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Loved this place, review is comparison to Jewel Paradise Cove
Feb 21st, 2021
CHECK-IN - Quick and smooth at each one. At Jewel, we were able to negotiate a better room since they were about half empty. For an extra $200 we went from pool view to ocean front. The view and location PLUS free room service made it worthwhile for us. At Couples they automatically upgraded us to our preferred building at no charge. 5* for Couples, 4* for Jewel. PRICE - Couples was a little less than $100 per night more after the new Jewel rate for the upgraded room. ROOM - We were in A building and the room was better than 825 at Jewel. It was larger with a larger balcony, larger room, and better view. Both had good AC and beds with large showers. 5* for Couples, 4* for Jewel. SERVICE - Surprisingly, we got better service at Jewel. Staff there was friendlier and quality was higher with fewer mistakes in orders like room service and restaurant orders. Tipping is permitted at Jewel and we did tip some. It is prohibited at Couples. I expect this is a reason for the improved service at Jewel. 5* for Jewel, 4* for Couples. GROUNDS - Jewel was more compact. It was rarely more than a 5 minute walk to get anywhere. Couples was larger with a long 10 minute walk with many stairs from one end to the other. Couples was more romantic with a lush feel and plenty of quiet grottos to escape to. We saw more wildlife at Couples including sea turtles, mongoose, and more varieties of birds. 5* Couples, 4* Jewel. BEACH - Even, each had two beaches that served different purposes. All were good but none were great. We enjoyed the beach drink service at Jewel not available on Sunset Beach at Couples. 4* for both. WATER SPORTS - Couples had more and better offerings including free snorkeling and water skiiing trips that Jewel did not offer. 5* Couples, 4* Jewel. COVID-19 - These two resorts dealt with this differently. At Jewel, the staff mask usage was 100%. Every staff member wore their mask properly 100% of the time. Period. They also encouraged guests more often to wear the mask. At Couples staff mask usage was so-so at best, but they took your temperature every time you entered a restaurant. Both required hand sanitization at every entrance to a building. Both offered free Covid testing prior to departure. Couples also offered a free 14-night quarantine stay if you tested positive. Jewel offered their own insurance to provide this at a fee. Couples 5*, Jewel 4*. SUNSET BEACH - This is an au naturel beach at Couples. I strongly recommend this to anyone considering it. We loved it and made new friends there we may travel with in the future. This experience greatly improved our overall experience at the resort. We spent most of every day there. ATMOSPHERE - Couples drew a more mature clientele with its higher prices. Guests at Jewel were more likely to be in their 30's and 40's and wear muscle shirts. Guests at Couples were more likely to be in their 50's and 60's and wear polo shirts. Jewel attracted lots of locals on the weekends. Couples attracted fewer. ENTERTAINMENT - This was cut back significantly at both resorts. Usually there was just one act per evening. We really enjoyed the steel band at Jewel. 3* for both but understandable they could not provide more entertainment. We did not appreciate the loud music at Jewel which went until midnight most nights. This kept us from sleeping sometimes. FOOD - Food at Jewel ranged from good to very good with quality presentation. The buffet wasn't as good as any of the restaurants. Few high end dishes were offered. Japanese was easily the best restaurant. At Couples, there was no buffet and every meal was a la carte. Breakfast and lunch were both a little better at Couples versus Jewel. The difference was more noticeable at dinner, where Couples really shined. It was a true high-end experience like you would get at a very nice restaurant in a city. Typically 5 courses if you wanted with high end choices for nearly every course. Typical choices included filet, duck, and lamb. Our worst dinner at Couples was great, the best was easily one of the best meals we have ever had. 4* Jewel, 5* Couples. CAPACITY - Resort capacity ranged from about 15% during the week at Couples to 50% during the weekend at Jewel. These are just my estimates. OVERALL - Both provide a great value and would recommend both to anyone. We have never returned to the same resort a second time, but we plan to return to Couples. That says everything about our experience. TRIPADVISOR.COM USER
couples san souci trip
Feb 21st, 2021
just got back from san souci. when we arrived at the airport masks were required. they sprayed our hands as we left the plane, sanitized at immigration, baggage claim and at the couples club. at the resort you wear masks when entering a restaurant, and they take your temperature. the staff was awesome and very thankful we were there. it was one of our best trips. they are doing everything right so i just wanted to tell everyone who is on the fence to just do it. just use good sanitation practices and you should be fine! TRIPADVISOR.COM USER
