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“Almost, but not quite...”
Review of Couples Tower Isle

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Couples Tower Isle
Ranked #4 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 30, 2011

Being veterans of Couples, having stayed at the Sans Souci property three times, we tried Tower Isle and found it to be close but not as wonderful as Sans Souci. There are hallmarks of the Couples chain which are evident here such as a wonderful, friendly staff, great dining options and nice facilities...So if Sans Souci is a 10, Tower Isle would rate an 8.
The problems (and again, these are small by comparison to other chaims we have stayed in) are a tiny beach located so close to the hotel that you loose the sun hours earlier than necessary; evening entertainment is held in a really poor venue--the corner of the buffet dining room (more like a dining hall) where it is hot, dark and vast--not great for providing an intimate performance. The staff is good but not great. Buffet dining seems like a mess hall rather than at a restaurant--partly because of the layout.
The rooms have been refurbished although the east wing does not have a full length mirror (in fact, the only room mirror was in the bathroom).
The rooms contain a stocked minbar with alcohol of your choice all included. The oceanview rooms had a fantastic view and lovely terrace. The manager, Mr. Henry is wonderful, full of energy and more than willing to problem solve (he got us our mirror during the stay!).
We actually took advantage of the free shuttle to Sans Souci just to compare and our initial feelings were borne out again.
You can certainly have a fabulous vacation at Tower Isle...but if you can, try Sans Souci--more intimate, smaller number of guests, much larger grounds (including a lake, free bikes, and wildlife).

Room Tip: Go for the east wing--refurbished, ocean views, near all.
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
10  Thank Travelweb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,101 - 2,107 of 3,234 reviews

Reviewed December 28, 2011

We had a great time at this resort! Went with a group of ten people, and made our own fun. The evening entertainment was really lacking, with the exception of a couple of nights with great shows (beach party was good). However, with a larger group, we just made our own fun. I was surprised to see the same house band every night, and the 'show' occured on a stage right in the corner of the main buffet area.
Most of the staff were also wonderful, and the included activities were a real bonus. We did everything included: catamaran cruise, golf, dunns river, horseback riding, snorkel trips, beach watersports, and a trip to margaritaville!
We did upgrade to the standard oceanview room, which was really worth it, as we saw a friends room who had the basic room facing the other direction, and was slightly smaller, and just not quite as nice! Plus, the ocean view was beautiful! We also thought the bed was very comfy.
This may sound picky, but the hallways in the hotel were the only thing I really didn't like. They were very dark, and definitely not renovated when this hotel did their major renovation.

The food was quite good, with some meals being excellent. We were there two weeks, and although there aren't many restaurants, it didn't get too repetitive, as they do have two rotating menus for a couple of the restaurants.
The price for this resort was quite good, and with the added inclusions that I have never seen another resort include, we found it very worth it.
We truly loved the ocean views from almost every area of the resort!

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank canadiangirl007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2011

Stayed in this hotel for two nights whilst on a business trip. The hotel is amazing! Quite small but has everything you could possibly ask for. Food and staff were all so friendly and helpful! Would definitely return i throughly enjoyed my trip and would love to bring my partner next time I know he would love it!

Room Tip: Sea facing
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Haribo16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2011

My husband and I booked a 4 night trip over xmas and just returned. We were so excited to stay here, and planned our trip months in advance. We decided to go for the upgraded Ocean Jr. Suite, and from the photos expected it to be one of the best rooms.

Our trip had a very rough start. The transportation that the hotel has set for you is a nightmare. We waited in the lounge 20-30 minutes, were put on a bus for 30 more minutes, then as myself and the 2 other couples on there began to complain if we were ever leaving the airport for the hotel we were shifted to a 2nd van and were finally on our way. So, after flying in we were forced to sit about 1.5 hours before even beginning the 2 hour trip it takes to get to the hotel from the airport. Even more alarming, when we checked in and discussed this experience with the front desk lady, she really couldn't have cared less. She made the comment that the transportation was free....so basically why were we complaining.

