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“Best Resort in the World”
Review of Couples Sans Souci

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Couples Sans Souci
Ranked #3 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 16, 2011

Just returned from our second week visit to Couples, Sans Souci, Jamiaca. If we could live there we would. Service is out of this world. It was amazing that some of the employees not only remembered us, but remembered our names and it had been 6 months since our last visit.

You are taken care of from the minute you step off the plane until you step back on the plane. The airport staff was great. The drivers were very engaging and funny. The welcome we received was great. Our room was upgraded without asking. The food is like eating at 5 star restaurants everyday. The water sports staff takes very good care of the visitors.

If you want the best vacation of your life, visit Couples Sans Souci, Jamaica. We will be back in Sept or Oct.

Room Tip: There are not any bad rooms.
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  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank JMMBristol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,926 - 2,932 of 3,984 reviews

Reviewed April 16, 2011

My husband and I stayed for 2 amazing weeks the entire time the staff made us feel like royalty they never said no it was always" no problem"
The beach. water sports,pool,food was all amazing
From the front desk to the wait staff,bartenders and the entertainment crew everyone was fantastic the grounds were very romantic a wonderful place to fall in love all over again our room was perfect we stayed in G11 overlooking the ocean room service on the balacony or a drink over looking the sunset we celebrated our 25th anniversary and couldn't have been anywhere else can't wait to go back

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank lorie62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2011

Last year we stayed at Couples Negril and thoroughly enjoyed it. So I wrote this rather long Trip Advisor review:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g147313-d148625-r55981186-Couples_Negril-Negril_Jamaica.html

This year (April 3-10, 2011) we went to Couples San Souci. In terms of quality and level of enjoyment, the comments made in last year's review are equally valid to both resorts.

So instead of re-writing the same thing, I thought I would focus this time on some comparisons between CN & CSS. (probably many others have already done this, but here's my version.)

Cost
Cuisine
Rooms
Beach
Activities and Amenities
Resort Nightlife
Staff

Cost
The price of staying at Couples resort this year seemed to be lower than what we paid last year. This may have been due to the recent 'Fall in Love Canada' promotion, or simply because we booked much earlier this year than last. The best prices for an April 2011 trip to CSS seemed to be available sometime in the middle of October 2010 - about 6 months in advance.

In terms of value for money, our opinion is that the Couples chain is quite good. San Souci maintains a similar high standard as Negril. We feel that it is well worth paying a little extra money to have a first-rate holiday. We also like the fact that whatever you pay to stay at Couples, all guests are treated equally well by the resort. There is no extra-charge class system, upgrade option, or privileged package to have to contemplate purchasing. Nothing annoys me more than having to pay extra to have full access to a resort that I have already paid to stay at.

Cuisine
The cuisine is actually the reason why we started coming to Jamaica in the first place. After tourism and bauxite mining, agriculture is apparently one of Jamaica's primary industries. So the produce is abundant, fresh, and of high quality. Jamaica also has a national cuisine that is inherently appealing to us as a couple.

The CSS kitchen staff do a fine job. All meals were very enjoyable without the blandness that is often endemic to all-inclusive meal plans.

In comparison to CN, I would have to say that the CSS kitchen is just a tiny bit inferior. I have some really good memories of some truly excellent meals at the Cassava Terrace at CN. The difference might simply boil down to personal style of the chefs. It may also be that the restaurants at CSS lack thematic focus to some degree. Slightly reduced variety may also be a factor. To be honest, I'm not 100% sure where the difference is; it's just a vague over-all impression. The CSS / CN kitchen staff may want to compare notes. Other guests may also have some suggestions as to where the difference (if any) lies.

As I mentioned in my review of CN, I would encourage Couples to continue to focus on maintaining a high level of food quality. Guests are very influenced by cuisine, and a large part of their opinion of any resort will be based on the food experience. CSS may want to review some of their menu choices to enhance the flair and vitality a little. But overall, we enjoyed the food immensely. Certainly better than any of our other holidays in Mexico over the years.

