I guess the bottom line with any review is; would you go back? And, would you recommend the resort to friends and family?
Answer, Yes and Yes, If I thought they would enjoy the experience.
The Couples brand is really more about a laid back style of romance. The quality of the food is overall 3.5 -4 stars, the property is well maintained and very casual, and the service is not in your face or overly attentive, if you need something just ask…otherwise the assumption is “no problem”. This approach suits us quite well. I’ve said this before and I will say it again…if you need someone standing over you filling your water glass with every sip you take, lavish pools and glitzy furnishings, this property and Couples should not be your first choice. We’ve been to two of the 4 Couples properties in Jamaica (CN and CSA) and while the two resorts are a little different the quality of the rooms, grounds, beach, food and service are very similar. CN is a smaller property which we feel creates a bit more of an intimate intimate/boutique feel. More on that later and which is our preference
Somewhat adventurous, very laid back couple in our mid 40’s (been married forever); day and night party atmosphere is SOOO not our style. Most days we spend in the water, snorkeling or just walking down and the beach. Even though we choose AI vacations in Jamaica, we always get off property…the AI thing is more of a convenience. Most evenings with a cocktail or three or to the Piano bar to watch others sing (trust me no one wants to hear us sing). Up early and in bed by 11:30. Lived in Europe for 6 years and been to lots of places. We’ve visited Negril 3 times in the last two years.
Tuesday 2:00 PM arrival was easy…made it to the Couples lounge 35 minutes after arrival. Transportation to and from the resort was excellent. Stuart was our driver from MBJ to CSA and what a character. The drive was about 1 hour and 45 minutes, but we made a pit stop at the 1 hour mark for beer and nature’s call. The Couples lounge is comfy and the staff was well organized. Check-in, tag your bags and grab a Red Stripe. I think our wait was maybe 15 minutes.
Check-in and our room:
We arrived to the resort at about 4:30PM on Tuesday, 3 June. No problems with check-in…easy. We were given an Atrium Suite in the older section of the resort (room 2119). It was a first floor room which kind of bummed us out at first because we had requested a second floor…But we gave it a try and turned out we actually liked the first floor with its access in and out of the veranda door, also had a small view of the ocean. No problems with our room exactly as we expected; simple, tasteful, clean, large veranda with a hammock and built-in sofa and table. Everything worked just fine especially the AC. Did we have ants in our room? Yes, but that was largely no problem with the exception of a single “ants in the pants” episode. It took us a couple of days to get acclimated and even longer to be able to navigate back to our Atrium Suite…quite a maze of pathways.
The Weather in June:
Having been to Jamaica in the months of March and December…The heat and humidity in June was somewhat oppressive at times especially for those of us who live in an “alpine desert”; rained about 3-4 afternoons of our 9 day stay can’t fault the resort for that, the rain never lasted long and frankly was a nice break. Mosquito’s were a bit of a problem, they were undeterred by the “Off” we brought
Overall the food was exactly as expected very good but certainly not ultra fine dining.
The meal we had at Feathers was probably our favorite (the AC helped). Sea Grapes was our spot of choice for lunch; the menu is small, but everything was tasty. The Pizza and Banana Stuffed French toast at Patois is as good as advertised, I actually had Pizza for dinner twice. The Cabana grill is really just OK, if you want jerk or patties, go down the beach lots of other options that are much better. Lemongrass was also quite good, not quite as good as Feathers…I think our experience at Lemongrass was tempered a bit by the heat, I really thought I was going to melt while eating at Lemongrass.
Had a 50 minute couple’s massage which was quite relaxing, just long enough to get really relaxed but not long enough to completely fall asleep. Not sure we would spend the $210 for a couples massage if we didn’t have the resort credit though.
It’s AWESOME! White powdery sand, water is calm, clear and warm. Maybe the best stretch of beach in Long Bay.
Well maintained and by the looks of the number of flower pictures my wife took I suppose she enjoyed the grounds as well, quite a beautiful property. Tree frogs at night! Yes, I can see how it would bother some, but not us…no problems sleeping. We brought some ear plugs after reading reviews but never opened the box.
Really excellent, we snorkeled every other day visited Bahamas, Mexico and the Cuba site, staff is entertaining and engaging. Catamaran Cruise was just as fun this time, this is a must do!
Looked OK, but never got in one, why would you when you have that beach.
Don’t worry about top-shelf liquor, it’s available everywhere. Beer choice is limited...I’m a bit of a beer snob and brew/keg my own craft beers so, if I can drink and enjoy Red Stripe in Jamaica, so can you. The bar staff in general are very good, quite entertaining and very personable. Beach bars in the day are awesome and we preferred the Martini bar in the evening, try a Key Lime Martini. Never set foot at the Pool bar, just not our scene.
The entertainment offered at Couples Resorts doesn’t generally appeal to us other than the Steele Drum Band and the Piano Bar which was pretty fun the two nights we went. We are huge reggae fans and just don’t understand why anyone would choose Jamaica and want to hear talented artists do covers of R & B classics.
Some of the staff that stood out:
Tashell, Simone, and Reynaud at the beach bar (south end of the property), had a blast with them on a rainy afternoon.
Our housekeeper Althea did an excellent job…unseen all week.
Ruel at the Martini bar made some pretty good Key Lime Martinis.
All of the Water Sports guys and gals…they were all really, really great!
Favorite off resort activities:
You must do the “Love Bus Pub Crawl”, even though it is not affiliated with the resort in anyway. Look it up on Trip Advisor and do it! Such a good time, we did it twice. Lenbert is a beautiful man who will make sure you have a great time and visit some bars and (in one case a home), that only the relatively experienced Negril traveler will make it to…I especially loved our last stop…the “Firewater Love Nest” on the cliffs.
Walk the beach (during the day) visit the small bars, shops and restaurants as you go.
So, CN or CSA?
Really tough for me, but my wife definitely preferred the slightly more intimate (size wise) CN. For me it’s a bit more of a wash, only because I like the action on the beach. I liked being able to walk down the beach for a beer or lunch, and interacting with the vendors was not an issue for me. The accommodations, service and food are all very similar. CSA definitely has larger veranda’s and greater variation in room types, with some rooms being literally on the beach, this is a huge draw for many, but not for us. Neither really is better just a little different, so try them both and decide for yourself…I guess if we had to choose one, perhaps CN is just a little better fit for us.
Overall, we had a great time and would have no reservations about recommending CSA or returning in the future.