Regarding the room: The biggest problem was the horrible, uncomfortable mattress. I read in other reviews that the mattress was too hard for them as well. I don't understand how a hotel that is supposed to be 5 star, esp. in an upgraded Jr. Suite, would have a hard bed with low quality linens. I didn't even mind the ants we saw in our room or the fact it was dated and looked little like the photos, but the bed was a joke. I will say that the manager did her absolute best to put down an extra comforter...blanket....whatever she could do to try and make it decent. Also, just a little strange, the room we booked was basically the highest end room and it's in a separate section of the hotel that has no elevator which is weird...and stairs with the bags get a little old.

The food was good....not great but good. This is a small resort and just doesn't have the large scale buffet that I'm used to at other all inclusive resorts I've been to. The drinks were just ok. Again, I'm used to all inclusive resorts that carry true premium liquer and this resort definitely does not. I was counting the minutes for the piano bar to open at 6:30 pm each night just to get a decent drink with Grey Goose.

I also agree with the previous reviewer that the lady at the guest relations desk was not very helpful at all. She looked put out when I asked to be on the wait list for the booked Catamaran trip they had. Then when we did show up she had zero control over the situation. She got on the confirmed people then in no order started having random people off the wait list get passes. It was a mess...and since she handled and booked all events and activities none of them were going to be worth the hassle.

There were a few members of staff, such as the manager that really went out of her way to try and give us a decent bed and Ava who was the events coordinator. But as a whole, the service needs some work.

Bottom line, for the same money there are other all inclusive places that have better food, the real 5 star rooms, premium drinks, and excellent service. There's just no real reason to choose to spend the money here and do the long drive to resort, etc. when you can get so much more at a 5 star in Cancun for example. I really wanted to love this place!

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank cleolily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2011

Rooms:
In major need of an overhaul. Floors in our superior ocean view room look like the original, grout/tile looked dirty, furnishings outdated, bed extremely uncomfortable (to a healthy, 30 yr old, 130 lb female).
Hotel Property:
Tiny beach, 2 small hot tubs in such poor shape that they looked dirty, everywhere you looked there were things that needed repairs (fan blades broken and hanging, wood that needed painting, etc). The main pool was so cold that I didn't see anyone in it the whole time we were there (Dec 16-21). Piano bar room smelled so musty and terrible that I couldn't stand to go in.
Food:
Not good at all. It all tasted the same regardless of which restaurant you were dining in. Fish was overcooked, poor cuts of meat (beef), I wasn't impressed at all.

I did enjoy seeing Dunn River Falls. Because of the weather (windy conditions), we weren't able to snorkel, do catamaran cruises, etc., so I am unable to comment on the activities/excursions CTI has to offer.

In conclusion, I don't understand why this resort is so highly rated. I was totally unimpressed. We absolutely would not return to CTI.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank 81traveler2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2011

We just got back from CTI on the 24th. We had a WONDERFUL time and would definitely recommend this resort. The majority of the staff is super, super friendly and attentive. They make a point to learn your name, greet you in passing and take care of anything you need, even the housekeepers. We had Lorna- so sweet! It was our honeymoon and even though it was almost 4 months after our actual wedding because of extenuating circumstances, they made a point to make it special. We had a squeaky ceiling fan and it was fixed within hours, and once when we attempted to use the Spa hot tub it was cold and dark, and within minutes they had three guys out there fixing it for us. The beach was very small, as was the resort maybe compared to others, but I heard several more seasoned travelers say that they appreciated the privacy, and we had no issues with it. They have a little computer room with fast internet that we popped into once a day to check e-mail and stuff, that was nice.

The rooms were nice and clean enough. They cleaned once every morning and turned down the beds in the evenings. We had a large balcony overlooking the ocean and Tower Isle which was incredible. We did massages and mani/pedis at the Spa and had a wonderful time- Tracy was great. We never waited in line for drinks or food and had no complaints about portion sizes. The food was great and while the restraunts did have some strange hours, there was always at least something open, and yummy, convenient room service as a last resort. Bayside was delicious and 8 Rivers was great too. They were all great! Limited beer choice (Red Stripe only) but we discovered they serve Heineken and Guinness at the Piano Bar, so that was nice. Full liquor bar, and not the cheap stuff! The bartenders at the swim-up bar were fun and made me invented drinks.