Rooms
CSS is definitely more interesting in layout and in architecture than CN. The resort is truly built 'into' its 35 acre environment. The buildings incorporate ocean, cliff side, beachfront, park-like, and jungle settings. It is not surprising that this location was the site of a couple of James Bond films. There are many pathways and passages throughout the grounds leading to various surprising destinations. Many photo-ops and little places for an adventurous couple to sneak off to. This resort would also be a good starting location for Monty Python's famed Hide-and-Seek Olympics. The layout and distance might not be a good choice for guests with an aversion to climbing stairs or walking.

I tend to be critical of some newer resorts that have a strong element of contrived ostentation to them. CSS, on the other hand, seems to have a certain legitimate opulence bequeathed by the passage of time. Despite its age, the facility is clean and well maintained. The room we had on the second floor of D-Block was adequate and comfortable. There was a private balcony with chairs. I loved the tiled shower with bench and multi-paned windows overlooking the ocean.

The environmental and grounds maintenance staff have a monumental task at this resort. They do an excellent job. We took some beautiful pictures. There seemed to be lots of interesting little creatures about - a family of chickens lived at one of the beaches, a mongoose lived nearby (for obvious reasons), there were a couple of cats that visited the breakfast villa occasionally, and lots of fish, turtles and ducks lived at/in a large pond near the front of the property. One day on the beach, a lizard fell out of a tree and landed on my head. On another day, a rather large bird pooped on me as I left the spa (that's good luck according to the Jamaicans - lucky me!).

The room numbers vs. resort layout is probably such that CSS never appears to be crowded or over capacity. Peace and tranquility would reign supreme even if the place was at maximum guest population.

Beach
I mentioned in my previous review of CN that people generally have the freedom to walk across the beachfront of their own and neighboring resorts. Beaches are a feature by which we are able to directly and visually compare different resorts. This is not the case at CSS. The beach is entirely private at CSS. There is no public access to the main beach. (There is minimal public access to the au natural beach, but not very much.) It's a personal preference - some people may like the privacy, others may like the increased life of a well-traveled beachfront. CSS beach is not well-traveled.

The beach size may be another issue for some. The beach at CN is about a 1000ft long. The main beach at CSS is about half that. The beach sand at CN is bright and very fine, and extends unbroken out into the water. The sand at CSS is a little darker and more coarse. There are also some rocky areas in the water. Both beaches are beautiful, just different.

The au natural section is a short walk away from the main resort. Because of this, it is equipped with a dedicated pool, hot tub, bar, lunch grill, washroom, and beach front.

Activities and Amenities
Like CN, there are several water activities available at CSS. We did some snorkeling. The reefs at CSS are quite a bit better than those at CN. There is even a wreck on the seabed to look at. The resort is equipped for the usual beachfront games and activities. The gift shop and jewelry store seemed to be a big hit with the gals in our crowd. The tour desk seemed to have a number of well-planned off-site excursions available for various prices.

I wouldn't say that the atmosphere of CSS is energetic & hyperactive. If you're looking to get really crazy or keep very active, this probably isn't the place for you. The style at CSS seems to be relaxed and laid back. I would say that it is even more laid back than CN.

Resort Nightlife
The physical layout of CSS produces a somewhat different nightlife dynamic as compared to the more compact layout of CN. The guest activity at CSS is somewhat decentralized into little pockets throughout the facility. Whereas at CN, almost everything rotates around the central building & pool. I'm not saying this is better or worse - it's just different. The guest demographic at CSS seemed to be equally well represented by older folks who liked the sit down performances on the terraces, and the younger crowd who liked to dance crazy at the au natural pool. So as a suggestion - if I were planning evening entertainment at CSS, I would look into having two or three different things going on simultaneously at various locations throughout the resort. I would also post notices of these events more prominently so that everyone is more aware of the choices. (I guess the success of this idea would depend on the guest population & age on a given week. Not too hard to find out a week or two in advance and plan accordingly. Might be an interesting side project for an enterprising member of the entertainment staff, if they are not already doing that.)

