Old Reviews – Couples Negril

  Couples – Negril   Pat ~ USA

October 2009

Arrival: October 7-14, 2009
We had an amazing trip to Couples Negril. This was our seventh trip to a Couples Resort, but our first (and not last) to CN. The staff go out of their way to help you and are so friendly. The bar and beverage manager Konrad even called our room to see if there was anything he could do and to make sure we were happy with our mini bar. Everytime we saw him on the resort, he would stop to chat. The entertainment staff were great especially Angelica. We ahd a great time with her all week.

The room was colorful and comfortable. The beds were amazing. They were so inviting. The bathroom was roomy and clean. The stocked daily mini bar was great. There was beer, water, soda and juice. If there was anything you wanted delived to your room you just had a form to check off. You could order bottles of wine, or bottles of liquor.

Restaurants and Bars: There were four restaurants. All of them were great. We went to Lychee twice. This is a Thai/Asian restaurant. There were many sushi choices and one of the appitizers was a sushi platter. There were choices of fish ,chicken ,beef etc with different spices to choose from. The Otaheite was the fancy restaurant. We ate there twice. The soup, salad, appetizers were all amazing. The beef tenderloin was really delicious.We ate at the Helconia once. There was an antipasto salad bar which had so many great choices. I had parmesan encrusted chicken which was really tasty. We ate at that Cassava Terrance which serves as a breakfast and lunch buffet( fabulous) into a dinner from the menu restaurant at night. The food there was good. We were there for the 11th Anniversary of Couples Negril. It was so amazing I don’t know where to begin. The bar was set up with all kind of drinks, or there were people walking around serving the special drinks of the night. There were appitizer stations !

all around. My favorite was the sushi station  and the steak tips in blue cheese. From there you went outside into a large tent. The food stations were all around. There was a grill with lobster tails, all kinds of shrimp, steak, chicken, vegetabes, fruits etc. There was so much I cannot mention it all. Inside the restaurant there were so many desserts you cannot imagine. Most times desserts look much better than they taste. I cannot say that was true here. I tried 5 desserts that were so great! What an outstanding job everyone did with this celebration!

The pool was very large, with a nice swim up bar. There are floats you can take into the pool and into the ocean. The beach is amazing. The staff rakes the beach everyday and it is so clean. The water was so blue and crystal clear. I spent most of the day in the ocean. The grounds were always being cleaned. It is a very beautiful setting.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We played bocci most mornings. We played a few of the games such as music trivia, loop the prize, bingo etc. You are given "funny money" to use at the auction. I bought a pound of coffee, a bottle of Appleton rum, and a trivet with the money. We went on the snorkeling trip which is included at no additional cost. There were many beautiful fish on the reefs. There was a stingray and two barracudas. We also went on the  glass bottom boat alo free. The guy on the boat England, was very informative. We took the free shopping tour. We got to buy a lot of things on that one. We paid to do the jet skiis. That was a lot of fun. My husband took advantage of the free scuba diving. He saw a lot, including an 8 ft. shark! We were also given a complementary repeaters 30 minute massage. It was so relaxing!

Other Comments:
You cannot go wrong at a Couples Resort. We have traveled to many places, Curacao, Mexico (4 times), Bermuda, St. Martin. St. Thomas. There is really no place that can measure up to all of the things that you get at Couples!

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  Couples – Negril   Lynda ~ Ontario, Canada

April 2009

Once we retrieved our luggage we were offered complimentary drinks at the Couples Room. We waited only for a short time for other passangers and then we were taken directly to our hotel in a nice small bus. Couples Negril then offered the easiest check in we have ever had. We simply sat done filled out a form while drinking Champagne and using a cool cloth.

The rooms were clean and well equipped. There was no odour and the towels, bed etc we as nice or nicer than home.

Restaurants and Bars
The food was tremendous. Very plentiful and lots of variety. We are not usually big meat eaters while away but the food was great. The coffee and all drinks were good quality. All the restaurantbar staff were very nice.

The grounds are very clean. We spent every day at the beach as it was so nice and clean and the ocean was probably the nicest of all the places we have travelled. The water was warm and clear. The pool area was also nice, we just prefer the beach if it is of decent quality. There were plenty of chairs for everyone and each chair had a floating cushion that worked great in the ocean and pool.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We took the catamaran tour to swim the caves in Negril, waterskied, glass bottom boat tour, water aerobics, beach volleyball,used the gym, used the internet room, walked the beach daily and took a taxi to Marguaritaville and Rick’s Cafe for the sunset and cliff divers. All these activities were better than we expected. They added a nice touch to our otherwise extremely relaxing vacation. The locals added a little spice on our daily beach walks, but they were never a problem and some were very comical. There is as much or as little to do it you are interested. No one bothers you to participate, but it is there if you wish.

Other Comments Jamaica is my new vacation favourite. We have travelled to the Mayan a few times, Acapulco, Antiqua, St. Maarten. These were all nice holidays, but the food, people and beach at Couples Negril and througout the country have made us love Jamaica.

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  Couples – Negril   Gary & Norine ~ Winnipeg, Manitoba

December 2007

Who we are and where have we been
We just returned from spending 8 nights (December 8 -December 16, 2007) in Negril, Jamaica at Couples Negril Resort. This was our fourteenth trip to Jamaica and our sixth time to the Negril area of Jamaica. Our previous stays in Negril were at Grand Lido, Sandals Negril, Beaches Sandy Bay when it was Poinciana and last 2 years 2005 and 2006 at Couples Swept Away. The other 8 times that we have stayed in Jamaica covered most other major resorts such as Couples Ocho Rios (2), Grand Lido Braco (2), Couples Sans Souci, Sandals Grande Ocho Rios, etc. We are “experienced” sun travelers as we have been going to the Caribbean, Mexico and South America for the past 30 years, most years at least twice. We appreciate “good/fine” dinning, so when we travel, food and service are our top priorities and to a lesser extent the rooms of the resort as we like to spend our time enjoying the beach and what the resort/island has to offer. We believe that our vacations begin at home which means we research the location and the resorts before we leave and have a very good idea of what to expect when we arrive.

Conclusion/Summary We really/absolutely enjoyed our visit at Couples Negril and would highly recommend it. Having been to most of the “top” all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, the Caribbean and Mexico over the years, this is one of the few that we would return to without a second thought. We say the same thing about Couples Swept Away with the caveat that we thought that Couples Negril was a notch above Couples Swept Away from a food and service perspective. The decision between these 2 great resorts would be determined by meeting friends that we met before at the resort and to a lesser extent, the price of the resorts. I say this because Couples Negril is always priced less than Swept Away and that should be taken into consideration if money is an issue. The large resorts in Negril can be expensive compared to other destinations in Jamaica but the beach makes up for the additional expense. We booked about 9 months in advance which allowed us to take advantage of Couples supposed EBB 50% OFF sale. The rate was great but I don’t know who would pay the “rack” rates at any time of the year and that pertains to all the major resort chains in Jamaica. Jamaica is currently experiencing a hotel building boom which will see 1000s of rooms becoming available in the next couple of years. The more local chains like Couples, Superclubs and Sandals will see pricing pressures from the new hotels, but they offer something that the large “European” chains don’t offer and that is the Jamaican feel.

As a note, having been to Couples Negril and Swept Away for the past 3 years, we will not be returning in the immediate future as the world is just too big and we want to try other resorts and different countries for future vacations. Our next vacations in Jamaica for 2008 include Grand Lido Negril in February and then Bluefields Bay Villas in May.

We booked this vacation before the “winter” flights begin out of Winnipeg which meant flying out of Toronto to Montego Bay. We did have to over night in Toronto (by choice) as the earliest flight out of Winnipeg left at 5:00AM and arrived in Toronto at about 8:30AM and the flight to Montego Bay was not scheduled to leave until 10:40AM.. We flew out on Friday and over-nighted at the airport which gave us time to eat breakfast and take our time getting to the airport. Well, as usual, Air Canada was late leaving Toronto for no apparent reason. We left at about 12:30PM.

