit so were really looking to get away somewhere secluded and just enjoy time with each other.
Our arrival was excellent. Having the waiting area at the airport with very friendly baggage carriers and the free beer until our van arrived was a nice touch. It is not a "nice" lounger per se but relative to everything else in that area it was nice to have. The ride from the airport to the resort is a bit of a trek, including the inclement weather we had, but this was known ahead of time and certainly not the fault of the resort (just something to be aware of when planning your arrival / departure times). When we pulled in, we were warmly greeted by the staff and shown our room.
In my opinion, this is where my overall outlook on the trip started to fall a little. Please do not get me wrong, everything was nice, the people were nice, the beach was nice, the climate was nice but based on the reviews you would have thought you were staying at a true 5 diamond resort. This was not that. Again, I only state this so future readers know where we are coming from but "4-5 star" hotels in America and Europe make this place look like a 3* joint at best. The room is outdated, the bathroom is minimalist, the mini-bar (though stocked) was filled with well liquors and cheaper sodas, and the bed itself was not the most comfortable I've slept on.
The rest of the resort had about the same feeling. While nothing was terribly "disappointing" (except for the pool-side food really) we expected great things based on photos. If you are going to show a tare-tare option on your website, that better be available. Room service options were not much better than hamburgers and chicken strips (no exaggeration). The food was good at times and mediocre the majority of the time. Honestly, the best food options we tasted were at the healthy "juice" bar on the beach level of the resort. Every day I had their marlin sandwich and a freshly made fruit smoothie. Perhaps we just were not aware prior to the trip, but we did not expect to have to make reservations for the "nicer" restaurants on the property. We did each at them both but it wasn't anything to write home about really.
The biggest disappointment for us both was the number of available activities during our stay. Granted it did rain the first day we arrived but we could not snorkel, kayak, use the glass bottom boat or several of the other water options because it was deemed "unsafe" or too murky. Other friends staying nearby on the Island informed us they were allowed to do all of the above and while I appreciate those looking out for our safety, it was very disappointing. The catamaran trip we took was nice (at first) but turned into a music blaring, try to jump the waves as much as you can trip towards the second half. My girlfriend got sick. The guy next to me got sick. I would guess 25% of our boat was sick by the end with only the really drunk, sugar punch loving couples at the front enjoying themselves and the other 60% not knowing what to think. The "party crew" for the resort was really very nice but it seemed to somewhat go against the "relax and be romantic" atmosphere from everything I read about CTI.
I am all about tipping. I do not tip less than 20% for any restaurant here in the US but spending as much on this trip where "tips are included" will not get you far. I felt pressured to tip regularly or my 1) service would suffer, 2) the quality of my food or drink would suffer, 3) I wouldn't get any attention the rest of the week. I went with it and tipped almost every time I did anything (and I mean anything) but don't expect to come here and spend $0 without getting stares.
We loved the Jamaican atmosphere and generally receptive staff. I REALLY wanted to love CTI and we did have a very nice trip but based on the massive number of 5* reviews here, I have to wonder who is visiting and what their travel history is like. Several couples were clearly newlyweds who were there simply to drink as much as possible and act like fools. All in all, for the money, I believe there are *a lot* of other places I will try before I visit another Couples property.
Stay away from the pool if you can - it gets loud at night and can stay that way
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your review of your recent stay at Couples Tower Isle. We are pleased that you enjoyed the welcome in our arrival lounge. We do not have scheduled stops to the resort and this minimizes the transfer time. The hotel was built in 1949. It was extensively refurbished in 2008 and reopened in 2009.
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Hotels are independently assessed in traditional systems and rest heavily on the facilities provided. Couples Tower Isle is proud to offer a wide variety of inclusions which sets us apart from other resorts in a similar category. We feel that all-inclusive should first and foremost evoke a five-star luxury experience while ensuring that you enjoy a fantastic value. When you stay with us, you are free to put away your wallet and open your mind to endless possibilities. Our extra ordinary inclusions are a Catamaran Cruise, Dunns River Falls Tour, Complimentary Golf Green Fees plus transfers to and from the Golf Course, Shopping Tour and even a stocked personalized mini bar.
All our guests have the option of ordering their liquor of choice based on the menu provided however top shelf liquor is available at all bars. We boast the finest island infused cuisine and our guest satisfaction ratings are usually very high. We apologize that you and your spouse did not enjoy the catamaran cruise based on the sea conditions.
Couples Resorts places a strong emphasis on our 'No Tipping Policy' as we believe this is an essential part of our all-inclusive resort experience. We advise that you don’t tip based on this therefore it is entirely up to you. Outside of our resorts, tipping is customary for all airport baggage personnel, taxi drivers, etc. We are very sorry that your resort experience was not what you wanted it to be and encourage you to try one of our other resorts in Ocho Rios, Negril or Barbados in the near future.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.