This review is a long time coming following our honeymoon at Couples Swept Away (CSA) last year (May 29th - June 6th, 2012). We absolutely loved CSA and every since our trip I have found myself browsing flights and rates at least once a week in trying to plot our next escape there! First and foremost, for us, CSA was the absolute perfect destination- it fit our aesthetic and personalities. We are NOT into an overly formal sort of decor with carved mahogany, thick tapestries (in a tropical climate?), and activity directors over enthusiastically interrupting a relaxing moment on the beach to insist you have to come join the cannon ball contest by the pool- and you will NOT find any of these things here. What we do love is a place where we can truly unplug, relax, spend time with one another with a gorgeous beach, great food, and the option for an adventure or two if we so choose. And that is exactly what you will find at CSA. Our Beachfront Verandah Suite had crisp white linens, beautiful wooden shades, a stocked mini-fridge with all of our requests, and a beautiful outdoor balcony overlooking the crystal clear water. And let's talk about that water for a moment. Oh the water. So clear that sometimes I thought it was somehow fake! Seriously. And the perfect temperature. So now for a few more specifics.
We arrived into Montego Bay airport at about 2:00pm and quickly found the Couples Welcome Lounge. Immediately, a smiling agent asked us which resort we were headed to, took and tagged our luggage, and informed us it would only be a short wait until our shuttle departed. We were welcomed into the lounge where we were offered Red Stripe on tap (delicious after the flight and our first "official" honeymoon toast!). The decor of the lounge was similar to the resort and started putting our minds into vacation mode. During our short (15 minute) wait, we met another couple who had been married two days earlier and were also honeymooning. We were all on the same shuttle together as they were headed to Couples Negril (the first stop with CSA five minutes down the road after that drop-off). We set off on our shuttle with a bus driver who welcomed us with some funny jokes and interesting tidbits about Jamaica. About 10 minutes into the drive he pulled over and said that if anyone wanted some more Red Stripe for the 2 hour drive, this was the place. Just about everyone took him up on the offer and purchased a few bottles for only about a buck a bottle! I read a lot of reviews complaining about the shuttle ride, but we had booked our flights anticipating this and didn't mind it. Most of the highway goes along the water and us and the other honeymooners enjoyed chatting, sipping Red Stripe, and celebrating being DONE with wedding planning! Once we reached the resort, our luggage was taken care of and we were escorted into the lobby for check-in. We were offered cool towels and champagne as we sat with an agent and confirmed all of our details. We took a few extra minutes to set up our dinner reservations for Feathers and Lemongrass after hearing how quickly those can fill up in other reviews but we had no troubles finding the days/times we requested. Then we were off with a bellhop who described the property and lead us to our room. We were offered a tour of the resort but declined as we wished to explore on our own and there are ample maps, info, etc. posted.
Upon arriving to our room we really felt our Honeymoon get underway (and NO, not in a romantic way...get your minds out of the gutter, haha!). Based on other reviews we had called a few times in advance to have that we have a third (top) floor, corner Beachfront Verandah Suite. While they can not guarantee requests, I think calling a few times helped and I am glad they noted our request as this room was perfect. Despite overlooking the beach, we felt extreme privacy and did not have any noise or view of beachstrollers as we would have on the ground floor. The clean and crisp decor was just as we had imagined and soon after arriving a bellhop delivered the chilled champagne included in our FREE honeymooners bonus (if you are married within 30 days and can show proof, you get free champagne and a free 25 min couples massage- what is better than that??). Opening our french doors to the balcony and finally seeing the gorgeous beach we had imagined for so many months in person was breathtaking. We immediately threw on our bathingsuits and ran down to the beach, splashing straight into the perfect temperature water! By this time it was about 4:30pm and getting a bit late so we only swam a little longer before hopping out, grabbing the obligatory pina colada at the beachside bar, and then heading back up to our room to get ready for dinner.