We arrived at the Montego Bay Airport at about 4:15PM and it took about 15 minutes to clear customs. We did carry on luggage this trip, so we went straight through to the customs area and cleared that as quick as usual and then proceeded through to the reception area. We had booked a TimAir flight to Negril, so I first checked in with TimAir and then went to the Couples Resorts lounge area and checked in with them. We got a couple of cold beer and water from the receptionist and then went back to the TimAir area. They took us to their taxi to the local airport across the street and within about 10 minutes, we had paid for our flight ($180US for both of us, one way, all taxes included) and were escorted to the small Cessna plane for our flight to Negril. The flight took about 12 minutes and then we landed across the street from Couples Negril. I paid a taxi $5 to take us across the street and we were then at Couples Negril.

We arrived at the resort at about 5:15PM and were greeted by the staff who told us to leave our luggage and go have a seat in the check in area of the lobby. We went and sat down and were asked for our travel voucher and Romance number (Couples Resorts repeaters ID card). This process took about 10 minutes and the check-in person gave us our room assignment, room # 5205 (Beachfront deluxe). The Bell person then collected our bags and we were off to our room. I must admit that this check-in was by far the best check-in that we have had at any Couples resort. The 2 prior years at Swept Away were very un-organized and left a lot to be desired.

Rooms All of the rooms at Couples Negril are identical except for the suites. We had booked a Deluxe Ocean view room but we were told that we had been upgraded to a Beachfront Deluxe room. The room had a slight “musty” smell that didn’t go away but when you are in the Caribbean, the humidity makes everything musty smelling. The room was very well laid out with a decent sized bathroom but the bed, King-sized, needed a new mattress. The rooms (suites) at Swept Away are much more attractive with a larger bathroom and much better views.

There is a fully stocked mini-bar with sodas, juices, water, NO wines were supplied, beer (Caribe from Trinidad & Tobago) and four (4) bottles of cheap liquor (-Scotch-Teachers, Vodka-Romanof, Appleton’s-Rum and Gin-Gordon’s). The idea of supplying beer from Trinidad & Tobago is a little ridiculous, so I asked everyday for Red Stripe Beer and only received it one day. It seems that some one in the Couples family was able to buy a boat full of cheap Trinidad & Tobago beer. If I wanted beer from Trinidad, I would take a vacation in Trinidad & Tobago! It seems that the Caribe beer is showing up in the mini-bars of all of the Couples resorts in Jamaica. A note about the rooms at Couples Negril, very few if any have a true ocean view or are really on the beach! Our Beachfront room had sand in front of it, but unless I leaned out of the balcony and then turned my head 90 degrees, that was the only way that we could see the ocean. Our recommendation would be to book the regular garden view room unless you want a fridge in the room, and then book the Ocean view deluxe for the mini-bar.

Resort The resort is much more compact than Couples Swept Away. The resort is located on Bloody Bay which is NOT on 7 Mile Beach in Negril. It is a great beach with minimal traffic from vendors and people from other resorts. The beach at Swept Away is probably the best of the beach in Negril which we missed for our morning walks. The water was very warm and the sand was very clean with minimal seaweed or debris. There is lots of shade from the palm trees. I had read some where about there not being enough beach towels but we never had a problem as they always delivered fresh towels to the towel “hut” every morning. We always had at least 2 towels each and remembered that we were supposed to get a receipt for our towels but the check-out person just laughed and said No Problem! The resort is all centered around a very large complex that houses all restaurants and common areas. We were never too far away from anything.

For all you pool lovers out there, the pool at Couples Negril are of a decent size! There is a very lively swim-up bar, hot tubs at each end and lots of deck area and chairs. We are beach persons, so we never spent that much time at the pool other than going to the swim-up bar for drinks.

Room Service
Room service is included for all rooms for continental breakfast ONLY. We did not order this as part of our routine was to get out of the room and enjoy the fantastic weather and beach that Couples Negril has to offer. We have never quite figured out why some people would go all the way to the Caribbean and spend time in their rooms for things other than sleeping, showering and making love.

As we had mentioned in our introduction, we like good food when on vacation as well as the ability to dine a la carte for all evening meals. Couples Negril gave us this option and we took advantage of the a la carte dining for all our evening meals. You can only book the reservation restaurants (Lychee, Otaheite) 3 days in advance which was a little difficult for our first night, but friends of ours who arrived the night before had taken care of the first night’s reservation. We have also heard some complaints of the food not being hot when served at the table. This was not the case at Couples Negril or at Swept Away for the past 2 years. Every meal that we had was served immediately as it was prepared and promptly; when we had finished our prior course with just enough time between courses to take a break.

Cassava Terrace This is the main restaurant in the resort and it is buffet for breakfast and lunch. We ate all of our breakfasts here and they were all very good. They had the usual persons making fresh eggs of your choice, great breads and sweet breads, cereals and a selection of fresh fruits. I must comment that there were no bananas or papayas until our last day. The service here was decent and comparing it to Swept Away, much superior! For lunch there was a great salad bar, a variety of pre-made salads as well as all the fixings you can imagine for making your own. There was fresh fish being cooked everyday and they were usually carving some kind of meat (turkey, pork loin, baron of beef, etc). Lots of other meats and hot dishes were available in the usual heating trays. For lunches as well, the service was decent for a buffet style of restaurant. We ate one dinner here on the Sunday, the second night of our stay and it was very good. We had braised lamb shank and a stuffed chicken breast. Service is from a menu everyday except Mondays (Mediterranean Buffet), Thursdays (Beach BBQ Party) and Saturdays (International Buffet). Friday is lobster day in all restaurants.

For a la carte days, you can choose from a number of appetizers on the menu and/or you can go up and serve yourself to salad fixings. The desserts were all served off the menu. The menu here changes daily. The service was very good here compared to the Palms restaurant at Swept Away.

This is Couples Negril’s “fine” dinning restaurant. We ate here 3 times and the food and service was excellent. We ate here on Saturday, Thursday and Friday and had rack of lamb, salmon, beef tenderloin and lobster. Our friends had duck, which they enjoyed. The pumpkin soup with toasted pumpkin seeds was excellent.

On Monday night, the returnees’ dinner was held outside of the Otaheite restaurant. The meal was excellent (chicken and turf) as well and we got the opportunity to sit with the head of Water sports and meet some of the other managers.

This is the new Thai/Asian restaurant of the resort, where we ate twice during the week. Food and service were excellent. Food sampled included an excellent sampler platter as an appetizer, sushi platter appetizer, spicy pad Thai (not for the feint of heart), spicy beef tenderloin; teriyaki chicken (not spicy) and snapper (not spicy). For dessert we sampled tiramisu (with bean curd) and a fantastic passion fruit crème Brule.

This is the beach grill during the day and the Italian restaurant at night. During the day you can get the usual jerk chicken, burgers, fries, fish sandwiches, onion rings, pizza, nachos, patties, ready made sandwiches and fruit. In the evening there is a very good antipasto bar. You can order pasta as an appetizer or main course. We tried appetizer sizes of vegetarian lasagna and linguine with shrimp. Entrée’s sampled and thoroughly enjoyed included the rack of lamb and fish. Beverages Okay, first I am a “wine snob” and have come to admit it over the past couple of years. Anything that is served in copious amounts to the masses is commonly called “house” wine or what I would call grape juice with some alcohol put into it.. Their house red and white were from Chile (Frontera) which were slightly better than what we had last year at Swept Away.

