CSA was everything I had hoped it would be and more. The only problem? I just cannot imagine how another trip here could top the one we had...but I guarantee we will go back and try, for longer next time. I spent endless hours reading reviews before choosing CSA. We have not travelled extensively outside of the US, however we met many people who have. They keep coming back to CSA. claiming this resort is their favorite of all. The guests the week we were there were a very nice class of people from mid to late 20's to early 70's with plenty of people in each age group. The majority seemed to be from the US but there were many Canadians and Europeans. To give some background, we are in our late 30's, picky about our food and cleanliness but overall not overly hard to please. We kept waiting for something to go wrong..but it just kept getting better!
GETTING THERE: Arrived in Montego Bay at 3pm. We were off the plane, through customs and in the Couples lounge before 4pm for a red stripe (they also have lite) and a quick bathroom break. Everyone was friendlly and we were on the bus with about a dozen other people by 4:10. We tipped both the baggage handlers ($3 for two bags) and the driver $10. We made a quick stop along with way for anyone who needed one (yes, my husband was offered marijuana.. a polite no thanks worked) and we finally made it to CSA at 6:15pm. The trip was a lot longer than normal due to road construction and rush hour on the Friday we arrived. The bus ride was otherwise uneventful (not too crazy) but we were really happy to get there after the long travel day.
ARRIVAL: We were impressed with the open air lobby right away. Waiting to check in with about 12-15 other couples took only about 20 minutes as everyone is expected. Mostly the men waited outside with the bags and the women checked in. We were offered champagne (no cool towels, maybe because it was night?) and filled out paperwork, providing a credit card that they take for a $300 security deposit. We had booked an atrium room and when the girl told me we had been given a free upgrade to a beachfront suite I must have looked at her funny because I was just waiting for the "catch". No catch, this is where the ARE YOU KIDDING ME? comes in. I guess we were just lucky because I do not believe any others in our group were given this.
BEACHFRONT LIVING: We were shown to our room (ground floor, literally 14 steps to sand) in what they call the older side of the resort. In my opinion it is the best side of the resort as it is a little quieter (not than any place is noisy really) and close to the watersports and self serve ice cream machine! We were shown how to work the ac and left to be alone. The room was exceptional. It was very clean (couldn't find the bathrobes they say are provided) and the ac worked well. The bed was a king, large and comfortable. The sheets were not so soft but good enough. The bathroom had fresh flowers and great toitletries, except hair conditioner. There is a hairdryer that I used, but much prefer my high wattage model due to the fact it was already humid and it took a long time to dry my long hair. As some have reported the walls for the bathroom do not go up to the ceiling and there is a clear shower curtain, but come on, is this really a problem? There were enough hangers and shelves but no drawers. The fridge was stocked every day with water, juices, pepsi, 7 up, Ting and anything alcoholic desired but we didn't go through much since we didn't spend a whole lot of time in our room. The shutters we kept closed mostly to keep in the cool air but it is really beautiful all opened up. This room was like cottage living, very homey. We did not see one bug in our room in six days. Housekeeping came every day sometime between 8:00am daily and every night there was turndown service between 8pm and 10pm. The verandah was huge. It was also quite private which was unexpected due to it's proximity to the sidewalk and beach. There was lots of foliage in additonal to that great ocean view. Since this is a fourplex we had three neighbors and hardly heard them. The tree frogs were loud at night, but nothing that kept us awake! We could even sit on our verandah and watch the beach party and the bonfine which they had two nights while we were there. We ordered room service each morning and our wake up call was a tap on our veranda door announcing our coffee, juice and pastries were left on the patio waiting for us to enjoy. Just exceptional! I would not however, book a garden room. The rooms by the road just cannot do your stay justice.
