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“Good, but not Great”
Review of Couples Sans Souci

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Couples Sans Souci
Ranked #4 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Certificate of Excellence
Edmond, Oklahoma
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Good, but not Great”
Reviewed 29 July 2012

Overall, I thought the property was nice and would recommend it, but not highly.

First the bad---The rooms are dated. It looks like the hotel was built 30 to 40 years ago. It has been well maintained, but still was built in the 70's.

One illustration of this fact is that the window in the bathroom does not have glass. They are wooden blinds which open to the outside. Same with the "window" next to the front door. No one can see inside your room, but noise from outside is really loud in your room because there is no glass there.

It is 1 1/2 to two hours from the airport. That is a long drive. It is a scenic drive, but a long drive.

The drinks were so/so. The beer was good, but the frozen drinks we just average.

Jamaicans(or at least the ones at our hotel) did not work very hard. They move in slow motion. No worry is really there motto. The only problem is that it is "no worry" if you do not get more coffee or water. They have as many waiters as guests at the restaurants, so there should be no problem getting better service. It would be better if they paid the staff more and had fewer employees.

The Good--

The food was great. I did not have a bad meal. In fact, one night we had lobster, which is very unusual at an all inclusive.

The water sports were really fun. You could have someone take you out on a catamaran for free. Kayaks were free....Really nice.

The beach was nice...Small, but very calm...

Gym is really nice. It has good machines and has a fantastic view!

Overall, I would go again, but do not expect it to be a 5 star resort, because it is not.

Room Tip: Get one by the beach, unless you want to walk a distance for the two restaurants and two pools....
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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4 Thank c d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Upstate, NY
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 July 2012

I'll start with our arrival at the airport. The resort has a waiting room at the airport- It is a shotty, dark room with a little bar set up in the corner. They serve waters, a juice, and Red Stripe. This was the introduction to resort. As we went to board our bus I noticed the attractive waiting rooms for the other hotels... starting to get a sinking feeling about our vacation.

We arrived at the hotel and we're sat down at the front desk next to another couple who was finishing checking in. It was almost awkward- there was one man trying to finish up their check in and we felt almost like we were intruding. Check in went smoothly and we were immediately brought to our room by a friendly bellman. As we walked down a paved drive way to our room I noticed maids carts left unattended in random spots, open doors, there were dirty plates and silverware sitting in garden areas, and when we were shown to our door there were dirty dishes (apparently from room service from the last people who occupied the room) sitting outside of our door. We were the only door in the little area so it couldn't have been someone elses. The bellman made no apology or attempt to move them, he just walked past them. Kind of made me worry about the cleanliness of the room.

Room: We entered the room and it was fair. We have stayed at beautiful resorts in St. Lucia and through out Mexico (Sandals, Riu, etc). Booking at a Couples resort, we were expecting the same level of luxury and cleanliness. Our room was large with a nice view. At first glance, we were a little disappointed but would make it work. The furniture was scuffed up, the bedding was outdated, etc. But it would work. The rooms only for sleeping right?
My boyfriend sat out on the balcony wrapping up a few work details while I began to unpack our suitcases. As I began to put our belongings away I got a better look at the room. There were stains on the walls and furniture. Like coffee or whatever, it looked like it would have been easily wiped away by cleaning staff. Ok, getting a little more disappointed... while putting away our bathroom toiletries I noticed a few ants crawling around the sink. I got rid of them and thought it is just the nature of Jamaica, get over it.
I moved to the ocean view room where the couch was to put away a few things and this is where it got awful. I went to set an item down on a table and movement caught my eye. Upon closer inspection, the table top was practically moving with little almost clear looking tiny spiders!!!! My boyfriend was still on a work call so I continued to look around the room. I found two ant trails with hundreds of ants crawling in and out of the room. I lifted up a rug to find hundreds of ants underneath it. Now I'm angry but afraid I'm overreacting. When my boyfriend came in I showed him and he was also upset. We began to look around the room and he moved the curtain on the balcony door. The door was broken and the door frame was not even attached to the door. There was a 2 inch gap between the door frame and the wall. WHAT? How does this go unnoticed. We called down to the front desk and they said they would send house cleaning up. Not acceptable.
I went down to the front desk and they said that they would send someone up to fix it. I told them I would not be staying in a room that is infested with bugs and that they had better send us to a new room before all of our clothes that I had just unpacked have bugs in them too.

