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“6-Day Getaway for New Year's Eve”
Review of Couples Tower Isle

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Couples Tower Isle
Ranked #5 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Certificate of Excellence
Bethesda, Maryland
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“6-Day Getaway for New Year's Eve”
Reviewed January 7, 2011

My husband and I went to Couples Tower Isle from 31 Dec 2011 - 05 Jan 2011. We have been to CTI about four years ago in March of 2007. The weather in March and the weather in January were very similar... lots of clouds with little peaks of sun throughout the day. We spoke to the staff and they said that the north eastern side of the island does get more clouds and rain than the other half due to the mountains. Granted, there is not much you can do to change the weather so we tried to enjoy the little hints of sunshine we got throughout the trip. We were kind of disappointed to see that the staff didn't have much planned when the weather was bad (i.e. - games or activities on the main patio level). When we went in 2007 the entertainment crew was much more involved than they are currently. When it rained, we were restricted to one table tennis table, one billiards able and a few board games, but nothing organized by the staff.

Knowing that Couples prides itself on treating returning guests very well, we were excited to return and learn what special things they typically do. That, plus my husband's birthday the week before, and us being newlyweds, were were very excited to check-in. Well, we were let down, big time. When we arrived the staff had no idea of any of these events or even that we were return guests, despite me sending an email to the resort a week prior to confirm our reservation, which by the way, I still have not received an email response.

While we were booking our dinner reservations (two of the three restaurants require reservations), I saw a sign about the "Return Guest Dinner" on Monday nights. I asked the guest service desk what this was and why we weren't invited. She was shocked to hear that we weren't invited and gave us an invitation. Anyway, she apologized for the poor service at check-in and when Monday did arrive our Return Dinner with the other return guests was truly fabulous. Actually the food as a whole has improved drastically since 2007.

We returned to Couples Tower Isle mainly for the au natural island. We really enjoyed it last time, it is a very relaxed atmosphere and a truly unique experience. The pool bar is great and during lunch time, the staff brings over items from the grill. They will even ask you if you want a specific item and they'll get it for you. Unfortunately the wind and choppy sea closed the island for two days. We were very disappointed especially since the water did not look that bad to us. The water sports crew shuttles guests back and forth from the pier to the island on a tiny boat and since the dock on the island was being built, the staff was not comfortable letting guests off literally in the water to walk up to the island. Once the weather improved we took the boat over, hopped off into the sea, and walked up to the island. For us, in our mid-20s, this was not a problem, but we could see how this was a problem for some of the older or not so nimble of guests. Once we were on the island things were okay, definitely not as great as they were in 2007 because now the island was having water problems due to a broken pipe. The toilet wouldn't flush and we were forced to bring a bucket of water with us into the bathroom to fill the toilet each time it was used. The water in the bathroom barely flowed and one of the handles was broken. For those couples wanting to visit CTI mainly for the island I would wait a while until all the proper repairs could be made or maybe email the resort to find the status of the island (that is if you are lucky enough to get a response).

All in all it was an okay trip, I'd give it a 6/10. The island, when fully functioning is beautiful and the food and restaurant service is some of the best yet. We were very disappointed with the check-in and check-out staff. We really expected that they would do more considering all the holidays we were celebrating. We still plan on returning for a third time, maybe in a few years once some more repairs can be made.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank mbbold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Reading, Pennsylvania
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 6, 2011

Absolutely loved it! This was my first time in Jamaica, so I can't compare it to any others! But it was fabulous! I can't stop thinking about it! My husband and I enjoyed almost every minute. The only thing I was unhappy about was just one night when we were trying to sleep, it was extremely loud in the lobby. Obviously sound travels!
We can't wait to go back! Planning a trip soon! Staff was awesome, food was delicious, and drinks were amazing! Take advantage of everything included. it is worth it!! Beach is small, but I never complained once. It was never crowded. There's just so much to do you, that you never feel like there's too many people around you!
I recommend this place for couples!! You won't regret it!!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank dragnfly44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marina del Rey, California
Level 4 Contributor
20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed December 28, 2010