FOOD: As I said, we are picky eaters. Not because we like gourmet food but because we have dietary issues and just like "normal" midwester food. My husband and I were so full the entire time we were there it is amazing we each only gained a few pounds. We didn't try the two reservation restaurants because we didn't want to be so scheduled and make reservations..but that was a mistake. Make sure to do that upon arrival. The Palms breakfasts were great with made to order pancake, waffle, omlette and smoothie stations. Dinners were also very nice with lobster one night, ala carte each night in addition to a pasta and salad bars. The Patois Patio was nice as well, you can order as much or as little as you like! They make an exceptional flatbread style pizza and the french toast is awesome! We had lunch daily at the Cabana grill. It was convenient and has self serve chips and cheese and a good jerk pork sandwich. The burgers I would not recommend however...not beef I don't think. The soda machines do attract many bees but they are more of a nuisance than anything else, and they didn't sting anyone we saw, just hung out on the soda machine. The Seagrapes, a vegetarian place gave me my fix of iced coffee daily and has tables right in the sand..can't be beat. The atmosphere was just like a postcard at each restaurant. The service was five star. We may just be REALLY lucky.. but we had fun, professional service and no long waits for anything. The staff is so hardworking. They went above and beyond and accomodated all of our requests. They was never a no to anything we asked of them our entire trip.
DRINKS: There is nothing these bartenders cannot make for you. We tried the "special" each day and they were always good, especially the banana daquiri's. Drinks are strong, plentiful and top shelf if you wish. The bars on the beach, pool and restaurants were always quick. Green flag service on the beach was a delight although not necessary unless you are quite lazy! You are never more than a short walk from a bar. If you are a drinker, you will get your money's worth. The wellness bar makes all kinds nonalcoholic smoothies that were excellent as well.
THE BEACH: Clear, warm, blue and beautiful. The sand is raked each morning and it is soft and white. This is the reason we came here and it did not disappoint. The cushions you take from your chair to float on are the best idea ever. We never had trouble finding chairs and there is plenty of shade to go around. The beach is not crowded because it is so big! There are hammocks and palapas..anything you could want. The horses riding by in the early morning are great to watch and the sunsets were beautiful each evening. We also did not have any problems with sand fleas or bugs at night and didn't use any bug spray after the first night. The private dinners they set up on the beach at night look so beautiful with a lighted pathway and tiki torches!
ACTIVITIES ETC: CSA offers so much. We walked the beach both ways. We were offered many things including drugs but just say no thanks and keep walking. The vendors on the beach will not bother you too much if you are firm with a no thanks and keep on going. The snorkling (we would do the night snorkle next time) was fun! The guys that take you out are nice and helpful. We saw plenty of fish and were only gone an hour or so. We went on the Cat Cruise one afternoon, jumped from the boat and swam in the caves, also very good and a two hours trip. You would have to be very active or stay a very long time to do everything this place has to offer! Waterskiing and scuba are included as well as a variety of boating options. We rented a jet ski and toured all up and down the coast. Highly recommend on a calm day. We went to the phenomenal fitness facility across the street twice. The gym was well equipped, the pool was quiet and peacful and the wellness bar top notch! We didn't play tennis but this is the place for it if you do! WOW. The lockers have sauna and steam rooms and the spa was the best. We would have liked it if the facility was open later than the 9pm closing time. There is a big flatscreen tv there as well as pool and ping pong. The massages we had in the spa were nothing like in the states, absolutely incredible. The two pools at the resort were nice enough but not huge. We only ventured in the one with the swim up bar a couple times and had no trouble getting a seat. The hot tubs were usually empty and inviting. The beach is just too beautiful to be in a pool. CSA also has a nice internet lounge where you can grab a coffemachine cappucino while you work or email home. There are plenty of computers to go around and it is always open. The casino was pretty desolate when we went by and not sure why. The Aura lounge is busy and fun when Ultimate Chocolate is playing the piano. You'd better know how to sing (well enough please) if you sit at the piano! He is very talented. There is also a nicely air conditioned pool room near the martini bar and the Lemongrass restaurant that we used * we only learned of this by going on the resort tour..make sure you go! All in all there are things to do at night..but stay in your swimsuit until sunset. The days go by quickly and there is enough nightime to eat and enjoy what you like. Soak up the sunshine and don't plan excursions until you get there. You may not want to leave once you see this place.
From the people (staff and guests alike) to the beautiful room, grounds, food, activities and entire atmosphere, we found CSA to be a wonderful escape from our hectic life. You cannot go wrong in choosing this special resort. The memories you will have! We will be going back, no doubt about it. That has to be the best compliment of all.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.