For the next hour, we were shown rooms that were not to the standard of the room we originally had and paid for. We were shown multiple rooms, rooms with smaller bathrooms, with bathtubs (I can only imagine what their drain maintenance is like if they couldn't see a door not attached to a wall), with worse views, etc. After being dragged around for almost an hour in the oppressive heat and humidity (it takes a bit to get used to- love it, but is tough to handle at first!) I was starting to get mad. We booked early so we could get in late afternoon, unpack, and be ready to go when the other couple we were meeting arrived. Now, I'm sweating, mad, roomless, and have to repack everything I had put away. I asked for some kind of compensation for this awful start to our vacation. Finally, they said they did have one beach front room available. I don't even care where it is, as long as its clean, and comparable to what we were given and what we paid for. The room was nice, but outdated, not cleaned well, the molding in the bathroom was gross. Not what I would expect out of a luxury resort. HIGHLY disappointed by the accommodations and cleanliness. I felt like walking on my tiptoes and wearing shower shoes.

Pools: The main beach/pool bar pool was in a nice location but the pool was pretty gross. There was a layer of suntan lotion floating on top in areas as well as hair and leaves. I understand this will happen by the number of people using the pool but why not have someone come skim the pool every couple of hours? Every time I was in the pool I was pushing away leaves or hair. Ew. Also, the bottom of the pool is rusted? stained? in some spots? The pool chairs are rusted or stained? Made me not want to sit or stand in that area. The water was extremely warm. The mineral pool was much, much cleaner, nicer, cooler, deeper, more enjoyable. They had a smoothie bar with great staff, smoothies, and you could get vitamin water or beers here. No other alcoholic beverages. A nice idea! We would spend mornings here and then move to the main pool in the afternoon for drinks and music. (They have one speaker attached to the pool bar roof that they turn up and blasts tunes to make up for not having more speakers. A bit annoying especially when your sitting on that side of the bar).

Staff: We had a mixed experience with the staff. The entertainers were awesome. Challenging the guys to ping pong, hanging out with us, joining us for meals, taking us to Margaritaville and keeping an eye out for us. Seriously awesome. These couple guys and girls made the trip much better. This Couples resort is lucky to have these people on their staff. They live on the resort so they are always around and so friendly. However, some people on the staff were very strange, not friendly, and would look at you confused if you asked a question or responded back to them with anything other than yes or no. Also at times they made you feel like it was a hassle to get a drink or whatever. The scuba guys couldn't have been any more distant or unhappy they had to take us out. We asked if we could go to the sunken ship and they just said no.

Beach: Disappointing. It is a protected cove, no waves, no pretty water, hard sand with weeds coming through. Roped off swimming areas like at a state park. Did not see any type of drink service on the beach.

Another very odd thing that happened was one night we reserved dinner for the four of us at Cassanova for a "nice" dinner. We sat down in the darkened room and had high hopes. It was nice ambiance and were hoping for a nice meal. We were sitting for about 10 minutes when a staff member came up to our table and awkwardly/ uncomfortably asked if there was a man at the table with one of the guys last names. We said yes, and he said I need you to come with me, you have a call for you. The man kind of stood around and couldn't get out what he was trying to say and it was very uncomfortable, startling, and unnerving. My boyfriend was the person they were requesting so he got up to go. The three of us at the table looked at each other all worried. He was gone for about five minutes when I decided to go find him. He said that the resort manager or some other "high up" title was on the phone looking for him and asked if his private party was going well and if they could do anything for it? My boyfriend was confused and had no idea what he was talking about. The man on the phone said never mind and asked to be put back on the phone with the person at the desk. Very strange and frightening at first. We were all very worried something had happened back home. There was no real apology or anything for interrupting our dinner and worrying us.

