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Couples Sans Souci
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Reviewed 17 May 2012

Married May 5th, Honeymooned at San Souci May 6th to May 13th. We'd like to share with you our overall impressions. Generally speaking, she and I are not "minglers" and are not in a hurry to jump into quick conversations with everyone we meet. We can and do, but usually with a tinge of reluctance. Thus, it was a goal of ours, on this trip, to turn it down a notch or two disconnect from real life. San Souci turned out to be the perfect place for this!
You can move at your own pace and enjoy the beauty and serenity without any sense of social pressures or expectations. Everyone there is free to indulge or not indulge in whatever activities they choose and at whatever speed they desire. The weather was beautiful, the staff was very attentive and the service was (for the most part) timely. The food was outstanding- we especially liked the casual restaurant as you could be seated next to the wind and waves on the beach. There is a fair amount of walking and steps compared to a lot of resorts but we loved following the twisty, turny paths through the grounds and around the cliffs- there was
always something to discover, a hammock tucked here , a secret bench there - ample opportunity abounds for- ehem - private rendesvous'. San Souci was the perfect get away for us. Turned off the phones, and never looked at a computer screen. I've seen other reviews
where people had problems with staff or room arrangements. We had no issues whatsoever so maybe we were lucky but I would suggest that a respectful appreciation for their efforts does help as well. We had a bag missing from our flight which arrived on the next flight and they took care of getting it to us. As for tips, they are not expected but are accepted/appreciated and a little gesture of acknowledgement is in our opinion justified.
Was everything perfect? Of course not, nothing ever is. Was it the best vacation we've ever been on? Absolutely.

We spent most of our days naked at the Au Natural beach with the surf and the breeze, drinks in hand. Sauntered over to the swim up pool bar, got another drink, chatted a bit with the staff and guests, cooled off and did it again. Not a bad way to spend a day. Took the sailboat out, did the snorkeling adventure, she got a massage, we danced at the after Gala Party disco. Overall, had a great time.
For those wanting to know of potential concerns for their visit, I could list the following: The logistics of maintenance at the resort are pretty staggering, thus there is always some sort of tractor running, painting or hammering taking place most of the time. It's not that intrusive but it's there. The maid staff is talkative and seem to be active 24/7, so that could also affect your zen (Use your "DO NOT DISTURB SIGNS" LIBERALLY!). Lastly, and most importantly to my bride, there is a significant reluctance on the part of the wait staff to distribute
SPLENDA in any appreciable amount, but that can be overcome with perseverance and persistence. The only other consideration may be the slow pace and atmosphere
- if you want to party hardy then this may not be the place, They have some after hours activities, but they aren't hardcore. If however, your goal is to separate from the real world for a few days, we enthusiastically recommend it.

Room Tip: A and B Block are behind the main pool and beach so a little more activity but nice view of the beach.
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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4  Thank Jen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 May 2012

We stayed at CSS from 4-28 thru 5-5. This was our second time to CSS. Unfortunately for us, it rained almost everyday. We still had a good time. We just spent more time indoors. We requested our same room in building A and got the room next door (which we were thrilled with).