The “top shelf” selection at the Piano bar had some of the best that we have seen at any all-inclusive in the Caribbean. Actually they had a couple of single malt scotches and some decent vodka. Their beer selection was Red Stripe regular and Red Stripe Lite on draft. Heineken was available in bottles in the Martini bar and Miller Lite in cans at most bars. That stuff called Caribe from Trinidad & Tobago actually showed up at the bars one day when the resort ran out of all Red Stripe Draft beer.

We found the service to be overall excellent. As I had mentioned above, the food and service at Couples Negril was a notch above what we experienced at Couples Swept Away. A little bit of editorial comment concerning service in Jamaica or in any country. Show some respect and it goes a long way with the Jamaican people.

Entertainment The entertainment was very similar to most Jamaican resorts. Couples Negril had a very good house band and there was usually a guest singer with the band. The entertainment started at 9:15 PM and usually finished no later than 10:30PM.

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April 2007

Couples Negril, Jamaica, April, 2007: Disappointing

My lady and I spent a week at Couples Negril in April, 2007. Overall, the vacation was a disappointment.

We paid $5,200, which included a one week stay for two ($2000/each) plus airfare from Boston and back ($599/each). We flew Xtra Airways, a charter operated by TNT Vacations. The day we returned to Boston we talked with a travel agent on the same van driving us home and learned that the same trip airfare would have been available for $199 each had we used this agent instead. The Xtra Airways 737-800 was the most crowded airliner upon which we had ever flown. The seat rows had been pushed so closely together (to cram extra rows aboard) that there was no place to put your legs. VERY uncomfortable. I have far more rear seat legroom in my Cessna 172. Shame on TNT.

The stay at Couples Negril was largely a disappointment. The drive from the airport to the resort is an hour and a half. The weather was good – April in the Caribbean – averaging high 80s with showers several afternoons. We found that Couples cut a lot of corners and it really showed.

There is no shade, either on the beach or at the pool. Tiny umbrellas provided no shade from the punishing sun. I had to drag my recliner as close to one of the small trees as possible to get some small shade. There are three restaurants, two of which have no air conditioning and are too hot in which to eat. The third, cooled restaurant offers strange loveseats you slide out of while trying to eat. The restaurants ran out of such staples as cream cheese, salsa, bagels, fried potatoes, etc. The three courtesy personal computers off the lobby were beaten-up and the keyboards did not work. We paid extra for a garden suite, which was large, but the bathroom air conditioner spit water and leaked into the wall, which then dripped onto our clothes in the closet. The shower in the large bathroom has just a small curtain around it and has its immovable head set into the ceiling, making all the water fall directly down on top of your head. The toilet sits out in the middle of the bathroom behind a low half wall. The king size bed was just awful – it felt like a pile of lumpy towels. One of the worse features was the nightly “show.” We went for a quiet, romantic getaway. But every night from 9:15 to 11:00, there is a horrendously noisy show on the main plaza, making relaxation and sleep impossible. Infuriating. Finally, there were just enough bums there to ruin it for everyone else. The resort ran several weddings a day, and some of the wedding parties were like the worst neighbors you’ve ever had. One group showed-up midweek and ruined the pool for everyone else. They got roaring drunk three mornings in a row, screamed the f-word at one another, threw one another in the pool, and left cigarette butts crushed-out all along the pool. Thoroughly disgusting.

On the plus size, the staff was uniformly helpful, friendly, and cheerful. The grounds are very nice, with beautiful African tulip trees. No tipping is allowed, so if you want to tip, you pass a bill in a handshake. The beach is nice with low surf, although the water has a band of seaweed at knee level. But again, no shade from the blazing sun. The food is very good (despite running-out of some items) and birds flying in and out of the open restaurants. Couples Negril is not the deluxe, upscale resort we had been promised. The décor was a bit shabby and not at all up to the standards of, say, Secrets, where we have been several times.

We will not return to Couples Negril, nor will we fly with TNT again.

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Couples – Negril Todd and Jenn ~ USA

December 2006

Hi, I just wanted to send in a review b/c I noticed there hadn’t been any sent in since last year when I visited this sight and it led me to making one of the best vacation decisions in my life.

My wife and I spent March 20th – March 26th in Jamaica, at Couples Resort in Negril. It was for our Honeymoon and it was by far spectacular. I had read other reviews and the resort surpassed all expectations. Here is a quick run down starting w/ what was most important to me and my wife. Beach – Absolutely phenomenal, it was raked every morning by the staff and kept clean of seaweed and debris. The lounge chairs on the beach had padded sun bathing floats on them that you could take into the ocean. I’m not much for laying still long so I enjoyed trying to catch and ride the small waves on them. You can also put a red flag in the sand and a waiter will come and take your drink order. It is quicker though just to walk over to the bar that is 50 feet away and order a drink. The hammocks on the beach are usually taken, but be patient and you’ll be able to grab one. It’s very relaxing.

Included activities – The included activities ranged from snorkeling and sailing to scuba diving. I’m sure all of the sailing and windsurfing type of activities were run well, but my wife and I only participated in the Catamaran Cruise, snorkeling, and Scuba Diving. All events are done at precise times and you do have to sign up at least one day in advance to participate in them. Please keep that in mind. Catamaran Cruise – This was absolutely the beginning of a evening of partying. The people that run this cruise not only make sure you are able to keep a drink in your hands at all times, but also entertain you beyond expectations. You start at the Couples beach and cruise over to a bar that has cliff jumping. You are allowed to go down the slide they have at the top of their boat or just climb off the back and swim. If you are daring enough you can go swim over to shore and walk up to the bar that offers the cliff jumping. To jump does cost extra money. I don’t remember how much, but it isn’t expensive. We had met a couple that decided to go do the plunge and landed wrong and their vacation did not continue to be quite as fun. After about 30 minutes you cruise back over to Couples Resort. The sun begins to set when you get back and most likely you will see the sunset on the beach not on the cruise. A lot of fun though and worth signing up for.

Snorkeling – This was a great time. Make sure you snag a roll from the breakfast or dinner buffet before going. The crew gives you a life jacket, goggles, and snorkel. They take you out to the reef, tell you they’ll blow the whistle when time is up and overboard you go. You will see a variety of fish, and if you have a roll, you will see schools of them all around you. I don’t know if you are suppose to feed them, but when I asked my guides if it was ok, all that was said was "No problem mon." This is a must do, but be aware of the waves. We went on a day when the ocean was somewhat rough and it is very easy to get swept into coral that you don’t want to get hit by. The snorkeling tour does get cancelled if the ocean is too rough.

Scuba diving – Couples is one of the few resorts that includes this in the package, and was one of the reasons we picked the resort. I have also sky dived and I was very impressed with the resorts scuba diving instructor. This was my wife and mine first time scuba diving. I can’t comment on their scuba diving trips for pros. You start with a class that explains the hand signals to communicate under water. At the end of the class you are given a test to make sure you have full comprehension of what you were taught. Anything you don’t remember will be retaught to you until you and your instructor are comfortable that you have gained the appropriate knowledge to be safe. Then you are giving your scuba gear and are put in their training pool. Once again you are put through a series of test that ensure you will be okay once in the ocean. Don’t worry if you mess up on a test, the instructor gives you multiple tries to pass. The only person that didn’t pass the class in our group decided to opt out of the class. It was before the pool test even began. Once the pool test are finished you head out to the boat for your first scuba diving experience. It was amazing. You only dive down 30 feet, but if you have ever thought about scuba diving take advantage of this opportunity. You won’t see as many fish as you do when you are snorkeling, but the operation is so professional and safe, you will really miss out on something special if you don’t sign up. Our instructor allowed everyone to touch a Sea Slug. Keep in mind if you are getting ready to fly home, you need to do scuba diving at least 3 days prior because nitrogen bubbles develop in your blood and have to disappear before flying.

