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Anyone been to CSA and Iberostar Grand?

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Canada
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Anyone been to CSA and Iberostar Grand?

We're seriously considering CSA for a late February vacation.

Our only experience with adults only hotels is the Iberostar Bavaro Grand (been there twice).

How would you compare CSA with the IB Grand hotels, particularly in terms of food and customer service? We really like the IB Grand, with the exception of having to make reservations for a la carte restaurants and being limited to three reservations a week.

Does CSA have an all-inclusive wine menu? That's one of the things we like about the IB. I've read that CSA doesn't allow you to order a bottle of wine. Is this true? We enjoy ordering a bottle of wine with dinner without having to pay a surcharge.

The rustic look of CSA is one we like compared to the non-tropical feel of the IB Grand.

Thanks so much!

Saint Louis...
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1. Re: Anyone been to CSA and Iberostar Grand?

Take a look at the IB Bavaro(not the Grand). Was there in February this year and it has a very tropical feel. Seperate 8 unit bungalows, as opposed to high rise motel type buildings. Not sure about the wine list, someone on here had a link to their menus/wine list, maybe they will post it for ya. We opted for the Bavaro, once I saw pics of the Grand, it has a more art-deco look, its new and the vegetation hasnt grown in yet, pretty baren looking. When in the Carribean, we like that Carribean "feel". Enjoy!!!

BTW if you are a golfer, the onsite golf course is a MUST!!!

Edited: 07 October 2012, 16:12
Canada
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2. Re: Anyone been to CSA and Iberostar Grand?

Thanks duffer. We've been to the IB Bavaro several times.

What I'm interested in is a comparison of the IB Grand and CSA so I'd have a better feel for the differences between these two adults only properties.

America, The...
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3. Re: Anyone been to CSA and Iberostar Grand?

Hi CD, I've been to both and would be happy to answer the questions that I can. They are both very different and lovely resorts, in my opinion. Just as a point of reference, we went to the IB Grand Bavaro once and probably won't return even though we enjoyed it, and we are heading to CSA for our 4th stay in January.

I am afraid I can't answer your wine questions very well. We stuck with mixed drinks and beer at both places. CSA requires reservations at 2 of its restaurants--Feathers and Lemongrass. You can go as often during your stay as you can fit in, but you can't make the next reservation until each dinner there is complete. You can also eat without a reservation at Patois Patio, which is very good, and at the Palms, which is our least favorite. They have a beach bbq every Friday night and an international buffet on Monday nights.

CSA is much more spread out than IB GB and much more lush and tropical. Its facilities are far more extensive (10 tennis courts vs. 2, for example) and its inclusions far more numerous--private tennis lessons, waterskiing, SCUBA, lap pool, catamaran cruise, fitness training, and so forth. When CSA says that someone is a tennis pro, that person really is, and not just one of the few people in the region who can swing a racquet like in PC. We are active and find a lot to do at CSA. Here's what you will not find at CSA--there are no Star Friends playing pool games, etc. I have to admit, the ones at the IB Grand were sweet, warm, fun and adorable. You will be left alone at CSA to participate as much or as little in activities as you choose.

Before I forget, there are very obvious differences, like the beach. Both have beautiful, long beaches you can walk for miles on. And, while others complain of trash on Bavaro Beach, I did not see any near the Grand. I also know there are parts of PC where the water is almost unswimmably rough and this is not true at the Grand. However, at CSA, you are on the Caribbean. The water is clear and turquoise and so calm. It was lovely at the Grand, but rougher and darker because it's the Atlantic. Also, the sunsets over the Caribbean are not to be missed.

The rooms at CSA are far more rustic, and the bathrooms are BASIC motel style bathrooms. It's really important to be clear on this before you go. You room will not be as nice as at the Grand. However, depending on your room category, you could have a balcony from which you can watch the sun set over the sea!

You will spend much less time indoors at CSA. There are no long indoor corridors, indoor theaters, and so forth. You will be or feel like you are outside most of the time. Most of the rooms, except those in the Great House are entered directly from outside.

There is no tipping at CSA, which may make the staff a bit less overtly solicitous. However, I think some of this is cultural. I have really loved the Jamaicans and the Dominicans I have met. If I can make a broad generalization, though, I think Jamaicans are a bit more reserved at first and Dominicans a bit more gushing and warm. Not to say Jamaicans aren't warm--oh my goodness, so many are. It just takes a bit of relationship-building and respect. I think the staff at CSA has been great on all 3 visits. Just don't expect to be fawned over--it's not an in-your-face kind of service atmosphere and is not designed to be. It is different in that way from PC.

