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Couples Negril
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Reviewed April 6, 2014

Couples Negril 2014
My Wife and I recently returned from a holiday at Couples Negril (12-26 March 2014) our fifth visit, most of which as usual we enjoyed very much. We made our holiday arrangements through Virgin Holidays, their holiday advisor Tiffany was brilliant ensuring that we had exactly what we required. Our flight with Virgin Atlantic from Gatwick (London) to Montego Bay was most enjoyable. We were met at Montego Bay Airport by the Virgin Rep Kevron who we had met during our last visit in 2013. He could not have been more attentive, after a warm welcome he escorted us to the Couples Lounge, he also made several visits to the resort to check that we were not having any problems.
I normally start my holiday report by complaining about the transfers to and from the resort (about 1½ hours) normally the transport is barely road worthy and the drivers appear to have a death wish. This time the taxis for both trips appeared to be in very good condition and the drivers drove responsibly. Hopefully the resorts are taking their responsibility to ensure guests have safe transport more seriously and this was not just a one off.
We were given a warm welcome when we arrived at the resort accompanied by cold towels and drinks, then after a thankfully brief check in process we were shown to our room. We had a beach front suite (1301) which was a little basic but spacious and airy and had a wonderful view of the fantastic beach and crystal clear Caribbean. The room was maintained in immaculate condition throughout our stay by Anvalee and her deputy Nickeisha. Lovely hardworking ladies who always had a warm smile and a kind word.
The food and service was excellent, my Wife is vegetarian and the choice on offer for her was extensive, the Red Stripe was good and the complementary wine drinkable. My Wife drinks the sparkling wine and normally has to add something to it to disguise the taste, but this time it was of much better quality and could be consumed straight.
We had very good service at the restaurants particularly at the Helicona where Denver and Julie Anne were brilliant. One evening my Wife could not find a vegetarian option that appealed so Denver very kindly went to one of the other restaurants and returned with their vegetarian option, which by the way was delicious. The service was equally as good at the Lychee Restaurant where Omar went out of his way to ensure that each of our visits was perfect.
The service at the bars was equally as good particularly from Camille and Tennyson who after a number of visits remembered our drinks and often had them ready before we even got to the bar, excellent.
The dive team were also first class particularly Steve, Taffy, Carl (Sugar) and Captain Courtney. I found it very reassuring to be in the presence of such consummate professionals, it was really great to meet them all again.
Our days were fantastic, from our early walks on the wonderful beach to our sunset aperitif and first class dinners. The only problem is that after a hard day we are normally ready for bed at around 21.30. Ideally we would have liked to drift off to sleep with only the sounds of the frogs and the crystal Caribbean lapping on the shore, unfortunately this did not prove possible. Firstly there was what sounded like a huge extractor fan close to our room that was in operation 24 hours a day, during the day it was not too intrusive but at night is was most annoying. Secondly the cabaret, for us, was much too loud, particularly the beach party which was held close to our room and was loud enough to cause permanent ear damage. On previous visits the nightly entertainment finished at 23.00 but this time went on well past mid night. Thirdly when the clear up operation has finished and guests returned to their rooms it was still not possible to sleep as the steam cleaning of the restaurant kitchen adjacent to our room was normally carried out between 01.30 and 02.30. We found it paradoxical therefore that when the ladies carry out their nightly turn down service they leave a small card on which is written a local proverb and the following “Please be mindful of making noise so that everyone can enjoy a restful night’s sleep, one love” I would respectfully suggest that they leave one on the resort managers desk.
I do appreciate that many of the guests enjoy this type of entertainment and I think that is great, but I do think that people who would like to have a restful night’s sleep should also be catered for. Couples already make facilities available for nudists, a special beach and dedicated bar, which again is very good, but certainly during our stay the older generation far outnumbered the nudists. We spoke to many people of about our age (67) whom without exception would have liked a more quiet and varied cabaret together with the facility to sleep before 02.30.
Finally a small complaint about Guest Relations, normally very soon after arrival we as returning guests received a letter welcoming us back and detailing complimentary the gifts and services which are on offer to us. On this visit this did not happen until well into the second week and only then after several reminders. Also when it is time to leave we are normally thanked for our visit, wished a safe return home and given a small box in which are snacks and a drink for the trip to the airport, neither of which happened on this occasion. I know these are very small points but it is little things like this that make guests feel special and keep them returning.
I have tried to make this review a balanced as possible and hope the readers will find it useful.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank rogerbird456
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2014