Honeymoon during the COVID-19 pandemic
Feb 11th, 2021
One word: service. As someone who has a wide experience in the hospitality industry, a business can have a great product (food, location, rooms, etc...), but so do many other restaurants/hotels/resorts. So, if you want to get the guest to enjoy their experience and (most importantly) recommend it to others and possibly return, great service is what makes that happen. The wonderful service (5 stars) we received from many staff members, was most notably from Jodian & Deleen in Guest Services, but others contributed in smaller ways. Specifically: - Chedine, Lissa, Kishawn, Tevin, Marvia, Shaneil, & Andreen at the Front Desk - Wainford the bellman upon our arrival - Lennon in room service (and the other room service coordinators manning the phones) - Photographers Delsena and Hakeem - Jordaine, our server for the private dinner, Andrea & Raffique at Casanova, as well as Ramon the bartender in the Balloon Bar As far as the product goes- The location (4 stars): This is a given circumstance, so you can’t specifically fault anyone for it, but it is important. The biggest flaw was that this resort is the furthest drive between both airports (Montego Bay and Kingston). The drives, depending on traffic, are 90 to 120 minutes each way. Our priority was that we wanted a resort that has a beach along the ocean. This applies to many in Jamaica, and this one is no exception. The only other important things we wanted were the available offshore excursions. We primarily wanted to go to Dolphin Cove as well as Dunn’s River Falls. Both are in Ocho Rios, so that was great. Oh and make sure you have water shoes before going to Dunn’s River Falls, otherwise, you will not be able to hike the falls. We did not know this and had to pay for a terrible quality pair. The property (3 stars): The main attraction at any tropical resort is their beaches, and theirs were fine, with tons of seating and umbrellas galore. We never took the time to try their au natural (i.e. nude) sunset beach, but we did see it (thankfully the nude hours end at 5pm) and the views during sunset are spectacular. Also, the free WiFi they offered on the entire property was spotty, as it regularly would not work for minutes or several hours at a time, despite you being properly connected to the router. We understand the limited staffing due to COVID-19, but the pools and hot tubs weren’t regularly skimmed to remove the natural falling debris, such as vegetation and bugs. This is something one would expect at a nice resort. Also, there are a ton of stairs to get from the main lobby area to almost everywhere else on the property. We are young and relatively in shape so this wasn’t really a problem for us, but it still was awkward in the layout. Our guest room (4 stars): except for our shower, it lived up to our expectations. This is not a luxury resort, nor did we expect it to be. The room was one of their Penthouse Suites. Each one is named after a celebrity who once stayed there (ours was named after “Angela Bassette”). The room was appointed adequately for the living room (mini-fridge, complimentarily stocked with Red Stripe and non-alcoholic sodas and juices, as well as a complimentary bottle of vodka, rum, and wine, single-serving pod coffee maker, long desk, loveseat, coffee table, and two lounge chairs and entrance to our balcony), bathroom (two sinks with plenty of counter space), hallway (with an ample-sized walk-in closet), and bedroom (king bed and entrance to our balcony). And that balcony! Oh, the wonderful balcony! The size was much larger than I’m used to and it had a table for dining, with two cushioned chairs, as well as two cushioned chaise lounge chairs. The view of the ocean from the balcony is what cemented this room as worth the extra cost. The only negative was the bathroom shower. It’s a walk-in shower stall with a curtain that has one dispenser for a 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner and another dispenser for body wash. The problem is there’s no space for your soap bars, loofah, or personal bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. The owner could at least invest in a caddy that hangs from the faucet head as we have in our home. On the first night when we took a shower, the water pressure was an insufficient trickle. After the engineer came up to fix it, the pressure was good enough but never great. The food (3 stars): They have five options here. Three full-service restaurants, full-service private dining (for an upcharge that starts at $225), and in-room dining. Of the full-service restaurants, Casanova (New American cuisine) was their best. Every course was delicious on the whole and the service, from hostess to assistant server, to the main server, was top notch. Also, the ambiance felt more like fine dining than any other restaurant at the resort. The next lowest in quality of our experience was the Bella Vista Grill (Jamaican and Traditional American cuisine), which is on the main beach, so the views were spectacular. This is the most casual option and when we stuck to certain menu items we enjoyed them. Specifically, we enjoyed the jerk