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Thread: CSA Changes

  1. #51


    getting ready to go back for the third time and all I can say is people are people, my husband and I are so immediately "swept away" from the second we arrive that most things go unnoticed, our friends who are very particular about many things had zero complaints and are coming along again, I know people who have been to both and never went back to S because they like Couples so much more.

  2. #52


    getting ready to go back for the third time and all I can say is people are people, my husband and I are so immediately "swept away" from the second we arrive that most things go unnoticed, our friends who are very particular about many things had zero complaints and are coming along again, I know people who have been to both and never went back to S because they like Couples so much more.

  3. #53


    We just got back November 16th from CSA for our 2nd time. While I will say there was changes compared to our trip in 2010, reasons were explained at the repeat dinner. As for as the liquor running out we never ran into that problem, but we didnt stay at one bar that long. As for as the liquor and beer availabilty changing the taxes have changed and priced some of the things they used to have out of the price range. They are making changes such as putting Red Stripe in your mini fridge which to me is a great up grade compared to Carib. They also changed to plastic soda bottles in the room which was also an upgrade in my book cause you could reseal your soda after making a drink. As for as the food, there have been changes but this has to do with chefs. As chefs come and go they each have their unique dishes they make and make some foods a little different, which in my book is all apart of the vacation and makes each one a little different. Yes I agree the Jerk Chicken recipe changed at the Cabana Grill, but there were new dishes at other places. The reason will will continue to go to Couples is they do listen to what their customers have to say. If they hear something isnt working and they can fix it they do go out of their way to make it right. I hope all of you have a great time at Couples.

  4. #54


    From what I understand a lot of people are starting to look harder at Sandals. I have heard they made some real positive changes. So I agree, if there is this continuous decline at Couples it would be a shame.
    Quote Originally Posted by chrisx3est1992 View Post
    We have not been to CSA, but right up until I started reading this forum, the plan was to book for an October stay. We were looking forward to Red Stripe AND coconut rum. We are talking about a well known resort in Jamaica - no coconut rum - REALLY?? Could the resort not buy any anywhere in Jamaica? I think until I see some more positive, we will start looking harder at the Sandals resorts. This is a shame too, we LOVE the suites with the verandas, but there are certain things that people do expect in an "All Inclusive" and that is great service, great food, and great drinks (alcohol). The rooms do not seem to be as nice as some of the other resorts in Jamaica, and with that said, the amenities should be over the top to make up for it. I really hope that these cut backs are only temporary (maybe due to the hurricane...?) I only posted this because I hope somebody from Couples Resorts sees this and realizes that there are so many people out there that base and plan their trips on forums like this and Trip Advisor, we are only one couple but the risk to lose many couples is out there with any kind of cut backs.

    Couples Ocho Rios 2005/2006
    CSA 2009/2010/2011/
    2012 x2/2013 x2

  5. #55


    I have seen all these changes too and it makes me sad.
    Quote Originally Posted by ddores View Post
    We just got back from CSA about a week ago. We've been around 10 or so times in the last few years.

    Definately noticed alot of changes, although we've been noticing some of them in the several times that we've been this year over time.


    Cabana Grill - Not open during dinner hour anymore - closed 6-10.

    Cabana Grill - Grilled Cheese gone (my favourite lunch).

    Cabana Grill - Jerk Chicken recipie changed. (My wife's pre-this-visit favourite).

    Bottled water - only available in Mini Bar. Kind of awful tasting water available at the 'water stations'.

    Top shelf liquor(s) being moved to the disco bar or unavailable.

    Mini Bar - If you don't fill out your card and leave hanging out front before 1pm - you get nothing. And a call next day isn't 5 minutes.

    Smoking - completely banned at the Palms - including the Bar area.

    Smoking - 'strange' at the Patois bar - they are using all the concrete ashtrays from the pool - looks to be non-smoking 'soon'.

    Smoking - the new space-age ashtrays that are around are full most of the time - so kind of unusable.

    Patois - menu doesn't change as often.

    Palms - trying to sell wine at dinner as an a la carte upsell. Wine card on the table - 30 - 60 dollars a bottle.

    Pool area - Random group of 3 or 4 native guys shows up and starts trying to sell everyone tickets to a club or something - AT the pool.

    Wedding parties - seem to be overtaking the resort. They were stealing my drinks at the bar (happened twice).

    Palms - the buffet seems to be withering even further down for selection. Pretty clear that they want to get rid of it.

    So, in our opinion - lots of changes. Definately feels like a different resort to us. Everywhere I went this trip - was "Can't".

    Probably a deal-breaker actually - which is a shame, we love the place.


    Couples Ocho Rios 2005/2006
    CSA 2009/2010/2011/
    2012 x2/2013 x2

  6. #56


    This may get me in trouble, but here goes.