I recently visited this resort to celebrate our wedding anniversary and enjoyed a 10 night stay in a Garden View room.

The transfer from the airport is smooth. There is a welcome drink at the Couples Bar after picking up your luggage where your luggage is prepared for the 90 minute coach transfer whilst you enjoy a quick free beer. Having the transfer done by the resort is better than having it done by the holiday company as this means there is less time to wait for your full complement of passengers.

Check-in was quick at the resort and, with a resort no-tip policy, we could relax as our porter delivered us to our top floor room (no lifts here!) as he did not wait for his tip.

The room was comfortable and, importantly to my wife, not recently renovated. This meant she could enjoy a daily bath. This request was e-mailed to the resort and the instructions were fully complied with. Well done! The mini-bar was stocked well, and it was re-stocked on request (daily, in the case of mixers). The bed was comfortable and about the size of Texas. TV stations have an American bias; no surprise there.

The beach does not disappoint. It comes, as advertised, as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Smooth, soft, cream-coloured sand with a gentle slope into the warm, clear waters. Resorts on the Bloody Bay coast have roped areas for bathers with all the watersports ‘outside the rope’. The resort here has everything from kayaks to catamarans (hobi-cats) to Scuba. An independent para-sailing team hawks along the beach with, judging by the sound it makes, a bloody powerful boat! There are free catamaran sunset cruises down to Rick’s Café (with no dis-embarkation) lasting three hours, with three hours of free drinking time. Highly recommended! It does not run every day so book early to avoid disappointment.

The southern end of the beach is reserved for nude bathing. They have their own bar. They have their own loungers. They have their own Jacuzzi. They have their own roped off bathing section in the sea. They still, however, need to get from A to B. This is laughingly achieved using a lounger mat / sea float as a ‘modesty belt’. One blue-collar American guy I was talking to in the pool bar summed it up perfectly; “ah, the old peoples’ home”. Even more comic is the fact that the nude beach is slap bang next to the ‘Wedding Area” gazebo.

The pool is not large, but considering the number of rooms, it did not get overcrowded. Pool people and beach people only mix at the bars, it appears. The pool bars serve a large collection of cocktails and draught Red Stripe. The service can appear to also be on holiday and was ‘relaxed’ at some times during the day. Also, the amount of ice used in drinks I would consider to be excessive, but, if you ask, they will comply with a request for ‘a little ice’.

The grounds around the resort are clean, with a large crew keeping it that way. The beach is also swept and raked every day. One question; why so many tennis courts? It’s the Caribbean! Relax, people!

Counting the Breakfast / Buffet area there are only four restaurants. One restaurant (Otaheite) has a booking and dress policy. The food here is very good, with a very theatrical way of serving soup.

My personal favourite place to eat was Lychee. They have a chicken spring roll served as an amuse bouche which could be done as a main course and I would eat it all day.

The eating experience which needs to be sorted out is the Helaconia Grill at lunchtime. The food is great, with the smoked Jerk Burger being wonderful, but the service – yikes!

This is the slowest fast food you’ll ever see. Their menu is quite small and they pass out a radio bleeper coaster to get you back to the counter but orders are misplaced, people are served out of order and we had to wait a mere 45 minutes for two burgers and fries? Really? A useful tip would to get there early, or to count the running total of orders on the counter and if it’s over 10 then head to the Cassava Terrace (buffet) for lunch. One drawback: you can only get chips (fries) at the Heliconia Grill.