chicken, coco bread, beef, and chicken patties, fish sandwich, and sorbets. The cheeseburger was possibly the worst cheeseburger I’ve ever eaten. Even though they asked what temperature I wanted it (medium) they cooked it well done and the quality of the beef is very generic. It’s probably a frozen patty. And the fish taco meat (which is fried) was so unusually dry. The overnight menu is understandably more limited, but the chef, unfortunately, had no clue how to make simple items. We asked for a grilled cheese sandwich and he put a few slices of cheddar cheese (no American cheese at this resort) on generic white bread. in a small oven just to melt the cheese. He never slathered butter or mayonnaise on the outside of the bread, nor did he cook it on a grill, flattop, or in a pan. He just put the bread in a small oven to melt the cheese and it was barely melted, which is even more puzzling. The bread itself wasn’t even heated up enough to allow it to get a toasted brown coloring. It was understandably dry and flavorless. The next lowest in quality of our experience was in-room dining (typical room service cuisine). Most disappointingly was their sample menu on the website and app had many delicious-looking options, but the actual menu was more limited. Even more disappointing is that sometimes they didn’t even have what the menu offered. By that I mean for breakfast they had in their simple Continental Breakfast Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes, and Frosted Flakes, granola, and Rice Krispies on the actual app menu, but in reality, they never had the granola nor Rice Krispies. The hot items ranged in quality. The eggs, bacon, sausage, and beans (with toast) were way off my expectations, given how simple they are. The all-day lunch/dinner items were all pretty bad, as they made the same cheeseburgers as the Bella Vista Grill and the same pizza and pasta as Palazzina (see below). The chicken club sandwich was delicious enough to get more than once and the soups of the day were all superb. The dinner menu, which we tried twice, was a real gem. The baked chicken dish, as well as the snapper dish, were surprisingly good. I don’t know how the mashed potatoes were made for both, but I want the recipe. The next lowest in quality of our experience was Palazzina (Italian cuisine). This lesser experience is mostly because of the food, as the ambiance and overall layout of the restaurant are beautiful and the service was affable, even though it felt very amateurish at times with a seeming lack of knowledge in the menu. The fried calamari was so tough, it became impossible to chew completely. Their tomato-based pasta sauces (marinara and bolognese) were way too sweet, and the small thin-crust personal pizza could be the worst I’ve ever had, and that includes bad microwave frozen pizza. The texture is off and the sauce is as bland as can be. Quite simply, Palazzina is just poorly executed dishes that wouldn’t pass the muster at even the most basic Italian cuisine of Olive Garden. Last in quality of our experience was the private dinner. The way the server (Jordaine) decorated our table and the area surrounding it (in a gazebo overlooking the ocean) was perfect, and so was his overall service. The real disappointment from the private dinner was the chef (Fabianne). He came to the table to start the meal. Our menus were customized well before the meal when we arranged them through guest services. They give you four templates of menus to choose from and you can go with exactly what is on them or customize according to your desires. So each of us had our individually-customized menus printed out with all the main ingredients in each dish. When we received the first (of four) courses, two ingredients were missing from my appetizer as well as my wife’s appetizer. The chef came to the table after that course to see how everything was? I told him two ingredients were missing from each of our dishes. Fabianne apologized, and I asked him if he had the same customized menus listing the ingredients as we have? He said he did. I then asked him if he was just out of inventory for some of the ingredients and he said he had every ingredient needed. The second course came and one ingredient was missing from my wife’s salad and two ingredients from my soup. I immediately asked Jordaine if he could tell Fabianne to come to speak with us again. When Jordaine returned with our drink refills he was surprised Fabianne didn’t come yet, because he told Jordaine he would. Fabianne never came to the table for the rest of the meal. When the third course arrived, thankfully all the ingredients were on both plates, but my entree (beef tenderloin) was overcooked (I asked for it medium rare and it came medium-well) and my wife’s chicken was overcooked as well, being tougher than normal trying to cut and chew it. The fourth course (dessert) arrived thankfully with all the ingredients again on the plates. They tasted just ok. The desserts at Casanova were most definitely superior in the overall quality. Activities (4 stars): The activities offered were mostly still intact, despite the COVID-19 restrictions, but there were some