I have to mention that the live entertainment was a bit better at CN. The band there was more energetic, louder, and had a better dynamic range. The band at CSS are talented, but they are quieter, were restricted to blander song selections, and often seemed to be fronted by guest singers who didn't bring energy to the show. The major exception would be the short older guy in the brown suit who did the Tom Jones impression in the first act on Saturday night (April 9th on main terrace). That guy's dialogue, singing, and interaction with the band & audience were brilliant. He is a true entertainer and should be the primary house singer in my opinion. I regret that I did not get a chance to meet and compliment him.

We enjoyed the two dance nights at the au natural pool. The DJ occasionally had the common DJ affliction of trying to be too unique and musically erudite. If you want the crowd to dance, you can't be obscure. Just play fun music that historically works. But in all, we did have a great time. The dancing helped with our acquired calorie surplus syndrome.

There was a beach party one night with a buffet meal and live entertainment. Great fun! We met with two lovely couples from Germany & the UK. After the meal, the crazies among us met at the au natural pool for much dancing and frivolity.

We had a fantastic time at the repeat guest diner. Khadian (sp?) from the entertainment staff was sporting enough to spend the evening with our rowdy bunch. The evening was great fun, but portions of the dinner itself were examples of what I mentioned above regarding the need for increased menu pizzazz. The room used for the repeat dinner also needs to be a touch brighter IMO.

The gala diner on Friday was a brilliant showcase of the talents of the entire staff. Beautiful presentation of the buffet meal, replete with ice sculptures, flowers & lights. The staff effort that evidently went into preparing this evening was enormous. We felt grateful & privileged to be there that night.

I believe CN only had one or two gala-type events. The folks at CSS had at least three events. There seemed to be a very hospitable tenor to the evenings at CSS. Every night it was a pleasure to be a guest.

Staff
I commented in last year's review about the mix of a) staff who are truly hospitable and have a genuine fondness for guests, and b) staff who carry out their duties with a cool efficiency but display little overt friendliness.

I have to say that CSS has a very high percentage of very hospitable and happy staff. There are some truly beautiful people working at this resort.

I had the pleasure of talking with Dwight who is on the 'Green Team'. He's a decent guy who kindly assisted us with a small matter. He thereafter sought us out and greeted us with a warm smile whenever he could.

Earlier, I mentioned Khadian (sp?) from the entertainment staff. We had a good time whenever we were with her. She seems to take an active role in getting 'out there' with the guests. We enjoyed John's company also.

Our housekeeping staff in D block were excellent. The room was always beautifully prepared for us.

This has probably been said many times by others, but Jheanel at the pool bar is the sweetheart of CSS. She has such a pleasant demeanor and a warm smile. More than once, she brought us our favorite drinks without even being asked to do so. We cannot thank her enough.

The gals in the message department have hands of angels. Try a full massage with hot stones - it's worth the money. Just be careful that you don't form an addiction to this department!

I mentioned last year that it is in Couple's best interests to continue to focus on providing genuine incentives for staff to be genuinely happy. Visitors can almost instinctively sense staff morale and it will influence their over-all opinion. CSS has obviously had good success in this area. But this is not an area where management can rest on its laurels. Good staff morale has only limited inertia and it should be actively cultivated for longest term results.

Conclusion
My wife is a fan of moving on and trying new things. I am a creature of habit who will undoubtedly want to go back to CSS next year. We'll see who wins. Whatever the outcome, our best vacations so far have been Couples vacations!

