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  1. #1

    Default How to write a Review: A tale told (Part 2, with humor)

    So you picked your resort, say "couples" and can't wait to go and write that review!

    Bewware, if your not happy with your choice then the service appears slower, the food tastes worse and you'll find others like you because "Misery loves company".


    When you leave the airport to get to the couples shuttle some fast talking smiling young man will ask you to carry your bags. If you don't want anyone to touch your stuff, know ahead simply say " Thank you, Im good" if he annoys you ask him to "Respect please" . Or, bring few dollar bills and let him carry it. He won't run away. Embrace the people. Don't be a fool, they just want to make a buck. Bring some dollar bills and let a young man carry your bag. You just spent 5 grand on the trip and you worried about 3 dollars?

    The bus. Your going to have a bumpy ride. YOu will see some beauty and some object poverty. If you are uncomfortable with this then don't go to Negril. If there is a holiday on the island, there will be traffic. Expect 90 min ride. Sometimes more. The driver will tell you at some point "that is where the movie "cool runnings" was filmed. Might even tell you the movie "The blue Lagoon" was also filmed in a spot. Bring $10 and tip him when you leave. He got you there in one piece and made you laugh. Its worth at least $20. Don't worry, you can put your money away for the rest of the week.

    Check in. I have read about the glass of champagne and a cool towel. Good review rave about it. Bad Review rage about it. The champagne is a nice touch in theory but lets be real, its not make or break time. Your tired, you've been eating badly for hours and just downed two Red Stripe on the bus and had to listen to some guy behind you on the bus verbalize his profound knowledge on caribbean travel (it could be me in fact!) and that this is his 89th trip to Negril and your really now thirsty for bubbly champagne?

    The lobby maybe crowded and your mind is trying to remember every room trick to get the mysterious illuminati phrase that obtains the secret covetedd room upgrade! You are impatient and after you took the 5 am flight from home to get on the beach by noon!!! Tip: Keep a bathing suite in a carry on with sun lotion and get to the beach/lunch and get a drink. Down side is they might give away all the best rooms and you can get obsessed by this. This is the most critical time now, make or break it time. The time where you either go into full rage mode and blow the week making it miserable and writing a bad review, or roll with the tide and find the way to enjoy every moment. Go get lunch and chill out. Chances are your room will be fine.

    When you get to the room you don't need a bell person to explain it. You'll find the bathroom, its usually pretty white. The floor is beneath your feet, the ceiling above your head. Ask how the Air conditioner works if you never used one before. Don't demand your mini bar be filled with endless Grey Goose and Bombay Gin and lament about "top shelf" for the mini bar. He will smile and say he will look into it. Truth be told this is the moment where he should just tell you "No". Maybe nobody told you "no" in your life and this is why some people have too much expectation at some resorts. Top shelf booze endless in your room? You already know this won't happen cuz there is no place on earth that does this. The Ritz will do this, but the bar won't be "mini" anymore. It will be a car payment. Remember your tired, you smell bad and you know whats really happening here. Your alone now in the room with your girl and she wants to "explore and have lunch and you want her in the bed. Remember, you smell bad, your tired and its best you not forget golden rule about flowers. They bloom when they are happy. Again, its critical time now, Im gonna guess those that get "plenty of time with flowers" write the best review. Go easy here, have lunch Shower and you'll smell better. Happy flower......Happy flower.......Repeat.

    Few random tips:

    Remember the special restaurants are nice at the resorts but expectations need be in check. Expecting an endless meal that will blow your mind in some culinary tastebud orgasmic experience that ruin all other food for the rest of your life is not realistic. I know you have been looking forward to it all week and the air conditioning is giving you the chills on that sunburn but reality your likely in day 3 0r 4 of your dream trip and there might be some things happing that are affecting your trip, outlook on life, and that reveiw your planning to write"

    1. Second guessing why you just married this women who is now eating everything in sight abusing the term "all inclusive"! A few days ago she was "glowing" but is now this "glow" is a sunburnt red blinking caution light who now looks like a burnt Corn row/Bead encrusted hair creature on an episode of Star Trek you saw while in the haze of bong smoke many years before. She also looks like her mother too! The food is not tasting good. Don't blame the resort if the smiling fish with Asparagas garnish looks miserable. Its really your reflection.


    2. You've been counting down for the last 785 "Sleeps" since you booked the trip and no doubt read every work on the thread dreaming of this trip!!!! You had it in your mind it was going to be perfect. You scrimped and saved your money and even made every arrangement including having your mother in law watch your kids at your house. You look down and see the Lobster bisque has red specs in and your freaking out because in high school once you had red specs and start freaking out because you once had paprika you broke out in a rash! Don't blame the resort! What you just saw was your life in your soup and realize your husband is not Brad Pitt and the dog will throw up behind the couch and you have to clean it up when you get home. Your kids are eating pop-tarts for dinner every nite and your mother-in-law found your stash of Hershey Kiss's! Eat the bisque cuz paprika don't cause a rash. Your still gonna have one, but it will be from the desert!