We also did the excursions to the Falls (great, though the videographer who followed us around was tiring, and don't go expecting a leisurely stroll! you are CLIMBING up slippery rocks!), snorkeling (not too much to look at but still a nice inclusion), Hooves horseback riding (not included with CTI, fun during the ride but there was a lot of waiting around before and after, which was a buzzkill), shopping excursion to downtown Ocho Rios (very fun! they expect to haggle with you), and we stayed for almost all of the shows and evening activities hosted by the resort. The Wednesday evening steel drums show was great- an amazing compilation of top 40 hits on steel drums- it was a blast. A local man named Moses played acoustic guitar on the beach, even some Christmas carols, which was magical. He had an incredible voice. We went to Margaritaville one night and while some people seemed uncomfortable (the locals were poking their heads through the fence trying to sell drugs, and it seemed like the bartenders were overcharging for drinks because we were tourists) but my husband and I just stayed on the dance floor around people from our group, stuck with beer and had a blast.

On the choppy days we were sort of lost on what to do with ourselves because no water activities were allowed and it was too windy for the pool, but looking back we should have gone on more shopping excursions. But on these days we were glad for an ocean-view room because we could lounge on the balcony and enjoy the view and breeze and a bottle of champagne without feeling like we were wasting our vacation in the room. Tip: on one such choppy and windy day, we took a bus over to another resort to go on the Catamaran Cruise (fun but you will get wet!) and the weather was PERFECT! It was only 10 minutes away but there was no wind or waves! So if the weather is bad, maybe consider going to San Souci or take a cab down the road and you will have the beach day you wanted. Anyone off the resort will expect to be tipped, including drivers and caddies and guides.

Keep in mind that this was our first time traveling together out of the states so we don't have much to compare it to, and we are definitely laid-back people, but we honestly couldn't think of a complaint. We were fed and pampered for a whole week, what more do you want? For what we paid, the value is outstanding. We had a wonderful time and will hopefully return.

Room Tip: Ocean view was amazing. I didn't see many other rooms but I assume the higher floors had better...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank KaceyMullaney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2011

My wife and I stayed at Couples Tower Isle in Jamaica from December 16-19, 2011. We only stayed 4 days as we transferred to Couples Swept Away in Jamaica

for the remainder of our stay (Dec 20-23 2011). I have posted a separate review for Couples Swept Away. Please note, we didn't transfer resorts because of

anything bad that happened, we just wanted to stay at two different Couples resorts during our week vacation.

Here's a breakdown of the Couples Tower Isle's features:

FOOD
The food is EXCELLENT, in fact in terms of food quality, Couples Tower Isle is the best in terms of every resort or cruise I've experienced. There are five

restaurants - a buffet restaurant open breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a snack bar, and 3 specialty restaurants open for dinner only. If you want to dine at a specialty

restaurant, you need to make a reservation (at no cost of course, it is an all inclusive resort), and I'd advise to make your reservations on your first day as they tend

to fill up fast. There's also a juice bar where you can get freshly squeezed juices and healthy snacks.

Patio restaurant - This is the main restaurant. The dress code is casual. It's open for breakfast and lunch as a buffet, and for dinners it's a buffet or it's a la carte (the

resort switches it up). The selection is not the biggest I've seen at resorts or cruise ships, however there is still something for everyone. I can't recall which night it

was (I think it was on a Saturday night), the restaurant set up an elaborate dessert station with tons of delectable desserts. I'm not a dessert person, but I have to

say that I have never tasted such sinful or amazing desserts in my life. My advice to you is find out which night this dessert station will be set up, and show up to

the restaurant a few minutes before service opens so that you can take some pictures.

Eight Rivers - This restaurant is open for dinner only and requires a reservation. There is a dress code which equates to "business casual" - collared long sleeved

shirts and slacks for men and summer dresses for ladies. We ate here one night and the food was incredible.

Snack Bar - open for lunch and for late night dining, serving burgers, fries, and jerk chicken. The dress code is casual. We only ate there once, but the food was

surprisingly good. The jerk chicken was tender and flavorful and we loved the french fries. They also have a station where you can get sodas and ice cream

cones.