Food – There is one restaurant that you have to make reservations for a day in advance. If you want to eat at a table for two sign up immediately or you may not have a chance. The food in this restaurant is very good. I have eaten at better places, but it is right along the lines of a Charter House. The rest of the restaurants are ok. If you are looking for an absolutely phenomenal dining experience on your vacation though you might want to look for a resort called "All Inclusive Dining." Don’t get me wrong the food is better than average, but not what you are probably booking the trip for. I will say the waiters and waitresses are superb, and will make any dining experience more pleasurable.

Accommodations – The rooms are nice. We stayed in a Ocean View room. It had an ocean view from our balcony, but the ocean was a ways away. Still very beautiful. If we ever are able to make a trip back though I would save my money and just go with a garden view. The entire resort is beautiful. You have a bathroom with a tub / shower, toilet and sink. A king size bed, tv, and a table with a coffeemaker and radio/alarm clock.

Our balcony had a table and two chairs. Be aware if you shower at times when most people are taking showers, expect to have water pressure problems. It does get a little annoying, but everything else is so spectacular we found ourselves thinking "No problem Mon." Overall, the rooms won’t take your breath away, but your bed will be turned down for you every night and you’ll only be there hopefully to catch a few zzzzz’s anyway.

Overall the trip scored 100 out of 10. All the bartenders were great. The people we met were friendly and enjoying their stays too. We met one couple that said they had gone to Jamaica many times and tried different resorts, but always ended up calling Couples and telling them to please get a room ready for them. They said Couples was the best, and my wife and I believe it. If we ever travel back to Jamaica we will be going to Couples because we don’t see any reason to mess with perfection.

Enjoy your trip……….

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Couples – Negril Jay & Kathy (49 & 47) ~ Missouri

July 2005

When we began planning our vacation, we were looking for a destination that was romantic, tropical, and adults only (don’t get us wrong…we love our kids, but we like to set aside one week a year without our kids or anyone else’s children). We were also looking for an all-inclusive resort with a nice beach, comfortable accommodations, scuba diving, good service, and good value for our vacation dollar. We found all that and more at Couples Negril in Jamaica where we vacationed in mid-July 2005.

Couples Negril is the newest (opening around ’97 or ’98) of the three Couples Resorts in Jamaica (the others being Couples Ochos Rios and Couples Swept Away, also in Negril). Located on Bloody Bay just north of Negril and situated between SuperClub’s Grand Lido Negril and the Riu Tropical Bay Resort, Couples Negril gave us a vacation experience that we’d like to repeat. In fact, Couples Negril has a reputation for attracting a lot of repeat customers, some of whom visit several times a year.

This was our second vacation in Negril over the past six years. Our previous trip there was a week-long stay at Sandals Negril in 1999 which is about a half-mile from Couples Negril and also caters to adult couples. We found both resorts to be upscale with plenty of features designed to appeal to middle-to-upper class vacationers with discretionary vacation funds. However, we thought Couples offered a better beach (although located on Seven Mile Beach, the Sandals beach isn’t nearly as deep as the beach at Couples) with a clothing optional area, and our week at Couples cost about $1,500 less than our week at Sandals, including airfare, with equivalent room accommodations. I asked one Couples’ employee how they’re able to price themselves so much lower than some of the other resorts. He explained that Couples spends much less on marketing than other resorts, preferring instead to rely on word-of-mouth marketing and a relatively high percentage of repeat customers.

The balance of this trip report touches on various aspects of our vacation:

GETTING THERE: Our travel agent booked our vacation through Funjet which, in turn, set up our round-trip travel between St. Louis and Montego Bay through Champion Air, a Midwest-based charter service that flies between several Midwestern cities and resort areas throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. The 3½-hour flight to Jamaica went off without a hitch (and because I’m kinda tall, they even assigned us to the exit row without being asked). However, we hit a "bottleneck" at the Montego Bay airport, waiting in line for about an hour to be processed by Jamaican immigration and customs. Once we made it past that bump in the road, we were met by a Funjet representative who directed us to the Couples lounge where we could relax, enjoy a Red Stripe or two, and wait about 20 minutes for a shuttle to take us to our resort. Back in ’99 we flew from MB to Negril, but this time we elected to take the shuttle bus and see some of the countryside we missed the last time. The drive, which was just over an hour, opened our eyes to some of the living conditions in Jamaica…up on the hillsides we could see some very nice residences, but down close to the highway, near the sea, the poverty was pretty evident. Many of the homes we saw were not much more than one-room shacks.

ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: After getting off the shuttle bus, my first impulse was to help unload our luggage, but a resort porter quickly dissuaded me from assisting. "You’re on vacation, Mon! We’ll do that!" Okay, I thought, that works for me! A few steps ahead of me, my wife was already seated in the reception area with a glass of champagne in her hand and a cool cloth on her neck. The pampering had started and we hadn’t even checked in! At Couples, you don’t check in at the front desk; rather, you relax in lounge chairs as the front desk staff comes to you to check you in.

ORIENTATION: We arrived just in time for one of the daily orientation tours of the property, so we tagged along. Anthony, our tour guide (who is also a member of the resort’s entertainment staff), showed us all the points of interest…the restaurants, the bars, the beach grill, the pool, the hot tubs, the watersports and scuba shacks, the spa, the workout facilities, the game room, the piano bar/disco, the wedding gazebo, the tennis courts, the volleyball, horseshoe and bocce ball areas and, of course, the beach.

BEACH: This was a big selling point for us. From what we could determine through our pre-trip research, the Couples Negril beach was deep and wide with a nice balance of sun and shade cast by dozens of palm trees, some of which also provided support for hammocks big enough for two. Our research was correct. Couples Negril has an excellent beach and a large sandy-bottom swimming area with waist- and chest-high water extending more than 100 yards from shore. There was never any shortage of beach chairs and we never had a "crowded" feeling (in contrast, the Riu beach next door always seemed crowded). The beach also features something called "red flag service"… when you’re thursty, just poke your red flag in the sand and a waiter or waitress comes to take your drink order. One secluded section of the CN beach is designed as a "clothing optional" area (the sign says it’s a "nude" beach, but we saw sunbathers on the beach that were merely topless or, in some cases, couples in which one person was nude and the other was wearing a full swim suit, therefore, "clothing optional" appeared to be the standard). "Red flag" service is not available on this section of the beach, but there is a self-service bar there and they were building a full-service bar for that area when we were there. Topless sunbathing is allowed elsewhere on the Couples beach, but by and large, nudity is restricted to the C/O beach (as a side note, toplessness is officially prohibited at the resort’s pool, but we did notice some "violations" during the week; it appeared that it was alright as long as no one complained).

ACTIVITIES: Couples Negril is not an all-out, round-the-clock party, nor is it a sleepy, totally laid-back resort. We found it to be a little bit of both. During the day we could take advantage of various water sports (sailing, wave running, skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, etc.) or we could simply hang out on the beach or at the pool with a Red Stripe or tropical drink in hand (sometimes both!). At night there was always some live entertainment in the evening, ranging from rock/pop to traditional Jamaican fare. There is also a beach party during the week as well as special activities for repeat guests. And then there are the beach volleyball matches, aerobics classes, the catamaran (booze) cruise, disco night, a fashion show, an auction, the battle of the sexes, bingo games, the optional off-site excursions (such as shopping trips and an evening at Margaritaville), etc. etc. As for nightlife at the resort, you won’t find "toga" or "PJ" parties (although we did hear rumors of some late-night visits to the hot tubs!), but the piano bar keeps rolling until the last guest leaves. We probably partook in only 10 or 20 percent of all the possible activities, so we’ll have to go back several more times to do it all!