Tips for first timers: 1) Feed the duck at the pond. He lost his mate last year due to a car running over her. The duck is also blind. He is trained to come to people’s voices. He will not intentionally bite you. Hold the bread at a 90-degree angle to the duck’s beak. We found out about this during the Nature walk. This is a must-do. We did not do it last time because it starts at 8am. Albert was very informative and patient with all of our questions. You can also feed the turtles, fish, parrot (Crackers is the green parrot’s name), etc… We always got extra bread at breakfast and fed the animals before we were too soaked from the rain. 2) Still hungry after 11pm, go to Bella Vista. 3) Do not wait on employees at CSS to ask you what you want. Be pro-active and you will get better service (or you can break the rules and tip everyone). 4) If you like buffets, this is the place for you. Breakfast and lunch at the Palazzina. 5) If you order anything, expect it to take 30 to 45 minutes. Remember, you are on Jamaican time. 6) Get a couples massage over-looking the ocean. Ruth does an excellent job. 7) If you do not want to participate in the forced socialization (Gala, Beach party, and repeat guest dinner), order room service in the AM so you will be sure to get your supper. This worked really well for us on the Beach party night. It rained all day and the beach party was cancelled. Everyone was ordering room service and they were backed up. We ordered room service for 6pm (ordered at 10am) and the food was delivered at 6:30pm. 8) Make sure to spend at least 1-2 hours a day exploring the property. There are so many places that are very private. We spent one afternoon at the gazebo by the building with the exercise equipment while it was raining. Believe it or not it was beautiful even when raining. Make sure to bring your camera on all your outings. 9) Food at CSS is comparable to Chili’s. Casanova presents food well, but the taste of the food was not 5 star. Appetizers at Casanova better than the entrees. 10) Bring bug spray! We had a minor ant problem in our bathroom for a few days (probably due to the rain). Never called the front desk about it, just took care of it myself. 11) Go to the au natural beach. We did not go the first trip, but we did this time. 12) Stay in the one bedroom oceanfront suite. It is not worth the money to upgrade. 13) Tip the guy who replenishes the mini bar if you want something other than what is on the card you have to fill out everyday. 14) If you like to drink, ask any bartender for a Bob Marley. Tastes wonderful and is pretty strong. 15) Do not use spray on sunscreen in your room!! We found out last year that the sunscreen mixed with the tile floor will make you laugh if someone else is walking on it. You will not laugh if you bust your bottom. Sunscreen + tile = accident waiting to happen. Put on your sunscreen on the porch.

We would probably return to CSS, but will have to wait for the bad weather blues to go away.

I wanted to give a special thanks to Cheryl with Custom Travel for getting us the best price for our vacation and for answering all our questions. Also, thank you for the passes to the united club and the mobay club. We loved the mobay club. The best part was being escorted through customs instead of having to wait in those long lines.

Room Tip: request a room in A block on second or third floor. Good view and not a lot of walking.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank sailfish85houston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 May 2012

My boyfriend and I traveled here the last week of April/First week of May 2012. I booked due to so many amazing reviews on this site. It was our first vacation at a Couples resort. The resort overall is beautiful. It is an older property which adds to its charm. The way it is built on the cliffs makes for many amazing views and picture opportunities and the groundkeepers work hard every day to maintain the lush landscaping.

Upon arriving, even though we requested a room in D block via phone prior to arrival, we were assigned a room in G block. G block is the farthest from the beach and a very long walk up/down many steps. Therefore, I asked if we could move to D block. The lady at reception was helpful in walking us down and showing us the room we could have. The only room left in D block had no ocean view due to the balcony facing many trees that blocked the view (you could see a piece of the ocean, but it certainly wasn't breathtaking). I must admit I was quite disappointed that we did our part in calling in advance and requesting a room in D block, and now we were left with probably one of the worst rooms in the D block (also it was a bottom floor room).

Because I didn't want us to be isolated in G block, we took the room, which still had to be cleaned. We were told to check back in an hour or so with reception. Needless to say, we had already been traveling for 7 hours and would have liked a room, but we went ahead and explored the property a bit and had lunch and then went back. Again, we were told the room was not ready. No one could really give us a good idea of when we would get into our room. We sat in the waiting area at reception and waited, and waited......finally a little after 4pm they gave us our keys. Needless to say, I understand we asked for a change, but we had requested a D block room prior to arrival and the fact that we had to wait so long for our room plus the lack of communication from the staff was frustrating.

The room was ok in terms of layout, everything was dated which we expected...but the deadbolt on the door did not work, we were on the first floor, and there were cracks in all the doors which made it very easy for insects to visit us. Overall with the room issues, the lack of a view and the long wait for our room, I was not coming into this resort feeling that it was the wonderful place described in all the reviews. Also, while there was good air conditioning in the main living area, if you had the bathroom door closed when taking a shower, the bathroom would get uncomfortably hot and the air seemed to not reach this room. Because the room did not have a separate area with a mirror for doing hair/makeup, you were forced to do those things in a hot/steamy room which was not very pleasant. A simple mirror and dressing table in the room to alleviate the need to use the bathroom for these things would have been helpful.

After our first day, I called reception and asked if anyone might be checking out on a higher floor on the D block so that we could change rooms and hopefully get a better view and not be on the first floor. I was told that no one was checking out that day, but to check back the next day. My boyfriend urged me to just forget about trying as we felt that the staff was not overly interested in our needs. Plus after unpacking it would have been a hassle to move. Therefore I just dropped my request and never visited reception.

