Last year I wrote a fairly detailed comparative review of Couples Negril and Couples Swept Away (do a search on "Couples Throwdown" here on TripAdvisor to find it. My wife and I returned to Couples Negril this March and once again had an absolutely fabulous time. We did find a number of things had changed in the intervening year...
We've been going to Jamaica for over 10 years, and one thing we learned over that period is that most of the country runs on "Island Time." You just have to be patient because no one is going to stress out to do something promptly. So we found it somewhat odd to find our every request at Couples Negril handled so quickly this year. When we arrived we checked into our room and found a lighted mirror in the bathroom that was not working. We mentioned it to the bellman and figured it would probably be repaired later in the afternoon. We had, in fact, learned to expect Island Time. It had been a long trip and my wife hopped in the shower. Imagine my surprise when less than five minutes after we mentioned it there was someone knocking on the door to fix the light. This sort of speedy service happened all week. We were in an upgraded room (more about this in a bit) where they provide snacks every evening around five. They were there promptly every day. One day they had neglected to restock our mini-bar with a bottle of white wine. I called up to ask about this and they said the staff that does that leaves at 5 PM. Nonetheless a few minutes later there was a knock on the door and a cold bottle of wine. The only thing I can figure is that there must be a renewed emphasis on service at Couples. You have to adjust your expectations to get used to this.
Everyone has always said at Couples Negril that you should take the lowest price room because the higher priced ones don't offer ocean views or other amenities that make it worth the difference. In general I agree with that, but this year we waited too long and booked too late to get a lower priced room. So we ended up in a suite. It did cost a few hundred dollars extra, but it just might have been worth it. You get a double sized balcony with a hammock, a bathroom that is the size of most hotel rooms, and the afternoon snacks. The snacks are great. Some days you get something sweet and some days you get something savory. My favorite was the shrimp crustini.. it was phenomenal. We had a corner room with windows on two sides. The suite is something I don't think I would do regularly, but it certainly was worth doing once.
On our last three trips to Negril we've taken a plane flight from Montego Bay rather than the hotel van. It's about $100 per person, but it's a fabulous experience flying up the coast, and you arrive in less than 15 minutes. However, here are a couple of tips. To get to the commuter airline you have to leave the airport arrival lounge and walk down the outside of the airport to the departure lounge. Since we'd done this several times and knew where to go, so when we arrived we took off for the Inter-Link airline ticket counter. There was no one there. We waited over a half hour and no one showed up. Finally we stopped a random airport employee and asked if they knew where the were. The employee offered to phone for us and when he did, he discovered the guy who was supposed to be at the counter was patently waiting for us at the arrival lounge. The lesson here is even if you know where to go, don't. There will be someone waiting for you at arrivals.
Last year when we arrived at the airstrip in Negril, we took a taxi to Couples Negril and were nonplussed to discover that we were being charged $10 to take us across the street. This year we decided to walk it. Not a good idea. The road surface is rough and if you have wheeled luggage its tough going. It's also uphill. Later we found out that an airline employee will call over to the resort and they will send someone to pick you up for free. I'd either do that next time or pay the taxi.
Last year I made some pretty negative comments about the evening entertainment. It's still has issues, but it did seem to be better this year. Whatever you do don't miss the performance by the Silverbirds steel drum band. I could swear I saw them in 2004 at Swept Away and wasn't very impressed, but either this is a different band or they've changed dramatically. The show is pretty indescribable, but it is absolutely terrific and not to be missed. The house band seemed better this year... and actually played some Jamaican music. You probably hate piano sing alongs (I know I thought I did) but I went a couple of evenings and the guy at the piano is so engaging that you'll have a blast.
One thing that has changed dramatically in the last year is the availability of Wifi. They've put access points in the palm trees (you can see them if you look carefully) and the resort is pretty much saturated with coverage. I'm still trying to figure out whether this is a good idea or not. I now take my phone or iPad to the beach and check my email all too frequently. I may have to start leaving this stuff in the States. You've been warned! I remember when they put TV's in the rooms at Swept Away. I had very mixed feelings about that as well.
Here's a tip for Lobster Night. One night a week at Couples all of the restaurants feature lobster (when it is in season). For some reason this results if very long waits for a table at most of the restaurants. I'm not sure why. But Lychee (the Asian place) is half empty. I'm not a big lobster fan (it seems like mostly a carrier for butter to me) so we went to Lychee. The food there is always wonderful, and yes, they do have lobster on lobster night too, but for some reason most people don't go there to eat their lobster. So if the line looks too long that night at the other places, head for Lychee.
One last thing.... if you are going, try to book early. Every year Couples offers some kind of resort credit for those who book in the late Spring/early Summer for the following year. It's usually about $300, but sometimes as much as $500. We booked way too late for that this year. Between missing the credit and having to take a suite instead of a room, this was an expensive mistake.
- Also Known As:
- Couples Negril Hotel Negril
- Couples Negril Hotel
- Couples Hotel Negril
- Negril Couples Hotel
- Couples Negril Jamaica
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Couples Negril. A brilliant balance of elegant and eclectic. At Couples Negril, style surrounds and infuses everything in sight. From the laid-back charm of the swim-up bar to the intoxicating allure on an in-suite Jacuzzi, there’s just something about Couples Negril that says chic. Defined by imaginative, artistic features and possessing a beautiful balance of elegant and eclectic, Couples Negril is 18 acres of all-inclusive luxury, personality and pleasure. All expertly carved into the captivating landscape of Negril, Jamaica. And while our unique appointments set us apart from any other resort, our unwavering attention to your every desire has earned us recognition as the premier all-inclusive resort not only in Jamaica, but the entire Caribbean ... more less
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