I could go on and on and on about the resort but I'm not going to waste anymore time. Do not book here. I would not ever return here or recommend a friend or family member. I would be incredibly dissapointed if I booked this for a honeymoon/wedding/anniversary. I don't ever want to go back to Jamaica and will advise others to vacation elsewhere. Bad experience over all.

Oh yeah, bring bug spray with you and hope it works. We had huge swollen, red bug bites all over our legs the first night. We also saw many people with it much worse than we had. Talk about something to dampen your vacation. We immediately purchased bug spray at the resort store for almost $20. Ouch. Also, a lot of stray cats around. We were told they don't want to get rid of them because they keep the other pests away...

Room Tip: If you want to go to bed before 11 or relax in your room any of the nights, do not book by the ballo...
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
10 Thank Tronkr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sans Souci, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
62 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 584 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 July 2012

When we vacation, we look for an "authentic" local ambiance and charm, a Caribbean tropical atmosphere of remoteness & ruggedness, quiet secluded uncrowded beaches and beautiful tropical gardens that contribute to a "Robinson Crusoe" destination.

We do extensive research on properties, reading "every" review, as we find they are all valid and play a very important part in knowing what to expect. We look for properties where we can be rest-assured that one never ever feels "slighted" for not upgrading. Where the staff show exceptional service and hospitality, with efficiency and courtesy, to every guest regardless of room category. This was how we narrowed down our search in choosing Couples Sans Souci ~ it resonated with us!

We also research reviewers, looking for those who've been to the same type or even the exact same resorts that we've been to, and contact them privately to get as much "insider" information as possible. This was how for over a year we researched CSS, convinced that when we arrived we'd be well-prepared to handle any little "hiccup" if it arose. What we found was Couples Sans Souci's "no worries" mantra and exceptional service came to life immediately for us, months before we had even arrived. Thanks to a well known "Couples Alumni" member, (Thanks Marnie!), we had the pleasure of having Mr. Gary Stevens and also Mr. Randy Russell assisting us with a few early "glitches" in activating our various registrations with Couples, in regards to our Romance Rewards and Resort Credits. We also had the pleasure of very prompt replies to our emails one week prior to arrival from the Sales/Wedding Manager Michelle Gordon, who assured us of her best efforts to accommodate our room requests. We hadn't even set foot on the property, yet Couples' customer service at this extremely personal level had already put our minds at ease, convincing us that we were in for one of the most memorable vacations of our life.

We absolutely loved CSS and the whole "experience" of being at the Couples Resorts' brand. We feel that it was our best vacation ever, in regard to:
- customer attention, before even stepping on the property which carried on throughout the stay
- the feeling of being somewhere "real", that "immerses" you in the culture of the island
- the absolutely most tropical, lush and unbelievable property
- the attention to details and special touches that are subtle, yet very sophisticated
- the amazing quality of the food offered
- the outstanding courteous and cultured treatment from the staff

For us, CSS means Classy Sophisticated Serenity ~ Where it's All about "Respect Mon":
Respect for All Guests
Respect for Romance
Respect for Quiet Tranquility
Respect for Environment
Respect for Culture
Respect for Exquisite Food
Respect for Outstanding Service