Verandah - This restaurant is open for dinner only and requires a reservation. There is a dress code which equates to "business casual" - collared long sleeved

shirts and slacks for men and summer dresses for ladies. We never ate there, however the menu looked really good.

Bayside - This restaurant is open for dinner only and requires a reservation. There is a dress code which equates to "business casual" - collared long sleeved

shirts and slacks for men and summer dresses for ladies. We never ate there, however we heard great reviews from other guests.

Juice bar - Located by the beach and just underneath the bar by the main restaurant, the fruit smoothies they made for us were really good and the snacks such

as the sweet potato chips were also good. A great feature for those who want a healthy alternative.

BARS
There are a few bars here, one by each pool and one in the main building. We didn't really enjoy the drinks here, we found them to be a bit watered down and

sugary.

We did however enjoy the piano bar very much, it's an intimate setting with pictures of the resort's founder, Abe Issa, along with celebrities from the 50's and 60's. Great atmosphere here and we had a few great chats with other guests here.

One thing to note, a couple nights a week (just ask the resort staff when you're there which days they are), there is a martini bar set up above the main restaurant,

on a large rooftop. It's an amazing setting, chairs & tables, soft lighting, a DJ that takes song requests (he played 80's/90's music, not super loud club music), and

snacks. The martinis were fantastic. We had a fantastic time here and only wish it was open every night. A great place to chat with other resort guests. HIGHLY

recommended!

SERVICE

Front desk staff - AMAZING. Very helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. Arranging our transfer to Couples Swept Away was a breeze, they even called the resort

for us, confirmed the transfer, and arranged our transportation there at no cost to us.

Wait staff - very polished service, even at the buffet restaurant. We hardly had to wait at all to have our water glasses refilled or to have our empty plates taken

away. The great part is, they had polished service but were also a lot of fun. The wait staff makes you feel like you're at a dinner party being served by one of your

friends. They go above and beyond to help you. On more than one occasion, they made a special fruit shake requested by my wife, even when they were

incredibly busy.

Cleaning staff - they do a great job. The staff restocking the mini-bar was amazing, whenever we requested a free "upgrade" to the standard stocked items they

always had it done that day.

Guest relations desk - they were OK. The ladies there were efficient and knowledgeable, however they seemed to be a little annoyed whenever we asked

questions. I wouldn't say they were rude, however by their tone and facial expressions I could tell that they didn't seem to be too happy about what they did and

we felt as if we were bothering them.

Security staff - they were friendly, however they didn't really have much to do since it's a resort with a private beach.

Gym - Not a big facility, but it opens early in the morning. We went at 6:30 AM each day and it was never busy. They have a few bike machines, excercise mats, a

rowing machine, and a couple elliptical trainers and treadmills. There's also a TV set which has to be shared by everyone in the gym. The bad part is, the elliptical

trainers and treadmills don't face the TV so if you are using those machines you better bring an IPod.

Spa - we didn't purchase any spa packages, but we did tour the facility. It seemed very quiet and serene, and we found out that the pool in the spa and the

jacuzzis were free to use for all resort guests. There are separate jacuzzis for male and female guests, but we were told that after 7 PM the gender restrictions

were lifted so a husband/wife could share the same jacuzzi.

BEACH

The beach is very small, you can walk from one side to the other in a couple minutes. The sand isn't the best, and we found the water to be a little choppy and not

great for swimming. The good part is that it's a private beach, so no peddlers/vendors/drug dealers will bother you. Also, because it's a private beach used only

by the resort, we never found it that hard to get a beach chair. Also, the beach does not face west, so you won't be able to get any good sunset shots of the

beach. If you're looking for a beautiful, huge beach, this resort isn't for you. If you're looking for a quiet beach without a lot of disturbances, you'll like this one.

ROOMS
Several classes of rooms are available. Most are in the main building and a few of the remaining rooms are in villas. We stayed in a standard room in the main

building. It was rather small with a small balcony. The mattress on the bed was rather hard in our opinion, and although it didn't prevent us from sleeping, it wasn't

the most comfortable bed. The bathroom only had a shower, not a tub or jacuzzi tub. We also found the room to be kind of cold at night, despite the fact that we

turned off the air conditioning. The room was clean, however in our opinion, not very comfortable and certainly by far from the best room we've stayed in. I'd say

it's equal to maybe a room in a 3 star hotel.