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank dsm9901
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2011

This boutique resort is by far one of the most relaxing and peaceful places we have visited. The staff to guest ratio is about one to one...and it shows. The setting is jungle-like...you could take a day just enjoying the flora...Rooms are very nice and have views that remind you where you are! The food is 5-star...in every restaurant. Fitness facilities and fitness classes (classes are held in an open air pavilion overlooking the sea with a great sound system and visiting fitness professionals). Beach, pools, scuba and boating. We never left the resort, even for the trips others were raving about. We just loved the premises too much to spend any time away!

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank Connie75103
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2011

News Flash! GLB repeat guests have defected to Couples!

Feb. 2011 – New to Couples, the resort website and the Couples message board helped us choose Couples Sans Souci. From what we read, the staff across the board at all Couples resorts is exceptional. We were drawn to CSS because of the low number of guests, the lush, “garden of Eden” grounds, and the private beach. Our expectations were met and exceeded wherever we went.

Staff at the Couples Lounge at the airport welcomed us with open arms. Hello cold red stripe! We changed into shorts and let Couples take us off to paradise!

Upon arrival at CSS, we were greeted in a stunning lobby, more beautiful than the pictures. Really! There were orchids blooming, and a warm, welcoming staff was ready with cold cloths and cold champagne. Our trip started two days earlier than expected due to a predicted snow storm in Boston. One phone call to Couples before we left home and we were assured they would have a room for us. We stayed the first two nights in D-4 then off to our beachfront room A-31. Both rooms were beautiful, although D-4 had a larger shower.

The grounds are meticulously maintained and guests are treated to a lush paradise full of places to explore, hammocks at every turn and nook to relax in, and let all your cares fall away. Sans souci means “no worries”. An appropriate name.

Each evening, we put out our room service card for coffee, juice and fruit to enjoy on our balcony in the morning. Our full breakfast was enjoyed at Pallazina restaurant with elegant tables for two, delicious buffet offerings and a wonderful omelet station. Service was exceptional.

The beach is beautifully maintained and manicured each day. Watersports staff were fun and attentive. We took advantage of the snorkeling, glass bottom boat and Hobie Cat ride!

Bella Vista beach bar and grill is a fabulous place for lunch. Favorites were beef patties and fried snapper sandwich on coco bread. Again, exceptional service. The staff cheerily remembers your name and preferences.

Bella Vista was also our favorite dinner location. It was divine to sit at a beautiful candle lit table for two on the edge of the beach, under the moon and stars. Romantic! Every meal we ate there was delicious and presented creatively. For appetizers, try the crab stamp n' go! Fried calamari was light and tasty. The beef tenderloin with mild jerk sauce was out of this world. Our service there was, you guessed it... exceptional. My wine glass was always full and we were treated like family, if family is royalty. The mento band playing in the background made the evenings all the more over the top magical.

A couples massage in Hideaway was saved for our last day. Heaven! The next morning, my hubby woke up saying, “I'm not ready to leave!” Twelve days was not enough! I keep a journal on vacation and this year was no exception. It helps us remember what someone said, did, and most of all, how they made us feel. In love again. Next year is already booked, penthouse room this time. 299 days to go.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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4  Thank capec0dsue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2011

What a lovely place Couples Sans Souci is. The staff are so friendly, helpful and happy. Right from the airport you are looked after. The pick up went smoothly, though it is a long drive to the hotel from the airport - at least 1.5 hrs. The resort is well worth the journey though.

The main beach is on the small side but beautiful. Lots of chairs, and shade. Sometimes we had to walk up and down a couple of times to find the right spot, but there was always room with some shade. My husband preferred the au naturel beach which he thought was nicer. Having had skin cancer I could not use that beach as I have to keep covered up, and it is not clothing optional. So we spent the mornings on the main beach and he went off to "his" beach in the afternoons. The arrangement worked for me, as all I want to do is catch up on my reading, but he was disappointed I did not join him. Not sure what to do about that bit.