What really stood out for us, and it's very hard to put into words... was the consistent, constant all encompassing feeling of "belonging here" ~ We can't describe it! It's "indescribable" A few notable memories of Sans Souci, in no specific order:
*no waiting for the transfer from the Couples Lounge at the airport ~ barely time to catch our breath ~ two minutes checkin, then off we went with one other couple!
*the breath-taking view from our oversized balcony, watching flocks of white egrets flying by early in the morning mist, with the sounds of waves crashing down below.
*room service breakfast delivered promptly, to enjoy while checking messages with free wi-fi from the balcony
*the rustic hues of sunset from our balcony, and the absolutely amazing "surround sound serenade" of the tree frogs each night from the cliffside below
*the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Mr. Pierre Battaglia a number of times throughout our stay
*the unbelievably comfortable and heavenly king-sized bed, linens and pillows in our One Bedroom OV Suite
*the Gardenia Suite ~ exactly what we wished for ~ enormous, bright & airy with the largest quiet and private balcony, huge bathroom and the most perfect location affording panoramic window views in three directions
*the largest shower ever ~ we could have had a party in there!
*bottles of champagne (cava) and red wine delivered as part of our "very large" mini-bar amenities
*all of the soups (thanks again, Marnie!) but especially the wonderful presentation of the shrimp bisque soup and the surprising "taste explosion" of grapefruit in our last mouthful
*enjoying the warm tropical breezes out on our balcony, sipping a cocktail, while being immersed tin the island sounds of surf, wildlife and the distant echo of the evening's performances at the Lobby Terrace
*the Starlight Gala and the Valentine's Eve Beach Buffet ~ the amazing entertainment, but especially the Silver Birds Steel Drum band ~ plus talking & sitting, toes in the sand, with our new neighbours ~ a wonderful & witty couple staying in the Hibiscus Cottage
*romantic meals regardless, whether at the posh a la carte, the elegant buffet or at the laid-back beach
*watching from the beach, the lighting and releasing of the "love balloons" that lifted up over the Caribbean Sea, into a star dazzled sky towards the full moon on Valentine's
*being serenaded Bryan Adams songs by Derron, out on the catamaran in the turquoise waves of the Caribbean Sea
*the very soul of Jamaica ~ SeaLion manning the Glass Bottom Tour boat

While writing this review it was very difficult to explain what our WOW factor was when we arrived. Looking at our previous reviews, the WOW factors were quite obvious, while CSS's is elusive. For us, Couples San Souci's understated, refined and subdued caribbean colonial elegance and atmosphere contributed to a sophisticated and subtle arrival ~ one that wasn't WOW, but left us calm and relaxed. The rich ambiance of this beautiful tropical resort nestled in lush foliage and clinging on a dramatic cliff side was everything we'd hoped for and imagined! We went exploring the many secluded stone steps and pathways, terraced and tranquil gardens and waterways ~ losing ourselves and feeling alone in the luxurious, lush rainforest foliage and towering palms ~ finding ourselves overlooking Jamaica's majestic emerald mountains in the distance ~ being seated and treated to a first perfect meal in paradise, with the sound of waves lapping at our toes, a soft tropical breeze with a hint of the scent of exotic bougainvillea wafting over us. But it wasn't until a few hours later, literally at the beginning of our vacation, we were back on the huge verandah of the Gardenia Suite, situated above the edge of the uppermost cliff ~ that we realized that we were "home" and decided then and there, that we would definitely come back to Sans Souci ~ this, our newfound Xanadu… WOW.

We could say more, but we'll let readers know specifics if contacted. Our introduction to Couple's was amazing! For us, it was an infusion of the best of every one of our previous trips, encompassing a "Total Immersion of Caribbean Style and Elegance". Once you go, you know.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
15 Thank GalivantingGardener
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Waterloo
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 July 2012

In 1997 we made our first trip to Jamaica for our 15th wedding anniversary staying at what is now Couples Tower Isle. After multiple trips (20) to Couples Tower Isle, Grand Lido Negril, and Grand Lido Braco, we decided to go to Couples Sans Souci in July 2011. We returned to Sans Souci this July to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We have truly found our Jamaican home.

The natural beauty of the resort with it's lush vegetation is amazing. The resort is also located on it's own private cove and is built into the side of a hill making it multileveled and very scenic. There is also a pond with an interesting array of birds to observe. The pools and beaches are also very nice and well maintained.