My wife and I visited CTI in December 2010 and we couldn’t say more positive things about the resort and the staff. We upgraded to the ocean view and I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t do this if they were available. The ocean view was spectacular and it was nice to be in the area that we were located (5th floor on the 5th block). We had an opportunity to visit the spa and each got a very nice massage and body treatment. This was worth the extra money for sure! The spa at CTI was ranked the #1 Spa in the Caribbean by Travel + Leisure Magazine. They also have 2 hot tubs at the spa which are available for use during the evenings. There are only 4 hot tubs on the property so it’s good to know where the more private ones are. There was a bit of an issue with the temperature of the hot tubs. On a couple occasions two of the hot tubs were too hot to enter. The was was scalding hot. Hopefully they are aware of this problem by now and are working to resolve.

The food was AMAZING! My wife and I are strict vegans and we made sure the resort was aware of our dietary need before we traveled. The resort assured us they would have lots of options and they most certainly did! Our favorite was Tafarie down at the Veggie Bar. Tafarie went out of her way to make sure that everything we ate was vegan and she even pulled out a grilled plantain, humus and falafel sandwich that was out of this world! We had to go back for seconds. They use soy milk in all their shakes by default which was nice to see. I would only recommend that they try to obtain organic soy milk. The patio restaurant also had plenty of options for us and we really enjoyed their Jamaican Rundown veggie stew in coconut milk. The only time we got ourselves in trouble was by assuming that certain foods were vegan without asking (i.e. the rice all contains butter). The staff was all familiar with the term “vegan” which was a surprise and the chefs in the restaurant will go through each ingredient with you to make sure you are aware.

We were disappointed that they had to close the island for a few days to install a new dock, but agree that it was totally needed. The old dock was scary! We really enjoyed the island, it is beautiful and a great setting for catching some rays.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Waconiacouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2010

I had stayed at Couples Swept Away three times and was expected Tower Isle to be a step down in quality. Boy was I wrong! I absolutely love Tower Isle and have already booked a trip for next year at the same time! This resort was lovely. I have to say that it is really the staff though that make it such a gem. They are amazing and you feel like you build relationships and you want to come back just to see your friends again. The entertainment staff are fun as well as everyone else. They provide free wi-fi access. I absolutely adored the sweet ladies at the Veggie Bar. Tafari is a hard working kind woman who made specially requested vegan food for my husband and I. She actually would prep vegan dishes for us daily and they would be there for us when we came to see her.

I thought that the food at Tower Isle was way better than the food at Swept Away for a vegan. I was thrilled that they cooked a lot of the vegetables and greens with oil instead of butter. When we last visited Swept Away we were very limited on eating because so much butter was used. Tower Isle had fresh coconut every day at breakfast and dinner!!!!!! The only thing I wanted at breakfast that they didn't provide was peanut butter.

The entertainment was nice, however we were in bed pretty early most evenings. I used the fitness facilities daily including yoga class and spinning! The treadmills overlook the pool with a view of the ocean. It made staying on the treadmill feel like a breeze! They had a wonderful selection of restaurants, although the buffet was my favorite. The asian was my lease favorite, it was very greasy and salty.

While we were there the water was a bit rought, but that could not be helped. I absolutely love this place and am counting the days until my visit in 2011!

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Enj0ying_the_M0ment
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greenville, North Carolina
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2010

We just returned from a trip to Couples Tower Isle. We have been hesitant to go to Jamaica for years and this year thought...why not. We couldn't have been happier with our choice. When we landed at the airport, we went to the Couples Lounge and were greeted with friendly smiles and Red Stripe Beer. We waited for other couples to arrive from their flights while relaxing to reggae music, sitting in comfortable seats, and talking with the bartender about the island. When the other couples got in, we boarded the bus--about an hour to hour and a half ride to Tower Isle. The roads are in good shape...drivers are a little crazy, but it was an interesting ride to the resort--lots of beautiful scenery and culture to take in. When we arrived, we were greeted with music, cold towels, strong drinks, and more smiles. Check-in was a breeze. The room was decent...a typical Caribbean Hotel room with a nice balcony and an Ipod docking station. Unfortunately, it did rain quite a bit while we were there, but the drinks and food were good and the hot tubs were warm. We did get to use the water sports 1.5 days while we were there--even took a trip out to the island. The restaurants were good--8 Rivers was delicious, the Verandah was good, didn't care for Bayside as much, and the grille's were wonderful--all made to order. We did climb Dunn's River Falls--which was amazing! Also shopped at Island Village (where Margaritaville is too). Make sure to take your bathing suit, as Margaritaville has a swim up bar and waterslide!
The Beach:
Positives: Well groomed and cleaned each night, clean, easily accessible, chairs have floats on them as well
Negatives: Narrow with loose sand. Large limestone rocks near the swimming area.
Excursions:
Positives: All are included--great savings
Negatives: All non-resort employees ask multiple times for tips, making in more of a hassle than anything. Sometimes to the point that we chose not to tip someone because they pressured so much.
I would definitely recommend Couples to anyone. I enjoyed Tower Isle, but will probably go to Negril or somewhere before returning to the same location.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank redhotrhc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
42 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed December 26, 2010

