This was our first package/resort holiday since our honeymoon over 15 years ago, so we really didn't know what to expect and we were very nervous about the resort been a 20-something booze-a-thon. Reviews on TripAdvisor were good and we got a great deal through an agent, so we took a risk.
Many of the things that we expected of the resort just didn't happen and the people there are a very wide mix of ages and they're not all beautiful 20-somethings dancing the night away, so us 40-somethings were actually a lot more comfortable that we anticipated. And as food snobs, we were not let down in the slightest. My mind just boggles as to why anyone would rate the resort as having poor food: perhaps they expected better pizza and a McDonalds? The only thing I would have preferred to see on the food and drink front was a better choice of wine included in the tariff. The choice of wine was very poor and apart from the four branded bottles of plonk, it was restaurant pricing for something more interesting. Perhaps a middle ground of a decent selection of wines in the price and then premium wines for a mark-up would be better.
Service throughout our stay was generally superb with staff bending over backwards (not literally!) to help us at any moment. Occasionally we got people who were just watching the clock and didn't seem to care or could not be bothered to at least pretend they cared. One night in the Eight Rivers restaurant we had an entire service like this, but it was the excellent service generally throughout the resort that made this stand out even more that it might have.
Our room (a deluxe ocean view) was spacious and functional whilst not being overly luxurious, but it did at least have the best in-room coffee I've ever drunk (it actually tasted of coffee!) As a European, I'd have preferred a Queen-sized bed as I prefer not hunting to find my wife in the night, but I can see how the main clientele like a monster bed. It was certainly very comfortable. There's a turn-down service, but this seems to come at randome times and serves no purpose whatsoever - not even a chocolate. Is this something cultural I'm just not getting?
Diving at the resort is very good with outstanding coral formations and a couple of very interesting wreck dives. Whether you get to penetrate the wrecks seems to be a bit random in terms of the experience of the people diving with you (often first-timers on the noon dive) and who the DM is (yay, Collin is awesome). Fish do seem a bit in short supply and on a number of dives, the DM used bread or a boiled egg to bait them. That said, I did spot plenty of lobster, a turtle, my first puffer fish (they're so cute when they're cross) and loads of lion fish. No sharks though. There is a fee for renting a wetsuit, but having diving included in the rate is fabulous.
As can be seen in many photographs, the beach is a bit small and loaded with chairs, which is a bit of a shame. Given how many people were actually on the beach at any one time, I'm not convinced that this is necessary and a bit more shade would have been good as there was always a bit of a fight for the few loungers that were in the shade.
If we were the kind of people who returned again and again to the same resort, we'd do so at the drop of a hat and the divers in particular seemed to be returning guests for the most part. We prefer to try lots of new places, but it's a tough call even given that preference and I could see how we could come back to Couples Tower Isle.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Playground to Hollywood celebrities in the 1950s, glamorous Couples Tower Isle exudes a chic sophistication perfectly balanced by a relaxed Caribbean sensuality. Perched on the lush terrain of Ocho Rios, Jamaica—the resort seduces with breathtaking sea views, a wide sandy beach and century-old palm trees. Discover the joys of snorkeling among the reefs, windsurfing on the waves, or sailing into the sunset on a catamaran, rum punch in hand. Intricate blue tile work and jade chaise lounges offset the striking white retro architecture. Luxurious rooms boast private ocean-breeze balconies. Whether being pampered in the Zen-inspired spa—recognized as "Best in the Caribbean" by Travel+Leisure—sipping cocktails at the piano bar or indulging in an exquisite meal alfresco, Couples Tower Isle creates countless intimate moments that inspire you to return again and again. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Couples Tower Isle Hotel Ocho Rios
- Couples Hotel Ocho Rios
- Couples Ocho Rios
- Couples Hotel Isle
- Couples Ochos Rios
- Ochos Rios
- Couples Tower Isle Jamaica/Ocho Rios