We have always stayed in the one bedroom beachfront suite.The room is comfortable with a separate sitting area and a large bathroom with a walkin shower and jacuzzi tub. Others prefer to be in rooms at a higher elevation to have a better view of the ocean.

While the facilities and grounds are wonderful, it is the staff and level of service that makes this trip special. We have found the staff to always be friendly and helpful. If you are willing to engage them, you get to know them on a personal level. The three restaurants make for pleasurable dining and provide both indoor and outdoor seating. There is also a weekly beach party and a Friday night gala dinner held on the large lawn just off the beach. The resort also has a wonderful spa which is rated one of the best in the caribbean.

We hope to return for years to come.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank JamericansWaterloo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cincinnati, Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 July 2012

We had an amazing experience! The staff at Sans Souci were so sweet and remembered our name wherever we went. The food was amazing, the drinks were even better, and the overall ambiance was exactly what we were looking for!

Room Tip: The upgrade to a beech front suite was definitely worth it!
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Annie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
78 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 July 2012

We had a great trip at walmart shoppers second home css. (Look up the forum post)The sports section was awesome with Richard taking us way out in the big hobby cat on a thrill ride. The summer special isle was teeming with people at the main pool bar where games abounded. Gracie Ann 's smile made lunch a truely beautiful experience. The breakfast food section had Edgar who makes the best omelets. The lawn and garden department is breath taking with nooks and crannies everywhere. Home decorating was old world charm with large rooms and simplicity that made us feel at home. The negatives are always there but the staff made it so good the negatives are forgotten.
We enjoyed our room and the balcony at the Angela Besset Suite, the exercise of climbing the steps was a heart healthy moment each evening. The view was breath taking.
The best part was that all us wallmart shoppers had a great time. The people are the best. And to the couple we helped at check out remember to pay it forward.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Worldtex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Topeka, Kansas
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 July 2012

This was our second trip to Couples Sans Souci. We vacationed their last July 2011 and decided that this was the perfect spot for our wedding. We had several friends join us and they all intend on returning.

The staff is wonderful and to our suprise they had us in the hisbicus cottage for our 7 night stay. It was the most breath taking experience in my life. I had the perfect location for the stylist to put finishing touch's on my hair and makeup before the wedding and the privacy was wonderful. That indoor and outdoor jacuzzi made for some very memorable days and nights.

Imagine seeing cruise ship's from your room sailing by. The view was awesome. I had my own private spa area and better access to everything on the resort. This cottage is truly amazing and made my wedding event so much more then I could have ever imagined.

Thank you all at Couples Sans Souci.

We will be back for round 3 next year.
(I can hardly wait. We are booking 12 nights instead of 7)
mouseymae

Room Tip: Prices really are reasonable for all the rooms. Penthouse and beachfronts are nice. Our wedding gr...
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank mouseymae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Couples Sans Souci

Property: Couples Sans Souci
Address: Route A3, St-Mary | PO Box 103, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Ocho Rios
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Couples Sans Souci 4.5*
Number of rooms: 150
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled on the cliffs of Jamaica’s emerald coast above a dazzling stretch of Caribbean, Couples Sans Souci beckons you to surrender mind, body and soul. The resort's 'no worries' mantra comes to life as every day unfolds. Lose yourself exploring secluded stone pathways. Melt away stress in the healing natural mineral springs. Feel a rush of exhilaration scaling Dunn's River waterfalls. Or simply drift asleep in a hammock by the sea. Located in vibrant Ocho Rios, the resort's design pays tribute to an understated colonial elegance—intricate latticework, white woven furnishings and feathered palms set a refined stage for your island escape. Dining options abound—from authentic Jamaican fare to five-star international cuisine. Private cabanas at cliff's edge provide the ideal setting for our signature spa treatments, while the choice of resort activities knows no limits. Learn the art of living well while living in the moment at Couples Sans Souci. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Couples Sans Souci Hotel Ocho Rios
Couples San Souci
Couples Sans Souci Ocho Rios
Couples Sans Souci Jamaica/Ocho Rios

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