A day later, we returned to our room around 4pm after being out all day to find it was not cleaned and the cleaning staff asking us when we were going to move our things. Move our things? I had no idea what they were talking about. Well, it turns out that even though I never followed up with reception on my request, they had informed everyone else (except us) that we were moving to....the G BLOCK! …exactly where I did not want to be. I had to talk to reception and they were not very friendly...basically blaming me for not being around to get their call about the move (um, this is a resort where you are out at the pool or in the ocean all day - I wouldn't be in my room waiting for a call from them - not to mention the resort is certainly small enough that they probably could have found us if they had a message to deliver). I tried to keep my calm and informed him that we did not want to move to G block, as a matter of fact, we were given a room in G block on our first day and asked to be moved to D block (the block we requested weeks before our arrival!). I informed him I had requested to move to a higher floor of D block but the lady I spoke with said there were no rooms, and to check another day, which I never did because I decided it wasn't worth the bother. The result is that we stayed in our same room (D9) the entire week, with a poor view (even though we paid for ocean view) and a noisy room on the first floor of a busy hallway. The moral of this story is that overall we found the reception/operations staff to lack some basic customer service and communication skills. Rather than feeling welcomed and accommodated as paying guests, we felt as if we were being a bother to them which is not the way you wish to feel when you are on vacation.

Outside of the room, the resort is certainly beautiful. It is full of trees and flowers (bring your bug spray for the evenings!). Do not come here if you want to be very active and have something to do every second. This is a place where you should plan to get a chair at one of the pools or on the beach every morning and plant yourself there with a good book. The watersport activities are ok. The glass bottom boat tour was not that great as there isn't much to see. Snorkeling was just ok, it's only 30 minutes and you don't see many fish. Taking out the kayak was a nice way to get a little exercise. The staff working at watersports is always very friendly and willing to help you out with getting the equipment you want to use in the water. The best thing to do is get on a floating raft in the pools or in the ocean and just float and relax (maybe even with a drink!). Because of the resort’s size, even when it was full you could still find times where you might be the only couple in the pool or in the ocean. I definitely appreciated the small size and lack of crowded pools, etc…you could always find a chair. All of the amenities were clean and well taken care of with the exception of the Jacuzzis which seemed to be ignored and usually had a lot of leaves and debris floating in them. The resort publishes a list of activities and it sounds like you will be very busy, but in my experience, most of these activities never actually happen due to lack of participation by guests or confusion by staff as to where the activity would actually be held. For example, one day they advertised a mixology class at the Palazinna restaurant. After a few of us arrived on time, the staff seemed genuinely confused as to why we were there, after calling around they directed us to another location. By the way, this “class” was just a bartender making us shots and very quickly telling us what he put in them – not really a mixology class!

The gym and spa were nice. We did take advantage of a couples massage in one of the ocean-front huts. Overall the massage was not the best I ever had, but it was another experience you will want to have while you are there (an outdoor massage, listening to the ocean, etc…). The gym has a decent amount of cardio and weight equipment.

The only time we left the resort was to go to Dunns River Falls. I feel it's important to do this if you haven't, it's something you can check off the bucket list - but overall it is a tourist trap in terms of them taking your picture and video every 5 minutes and hoping you will buy it at the end. Not to mention our guide who felt that a tip less than $20 was unfair and would let everyone around him know how cheap you were if you gave him less. Then the "exit through the gift shop" experience is interesting. There are many vendors in this “shopping village” and they are all trying to get you to stop and buy their things. I often think the people in Jamaica would sell more if they weren't so pushy - most of the people on the trip with us just ran through the vendors to the bus to avoid dealing with the pushy salespeople. Perhaps if they were less pushy people would stop and at least browse the items.

Drinks: I felt the drinks weren't very strong most of the time. Perhaps you had to ask for extra shots to get a normal US type drink. Some of the bartenders were fairly standoffish and not interested in helping. A few, like Easton at the pool bar, were great - very friendly and happy to get you whatever you asked for.

The food was not as amazing as I thought it would be - but I am also a picky eater. Palazzina is really the place to go for every meal. For breakfast and lunch they have buffets. The breakfast was basically the same every day, but lunch changed daily and some of the food was actually really great. We also enjoyed seeing the kittens that would visit the outdoor seating area at every meal and quietly beg for some scraps. The beach grill's lunch food was not very good in my opinion.