ACCOMMODATIONS: There are five types of rooms at Couples Negril housed in nine blocks of three-story buildings. The largest group of rooms are called "Deluxe Gardenview" and are the least expensive and typically have the least view of the beach and ocean (although very few rooms at the resort have a totally unobstructed view). Other room categories are "Deluxe Oceanview," "Deluxe Beachfront," "Garden Suite" and "Beachfront Suite." The suites are the most expensive and are twice the size of the other rooms, featuring whirlpool tubs, double vanities, mini-bars and hammocks on their balconies or patios. We booked a "Deluxe Beachfront" room with a request for Building 6, centrally located on the resort property, close to the beach, the pool, the restaurants, the bars and the evening entertainment. In fact, it was almost TOO close to the entertainment. If you plan to go to bed before 10 or 10:30, don’t request Building 6; the evening entertainment is very loud in those rooms and it doesn’t wrap up until 10:30 or 11 pm. As for the room itself, I would describe it as "adequate"…nothing fancy. But then, we don’t book our vacations on the basis of what the rooms are like. Our room (6307) featured a king-size bed, in-room safe, balcony, CD player, coffee maker, television (which we barely watched) a four-drawer hutch and an area for hanging things. Our bathroom was basic with a shower/tub combo. We heard before we went that water pressure was a problem and yes, we did experience a dropoff a couple of times while showering, but it was only for a minute or two each time and didn’t pose a huge problem. Although our building was relatively close to the beach, our view of the water was mostly obstructed by palm trees (but that was okay…we saw plenty of ocean from the beach).

FOOD & BEVERAGE SERVICE: Food is a matter of taste (if you’ll excuse the pun). At Couples Negril it ranges from basic hamburgers and cheeseburgers to multi-course meals prepared by gourmet chefs. You’ll find ethnic Caribbean and Jamaican fare as well as Italian and Chinese dishes. There’s also a very good breakfast buffet featuring made-to-order omelets prepared by Cleon whose bright, friendly smile greeted us almost every morning. Make sure to make a reservation (or two) for the Otaheite Restaurant which features lobster on Friday nights (when in season). One note about Otaheite … don’t EVEN think about wearing sandals and cutoffs in there. For ladies it’s "semi-formal" while men need to wear long pants, collared shirts and nice shoes. As for beverages, we found them to be ample and potent. Every day there’s a new "special" which usually included rum. I can’t begin to list all the different drinks we sampled, but one word of caution: beware of the Bob Marley’s…they’re lethal!

SCUBA: As I mentioned earlier, the availability of scuba diving was one of the factors that influenced our decision to book Couples Negril. For certified divers like myself, scuba diving is included, except for night dives which are $50 and only happen if they have enough interested divers. The resort also offers certification training and advanced diving training for additional fees. I found the divemasters to be very accommodating and knowledgeable and never had any problems with the resort’s equipment. During the week I did three dives, all to depths of between 50 and 60 feet. Visibility was great and I took more than 150 photos of coral reefs and archways, sea life, and the wreck of a seaplane. Most divers were comfortable in swimsuits, but I wore a 2 mil shortie and was very comfortable.

WEATHER: We happened to schedule our trip on the heels of Hurricane Dennis and just in time for Hurricane Emily, but neither storm amounted to much, besides some strong wind and several inches of rain, in Negril. Other than the hurricanes, we had sunshine virtually every morning, a little bit of rain almost every afternoon, and wonderful sunsets each evening. Temperatures hovered in the mid-80s, cooler than the weather at home!

STAFF: Very friendly. My wife was always greeted with "m’lady" (she became so accustomed to it that she’s trying to get everyone at her office to call her that!). As for me, once staff members knew my name, they remembered it the whole week. One member of the resort’s guest relations staff, Shalmon, even sought me out just to say hello and to see if we were enjoying our stay. Everyone worked hard to make us feel at home.

OTHER GUESTS: Earlier in this trip report I commented about our stay several years ago at Sandals Negril. Perhaps the week we were there they just happened to have a larger percentage of younger guests than normal, but it seemed we were older than almost all the other guests, and everyone else at Sandals was either there to be married or were there on their honeymoon. However, at Couples, age didn’t seem to be a factor. There were lots of couples our age as well as plenty who were younger and some that were older. We made lots of friends including several who "pre-met" us through the resort’s message board.

MAKE SURE YOU PACK: Sunglasses, sunscreen, sandals, swimsuit(s), some nice clothes for the Otaheite Restaurant, mosquito repellant (especially if you plan to spend a lot of time on the beach after dark), a hearty appetite, your passport (a must starting in ’06), and a camera with plenty of film or disk storage space to capture all the beautiful sites in and around the resort. Although it’s certainly not required, you might consider bringing some school supplies. The Couples resorts support several schools in Jamaica and donated school supplies are always appreciated. DON’T BRING a lot of money for tips (the only people you’ll be tipping are baggage handlers at the airport and anyone on off-site excursions; the official policy at Couples is "no tipping allowed"). And unless you really want to keep track of the resort’s activities schedule, you really don’t even need your watch. I wore mine out of habit during the week, but I got to the point that if someone asked what time it was, I simply answered "it’s 5 o’clock somewhere."

SO WOULD WE RECOMMEND COUPLES NEGRIL? Duh! Does a crab dig in the sand? Not only would we recommend it, but there’s a good chance we’ll return. Our Couples Negril vacation was definitely one of the best, most relaxing, most enjoyable vacations we’ve had in years!

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July 2005

It did not take us long to see that this was a resort that was in a class by itself, and among all-inclusives, it is outstanding.

And there is no way you can say enough about Karen, the manager, who mingles with and greets her guests when she is in the lobby. The food at Couples Negril was outstanding overall and particularly we noted the food was superior to other all-inclusive resorts we have been to. The meat and potatoes, burger and fries, eggs with ham, sausage or bacon, or everything omelet person, will find choices in abundance. But at the same time, the vegetarian or health-conscious eater who may be looking to lower cholesterol can have omelets made with whites only, and every ala-carte menu had a hot vegetable plate as well as fish and other selections to complement the varieties of meat and potato items available. Simple hot dogs and burgers, sections of pizza, and nachos and melted cheese, etc., lunch fare was available at the beach grille. This restaurant turned into an Italian restaurant for supper with ala-carte service and a self service ante-pasta bar. Last but far from least, is the formal restaurant, Otaheite, which should not be missed but has a set menu with daily add-on choices. The beach was nice, no problem getting chaises, and the cocktail waitresses were constantly going around taking orders for drinks. There were various activities, but everything was low key and never any pressure if you choose not to participate. Various trips are included in the all-inclusive price. These include a shopping trip with three stops. They also walk you across the road to a nearby native craft market. For a party time there is a bus to Margaritaville. This was a blast, you meet people from other nearby resorts, and the staff puts on a great participation show.

To clarify, there was a hurricane warning while we were there. A notice was posted immediately that anyone who chooses to leave would receive a full refund for unused time or a voucher for equivalent lost time good for one year. We stayed and that hurricane stayed to the south of Jamaica and it rained hard for one day starting that afternoon, but we used the umbrella they provide in every room and got around to our meals. The next morning was bright sunshine.

The rooms we found to be adequate, no problems with water pressure, we had showers at various times without any problem. The yellow spread we found was not really too bright and we felt it actually brought a little color into the room. I can’t end this without saying how wonderful, sincere and responsive the staff was at all times and for whatever you asked for.

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Couples – Negril Gloria and Bill ~ Port Sheldon, MI

April 2005

We just returned from another wonderful week at Couples Negril. This was our third vacation at Couples Negril but our 16th visit with the Couples Resorts.We have been to many other islands and many other all inclusive resorts but believe me,there is no other place we’d rather stay. All three Couples offer a wonderful experience each with it’s own appeal. Negril is my personal favorite because of the beaches but my husband prefers Ocho Rios because of the atmosphere. We have visited Swept Away and the rooms are unique. All fabulous food and top shelf drinks as well as a fantastic staff are available at each resort. We start planning our next years vacation as soon as we get home. You’ll never be disappointed in booking a vacation at the Couples Resorts. Language, drinking water, top shelf alcohol, beautiful beaches, wonderful staff and unbelievable food….all’ no problem’. See you next year.