The buffet food was generally good. The breakfast service was generally bad. The staff at breakfast are generally apathetic and moody. Be prepared to be seated at a table that requires some extra cutlery / cups / glasses / etc. And the staff just don’t seem to care that you have to ask for the cup and saucer that should be there.

The mood was set for the breakfast on the first morning. You have to wait to be seated. Once sat you are served your coffee or tea and then you can get up to get some food. We both left to get food after I had had some cereal and we returned to a table being prepped for the next guest! Err, we haven’t finished our breakfast? The staff showed little concern and seated us somewhere else. This was the first of ten breakfasts.

We had to use a regime of going to the food buffet singularly to ensure the waiters didn’t clear our still full glasses and cups. Another pet hate was hot beverages. They employ a system of turning a cup on its side on the saucer to notify waiters that you want TEA instead of coffee. This works well; for the person serving the TEA. A selection of TEA bags are shown and you select what TEA you want. Four minutes later, with a TEA bag near the cup someone is trying to serve coffee into your TEA!!!!!!!!!

Every day. “Would you like some more coffee?”

Without fail. “Would you like some more coffee?”

I lost count of the times that I was nearly scolded with hot coffee being poured into my TEA. On another occasion I was rebuked by staff after getting my own cup of TEA from a self-service counter near the bar. It’s a bit rich to be told off by a slow waiter who can’t do their own job properly.

On the plus side you can serve yourself a bloody Mary / Bucks Fizz from the counter on arrival at the breakfast restaurant. And do you need it after that service. . . . .

The evening buffet service was sometimes questionable. On one occasion we had to verbally call a wine waiter to our table during our second course just to get a glass of red wine as none of the previous four waiters passing our table couldn’t be bothered to serve us.

Generally, this is a very good resort. It’s quiet, relaxing and well worth a trip. Our experience with the service at breakfast may have been down to bad luck, or the wrong staff on the wrong morning.

I’ll finish with this conundrum: people who are repeat visitors and who join the Hotel ‘romance rewards package’ appear to be treated differently, with extra ‘room credits’ and a special evening meal either outside or in one of the restaurants. Some TripAdvisor posters say that “this is the best meal of the trip”. But, what would make us come back to a resort where we had some experiences of bad service?

First timers deserve better, surely.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Greyvanman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2014

Just returned from a long weekend at this wonderful resort. This was our third stay and we definitely will return for a fourth. We requested a room on the top floor of Building 6 and that is what we got. Thanks very much to management for that. Those rooms have the best view of the beach. The resort looks great. They finished some major renovations since our last visit. The rooms were upgraded. The food, as always, was fantastic, with a nice variety at each meal. The staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. A special shout out to Amay, our beach bartender and all around wonderful person. As my wife said, she was Amay-zing. Although there were plenty of activities, we mostly just chilled on the beach, which is all we wanted to do. Can't wait to get back.

Room Tip: Top floor of Building 6 is the best for a view of the beach. Building 9 would be second best. You will hear the nightly entertainment from the rooms in Building 6, because they are right next to the Cassava Terrace restaurant. If you like to get to sleep early, then choose a different building.
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Mark F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2014

This was our 3rd stay at Couples Negril. As always we found the food and accommodations to be excellent, the service friendly, and the beach, pool and waterspouts to be perfect. The 90 minute ride from Montego Bay to the hotel was a little much after a long flight and lines to get through customs in Jamaica. If you can afford it, the TimAir flight gets to right to the hotel in 12 minutes and will start hour vacation off right! We had a garden suite which was very spacious with a huge bathroom and a nice view of the water through the trees. The clientele seems to be trending younger this last trip (or maybe we are getting older). The only downside to this trip was the weather; atypically rainy for this time of year.

Room Tip: I recommend rooms in buildings 6,7,8, or 9; 2nd and 3rd floors are more private.
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank JRAS1951
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2014

My wife and I made our third trip to Couples Negril this March and everything was just great, but there are some changes from previous years that are well worth noting, hence this updated review.