shortcomings. First and foremost were the various beach activities, such as the glass bottom boat tour, snorkeling, and paddleboarding. Because there was a more limited staff running them, the available times to do those activities were also limited, which affected how we scheduled our day to be able to fit them in or not. The one thing we’ve always enjoyed on our vacations, both resorts and cruises are the trivia games and nighttime piano bars. The trivia we did was sports trivia and it was fine, but there was only one other couple that attended. And they have a piano bar player, but he only does it Monday and Wednesday nights. Also, he’s supposed to go from 11pm-1am, but he did it from 10pm-11pm because we were the only couple there! So the activities we were able to partake in were fun but understandably less so than they would be when there are more participants. And despite any shortcomings this resort had because of COVID-19, service was never one of them. When every restaurant, hotel, and the resort has a reduced staff because of a reduced occupancy, it becomes even more important for them to be on top of their game when it comes to service, and many Sans Souci staff members did! TRIPADVISOR.COM USER
2nd visit - 1st since Covid - great about safety and food allergies
Feb 7th, 2021
This is our second visit to Sans Souci and our first since Covid. The safety focus by the Jamaican immigration and Sans Souci started from the moment we left the plane. We were asked to use Sanitizer at least 3 times before we left the airport, everyone was wearing masks and the hotel was the same - temperature checks in restaurants, staff wearing masks, plenty of sanitizer and spotlessly maintained facilities - I watched Rohan clean and sanitize the pool thoroughly every single day. We felt completely safe the entire time we were there. When we checked in I reminded the staff of my girlfriend's significant food allergies - gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and they called George the Executive Sous Chef to come and talk with us. He reassured us that they would prepare special meals and he would inform all the chefs around the property. Both these things happened and all the chefs were wonderful about it. It really made the entire week so much better. As always, the drinks were non-stop and the massages at the spa were great - thanks to Jackie and Ruth. The hotel was operating at a very low capacity so there was no problem social distancing throughout our stay, but we were still able to socialize with several other couples. We stayed in A Block which was close to the pools and bars and recently renovated - a very comfortable room. The only thing to note is that the (almost) nightly music was right outside the block, so if you are someone who gets tired at the end of a beach/drinking/eating day you may want to request a different block. The hotel provided a free Covid test prior to departure back to the US, and the nurse was very gentle so it was not a problem. A very relaxing, stress-free and safe trip from beginning to end. I really feel like Sans Souci has done everything they can to make this a great experience. We will return again as soon as we can. TRIPADVISOR.COM USER
Just what the doctor ordered
Feb 1st, 2021
For any person who needs a mental and physical break in these hard times or who just need to reconnect as a couple. This is exactly what the doctor ordered. Beautifully maintained acreage and grounds. I wore a hibiscus in my hair everyday. World class My husband and I felt safer at Couples Sans Souci than we do at home. Precautions were in place and the Sunshine overflowed. World class service, food and entertainment. Best massage therapists with no need to leave the beach if you want. Any critical reviews you read must be considered as written by critical people. In the multiple trips I have made to this resort I have NEVER met a guest not having a Wonderful experience here. We were able to watch shows from our balcony and socialize safely with others. We made new friends, danced, played and watched the best sun sets. Rest, relaxation and no Covid worries. A slice of heaven and a battery recharge like none other. The hotel assured that we received our USA required re entry tests on site with no additional charge. Do double check that the Jamaican Ministry of health gets your DOB correct, though. The resort offers powdered sand beaches and watersports on the crystal clear aquamarine Caribbean sea. The main beach has the absolute softest pink and white sand. The nude beach area is private and offers the best sunsets. The grounds were beautifully maintained and I wore a beautiful hibiscus flower in my hair everyday. Can't wait to get back. For those who have never been here... welcome to your new addiction. For any nay sayers, I must ask... What is wrong with your sense of satisfaction and fun o meter? If you can't appreciate this most lovely resort, you can't appreciate life in general and Good luck with that kind of attitude as happiness lives at Couples Sans Souci. Not happy here? Might as well give up. TRIPADVISOR.COM USER
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