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Couples – Negril Mary Anne and Vic ~ Central Pennsylvania

March 2005

Just returned from Couples Negril on Sunday and had a wonderful time! Property is beautiful and beach is perfect. This was our fifth Caribbean vacation and we felt the beach at Couples was the most beautiful we have seen yet! Spent most of our week by, in or on the water. Some other resorts the water is too rough to kayak or float around in.

Another advantage to Negril is that you can drink the water and it is wonderful! Food was excellent. They have three restaurants plus each evening they do a specialty buffet on the pool deck. Lots of variety! Although most rooms do not have a mini-bar, we didn’t mind it. The maid leaves a pitcher of ice water daily and there is plenty to drink on the beach or by the pool. Each beach/pool chair has its own "floaty", some other properties never have enough.

Drive from the Montego Bay airport was not a problem either, road was good and we got to see more of the country that way. Each time we made the trip in about 70 minutes.

Karen, the manager and her staff do a good job at the property. You see her often and she has a good eye for details.

Can’t wait to return next year!

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Couples – Negril Mary & Pete (and Sheryl/Moe, Cindy/Rodger and Cindy/Beeps) St. Louis, MO. USA

February 2005

My wife and I and three other couples spent January 23 – 30 at Couples Negril. This was our tenth trip to the Caribbean/Cancun/Riviera Maya. Our traveling companions have traveled more than we have and Couples Negril quickly became, to all of us, our favorite resort.

We took the bus ride to and from the airport. No problem. Don’t think you’d save but an hour on each end taking a puddle jumper.

We had the pleasure of dining with General Manager Karen Lannigan and we found out (amongst other things) that they import cheese and beef, but just about everything else is “local”. ALL of their food was EXCELLENT. Don’t be afraid to get a burger at the beach grill and add a little jerk sauce. Delicious! Dinner for our group of eight took about two hours for all 5 courses. I would have liked it to be a LITTLE shorter, but hey, we were with good friends and just enjoyed each other’s company. As was mentioned in another review, the portions are smaller than we are accustomed to in the States, so order something from every course. If you ate at the dinner buffet, it was quicker and more casual.

The one thing we did miss a little was bananas. According to Head Groundskeeper Charlton (don’t remember his last name), Hurricane Ivan wiped out the banana crop on the island as well as damaging about 100 trees at Couples. Even with the damage to some of the trees, the grounds were beautiful. The aforementioned Charlton took us on a little “flora tour” of the grounds and showed us many interesting and lovely plants. He pointed out that the southern half of the resort was more manicured, while the northern half was more “au natural”.

Even though we got one of the less expensive garden-view rooms farthest from the beach, it was still only a minute’s walk away from the beach. We’ve stayed at some rather large resorts, but loved the cozy size of this one. We stayed in a ground floor room and had a small patio with a table and two chairs. The second and third floor rooms had a balcony. The rooms are plenty big and well kept. Besides the regular maid service during the day, the maids also came by in the evening and turned down our bed and gave us fresh towels, if needed. Nice touch. Some other reviews mentioned road noise when staying in a room at the back of the resort, so we left our windows closed and left the AC blower on for ‘white noise’ and had no problems, mon! One of our fellow travelers opened their windows at night and turned off the AC. They heard the occasional car go by, but it didn’t bother them much. Water pressure was a bit of a problem in the early evening, but the resort is aware of it and is trying to remedy the situation.

The beach was beautiful and kept clean. Even if you didn’t have a ‘red flag’ to signify that you needed something to drink, waitresses were still on the beach and were happy to get a drink for you. The water temperature of the ocean was a little cool and the pool was colder yet, but we’ve found this to be the same everywhere we’ve been this time of year. The hot tub sure got used more than the pool.

Was it perfect? No, but very close. I don’t think a perfect resort exists – at least an affordable one.

With this resort, as well as any in the Caribbean, when you get there, RELAX. Slow down. The sooner you get to the point that you are not ‘walking’ but ‘strolling’ the better. You will then be on Caribbean Time – a better place to be. Like our bus driver said, there are no problems in Jamaica, just situations.

All in all, a great place to stay. Laid back and fairly quiet. No loud music or screaming kids. We are already planning to return next winter. A special thanks goes out to GM Karen, Charlton, Cleon (omelet maker extraordinaire) Alain (water sports) and Teisha (bartender).

Thanks for your website, Debbie.

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February 2005

I want to give my review for this resort. I will start out by saying that this was one of the best all-inclusive resorts that I have stayed in. I have a job that I am required to travel a lot, so I have been to many all-inclusives. I had a friend get married at this resort, during the time period that I was there.

The beach was the best that I have seen. The entire time I was there I didn’t step on one piece of seaweed or a rock. It was nice. It was on a nice stretch that you could walk for awhile, so if you like early morning walks on the beach it was perfect.

The food was wonderful, the best I have had at a resort. You could have breakfast delivered to your room, which was nice. Dinners at night were wonderful, different themes at night, each of them equally good. The nice resturant, Otaheite, has a dress code which is very appropriate. The food was great, you don’t get a huge amount of food, but if you are still hungry you could just walk over to the buffet and eat whatever you like. The rooms are nice, they look excatly, like the brochure which is nice. I would go back to this resort in a heartbeat!!! I plan another trip, next January and you can find me laying on that beach!!!

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November 2004

My wife and I are both 30 and while we don’t party like we used to, we enjoy our drinks and some night life while we are on vaca.

The Arrival:
Couples Negril at the airport had no drinks at their airport room while we waited about 20 min. for the transport. We knew what to expect from the ride, so the 2 hour van ride (traffic from rush hour) was not entirely bad. We were going to take the puddle jumper, but decided the drive will get us in the Jamaican spirit and give us time to unwind and take in the scenery and culture. We were wrong. The drive is nothing special: It was nice to drive the paved road along the coast and see the views for about ten minutes, but then we wished we had taken the plane. So if you can afford it, take the flight to Negril, you won’t miss all that much. Couples is one of the first resorts on Resort Road, which was nice. Checking in went fine. If you so wish, any of the employees (the bell boy) will gladly obtain Herb for you, a few discreetly asked us, as I was wearing a tye Dye and they figured we wanted it. We did not, but when talking to a waiter, he said many of the guests smoked ganja although we did not see anybody except late one night on the beach we caught a whiff.

The Room:
We had the beach front, but only one of a few that are actually right on the beach. The grounds are set up so that many buildings are far from the beach even if they face it. Couples obviously try to put as many buildings on the proprty as possible instead of having a few buildings lining the water. I’ve read about mold and run down rooms, but ours was clean and nice, and we were steps away from dinner and the pool. There are no clocks anywhere not even in the room. You can leave a wake up call, but when getting ready for the evening, a clock would be nice.

The Food:
breakfast buffet was average. We sometimes skipped it and waited for the beach grill to open at 11:00 or 11:30. The beach grill was great at what it was: Grab a burger and a beer in between what ever you are doing. The Jerk Chicken was much better there then the burgers or chicken sandwiches. Also during lunch time the resturant was open for a more "formal" lunch (although you can mosey in with your tee shirts and flip flops). That was good food, a little bit of everything in a buffet. Dinner at the same restaurant was good bordering on great. The sit down dinner was great, but 3 or 4 nights a week were buffets. A jamaican buffet, a mediteranan buffet, an international buffet and a beach party on MOnday night buffet. Obviously cheaper for the resort to serve buffets, and the only one that was great was the international, the rest were average but had a large selection. The Beach Grill also serves dinner. It looks romantic and formal (it’s not a burger joint at night), dining by candle light outside on the deck as a steack and pasta restaurant. The one night we ate there the food was lousy.