Dinner was a challenge for a picky eater, but Palazinna has a pasta bar/station every night so if I couldn't find anything else, that was a good fallback option. We ate dinner one night at Cassanova which I think was ok. The service was slower there and overall the food was just ok. While I like spicy food, be aware that pepper is used a lot and sometimes not in ways you may want. One day my boyfriend and I ordered a smoothie at the mineral pool and after drinking a few sips, realized there was pepper in it! It was a banana/pineapple smoothie- I have no idea why the extra spice was added, but needless to say we did not finish it and never went back to try any other smoothies.

Entertainment was also ok. Unfortunately during our trip we had a lot of rain, so both outdoor parties were moved indoors, so perhaps we missed some of the benefit of seeing entertainment outside under the stars. The best entertainment was on the beach party night, they had a steel drum group that was amazing. I wished they would have played longer. Other nights were various singers/bands and one night was a magician who left a lot to be desired. Overall, don't come here for the entertainment. Understand that it's a nice little addition to the all-inclusive and gives you something to do in the evening after dinner - but not top notch entertainment.

Another great part of this resort is the lake area, it's in a quite area behind the beachfront rooms and there are a lot of interesting birds and turtles to watch and overall it's just a nice quite place to sit and reflect on the beautiful surroundings. There are bikes over there as well that you can use and ride around the path around the lake- not a challenging ride, but a fun thing to do.

Overall I am still torn if I would go back. The resort is beautiful and relaxing, but the rooms lacked something to be desired and the customer service was also lacking. I will admit I am a frequent business traveler and usually stay in 4 or 5 star hotels, so perhaps my expectations are higher. I feel the concept of the all-inclusive is a great deal and perhaps will visit another Couples property in the future, but I am not sure I would go back to Sans Souci as a first choice.

Room Tip: After going there, I would say A or B block is better, closer to everything. Some people said the rooms were noisier due to the proximity to the pool/ocean/restaurants, but I can't imagine it being that bad. The resort pretty much shuts down at 11pm. D block was ok, but don't stay in D9 - you will have NO ocean view!
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank worldtravelerfromnc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 May 2012

My Wife and I just returned from 15 days at Couples Sans Souci in Jamaica. Having been to other resorts I can say with authority that this was the best place I have ever stayed. It rates a legimiate 4 stars (it would get 5 if they had furniture that had a West Indies theme). The Staff to a person was fantastic, whether cleaning the beach of sea weed each morning or making you a boat drink everyone smiled. We will not be able to repeat next year but I am already planning for 2014.

Room Tip: If you spend alot of time in your room, opt for a Ocean View Veranda so you can sit out side at a table.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Mike-Jeannie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 May 2012

LONG REVIEW 20 PHOTOS ATTACHED!

My Fiance and I Finally tied the knot at Couples: San Souci in Ocho Rios Jamaica on May 7th 2012. We Arrived on Thursday around 6pm and left the following Thursday at 8:30am. Overall A++ They went above and beyond expectation. The ONLY 2 complaints/Tips I have is if you visit this resort. Bring your own Toilet Paper and your own Ketchup. Read Further for explination 

20 REAL Photos attached. we have Many Many More!

THE BUS FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE RESORT
Takes about 1 hour and 40Minutes...That sucked...The bus WAS Air Conditioned and pretty comfy, we got to stop to use the bathroom on the way and get a drink, the bus driver did show us some of the "sights" on the way. We were told there will be a new international airport opening in the next few years in Ocho Rios so the ride then should only take 15 minutes.
THE STAFF
Not 1 person from the Maid, to the Bartenders, to the landscapers…no one told us “I don’t know” Any question we had people would gladly either answer it correctly, or escort us to someone who could answer us correctly. No one gave us crap answers or told us something just to appease us, everyone was sincerely nice, honest and legit. By the 3rd day it seemed everyone knew us by name! When we walked up to the bars they knew what we drank and had our drinks started before we sat down.