The accommodation we had was in the F block - right up near the lobby. That worked well for us. My immediate impression was that it was a bit dated, but it was very clean, and was very comfortable, with a large bedroom, a sitting room, bathroom and nice large balcony. Maybe if you pay more you get more luxury, but really it was perfect for us.
The hotel is set on the side of a hill with lots of steps down to the beach. We did not find this to be a problem, but obviously for some it could be. The grounds are very pretty. Lots of shady places to hang out if the heat is too much.

The spa is excellent. There was tennis which I will play next time. There will definitely be a next time.

The food at the restaurants is outstanding. Excellent choice at each restaurant.

The entertainment was very good. The Jamaican night was brilliant. The steel drum band was outstanding, and the Friday Gala was outstanding, with very impressive entertainment. The music is Jamaican, and therefore a lot of reggae. I think you have to soak up the culture of the country you are visiting, my husband felt a change occasionally, to fit the demographic of the tourists, would have been pleasant.

Couples Sans Souci is well worth the effort of the journey. Book it!

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank KasAlberta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2011

From our late night arrival on saturday and being greeted by friendly staff bearing glasses of champagne and cool clothes, to the Friday night Gala, this was the trip of a lifetime.

There are many aspects you should enjoy during your stay at Sans Souci. The mineral pool with smoothie/shake bar had a nice light lunch menu, also the location for the popular aqua fitness program and gym.

The meals at the Palazina reasturant were fantastic, From Edgar's breakfast omelettes to the evening pasta bar.The buffett inside was a large with a varied selection of foods and impecable presentation.

The Casanova and Bella Vista/Beach Grill restaurants, offered fabulous menus with too many choices to try in a week.

The activity / entertainment team kept us very busy providing top notch activities and evening entertainment. From the lounge singer at the Balloon Bar to the Steel Band (the Blue Birds) on the beach to the house band, we were kept dancing every night!

We did enjoy the climb at Dunns River, one of the great add on inclusions, but found so many things to keep us occupied, we didn't feel like we had to leave the resort.

The beach is small and not the quality/color of sand we expected. However, the water sports and activities and coral reef more than made up for this.

The rooms are dated...we did not mind as Colleen kept our room sparkling and we spent very little time in our room. We were upgraded to the Daliah Block...our view was spectacular overlooking the grounds, beach, and ocean. We have our choice of rooms picked out for our next visit!!

The staff made us feel welcome and knew our names by the second day of our stay. The General Manager as well as other senior staff were accessible and visable every day. Where else do you see that???

The grounds are well laid out. Although the resort was full, never did we feel crowded. It was large enough to 'get lost with your partner' but small enough to meet new friends.

It was sad day when we left...and we are already planning our next trip.

Room Tip: Not a poor view from any room!
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  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank akapl3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Couples Sans Souci

Address: Route A3, St-Mary | PO Box 103, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Ocho Rios
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: $360 - $763 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Couples Sans Souci 4.5*
Number of rooms: 150
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled on the cliffs of Jamaica’s emerald coast above a dazzling stretch of Caribbean, Couples Sans Souci beckons you to surrender mind, body and soul. The resort's 'no worries' mantra comes to life as every day unfolds. Lose yourself exploring secluded stone pathways. Melt away stress in the healing natural mineral springs. Feel a rush of exhilaration scaling Dunn's River waterfalls. Or simply drift asleep in a hammock by the sea. Located in vibrant Ocho Rios, the resort's design pays tribute to an understated colonial elegance—intricate latticework, white woven furnishings and feathered palms set a refined stage for your island escape. Dining options abound—from authentic Jamaican fare to five-star international cuisine. Private cabanas at cliff's edge provide the ideal setting for our signature spa treatments, while the choice of resort activities knows no limits. Learn the art of living well while living in the moment at Couples Sans Souci. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Couples Sans Souci Hotel Ocho Rios
Couples San Souci
Couples Sans Souci Ocho Rios
Couples Sans Souci Jamaica/Ocho Rios

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