    I am at CSA now for the fifth time, and my sixth trip to Couples. This trip probably the most fun one we have had yet. The resort, it's staff, the food, and the vibe have all been fabulous.

    From what I have seen there is premium liquor everywhere. Grey Goose is basically the rail vodka at the Martini Bar and the Aura lounge. I thought about taking some pictures to post on here of all the bar set ups, because quite frankly, they are the most impressive I have seen them. Then I realized that's not what I really wanted my vacation to be about.

    During the repeaters dinner I sat next to the "Stores Manager". She basically is responsible for every single thing that is bought by Couples Swept Away. I nearly talked that poor woman's ear off. I can say for a fact they are indeed listening to us, and agree with Yookster when he says changes are coming and most of them are really good and we will be pretty happy about them.

    We have drank basically vodka and beer this trip. Even the Kirov is pretty good.

    On an unrelated note, the Grey Goose story is in a lot of text books as a shining example of what marketing and pricing strategy can do. This article lays out the story pretty well, and also explains Jaegermeister's success.

    Sidney Frank - The Man Behind Grey Goose Vodka

    I think we all could question our devotion to Grey Goose a bit. I am not saying we shouldn't love it or should stop drinking it. My question is do we love the idea and branding of "Grey Goose" more or do we really just like the vodka.....
    The reality is its made in France by Cognac makers who basically needed more work and because Sidney Frank simply wanted to have "Imported from France" written on the bottle. Nothing in this story says it was really all about the Vodka.

    At this point, all I can say for sure, is that there is a Grey Goose and Ting in my future.

  7. #57


    Drink one for us Jeff. Great story...

  8. #58


    When we were there at the end of August my wife and I commented that CSA just didn't have the same vibe. Some friends we made during our stay brought this up to us as well. That's not to stay that we didn't enjoy our trip, because it was a wonderful two weeks in paradise, and we did.

    I posted a comment about some of the things we noticed, and it never made it to the board. At least now it seems that some complaints and observations are being allowed.

    The biggest thing we noticed was that a lot of the staff just didn't seem like they were happy to be there. They seemed like they would rather be doing something else somewhere else. We have been going to CSA for six years and this was the first time I noticed it like this. This year it was not the norm for staff to smile and say hello, it was the exception.

    The worst example I saw of this was at Patios during lunch while the Cabana Grill was closed. Food took forever to be prepared and often we saw people leaving before their food arrived. At the same time, there were several drinks just sitting at the bar waiting to be served but not delivered. When I went to pic up our drinks, the bartender acted upset that I did that. Later on when I went back for another, she basically hid on the back side of the bar and could not her her attention.

    I had posted on here while we were at the resort about problems with the mini bar and getting it stocked. Even more problems getting it stocked as we would like.

    I hope from what I have read in this thread that there are changes on the way that they are good changes. I can't see myself not returning to Couples, but after our last trip, I have considered going somewhere besides CSA.
    Proud palapa hoarder since 2007 !!!

  9. #59


    Quote Originally Posted by markandjannett View Post

    The biggest thing we noticed was that a lot of the staff just didn't seem like they were happy to be there. They seemed like they would rather be doing something else somewhere else. We have been going to CSA for six years and this was the first time I noticed it like this. This year it was not the norm for staff to smile and say hello, it was the exception.
    FWIW, and I hope you see this as good news..... It appears that this situation at least has made a big turnaround. We are here now and I believe the resort is at full occupancy.

  10. #60


    Quote Originally Posted by Sublimebrad View Post
    If it isn't available get a draft beer and quit being so sad. You're in Jamaica. Who cares what the container material that holds your beer is made of.
    You're apparently not a beer drinker. Beer on tap tastes vastly different than beer in a bottle. I think these people are voicing some very valid concerns. We experienced some things at CTI and CSS this summer that were a bit disappointing along the same lines. Pouring Kirov vodka instead of Grey Goose for a martini as they did at both resorts, is completely unacceptable. When the resorts promise "top shelf" they should pour top shelf.

    And just because YOU never have a problem with anything doesn't mean these people don't have valid concerns.

  11. #61


    I think I posted something earlier in this thread, but I will submit my last words on the subject and let others have their say from here on.
    I have noticed that the grousing about changes at CSA have been reported mostly by folks that are on thier fourth, fifth or even more visit to CSA, or Couples in general.

    Here's a thought; remember your first visit? How new, different and exciting this little piece of paradise was? It seemed like we were finding some new treasure at every turn. We smiled and marveled at everything. We couldn't get enough and could not wait to come back to see what we had missed on the last visit.