THE ROOM
We stayed in the A building 2nd floor with a balcony that over looked the ocean. The room was cleaned every day, The Mini Bar was stocked every day with exactly what we wanted the supply you with a request card. Room service on average took between 15 and 30 minutes, Mornings were a little slower due to all the Breakfast orders. But you could leave a Breakfast Request card outside your door with a scheduled time in which you would like it brought to you, and they were always on time. Overall the Room was very spacious, The shower was HUGE! you got as many pillows as you wanted, Fresh towels on time every day. We had the same Maid (Mary) Every day, she introduced herself and told us if we needed anything just to leave her a note. We had fresh flowers left in a pretty pattern on our bed everyday. I am spoiled when it comes to Toilet Paper and the stuff they supply is a little rough, if I went back I’d bring a roll or two of the soft stuff but I’m getting a little too picky

ACTIVITIES
In your room there is a welcome book, it tell you everything there is to do at the Resort, and gives times for all the activities. There are some "Pay" Activities but we didn't do any of them.
There were Free activities all day long, there was always something to do if you wanted to, Pottery Painting, Dance classes, Jamaican cooking classes, Beach Volleyball, Pool Volley Ball, Ocean Kayaking, Wind Surfing, Sailing, Snorkeling, Water Skiing, Wake Boarding, Knee Boarding, Paddle Boats, Glass Bottom Boat tour, they take you to see a Sunken WWII Mine Sweeper Ship! Plus all of the Excursions, like the Duns River Falls Etc....At night they had a Formal Friday Night Gala, a Very Informal but awesomely fun Beach Party on Tuesday Night and "Showtime" at the Balloon Bar the rest of the week for nightly entertainment... Or you could skip all that and Hang out with Easton (most awesome Bartender ever!) at the pool Bar and Orlando (second most awesome bartender ever!) At the Main Bar!

THE SPA and SALON
My fiancé and I got a free 25 minute couples massage in our wedding package, we were taken to a private enclosed structure that was open to the ocean, I personally dont like massages of anykind, that being said, my fiancé LOVED her massage, i must say just the sound of the ocean was relaxing.
I bought my fiancé a Salon package so she could get a manicure, pedicure and her hair done for the wedding. Tessa did her hair and nails an HOLY CRAP SHE LOOKED HOT! If you don’t believe me, seriously ask me for a picture. I will GLADY show off my hot wife 

THE RESORT Bars/Food
The Food itself was absolutely fantastic. The "escovitch fish"(sp?) is amazing, Its like a Snapper, its a common fish on the island and you will see it served different ways at different meals...its always good. Everything was fresh and good. The only thing I didn't like was the Ketchup it tasted more like a tomato based sweet and sour sauce. I am spoiled with Heinz Ketchup though...being fair.

The Pool Bar: Awesome, Easton is the best Bartender Ever
The Main Bar/Grill: Lots of room attached to the Grill, you can eat either at a table or at a Bar.
The Pallazini: Great Breakfast and lunch Buffets, we LOVED their Lunch Buffets...
The Bella Vista: At dinner time the Main Bar set tables out on the beach and served an upscale dinner...very romantic
The Casa Nova: VERY UPSCALE fine dining, we ate here only 1 night, our wedding night, resort elegant attire needed to eat here.
The Balloon Bar: Had Showtime every night around 8:30pm, Hosted by Katyann, Shellyann and Sasha all 3 awesome Girls who pretty much set up and ran all the activities and Jermaine! How could I forget him! and then a Piano Sing-along until 11pm. Lots of fun, very pretty at night.
Charlie's Juice Bar: The basically picked fruit from a tree and juiced it for you, that’s how fresh this stuff is. R.I.P Charlie!

THE WEDDING
Was great, We chose the more private Ocean front Gazebo. It was a short and sweet service the decorations were simple but gorgeous, the flowers freshly picked. We purchased the 40 Pictures on a CD Photo Package. The Photo Packages were expensive, not only for the wedding photo but for resort photos themselves they’re expensive. If you want Professional Pictures, we spent $600 for our wedding Pictures. We did have a friend there who took a lot of great pictures too, and they didn’t mind our own people taking photos. Kenisha was our photographer and she isn’t just a girl with a camera, she is a legit photographer she took excellent photos. She really had an artistic eye and because we eloped with out family being present the Photos Kenisha took for us were worth the amount we paid for them.


Ken Schnur

Room Tip: We had a 1 Bedroom Beach Front Suite in the A Building, A14 to be exact. We were located right above the main pool and the main beach.
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Ken S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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