    Or you can do number 3....

    3. After three days of wonderful fun you realize your almost at the half way of your trip and you tell her how happy you are, happy this trip of a life time is fulfiling your dreams and the rest of your lives will be just as grand. She looks at you and says the same and wants to make you the happiest man there ever was and thanks you for taking her there. Trust me, the food tastes better. Everything tastes better! The Flower is even happier and she is blooming before your eyes and your writing the Travel Advisor review in your head as the happiest man alive. Dude, Your coming back to Couples, Your never going anywhere else! Perfect!!!

    Move to water sports:

    Kayaking is not easy if the water is not smooth. Nobody shares this secret. I do. Don't blame the resort if you get a sports hernia.
    If you can't swim 8 laps in the scuba pool for the mini PADI dive, don't blame the staff. Blame your parents.
    There are things in the ocean like Jelly fish that sting. They are not in the pool. There is a bar in the pool. Be happy!
    The shade moves. Its not a conspiracy.

    Nude beaches: Nudies are the happiest people. They never write bad review! We might want to rethink this. If nature did not endow us with proud Nudie body parts don't blame the resort. This too is on your parents.

    Service at the bar.

    Booze is important and every bad review has bad exerience as part of this. Im not here to judge or suggest treatment.
    Bartenders are like waiters but they mix and serve drinks. To some, the very nature if this creates a illusion of trust. We become dependant on the bartender as the go to person for the trip. We trust them, they provide the nector of happiness, the milk of joy and we get confused and love our bartender. UNTIL THEY IGNORE US AND WE ARE SCORNED! Lets get a few things straight. Learning few Patois words don't make drunk patrons endearing to the bartender. Finding their names novel and speaking it as if the word itself brings joy and happiness is not cool. They are service professionals who serve all patrons and should do it fairly. So if one has made you feel special thats a good job done. Don't ask him if he is related to Bob Marley either! Ask him what is the best drink he makes? Ask him what do most people like to drink? See if he has something interesting to say. Ask him if he likes soccer, Leborn James, and don't mention Patrick Ewing. If he is ignoring you, wait a minute, then ask again. Maybe ask if this is the end of his shift? Is he ok? Is he tired? He might just be being difficult but he is not ruining your trip is he? One can also ask if there is "a problem". Not Joe Pecci in "Goodfellas" kind of "Problem" but you know, one human being to another! Maybe the next day you see him and ask if he ok today, that he looked "sad" yesterday. He will either make you the best drink of your life or kill you. Either way, its "Irie"!

    What to do in the event of a tropical depression (sometimes called a hurricane!)

    1. Double check your insurance policy BEFORE YOU LEAVE. If there is weather clause it in it, then enjoy yourself. If not, think long and hard about this next time.

    2. You can expect service to get reduced. Power might be lost for time. Did you remember to set the DVR at home to record Homeland? Remember the staff are actually people who have homes, children and lives. In a bad storm they might lose their home or have a grandmother who is missing. Remember this while your complaining the limited breakfast did not include the "Banana Stuffed French toast" or "Franklin" forgot your bloody mary"!!! Travel with a flash light, this way you can read a bit at nite. Maybe read that insurance policy!

    3. I think its safe to say the Wifi won't work. It might not work for a year.

    4. Wait it out. Think how romantic the moment is. Get drunk, and remember the turn down service is not coming. Hold the flower in your arms and tell her you love her, tell her everything is ok and no matter how bad the storm of life is you'll be together! The flower is now happy again likey in bloom. Imagine how great a flower in bloom during a storm is. Now you got a memory. Or, you can complain about how bored you are and tell her to pull your finger and see what happens. Its what you make of it.

    When you leave:

    You have a choice. You can wake up early take the flower for sunrise swim and walk. Tell the flower how wonderful the week was, how wonderful she looks having had the sun kiss her pedals all week! The happy flower might just want to bloom one more time and what a glorious way to end the week! Have a light and refreshing breakfast and discuss what gift you can buy at the airport!

    Or, You want to squeeze in one more hour to tan and make your cousin Mary more envious. If you were both up doing "bob marley" shots and could swear the bartender was telling you he was his "Cousin", your both mean, and might want to make a deal to not speak for two hours. You want to eat one more sausage and cheese omelette with all the trimmings and you shouldn't!

    Really, this is a time to celebrate and look forward to your next trip. Your missing the kids, or looking forward to the next chapter of your life!!!! You got a good book? Hopefully you'll finish it on the plane!!!