    Fast forward a few years; We are on our sixth visit, or more. We have seen all the grounds and buildings, eaten at every restaurant multiple times and walked every inch of the beach over the years. Hmmm, it is not all new and exciting anymore. Maybe we have lost that smile and the feeling of awe at all the beautiful, tropical environment we so loved in previous trips. It is kind of like finding out Santa only has one suit. Is that all ya' got? Maybe our attitude of familiarity, or even bordem, is reflected back at us in the staff. Maybe we smile less and expect more to keep us amused or entertained. Maybe we are less inquisitive, less observant, less interested. Maybe instead of being enchanted with it we are beginning to look for things to criticize or nit pick. Maybe we are looking for and excuse for our own lack of enthusiasm to use as a reason to move on.

    Look, yes there have been changes at CSA. There will be more to come, both short and long term. But realize that there have been changes in us as well. Perhaps the source of our anguish lies not with paradise, but within ourselves. Mrs. dirtleg and I have been married over thirth years, we have both changed a great deal over those years, but we love each other more now than when we started. There are core values to both people and places that make them valuable and treasured to us. For us the core of CSA is the beautiful people of Jamaica, the lush tropical grounds, the romantic atmosphere and, of course, the magnificant beach. It is no longer new to us either, but we can not wait to return in June (our seventh trip). If things are different, HOORAY! Something new to experience. Why do you think Disney keeps adding on and changing Disney World. They have to keep it fresh, most people are fickle and become easily boared and disinterested if you do not show them a new shiny toy now and then. We don't look at CSA as a shiny toy, it is a home away from home for us. The charm is not the flash of new or even the comfort of familiarity. It is something deeper and more valuable than all that surface bling. It is the natural beauty of the beach and the ocean. The heat of the sun, the sound of the sea the wind and the critters. The humor and the laid back friendliness of the people. It does not come in a box or a bottle. It is not cooked on a stove or served on fine china. It is organic to the island, it is only available on those few acres of beach front in the Caribbean. Booze and menus are pretty far down on our list of things we love about CSA. Sometimes you gotta look a little deeper to find happiness.

    If you do happen to move on to another resort I have a feeling you will be saying the same things about them in a few visits as well. Then it is on to the next shiny object that catches your attention. Good luck with all that. If you look, you will probably find us on the beach at CSA in June somewhere down the road. We will be the ones smiling like it is still our first time.

    Sorry for being long winded, respect to all. See you at the beach!

  12. #62


    Well said Dirtleg, well said Back at CSA Dec 21st with BIG SMILES!!! Trip #5

  13. #63


    Hi Yookster: Thanks for your comments. We love CSA and have no doubt that our family will too. On our second trip though, we did notice a change from our first visit. It seemed the staff wasn't as "anxious to make us happy".....they seemed somewhat indifferent. It certainly didn't ruin our trip, but we were a little disappointed. We were hearing that they had had layoffs of the staff, so maybe everyone was a little down at the time. We are looking forward to our arrival on Jan. 26.....and hearing about our family's trip which is coming up on Jan. 12. I will report back on both. Can't wait !!!
    Quote Originally Posted by yookster View Post
    Hi Ge,

    I agree that there are a lot of complainers out there that you can't make happy no matter what. This is the first time in 10 years of going to Couples that I had really been concerned about where the resort was going. But I felt a little better when I was leaving this last trip because from what I understand there are more changes coming and it sounds like for the good. I think they are hearing what the people are saying. Hopefully that helps relieve some of that nervousness. I do understand how you feel though because we have made MANY referrals to the resort and I talk it up so much and if they don't deliver I would feel horrible. We will be back in April and I hope to see some positive changes. But by no means is the resort horrible so I would've be nervous.

  14. #64


    Very well said Dirtleg. Back from our fourth trip week of December 4th and browsing around on here because we noticed some changes too. Not bad enough to taint our fabulous trip in anyway, but we mentioned a couple of things to each other during our stay that we have never said before. Such minor things, we were almost hesitant to say to each other. But I think you hit the nail on the head and am going to have my husband read your post as well.
    We still LOVE CSA, no place like it and no other place for us. And we are already missing it .

  15. #65


    We just spent a week at CSA, this was our 9th visit, I have to say that this was by far the best visit we had! The Red Stripe was in the mini-bar, Appleton VX was also stocked(no charge for either) and we filled out the mini bar form and it was delivered every day. The GM Ms. Karen Lanagin was always out and around, very visible and always chatting with the guests. I felt that 99% of the staff went out of their way to make your vacation the best it could be. We loved talking to Brian Plunkett, the head of water sports, what a great guy, and you can really see how much his staff respects him. The food was great, service wonderful, and as usual the dive team, Anthony, Christopher(Shaggy), Franz and Julani were great as usual. Stop to say Hi to Keisha at the omlete station, what a wonderful, sweet woman she is. You better watch out Randy, she is gonna rise up the ladder and be after your job!!!

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