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  1. #1

    Default CSA Review - Visited 8/3 - 8/10

    So his was our third trip to Couples over 7 years and all 3 were at CSA. I always come back to this board before a trip & appreciate all of the info, thanks much for that! So here's my info.

    We booked thru an agent for the first time & that was kind of nice. Overall it didn't really matter price-wise, but we got a couple of small perks out of it so, that was cool. She booked us with Apple Vacations, which offers a direct flight both ways from St Louis to Montego Bay via XTra Airlines. It is the first time we had direct flights there & that made a HUGE difference for us. If you can get a direct flight from your location do it for sure.

    We had Club Mobay and this time we could have skipped it. The immigration line wasn't bad & we got thru at about the same pace that others on our plane did without it. However it has saved us a 2 1/2 hour wait in the past, so there's that.

    The shuttle to the resort was the least scary one I've had yet. Those of you that have been know that the driving in Jamaica can be pretty insane! Captain McKenzie was our driver and he says he is "the best driver by law". He was definetly the best driver we have had. Great ride, stopped off to use the bathroom & grab a drink, then on our way.

    Check in was a breeze, our rooms were ready & our $100 repeaters credit was in our packet. My sister-in-law & brother came with us this time - their first time to Jamaica & their check in was easy also. We all had a glass of champagne & were taken to our rooms.

    We were in 2119 and 2120 atrium suites. We have stayed in the atriums each time we have come and everything was pretty much the same. We love the open air rooms, the large patios/balconies & the hammocks in these suites. Housekeeping & turn down service took good care of everything every day. Our room bar was stocked daily, but for seem reason my brother & SIL never got anything delivery outside of the standards, no matter what they ordered on the door card. We did not use room service, but they did once & said it was fine. This was the first time we experienced the shower issues I've read about on this board, but twice the shower drained so slowly that the entire bathroom floor was covered in water. It only happened twice, but it was a lot of water in the bathroom.

    Before I get started with the review, I'd like to say that the resort was really quite unoccupied. I don't know if this is a normal August thing or if it was due to the rooms & kitchen under construction. It was kind of amazing because it is much busier when we usually go in November.

    The food was really excellent. We didn't have anything we didn't love. Feathers was a particular highlight. If you have an opportunity to get the off menu social of grilled lobster there I can't recommend it enough. It was prepared beautifully & was the best I've had. Amazing. The bartender there was very slow & gave 2 of us incorrect drinks despite the place being nearly empty when we arrived. But he did introduce me to my new favorite dinner drink. He said it doesn't have a name, but it was Sangsters Rum Cream, Baileys Irish Cream & Amaretto. Yum. We didn't make it to Lemongrass so can't comment on that. I was worried about The Palms beings closed for renovations & I have to admit that I missed it a bit. But they worked around it well. Patois was buffet for breakfast at 7:30 or you could Order off the menu up in Lemongrass. Lunch was buffet at Patois or you could do Sea Grapes or the Cabana Grill. Dinner was buffet at Patois, while Palms was buffet + menu entree. The Palms food was prepared at Sea Grapes & they had some tables out there also. The 4 of us have very different taste in food and we were all very happy with what we had at all dining venues, except that we didn't make it to Lemongrass.

    The beach bars & pool bars were top notch, with the only issue being that the power went out for about 15 minutes 3 times during our trip, which meant no frozen drinks for a few minutes. We suspect that had something to do with the room construction that was going on. There was a large block of rooms cordoned off & we could see piles of dirt & broken up concrete back there. However I never saw anyone working in there & never heard any construction noises at all, despite the fact that our room wasn't all that far from the work being done.

    The beach. God it's perfect. As always, perfect water, perfect sand, cleaned & raked to perfection. Holy cow that beach. This is where we spent the vast majority of our time. 2 things tho about that tho. We have always visited Couples in November in the past, this was our first August trip so maybe it was the time of year. I've never had any issues with sand fleas or stinging water things before. My SIL and I were both covered in bites from the sand & a few mosquitos in the evening. Also one day everyone was getting out of the water because we were all getting stings in there that were really quite painful. They came from these very tiny orange colored mite type things that got in our hair & swimsuits. The bites/stings/whatever were barely visible on the skin, but the pain was quite real. The pain would dissipate, then come back in waves every 5-ish minutes. The only thing that made it go away for good was getting in the hot tub. I have never experienced that before, and again it was only one day during the trip. Very weird! Hope to never deal with those little things again. The place was so empty that there was barely any overnight palapa saving like there usually is. We got a palapa by the bar without any issue every day, they are plenty big enough for 4 chairs to share 1. There were times it felt like our own private beach given how few people were out, despite the fantastic weather. We had only 2 rains (one a decent thunderstorm) while we were there, both in the afternoon. There are the same vendors on the beach as every year. Elvis, Bob the Baker, Ziggy, Farmer G, Mr. Ice Block, Power Strap, Sun Facey, Danny, the phone wire ring guy, Natasha's people, Trisha with the pink shoes, and all the others I'm forgetting. The musicians that include the old man with the even older bass guitar had kids performing with them this year that were very cute.