    Few tips. Take any early swim and move around a bit. Have the bags packed be showered and then go eat. Make sure you have your woven (why the "F" did I get this thing!) hat on so you let everyone else on the plane feel better about the one they own. You now have the trip back to the airport on the bus. This is not going to be the best 90 min you will ever have have. You want to sleep. You can't. You want to use the bathroom. You can't. You want an annullment. You can't. You smell bad again, and she wants you to be Brad Pitt. You can't.

    Be happy when you get to the airport. Why? You're not on the bus anymore! Don't tip the bus driver unless you were rendered unconcious and woke up in Miami. THen mail him $50 tip. It was worth it.

    Your on the bus. Got Mr and Mrs. Happy Flower on one side and Mr and Mrs. Lobster Pitt. The Flowers have Club Mobay and not worried their non stop flight to Hawaii (yeah, they live there!) while the Pitts have no club Mobay and have a two stop flight to Hell!

    So the moral of the story? Go into the trip with humor and expectation that not everything will be perfect but the perfect trip is created from how you prepared for the trip and delt with imperfections. Romance need be allowed to happen and not orchestrated. You always take the weather with you so control what kind you bring. Why? If you bring good weather, you'll have great time even whe it rains!
    Last edited by Bargamon; October 17th, 2013 at 02:06 PM. Reason: edit errors and retitle to better describe content.

  2. #2


    HAHA I really enjoyed this (although parts of it I have to say I just didn't understand). So true though-- after reading some mediocre reviews on TA before our trip to CTI last year, I had some doubts but as soon as we arrived I knew they were ridiculous doubts. Couples is an amazing place with amazing people- but sometimes yes, you do need to keep a positive, happy attitude and take everything in stride. Heading back in just 4 days and cannot WAIT

  3. #3


    Bravo very well writen, glass is allways half full in my life, not half empty.

  4. #4


    I am a FLOWER and so is my husband.....Great advice!

  5. #5


    Awesome...I loved reading this

  6. #6


    In the spirit of the original (and excellent) post; Here is the advice I give to all first timers who have the misfortune of asking for tips while I'm within earshot:

    I'm sure that you will get lots of folks telling you about all the wonderful things you can do and enjoy at CSA. Trust me there is plenty!! The following advice is aimed at helping you get the most enjoyment, relaxation, and great memories you can while in paradise. We went for our Honeymoon in 2006 and have been back every year since. Yep, it's that good.

    Don't try to plan a bunch of excursions and set out to try to do everything. Its best just to chill out. there is plenty of time and opportunity to set up excursions once you're there if you feel like it. Over planning is the biggest mistake I think people make. I speak from experience.

    Take a good attitude. The staff reflects what you give them. Give respect, graciousness and cheerfulness, and you'll get it right back, along with extraordinary service. Respect, basic decency, and manners are all a huge thing in Jamaica. Be rude, and you will be actively avoided. Read the reviews on other travel sites, and its not hard to see between the lines the differences between the good reviews and the bad reviews. The difference often comes down to the reviewer's own behavior and attitude. Be a good guest to your hosts.

    Jamaicans don't have a huge invisible social wall between the guest and the staff that we seem to have in North America or Europe. The staff (and others) treats you like your'e a guest in their house. That makes them more friendly, more frank, and more likely to just chat enthusiastically with you. To the point, that initially, it can be a bit startling. Go with it. Its one of the reasons we all love the place. Re-read above statement about having a good attitude.

    Island time is a very real thing. Accept it. Every single thing will take about ten minutes longer to happen than you think it possibly could. Accept it. Any effort to resist is futile. Sometimes resistance will actually make the situation go backwards, and take even longer. Accept it. It will make you happier. Trust. See above statement about having a good attitude.

  7. #7


    THAT my friend was well done! Some funny stuff right there! Great observations

  8. #8


    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

    We are heading back to CSA in March for our second trip. I love both parts of your post and you have fully explained the negative reviews.

    When we went last year I had so many things on my itinerary that "had to be done". Within an hour of being there everything on the list became so unimportant and we did none of them.

    We just got overtaken by the peace, the beauty and the people.

    Is it the perfect resort? ........ It is for us.

    Here's hoping readers take your advice - they will have an amazing and special time if they do.

    Thanks again for making me smile. ��

  9. #9


    One of the most realistic and entertaining reviews/advice I have seen on the boards! Well said Bargamon!!!!

  10. #10


    Ok, it was too long, but it has its moments! What was I thinking??