Timing is Everything

Every year that we have previously gone to Jamaica we have arrived on a Saturday or a Sunday. This year for the first time, our schedules allowed us to arrive on a Tuesday. If there is any way you can do this, you should. Previously, we allowed about 45 minutes to an hour to clear immigration and customs. If you are going on a weekend, you should allow that much time as well, unless you decide to pay for the Club MoBay option. You'll run into the same delay upon departure and, in addition, there was often a half hour just to check our baggage at the airline ticket counter. What a difference a Tuesday makes! We arrived at the immigration hall and there was exactly one person in line ahead of us. No wait at all. From there we went to customs and there was no one there either. So I asked the customs official if it was always like this on Tuesday and he said, "Yeah, Tuesday's a pretty slow day." Wow! Cheaper airfares and no lines!

You can fly from Montego Bay to Negril and we had done that several times (about $140/person plus tip), but this year we decided to take the Couples shuttle. We were glad we did because it was pouring rain the whole way and I don't think I would have enjoyed flying in that weather. A couple of glasses of beer at the Couples lounge and I was ready for the drive. BTW, this year we ate on the plane, but if you show up in Montego Bay and you haven't had lunch, here's what you do. Go out the front door of the airport, but before you do, tell a guard at the door that you just want to go out and grab some patties, or they may not let you back in. Then look to your right and you'll find a food stand. The beef patties there are great (though they are pretty spicy). Ask for a couple to go and take them with you on the shuttle. You'll be the envy of your fellow passengers. (I suppose you could buy a dozen and pass them around...)

The Weather

Yes, there was rain. It was pouring when we arrived at the airport, but it had stopped by the time we got to Negril. We hoped this wasn't going to be a daily occurrence. We talked to some of the employees while we were there and they said there had been quite a bit of rain this winter and that was very unusual. The rumor was going around the island that this was somehow related to the extremely cold winter we were having in North America and there was some concern that this might be a side effect of climate change. Who knows? But it did have us a little worried at first.

I woke up the next morning and peaked out the curtains to find the sky clear and the sun shining. Oh yeah! This is what I came for. It was 5 degrees at home and 75 first thing in the morning in Negril. However that first day it started to cloud up by about 11 in the morning and by noon it was raining. Raining hard. For most of the afternoon. The staff got some games going and tried to make the best of it. One employee (I wish I could remember his name) grabbed a giant beach umbrella and started offering what he called "taxi service"; dry transportation to other parts of the resort. A group of people grabbed another giant beach umbrella and put it in the center of one of the hottubs and spent most of the afternoon there. By evening it had dried up, but this daily afternoon drenching was not a good sign.

The next morning the sun was shining again. The clouds came in about noon, but no rain. If fact, no rain for the rest of the week. However there were often some late day clouds which made the sunset not quite the usual glorious show that it had been in past years.

Renovations

Our room was a garden room, which is the cheapest on the property. At Couples Negril there is not the huge difference in room categories that there is at, say, Couples Swept Away or any of the Sandals properties. There are a few really nice ocean view suites but they aren't exactly ocean front. We did have one of the newly redecorated rooms with the new bathroom. I like what they've done with it. They removed the bathtubs and put in a large shower. Plenty of room for two. However, they didn't put a shower door on. There is a drain right at the edge of the shower area which is designed to keep water from flowing out into the rest of the bathroom (be careful not to cover it up with the bath mat) but that doesn't keep water from splashing out.