I prefer the food at CSA to the Iberostar's. Though the Iberostar aims for fancy, CSA truly achieves across the board good to me. We had a few occasions of undercooked food at the Grand--lobster and hamburgers. This made me nervous in PC where food- and water-bourne illness are still a big problem. Speaking of which, the water supply in Jamaica is completely safe, so no need to worry about having to brush your teeth with bottled water and so forth.

If you do want to golf, the golf course is not onsite like at the Iberostar. Greens fees are included, but cart and caddy fees are not. I also understand that the drinks and snacks at the golf course are not part of the AI plan like they are at the Iberostar and, in fact, are very pricey, so you might want to pack your own from the hotel.

I am sure I am missing things, so feel free to ask more questions or pm me, if you'd like. We really did like the Grand. However, we found ourselves ready to leave by the end. At CSA, we always wish we could stay an extra week. I've written reviews of both if you want to read them.

Cocoa Beach, Florida
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4. Re: Anyone been to CSA and Iberostar Grand?

We have stayed once at Iberostar Grand in MX and just returned from stay 7 at CSA.

We would not return to The Grand nor are wee interested in trying another one of their resorts. While the room was very nicely appointed and the resort opulent - too over the top for my taste actually - the food was mediocre. I feel they try so hard to be gourmet they just miss the mark all the way around, much preferred the freshness and quality of food at CSA. Also detested the reservation hassles at The Grand. Not being able to get into a restaurant at our preferred times and then stopping in to see half the tables empty was very annoying.

Service was spotty and our butler did moth bother to show up until our last day.

We were more than ready to leave by the end of our short stay and have never even considered a return.

CSA is much less luxurious but much more Jamaican and the beach no sports complex are superb. We really enjoy the food and the entertainment as well as the location. We plan to return next year.

Canada
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5. Re: Anyone been to CSA and Iberostar Grand?

Thank you, ReviewerMaryland, for taking the time to provide such a detailed comparison of the IB Grand and CSA. Much appreciated!

The fact that you've been to the IB Grand once and you're planning trip #4 to CSA speaks volumes.

The dinner reservation system that you describe sounds like it's much more in line with our preferences than being limited to three per week.

We're not Star Friends kind of people so the fact that CSA doesn't have something comparable is quite ok.

Calm waters at CSA would be a welcome change, as the ocean at the IB Grand can be fairly rough, depending on the time of year.

The fanciness of the rooms at the Grand are something we're quite comfortably able to do without.

We'd enjoy the fact that CSA offers more of an outdoorsy atmosphere than the Grand.

Everything in your post supports my impression of CSA and that it will be a great vacation choice for us. It certainly sounds like I'm on the right track. Thank you!

Canada
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6. Re: Anyone been to CSA and Iberostar Grand?

caviargal,

Thank you very much for your comparison of the two.

I completely agree with your description of th Grand. It's luxurious and Grand but a little too grand for our liking. While the food was better there than at the sister IB hotels, it wasn't of the caliber that I'd expected.

The need for a reservation at all the specialty restaurants isn't what I'd expect at a luxury hotel. CSA's system sounds much better.

America, The...
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7. Re: Anyone been to CSA and Iberostar Grand?

Glad I could help. Feel free to ask more questions as you get further along in the process. Another aspect of the Grand's reservation system that I recall was that every time we wanted to book something--dinner or golf, for example--it seemed like we'd have to sit down with the concierge for 30 min while they tried to check their computer system. At CSA, booking dinner reservations is a 2 minute process.

Canada
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8. Re: Anyone been to CSA and Iberostar Grand?

There's certainly a great deal of room for improvement with the IB's reservation system.

Our objective is to be as close to the beach as possible. Am I on track by choosing a beachfront verandah room or should I be looking at another room category?

Cocoa Beach, Florida
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9. Re: Anyone been to CSA and Iberostar Grand?

The beachfront suites are my favorites but they do not have a TV. The beachfront verandah rooms are right on the beach as well.

America, The...
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10. Re: Anyone been to CSA and Iberostar Grand?

The BFVSs are my favorite because we do like to have a TV as we get ready for dinner, etc. Also, one thing I forgot to mention about the beach at CSA that you'll want to know is that there are vendors that walk along the beach selling their wares, as well as local musicians. I am not bothered by this and often enjoy them. By Jamaican law, they are allowed to move along the water line, which is public, but the resort does not allow them further onto the property, and makes sure no guests feel hassled. You will see and hear them, though.