Now for the reason we will not go back to Couples: The Formal Restaurant. It says dress code requires slacks, collared shirt, covered shoes. You must make reservations in advance. Well, I unpacked and saw I forgot to pack my shoes. The only reservation they had was for our last night, and we made it for the latest time, 8:45pm because all I had was sneakers. When we arrived, we were promptly turned away by the host. Now, we completely understand they have the dress code and we should not have expected to be let in, but at the money we paid, we certainly felt they coud have made an exception under the circumstances. The restaurant was not crowded, besides the sneakers I was very well dressed, a table was open just 2 feet next to us and we could have sat right down and nobody would have noticed. The worst part was the host said we could have "ten minutes" to find shoes (8:45 pm -where could we find them?) after that we were considered No Shows because they can only hold reservations for 10 minutes. Again, we can only blame ourselves, but we certainly feel the host could have seated us. We also ran into a couple later that night who had also been refused service and felt Couples did not specify their dress code as Sandals had on a prior vacation they had taken.

The Beach:
Wonderful. Better then Wonderful. Only thing is the sunsets are not the best, as the bay blocks the sun going down, as on 7 mile beach you can see the sun set over the water. but still beautiful sunset.

Very good. At times slow, but every guest wants everything now, so they handled it well. The Bartenders at the beach bar seemed to be miserable every night – but the waiters and front desk and water sports, everybody was great.

Water Sports: Great. we snorkled, scuba dived, sailed, kayaked…scuba was a four hour adventure. 3 hrs and 30 minutes at the resort learning how to and only 20 minutes in the water. The 3 hrs of training is necessary, so we felt maybe 30-45 minutes diving would have been better. They also had water skiing, wind surfing. The sunset Catamaran tour was a must: a booze cruise to the cliffs where you can jump or just swim around and watch the others jump.

The Life jackets were beyond disgusting. They are, without a doubt, the original ones they bought when they opened 6 years ago. They were so moldy and disgusting, we walked back to our room to get our shirts so they would not touch our skin. Again, as a supposed first class resort, these are the "little" things they can’t let slde.

The Entertainment:
Like I’ve read before: If you want to particpate you can, if not, they are not pushy. We didn’t do a thing: just like we wanted. The staff asked "you want to play volleyball" NO? ok mon, no problem. the night entertainment we didn’t enjoy too much. Nightly bands at dinner played cheesy 70’s love songs (i think one whole set was Lionel Ritchie). There was not a whole lot of Reggae the whole week. There was the ultimate dance party, karaoke, live bands, DJ’s. But again, not too much reggae. In the day the bars played the SAME c.d’s, controlled by the resort not the bars. So one late afternoon, we drank to Yani or Enya or Tesh or some new age spa music. It forced us from the beach grill. The bars can’t even control the volume. This is fine since the age group was mixed and people were sleeping and lounging on the beach and you can only hear the music if you are on the beach close to the pool bar. One day, it started to rain at 2pm, so everybody went to the bar. Everybody. It was fun and the spirits were flowing: and a new age flute piping through the stereo. We all asked for some reggae and to turn it up, and they couldn’t.

We never left the resort, Margartitaville on Wed. nights, people said it was an ok trip just to get out, but 2 drinks were 22 bucks. not worth it to us. The other trip was shopping, and everybody said it was the same lousy trinkets everywhere and the shops they set up on the beach sell the same stuff…and a walk on the beach in the DAY past the RIU will score you some herb or anything else you want.

The grounds are nice, many tennis courts, we didn’t use the spa. A game room with board games you can check out to your room or bar, pool table, a couple of ping pong tables. The juke box was lousy and only a few c.d’s and didn’t work (in the game room). The two Hot tubs, one was 103 the other was 94. one too hot one too cold. set them both at about 100. everybody mentioned that. There is only one computer to use. always a wait. in this day and age, they should remove the phone room they have next to the computer "room" and put two more computers in there for email. The computer system also went down and was not up for the last 4 days of our trip. We could not email home. We could not check out and square away the charges to the room (cuban cigrars, etc). As for weddings, we talked to a few people who were disappointed: the gazebo is not on the water, it is set back. Even worse, when you look out to the water from the Gazebo, you can say your vows, kiss, turn to the water and enjoy the views of penis. Yes, it facing the nude beach.

Overall, we thought it was above average because most of the things above (with the exception of dinner) didn’t bother us. But based on the fact this was a first class resort, and if you expect it to be top notch, it is not, and you would rate it as average for the money.

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April 2004

My wife and I just got back from Couples Negril. We’re both 29 and we went with another couple the same age. We’ve been to 5-6 all inclusives throughout the Caribbean. We flew on American non stop from NY JFK. Good flight, non eventful. We took a shuttle bus to the resort. The new road they built is GREAT. It only took 90 minutes to get to the resort from Mo Bay. The resort is really nice. It’s not as amazing visually as other resorts we’ve been to but it’s clean and well kept. The rooms are clean and have plenty of hooks to dry your clothes on. The AC in the room is awesome and has a remote you can use from your bed. The room has a safe and an alarm clock (some other reviews said it did not have a clock). The staff at the resort are ALL WORLD…they are fantastic. Anything you need they provide whether it’s fresh towels at 2am or a bottle of champagne at 11am. The food was good. The breakfast were great. Anything you want they have…fresh pancakes, omletttes, fresh waffles etc. Lunch was good. We ate at the beach bar most days. Burgers, jerk chicken, salad, etc. The dinners were very good. All three of the restaurants were clean and staffed with excellent help. The beach party on Monday night was alot of fun. There were fireaters and other entertainment. The cocktails were good. My wife and I both like to enjoy ourselves and the drinks were just about perfect. They have red flag service on the beach…just put up the flag and a server comes and takes your order. The weather was great; 80-85 during the day and around 70 at night. Not a drop of rain or cloud in the sky. Now for the best part…the beach. Simply stated it is perfection. The sand is soft and clean, the water is warm and clear, and the beach is covered with beautiful vegetation. We spent 6-8 hours a day on the beach. The pool is nice; not quite as exotic as other places but it was clean. The two Jacuzzis were way too hot. The thermometer said 110 F. The swim up bar was good. Service was as quick as it comes in Jamaica. Remember your on vacation..don’t sweat it if it takes 3 minutes to get a drink. I would say the breakdown of guest was as follows: 20-30 year old about 20%, 30-40 year old about 60%, 40-50 year old about 15% and the rest were over 50. We had a great time. We met alot of other couples. The watersports were fun. I’ve SCUBA dived at other resorts but I can honestly say that Negril has some of the most beautiful coral and sea life I’ve ever seen. You have to take advantage of the FREE resort certification. It’s well worth the 2 hour class. Sugar, our instructor was really helpful. The sunset cat cruise was very cool. They take you to some cliffs where you can jump into the crystal blue water. Overall we had a great time. The beach really made the resort. I would recommend Couples Negril to anyone who can appreciate a beautiful, well run resort.

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Couples – Negril Renee from Wisconsin

April 2004

We were at Couples Resort – Negril from March 28th to April 4th. The bus ride over was about 1 hour 20 minutes and only took us one hour on the way back. The weather was beautiful, 80’s and sunny every day. The resort was wonderful. There was plenty to eat and drink, the guys especially enjoyed the Miller Lite and us girls enjoyed the Chocolate Monkeys, Hummingbirds and Dirty Bananas, plus a large variety of premium drinks. Even had a "Stole", Russian vodka with pineapple and cranberry juice. (The Runaway Bay resort we were at last year had only Red Stripe beer, no Miller Lite. It’s OK for a couple of days, but when your from Wisconsin you enjoy a Miller after a couple of days.) The grounds were very clean and service was excellent. We had plenty of activities, pool and beach volleyball, bingo, casino night and auctions and plenty of water activities, to keep us busy if you decided to partake in them.