LOCATION
The resort is located about an 90 minute drive from the Montego Bay airport. All Couples resorts include transportation to and from the resort. When you clear

customs in Jamaica and claim your luggage, you walk into an area with a bunch of lounges, one of them is just for couples. You`re greeted and offered a drink,

and you can even use the lounge`s washrooms and change into resort clothes (especially if coming from a cold climate and you`re wearing warm clothing).

There is also a bar you can drink at for free. After a short stay, you`re led to a bus or van and driven to your resort.

*Important* - the van/bus driver and the porters that help you with your bags are NOT part of the resort. We were told by the person running the Couples lounge

that we had to pay the porter $1 USD per bag. For the driver, I'm not sure if you have to tip him/her or not, however since it is a long drive to Couples Tower Isle

from the Montego Bay airport (1.5 hours), we tipped the driver $20 USD. Interestingly enough, he was friendly throughout the trip but got very irritated when I gave

him the tip. I thought it was a good tip, but perhaps I was wrong.

The resort itself is a bit aged, and is rather small. All the amenities except for the spa and the Bayside restaurant are located in the main building. If you're looking

for a huge, sprawling, resort, you'll be disappointed. The resort must be located near some type of smaller airport because every once in a while on the beach we

saw smaller planes flying overhead.

PROS:
It's a small resort in a private area, so it tends to be quieter than other resorts
Because it's a smaller resort, you'll tend to get to know the staff and develop a rapport with them.
The food is absolutely fantastic
The resort includes a tour to Dunn's River Falls, which no other Couples resort does - this is due to the fact that Couples Tower Isle is very close to Dunns River Falls. I highly recommend going on this tour.

CONS:
Because it's a smaller resort, you'll get bored walking around after a day or so. There's just not that much to see.
There's no opportunity to take a picture of the sun setting over the water.

OTHER:
The resort gives each guest a re-fillable Couples Tower Isle water bottle which you can use at potable water stations located throughout the resort. Personally, I

found this to be a bit of a pain, however it's good that the resort is trying to do something to reduce waste and their environmental footprint by not using disposable

water bottles. You can also take these water bottles home with you when you leave.

*Important* - tipping is NOT needed at this resort, so don't feel that you have to tip any of the staff. Keep in mind though that you may want to tip non-resort staff, such as the drivers that bring you to and from the resort from the airport. The Dunn's River Falls tour driver is part of the resort so no need to tip him/her.

SUGGESTIONS:
Make reservations for the specialty restaurants the day you get there
The day before you leave the resort, settle your account and pay anything you've charged to your room, like spa treatments, things you buy at the resort stores

etc.

Overall, this is a good resort to stay at. The best features are the food & service, the worst are the beach and the fact that it's a small resort.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank MonkeyAndBaboon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Couples Tower Isle

Address: St. Mary, Ocho Rios, Jamaica (Formerly Couples Ocho Rio)
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 ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: $311 - $945 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Couples Tower Isle 4*
Number of rooms: 226
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Playground to Hollywood celebrities in the 1950s, glamorous Couples Tower Isle exudes a chic sophistication perfectly balanced by a relaxed Caribbean sensuality. Perched on the lush terrain of Ocho Rios, Jamaica—the resort seduces with breathtaking sea views, a wide sandy beach and century-old palm trees. Discover the joys of snorkeling among the reefs, windsurfing on the waves, or sailing into the sunset on a catamaran, rum punch in hand. Intricate blue tile work and jade chaise lounges offset the striking white retro architecture. Luxurious rooms boast private ocean-breeze balconies. Whether being pampered in the Zen-inspired spa—recognized as "Best in the Caribbean" by Travel+Leisure—sipping cocktails at the piano bar or indulging in an exquisite meal alfresco, Couples Tower Isle creates countless intimate moments that inspire you to return again and again. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Couples Tower Isle Hotel Ocho Rios
Couples Hotel Ocho Rios
Couples Ocho Rios
Couples Hotel Isle
Couples Ochos Rios
Ochos Rios
Couples Tower Isle Jamaica/Ocho Rios

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