If you haven't been to Couples before, you need to be warned. This resort chain is not going for the shiny, elegant, new look that many resorts favor these days. They are going for what they think is a more authentic look. Those green exterior walls are not dirty, they are weathered. If you are looking for the very upscale modern look you should be investigating a different resort. Take a look at the pictures on the Couples website. They are a reasonably accurate portrayal of what the resort looks like.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

If you are used to getting up early to save yourself a beach chair in the shade when you visit an all inclusive, stop, take a breath and go back to bed. You simply don't need to do that here anymore. Either the resort was half empty (seems unlikely in early March) or they've finally bought so many chairs and mats that you will never have a problem getting one. You may have to drag it a few feet to get in the shade, but it really doesn't matter what time of the day you show up, there will be a chair for you. The only exception to this is right around the pool in the front row of chairs that have beach umbrellas. There's only so many of those. There was always a couple available at 8:30 in the morning (so don't even think about getting up at the crack of dawn). By nine they were pretty much all taken, though you won't have any trouble finding a chair in the second row and if you position it properly you will be able to get some shade.

A couple of other changes that are worth noting: No more room keys! You get a card that you wave at the lock and it unlocks for you. Also, no more keeping track of beach towels. You just go pick one up when you need one. So, if you like, you can turn your wet beach towel in before lunch and get a fresh one after lunch without having to do an "exchange". No more hanging on to a beach towel through lunch. You also don't have to get a receipt for it before you check out of the resort. And I never saw them run out of towels.

Wifi is all over the resort and you no longer need a password to use it; it is fully open. I think this was a good move. If by putting in a password, you think that that your communication is private, you're fooling yourself. So leave it open so everyone knows that they need to be careful. This is not the place to do your banking.

Last year at Couples Tower Island I commented on how poorly maintained the IT services were with no virus protection on the computers in the Internet Cafe and that when you sat down at a computer there you could often see the email of the last person who used the computer. I'm happy to say that either Couples has obtained some IT help or things are just better managed at Couples Negril because the Internet Cafe was up to date and fully secure (though don't do your banking there either!). BTW, you can also get a cup of hot coffee there pretty much anytime.

Hungry Yet?

There is one restaurant on the property that requires reservations: Otaheite. I've eaten there several times over the years and I'm still not sure I have the pronunciation correct. We had dinner there one night and were pretty disappointed. When you make your reservation they will try to sell you a bottle of wine from their wine list by offering a 5% discount. We decided to try this because the selection was pretty good (for a Caribbean resort) and we had a lot of resort credit on this trip. When we got to dinner, however, it took them forever to find it and serve it. I think this policy of pre-buying wine is fairly new and they just don't have the implementation of it down yet. The appetizers were excellent, but I would definitely stay away from the surf and turf main course. Unfortunately my wife and I both ordered it and were both disappointed. It consisted of a skewer of scallops and shrimp (neither particularly distinguished) and chicken breast. The chicken was perfectly cooked (not dry) but had almost no flavor. I was expecting some sort of Jamaican twist on this with a flavorful sauce or something. But it was pretty disappointing.

We ate at Heliconia twice and had really good food both times. I had rack of lamb one night and it was delicious. The herb crust was excellent. The only problem was my own fault. I've noticed over the past couple of decades that restaurants in the States are serving meat rarer and rarer. I think this is because they figure they can always cook it some more, but they can't uncook it. So while I used to order meat medium rare, now I find that when I do that it is very red, almost raw in the center. So I started ordering medium to adjust. I ordered the rack of lamb medium and it came out... .well, medium. I can't complain; they prepared it exactly the way I ordered it, but if you want food medium rare, order it medium rare. I did that with a steak later in the week and it was perfect.

We ate at the Asian restaurant Lychee twice and it was good, but not up to the standards of past years. It used to be if you mentioned that you wanted your food spicy, they really delivered. This time when I did that, it wasn't spicy at all and when I asked about it, they brought out a small dish of chili paste for me to mix in. They should do better than that.

The repeater's dinner, as usual, was the best meal of the week. This is a special dinner that is offered to everyone who has been to a Couples resort before. At each table they have one person from the resort management. This year we sat with the Human Resources Director who said to me, "you look familiar." I said "you look familiar too." Then I realized we had sat at her table at the repeater's dinner two years before. It was like catching up with an old friend.