Go to this resort! The grounds, the staff, the food, the drinks, the entertainment, the view, the pools, the ocean.....we will definitely be returning!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank clkbjk06
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bedfordshire
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed December 26, 2010

My partner and I stayed at CTI in early December for 10 days - the weather was not brilliant for us at that time.
I would agree with some other reviews on here in that it is a very nice all-inclusive with the bonus of some extras thrown in for free but it is not up there with the 5 star hotels.
The food was ok - 'fine dining' in 8 Rivers is possibly stretching it a bit and Bayside I did not find good at all. I am a great fan of Asian food and found this not to be anything much like Asian food. Also one night when we had booked we were unable to go as the rain was coming into the restaurant - I know they cannot control the weather but this meant another night at the buffet.
The house wine we found undrinkable and if you do enjoy good wine it will not be to your taste - we did order from the wine list each night though at extra cost.
The entertainment was ok. Just probably not really my taste and a bit repetitive if you are there more than a week.
Enterntainment staff do a good job.
Found booking for snorkelling and horseriding a bit rubbish as the weather was not good lots of people were obviouly going to do other things - but there was no waiting list and no specific time that you had to let them know wether you were going or not - the only option they gave was to turn up at the time and see if no-one turned up - not ideal to get changed ready to go horseriding or not!
On a shopping trip they also squeezed us into a bus with two of us sitting on each other laps!
I also didn't like the fact that the building blocked a good part of the sun out later in the day.
The hotel was spotlessly clean. The rooms adequate. But did not like no fridge or room service as it was actually a long walk at night if we wanted to get a drink to take to the room.

Overall I would say if you get it at a good price then it is a good all inclusive but if you have stayed at a proper five star in London or say Dubai then it would not compare.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank mandybb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jamman, vice president of Operations at Couples Tower Isle, responded to this review, December 29, 2010
Thank you so much for your review. I am delighted that you enjoyed some aspects of your vacation with us.

Hotel and resort rating systems used by our travel partners and various travel books can be confusing. COUPLES Tower Isle generally is rated as a deluxe ALL-INCLUSIVE Caribbean resort and usually attains the highest rating that our Travel partners can bestow on our category of resort in our region. London and Dubai do not have All-inclusive style resorts/hotels. The cost to stay at hotels in these areas are significantly more expensive than our resorts.

COUPLES resorts includes more excursions and inclusions than any other all inclusive resort. The value of these is approximately US$1661.00 per couple. The excursions that require you to sign up are Golf, Horse Back riding, Catamaran cruise; Scuba, novice dive and certified dives as well as Glass bottom and Snorkeling trips. Generally there is no need to sign up for excursions to Dunns river water fall and shopping tours.

The resort has 6 dining options. In the evening we have a Thai restaurant. Our chef is Thai and has worked at excellent hotels in Bangkok and around the world. A buffet restaurant, a fine dining restaurant and a Jamaican restaurant. In the day time we have Breakfast and lunch restaurant as well as a vegetarian bar as well as a pool grill. Two of our 4 restaurants in the evening require reservations.

Our "Suite" category all have mini bars. We offer room service for continental breakfast only. The resort serves food and beverages 24 hours as day.

Thank you again for your comments much of which I found constructive and can only help us improve our service standards.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Couples Tower Isle

Property: 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 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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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