    The catamaran sunset cruise was fun. The usual party music, rum punch, red stripe & trip down to Ricks to swim in the caves. We went on that because we love the big boats & because my bro & SIL had never been there. If it was just hubby & I we would stay on the beach just because we have been there done that & just prefer to spend our time on the beach. We also went to Ricks for sunset one night which we had never done. It was OK. The cliff jumpers are fine to watch & the food is decent. The drinks are a bit weak & I didn't like the final price of the bill for what we got, but the atmosphere is fun & my SIL and bro enjoyed it. You get a great cliff side view of the tourist boats, water & surrounding area. We will skip it next time tho.

    My brother also had a surprise vow renewal for their 10-year anniversary on the beach. My hubby & I got married there, so I arranged everything with the coordinator & she made sure that no staff spoiled the surprise from the 3rd until the ceremony on the 8th. She had no clue until we arrived at the wedding spot on the beach & they handed her flowers. She thought that I got them invited to a repeaters lunch (no such thing) down by the cabana bar haha. They handed her the bouquet & she said "oh I'm not getting married" and Crystal said "yes you are!" She was so surprised & couldn't believe we managed to keep it a secret from her the 200+ days we waited to go on the trip, it was great. Nice beach ceremony, nice garden cake & champagne, nice photos. Then back to the beach!

    My husband dived 10 times in the 7 days we were there, ting his advanced open water certification & doing a night dive. He loves the stuff & the diving there & can't get enough. The GoPro videos he took are amazing - puffer fish, lobster, crab, nurse sharks, flounder, amazing coral & many things I'm forgetting at the moment. Amazing.

    The staff is still incredible. Everyone we met was amazing & wonderful. I was worried that things had changed on that front after reading some recent reviews, but they were as amazing as always. Everyone was wonderful, with the exception of what I'll get to in the next paragraph. Special love GOW out to Randy & Damon working the beach, Julienne at the beach bar, Jason & David at the swim up bar, the amazing hostess & chef at Feathers (dang I can't recall their names), the whole housekeeping staff, Crystal the wedding coordinator and Stacey Ann waitressing at The Palms. Also the incredible dive staff including Cooper, Anthony, Craig & all of the others. But really everyone at the resort. So great.

    The check out situation was honestly a mess. I've never had an issue before but this year things were not in sync. None of the 4 of us got the slip telling us what time to have our luggage ready for pickup or what time the shuttle was leaving. I called the front desk the night before and was treated very rudely when being given the info I asked for (luggage pickup time & shuttle leaving time). My SIL called to get the info also & was treated rudely, told they had no record of her leaving & that someone would call her back. By 10 PM no one had called & she called again only to be told they knew nothing about the issue & she needed to come down to the office. We did so & they ended up having to leave an hour before us for the same flight so we could not be on the same shuttle. They were pretty rude about it too, as tho she had really inconvenienced them. That was the only bad experience we had with staff in the 3 trips we have gone. It was a shame to end an otherwise great trip that way. Since they left an hour early I can't say how her actual checkout was, but ours was fine. They gave us a snack pack (but they didn't giv one to my brother and SIL) which was nice. It's a little soft-sided Couples cooler with 2 waters & 2 granola snacks. We filled up our Couples water bottles (left for us in the room) with drinks & hit the bus to the airport. We missed Captain McKenzie because the ride was INSANE! We somehow got there in one piece LOL.

    I think I touched on everything, but if you have questions let me know. I would recommend CSA to anyone who asked & hope that we will be able to do this a 4th time. If I had to describe the experience in a quick phrase I would say "very laid back luxury". We really really love it there!

  2. #2

    Default

    Thanks for the detailed review and info. We are returning to CSA in October and I have had a lot of anxiety about the renovations. We were married at CSA 20 years ago, this will be our 4th visit. Looking forward to celebrating our anniversary with family and friends. #wordpartyof8

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