The swim up bar was great when you needed a drink and wanted to cool off. One of the bartenders even remembered what I drank the day before. The beach was beautiful too. If you wanted a drink while relaxing on the beach, just put up your red flag and someone came around to take your drink order. They also passed out fresh fruit on the beach in the morning and there was a soda fountain on the beach too. There was usually a breeze off of the ocean to keep you comfortable and plenty of shade trees if you had to much sun the day before. I would highly recommend this resort as the staff did their best to make you feel very comfortable.

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March 2004

We just returned from a stay at CN and what a resort this is!! We had a fabulous time. The food was tremendous, the staff freindly, and the accomadations were wonderful. I have no complaints about this resort.

If you are wanting to do water activities on you vacation then Negril is the place to be. The water on this side of the island is very calm compared to Montego Bay or Ocho Rios. It is definately worth spending the extra money to go to Negril. I would compare their 7 mile beach to Grand Cayman. The water is very calm. We went snorkeling and saw hundreds of fish. The reef is only about 10 minutes off shore which is nice.

Overall, we were very pleased with CN and can’t wait to go back!! Hope this helps in your vacation decision.

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January 2004

We just got back from a 4 day weekend at Couples. After an enjoyable trip on Air Jamaica, we chose to take the puddle jumper to Negril. We went on Air Link for $60.00 and arrived in Negril 15 minutes later. Our room was ready within 20 minutes, about 1 PM. We were greeted with champagne and a wet towel. We were on the third floor, no elevators, but it was good exercise, because we ate and drank a lot. The room was average, nice view of the trees and vegetation. The property is older and could use some sprucing up, but it was clean. The maid service was wonderful. Marcia was grateful for a tip and hugged us when we left. My one complaint was the hair dryer. I felt sorry for anyone who has long hair. It must have taken them hours to dry their hair.

The restaurants were good, a wide variety of food, the drinks were plentiful, a bit slow at the swim up bar, but otherwise good. They have red flag service on the beach, which is nice.

The beach is awesome. Clear water with no rocks or shells. You just walk right in. The house band is good, and the magicians were a couple from England. They were charming and very entertaining. People ranged in age from young honeymooners to 60’s, more on the older side.

We went to Margueritaville to watch the Eagles game, but found out afterward that you could watch it at Couples. No one seemed to know if it would be on or not, and we didn’t want to take the chance of missing the game. It was a $15.00 ride in a taxi, not too bad.

Internet service is free, and we called home from our room and it was only $2.50 for about 5 minutes.

We opted to take the bus back to Montego Bay. It took about one hour and 20 minutes. It was a modern bus so it wasn’t too bad a ride.

All in all, we had a great time. The staff is very friendly and helpful. I would definitely recommend this resort.

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October 2003

What a blast Jamaica was. We experienced both Resorts between 9/4/03 to 9/11/03. I kept it a secret until the night of the Wedding (AUG 2, 2003). She wasn’t too excited since she has been in the Port area on a Cruise (not to nice), but WOW what a difference. The hospitality, friendliness of both the Natives & every other Couple was remarkable.

The ride to Ocho Rios was not so bad. We stopped a few times for Red Stripe. The ride was nice as we made alot of friends. The 2 hour bus ride was over and we were there. Our OCEAN DELUXE VIEW room was remarkable. They had great restaurants, with delicious food, and activities were especially fantastic. My wife, Louisa, was loving Ocho Rios so much that she was actually disappointed (thinking it couldn’t get any better) that we were leaving for Negril mid-week (since I told her the night before). But she promised to hold her judgment until we arrived in Negril. The flight went smooth, very scenic!!!

Negril is more updated, but lacks the true Deluxe Ocean-View as we had in Ocho Rios. Everyone was so friendly, the entertainment was great, the pool was better with swim up bar and the Beach was a lot Nicer & Cleaner. We made some friends and what was really cool, is that 90% of the Couples were married the same day we were!!! And the best thing is, I smoked Cuban Cigars all week. YEAH! Everyone asked and maybe you’re wondering too: Which was best? Just depends what one is looking for…

Best Restaurants with better view {Ocho Rios) – Newer Room (remote control A/C unit: really cool), better beach, but view for the dollar was not worth it {Negril} This was the best vacation we ever had and we are/were so happy to decide to go to Couples Double Take for our Honeymoon. I’ve decided on Couples Resort for the name, reputation and reviews. Finally we are Mr. & Mrs. and we shall return.

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Couples – Negril Brenda — USA

June 2003

My husband and I went to Jamaica, Couples Negril for 9 days May 23-31. Roundtrip air was through Air Jamaica out of Atlanta. I’ve flown AJ twice now and have to say that they are a pretty good airline. We had a delay outbound, a couple of hours, but nothing too outrageous. As you know…airline delays to and from the Caribbean can be part of the experience. You have to “roll with the punches.” The return was great…no delays!

Arrival at the resort was uneventful. Check in went okay. The “have a seat and we’ll check you in” is okay I guess, but it’s rather cumbersome trying to write and fiddle with your paperwork while in a comfy chair. Sometimes you’d rather be at a desk or a counter to get this done.

We were taken to our room, which was a very nice garden view. It was in building one on the second floor at the end. This is the first building going north of the lobby. We liked it very much. Very close to everything, but never noisy. CN is very well laid out. The rooms have nice bathroom, huge tub, with a great big counter. The furnishings are bohemian contemporary…very stylish! There is a coffee maker in the rooms and lots of pillows. Loved that!

Your beach towels are in your room when you get there. After that you have to turn them in every day at the towel-lady stand for dry ones. This is okay, but she leaves kind of early in the day, and so we always had wet towels in the morning. Didn’t like that at all.

It rained all day our second day, so I had a massage. The spa is very nice. It’s in a separate building, very peaceful and Zen-like. My masseuse, Margaret, was very good. I opted for the aromatherapy. Very, very nice!

CN has the most amazing food!! This is an understatement to say the least. We thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the food. Breakfast had everything and anything you could imagine. Lunch, more of the same. Dinner was menu some nights and buffet others. I can’t rave enough about the food. The cheeseburgers in the beach grill are awesome! Also, the service in the restaurants was excellent. People complain about “Jamaican time,” but we really never experienced it here. When your coffee cup was empty…boom…they filled it! Same with the water and drinks.

The gourmet restaurant, Otheite (pronounced oh-ta-hee-tee) was fantastic. You make your reservations across from the front desk. You may reserve as many times as you want. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal. I had an awesome beef tenderloin…the entire meal was wonderful. We sat next to each other at a little green velvet banquet. It was very romantic. The picture guy came by that night and we got a lovely souvenir.

That is something that really makes CN stand out from other resorts in the Caribbean–the staff and the service. The staff was very professional and accommodating.

We went on the complimentary catamaran cruise and that was lovely. You ride to the pickled parrot on the cliffs and you have the option of jumping off of the boat, swimming to the cliffs, and then jumping off of them. We did not, but it was fun watching the others. The ride was about 2.5 hours.

The pool is wonderful at CN. We parked ourselves at the pool everyday and then went back and forth between the pool and the ocean. The ocean is like a lake–very calm with no undertow or waves. We didn’t see much sea life other than one stingray and a little puffer fish that was swimming very close to shore.

The entertainment during the day was pretty tame. We had some fun games of pool volleyball, but other than that, there wasn’t any deviation from what was scheduled. Most of the entertainment took place at night…late at night as far as I was concerned.

The workout area could use some improvement. There are only two treadmills in the whole place. That led to much waiting. You had to get up pretty early to get one (before 6:30 am). The cardio machines, i.e. treadmills, bikes, and stair climbers were in a little tiny room. The muscle machines (I don’t know what else to call them) where in a larger room, along with an aerobics studio, which was empty 90 percent of the time.

Summary. Great resort and beach. Excellent food and staff. We will be back to CN!!

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