  11. #11


    "Be happy when you get to the airport. Why? You're not on the bus anymore! Don't tip the bus driver. If you were rendered unconcious and woke up in miami then tip him! Why? You were unconcious!"
    Really? Why wouldn't you tip the return bus driver? It's the same time & distance as going to the resort......
    Captain Jim
    "I will grow old....
    But I won't grow up"

  12. #12


    That is awesome! Our vacation begins the moment the plane leaves the ground, after that we are on Jamaican time. Plane is late, no problem, we don't have a set time to be anywhere. Lines long, no problem, great time to make new friends. Bus ride - well that's just part of the adventure. Check out Laugh Jamaica - 'Accelerate!' - YouTube. Jamaican bus driver test! The free food, drinks, and beach will be there when we get there. The stress, responsibilities and demands were all left on the ground in the U.S. And, gasp!, we leave our cell phones in the car at the airport and don't touch a computer while we are chillin'. The problems will find us soon enough when we get home.

  13. #13


    I think this is the best thing I have ever read on here None of my four trips have ever been perfect, nor do I expect them to be, but they have been the best trips of my life and that is why we keep returning to Couples. If only everyone had the sense of humor that you do, the world would be so much more fun! Thanks for the laughs today!

  14. #14


    Love it, love it, love it. Well said and full of truth. Is Good Mon!

  15. #15


    Wow, what kinda coffee did you drink? I liked it ALOT! Did Jim Carrie say that? It's Lebron, and I don't smell bad. Nicely done!!!!!

  16. #16


    Why apologize so much for the resort? This is one of the top rated Caribbean resorts according to Travel & Leisure magazine, they need to live up to it. Having said that I know what I'm getting into.

  17. #17


    Bargamon, I have to say, this is the best review I have ever read!! Puts everything into perspective!! I think I'm gonna print it out!!! LOVE IT! Thank you so much.
    One Love,

  18. #18


    Thank you Bargamon...Love that, & your earlier post!

    We've been to Couples resorts 5 times in the last six years...Only 16 days until we go back to CSS..Our favourite!!
    We have to endure a nine & a half hour flight from the UK to get there, but it's worth it!

    Thank you for being REAL!!!!!!!

  19. #19


    LOL That was awesome....!!! Always the way people need to look at things..... Always make the best of any situation....what is the point of being negative. Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it!!!

  20. #20



  21. #21


    LMAO.... You summed it up perfectly.

  22. #22


    First all inclusive I was in was the Grand Lido Negril when it was a top 20 carib resort. Was working out with Johnny Cochrine who was quite a celebrity having just been in the limelight with OJ Simpson the year before.

    Told My wife "Was with a guy that looked like johnny cochrine but was way too short"!

    The next day he was on TV giving a speech from the resort. After that we were back to back sitting at seperate tables and when he got up to leave came over and said hello. The couple we were with were quite impressed. I asked him for his card but he was not carrying and seemed embarassed. I pointed to him and said "PLayah!!!! I'll call your office if I need you". He laughed and knew I was in a way mocking his celebrity which he was enjoying.

  23. #23


    Thank you thank you thank you!

  24. #24


    You have talent for writing- I couldn't stop laughing and nodding in agreement. It is really all about attitude. I want to remember to be grateful that we could afford to take this trip-whereas, others have lost their jobs, homes, or don't know how they are going to pay their mortgage. In grand scheme of things- remember to not get in a snit if everything isn't as your hyped imagination expected it to be...

    PS. I absolutely loved your flower analogy....

  25. #25


    Your whole ideology fits in with what what I call the "no care attitude". It seems many try to control everything around them, including such stuff as the weather, the other guests, how salty the water is ( another poke at a reviewer from last year who complained about the ocean and the ethnic makeup of the guests, as if Couples can control that).
    The no care attitude for me is not trying to make my vacation perfect in my mind by having expectations when I go, or trying to try everything. When you release yourself from that self imposed responsibility, and just do whatever and go with the flow, you will have a better time and be a better person. It's not that you don't care about the important things like your spouse or family or work, etc. It's about letting go and allowing things to happen, to stop and smell the roses per say. When we allow ourselves to experience things as they come, and live in that moment, only great things will come to you.
    You will notice things that may have been the past. A tree you never noticed or a sand crab on the beach. Take in all the wonderment of your surroundings, of the staff, the guests, the food, the drink. the sounds, the smells. Try something you have never done before. Step outside your comfort zone. Enjoy all that there is offered to you, and make all the little things a part of your experience.
    Many try to either change things to suit their self perceived "needs" or are disappointed when expectations are not met. Remember that granite and marble and fancy decor does not equal 5 star. 5 star is the staff, the food, and the untouchable ambiance that Couples has. So people call the rooms "dated". We call it "vintage". If a little thing like a dust bunny or a few ants determine whether your vacation is great or not, then the problem is with you, not the resort. Sweating the small stuff will cause a ripple effect against everything else, no matter how great those things are, and then nothing is ever good enough.
    Instead of trying to make things your way, or expecting things to be a certain way, just let yourself be free from that. Take it as it comes and your vacation experience will be awesome.

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