As for breakfasts and lunches, I was quite happy. One thing you should know is you don't have to confine your eating for any given meal to just one restaurant. Most days at lunch they had a salad station at the main dining buffet (Cassava Terrace) where they would make a salad to order for you... and it was very well done. But at the Beach Grill they have jerk chicken every day and it was outstanding. All morning long they have the smoker going out behind the Beach Grill and you see the smoke rising. The chicken is well seasoned, but they serve jerk sauce on the side so you can control how much you put on. Frankly, this was better jerk than I had had at any of the other Couples resorts. So one day we went to Cassava Terrace and instead of being seated for lunch, we went directly to the salad station and got a salad. Then we went over to the Beach Grill and ordered jerk chicken. We sat at an outside table overlooking the beach and the ocean. Then back to Cassava to pick up some mango sorbet for dessert. It doesn't get much better than this. One nice improvement for 2014: all of the restaurants are now non-smoking. This did not use to be the case.

Pop Up Music

One new addition this year is what I call "pop up music". Sometimes during the day live music just appears. For example, two mornings that week there were a couple of guys at breakfast playing cello and guitar. Soft relaxing tunes. I loved this when I first experienced it at Couples Swept Away a few years ago. What a way to enjoy your morning coffee! Then one day there was a small jazz band playing at lunch. One evening there was a "Sunset Champaigne Toast" on the beach where they had brought in a lone sax player. Reminded me a bit of Sonny Rollins playing all those years on the Brooklyn bridge. Way to go Couples!

Speaking of music, in past reviews of various Couples properties I've been very critical of the evening entertainment and the general lack of reggae music. I mean, we're in Jamaica after all. Well, we started down that road again this year. Part of this is our fault. Tuesday night is Reggae Night and we were so exhausted after getting up a 4 in the morning to catch our plane that we didn't stay up late enough to partake. We went the next couple of nights and it was the usual retread American pop music. I don't mean to imply the band isn't good. I've never seen a bad musician at a Couples resort. There seems to be an almost unlimited supply of excellent musical talent in Jamaica. But there's only so much American pop music I can take, especially in Jamaica.

So after a couple of nights of this at the end of the evening I thought I'd go chat up the front man for the band and see what was up. I went up on stage as they were packing up, told him how much I enjoyed the band, but asked whether the resort had told him not to play reggae or whether they avoided it for some other reason. He said that the resort did not tell them what to play, it's just that they played reggae at other venues at various times of the week and they were looking for something different. I thanked him and suggested that he might consider adding a bit of reggae to the repertoire at CN.

The next night my wife and I went back and the first set was all reggae... and the band was great. My wife went to bed early but I hung around for the entire evening. When it was over I was walking out and I ran into the band's front man again and he asked, "Did you hear the first set?" I told him I had and I thought it was fabulous. He said to come back tomorrow and they'd play some more. So here's what I learned from this. First, the resort is not calling the shots on music, and second, one person can have an impact on the entertainment.

The Piano Bar

The piano bar is the place to be for a before dinner drink. Generally it is fairly quiet and you can sit at the bar and chat, not just with your significant other, but with the bartenders and with other guests at the resort. But one night a week there is really special entertainment. Paul Tucker is an excellent pianist/singer who has been doing the sing-along after dinner several nights a week at the piano bar. He's great. He has a real knack for drawing people in and getting them to sing. You might think sing along is kind of tacky, but Paul makes it fun. What's new is that they are now also bringing him in one night a week (Friday, I think) to simply perform, not to conduct the sing along. Great!

Relax, It's All Good

We had a lot of resort credit. You can get resort credit by booking early and by being a frequent visitor to Couples. So my wife went to the spa a lot. She loved it. We had a couples massage, and she had a bunch of treatments including a facial and aromatherapy. It was all great. One thing about the spa... this is the one place on the property where tipping is encouraged. I don't have a problem with that, but I do wish they would figure out a way to let you charge it to your room instead of paying in cash. The rest of the resort is completely cash free (no tipping the resort staff... and they mean it... and the resort shop is entirely charged to your room). This is the one place where you need to have cash, and it would be better if you could just leave your wallet in the safe for the whole week.