The rest of the week was more of the same. Some mornings we started with breakfast at Patois or the buffet, and some mornings we ordered and enjoyed on our balcony. Then we would go sign up for snorkeling or another water activity (get there early to sign up daily as a line forms- though we enjoyed this as it ensured that everyone had a fair chance and your activity wasn't overloaded) and then hit the beach to float on the amazing seat floats while enjoying a morning beverage. For lunch we LOVED the fish tacos and chips/dips at Seagrapes. Our dinners were fantastic and we also did a private dinner on the beach which was very romantic. At night we loved the piano bar and singing along with Ultimate Chocolate and we even won two bottles of rum during a musical trivia contest!
We also hit up the spa twice (once for our 25 minute couples massage which we extended to 50 minutes and once more for what would have been another couples massage except we both got sunburned so we switched to a cooling/healing aloe treatment which was awesome) and we loved both visits. The hot tub outside the spa was a nice way to relax before/after treatments and the staff was wonderful.
One of our absolute favorite parts of the trip was the sunset catamaran tour- this is NOT to be missed and was spectacular. I loved that things like this are already included in the Couples base price as many all inclusives advertise a "wallet free" experience but in the end you wind up having to pay for more. I think that is what truly sets Couples apart. Yes, you can choose to pay extra for off-resort tours or the spa, but the other activities such as the catamaran, the glass bottomed boat, water skiing, snorkeling, and even scuba are ALL included. It's an amazing value and we met another couple who had sworn by Sandals previously until visiting Couples- they were amazed at all the things included that they had to pay for at Sandals (i.e. they took a similar catamaran tour and it was $100 each!). Add to it that when researching the resort, we got the top level room with full ocean views right on the beach for almost $1000 less than the lowest level room at Sandals, and Couples is the absolute BEST value for your dollar out there.
My only negative is not for the resort but my own immune system/allergies. We did experience sand fleas during our visit and I knew in advance we might based on other reviews as we were traveling during their "prime season"- unfortunately, even though I applied bug spray I have a severe bug allergy and am part of the .00001% of people that can have a severe reaction. BUT the nursing team immediately arranged a doctor visit (to avoid the ER) and they gave me a shot that stopped my reaction. They even walked through the form and notated everything correctly (i.e. that it was in fact an emergency) to ensure my insurance would accept the form when I returned to the states (they did and I was reimbursed quickly).
-Do not forget sunscreen as it is VERY expensive in the giftshops and the sun is STRONG (seriously, bring more than you think you will need!)
-Bring bug spray if you are traveling during bug season (I thought I had Skin So Soft spray but it wasn't the right kind which is part of why I got bit up)
-Water sport sign-ups are daily so get there early and then go relax at breakfast. We had no trouble snorkeling several times since we knew this in advance
-One thing I wish I knew is that we could have gone on the catamaran twice- sign up and do it twice if you can, it's awesome!
-Take the extra time (no matter how excited you are) to sign up for your dinner reservations upon check-in. I think the people who have complained about reservations must have tried day of, etc.
-Take advantage of the honeymoon special if you are newlyweds, you get champagne and a free couples massage!
-Know your travel personality. If you like ornate over the top and lavish decorations, having a butler, etc. this may not be your place - but that doesn't mean it is not luxurious. To us, it was perfect.
-Last but not least, forget your computer charger! Seriously. Enjoy every second and just relax! You will find yourself spending plenty of time on the computer upon your return home...trying to plan your next visit!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Immediately upon entering Couples Swept Away, you realize that you have arrived in paradise. Exotic flowers bloom amidst acres of green—on seven miles of the purest white sand beach in Negril, Jamaica. Dotted among the tropical gardens—open-air cafes, small pool enclaves and fresh fruit oases are yours to discover. Never crowded or hurried, the resort offers an intimate tranquility and when desired, total seclusion. All rooms embrace a quiet elegance with island cedar furnishings and pure white linens. Plantation shutters open onto private verandahs with views of gardens and azure sea. Breezy open-air restaurants engage candle-lit lanterns and billowing white curtains to strike a romantic note. While the pristine 10-acre sports complex encompasses every imaginable activity, the superb spa serves as a haven of relaxation. Couples Swept Away simply captures your heart and soothes your soul. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Couples Swept Away Negril
- Couples Swept Away Hotel Negril
- Jamaica Couples Swept Away
- Swept Away Resort
- Negril Couples Swept Away
- Swept Away Negril
- Couples Swept Away Jamaica
- Couples Negril