When my wife was at the spa I either went to the gym or for a long walk on the beach. One the great things about Negril (as opposed to Ocho Rios) is the beautiful beaches, both at Seven Mile Beach and Bloody Bay. The security at Couples does a pretty good job of keeping the drug dealers off the property, but once you step off of it to walk up the beach, its a completely different story. This is particularly true if you are a single man. I think their theory is: What could a single guy possibly be doing walking on the beach other than looking for some ganja? You'll be approached by the first dealer generally within 10 feet of leaving the property. One guy I ran into even had the joints pre-rolled for you.

So here's some advice on how to handle it. First of all, my experience is that these guys are totally different than drug dealers in America. In America we tend to look at drug dealers as somewhat scary types who it is best to 1) avoid and 2) ignore. This is not the case in Jamaica. Drug dealers on the beach are not street toughs and they aren't violent. In general they are extremely nice people just trying to make a living. They'll generally come up to you and start chatting. Here's your chance to meet some locals unlike any who work at the resort. Stop walking and chat for a bit and they will get around to try to sell you their wares. What you need is a line that is respectful, but final. I generally say, "I did too much of that stuff when I was younger and I can't do it anymore." That seems to work every time. Once I had a guy try to sell me "white powder" when he couldn't sell me grass. I chuckled and said (in a very nice voice), "That stuff'll kill you." He laughed and said, "Yeah, you're right!" and headed off.

One more thing. If you go walking on the beach every day, you'll see the same guys all the time. After a day or two, they'll chat, but they won't try to sell you anything anymore. Introduce yourself and you'll find out what they call themselves as well. Then some day toward the end of the week, invite your wife out for a walk on the beach. The look on her face when the drug dealers greet you by name will be priceless.

By the way, don't by weed and bring it back to a Couples resort. For one thing, Couples has a very strict no drug policy, and will evict you. For another it is illegal in Jamaica and there are some horror stories on the web of tourists who have ended up in jail. And finally, the rest of us don't really want to smell it.

While you're out walking take a good look at the Rui resort next door. Notice the size of the place and the children all over. You'll remember why you booked at Couples instead. If you keep walking up the beach you'll pass some amazing stuff. At one point there are about a dozen jet skis piled up on the beach. Jet ski rides used to be a common site in Negril and the noise was a bit annoying. Then too many people got hurt and the Jamaican government banned them all over the island. It's an improvement, but I feel for the guys who were running a thriving business one day and were out of business the next.

Keep going and you'll come to an area of beach vendors. Stay down toward the water and they won't bother you, or, if the selection looks interesting, go on up for a closer look. However, be warned, many of these vendors are pretty persistent.

Eventually, you'll come to the "Office of Nature." This is a bar/restaurant on beach that looks very rustic. I've always wanted to work up the nerve to eat there just to see what it was like.

One Last Thing....

Up until last year the "Chief Romance Officer" (aka, VP, Marketing) was Randy "Randymon" Russell. He used to regularly appear on the message board at the Couples website (a very good place to look for further information, by the way) and was really the public face of the organization. He went above and beyond when communicating with the guests. A few years ago he offered this service where he would phone up your significant other and read to them over the phone a love letter that you had written. Well, I'm not sure that was such a great concept, but you get the idea. People really thought that if they had a question or wanted to make a suggestion, they could write him directly and he would actually consider what you had to say.

Anyway, last year he resigned and went to work for the company that markets Sandals resorts in the US. He has been replaced as Marketing VP, but the role that he played in communicating with customers really hasn't been filled. I don't think they need to bring back the love letter reading service, but it would be nice if the company had some official presence on their own message board and had a more clearly delineated portal for communicating with the organization.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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27  Thank jahansen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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