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“This resort is amazing!”
Review of Couples Tower Isle

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Couples Tower Isle
Ranked #5 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Certificate of Excellence
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9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“This resort is amazing!”
Reviewed 30 April 2012 via mobile

The food incredible, the service was outstanding, and the inclusions were great. Dunns River Falls was so much fun. I highly recommend this resort.

  • Stayed April 2012
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4 Thank Keke456
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Crofton, Maryland
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 April 2012

We visited Couples Tower Isle from Saturday, April 21st, to Saturday, April 28th, as a belated honeymoon/one-year anniversary vacation trip. Overall, we had a great trip, but there were a few snags! I’ll try to start from the beginning (it’s LONG!), but will probably hop around a bit!


Saturday, April 21: We flew out of BWI, but had a three-hour layover in Newark. Our flight was initially delayed, but we took off on time. This was when I realized that Jamaica is on central time, and not East Coast time like I had thought! When we landed, we rushed to customs and got through the whole thing in 30 minutes. We must have just made it in front of some other planes because when we turned around, the line was all the way up the ramp. We go to the couples lounge, enjoyed a couple Red Stripes and waited about 15 minutes for the bus to Tower Isle and San Souci.

The ride took just under 3 hours because we had a couple of people who wanted to stop for a beer and cigarettes. I got some jerk chicken, which was a good snack since I hadn’t eaten since 8 a.m.

When we got to the resort, we were greeted with Rum punch and checked in. The check in was a little unorganized and overwhelming, but it’s mostly because of the other guests that were checking in at the same time. We were quickly taken to our room in block five on the first floor (we booked a superior ocean view – room 5102). I know that these are considered the “lesser” views because they overlook the bay and not the island, but I LOVED it. We got there around 5:30, the sun was setting, and it was just beautiful. The room was really quiet since we weren’t near any of the bars. The only drawback was that it was a fairly long walk if I was at the main pool/main bar and wanted to drop something off in the room.

I had done pre-check-in and registered for romance rewards, so our room was stocked when we got there. However, we did not have a bottle opener/wine cork in the room, so we couldn’t open our tonic water for gin and tonics! This became a bit of a laughing matter for us because we seemed to be incapable of getting a bottle opener – we asked the man who brought out bags to the room, then called the front desk, then asked the main bar, then wrote it on our minibar restock sheet and every time we were assured it would be brought to our room, and we never got one. Oh well!

Dinner that night was the international buffet at Patio, which was very good. Actually, I mostly loved all the buffet food at Patio! Afterward, we took some sparkling wine to the spa hot tub and soaked for a bit, then went to bed because we had gotten up at 3:30 a.m. to start traveling.

Day 2: We started off with breakfast at Patio. We really liked the breakfast options, but did get a little tired of them by the last day. I sort of wished they had an alternate sit-down restaurant that maybe you could make reservations for once or twice during your stay. However, the food was good and there were a lot of choices, so not a big deal.

Afterward, we spent a little time at the beach and then went to the swim-up bar. The weather was teasing us, raining then sunny, then raining, but it wasn’t a big deal in the pool bar! I tried all the drinks that I’ve read about on this board, but my favorites were the dirty banana and a mango daiquiri with vodka instead of rum (I was so disappointed that Appleton just isn’t my favorite).

My husband was walking past the beach volleyball and got roped into playing, and really enjoyed it. He ended up playing most days (there are games around 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.). I had the jerk burger and calamari from the pool grill for lunch and absolutely loved it. Around 3, I went back to the room to lay down and it stormed like crazy.

We went to Verandah for dinner, and I had a delicious steak for dinner! Some people complained about the wine – they have 5 choices: Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and rose. The brand was typically Frontera, though I saw a couple other brands throughout the week. So, sure, it’s inexpensive wine, but it was fine for me!

Another running joke was that every single day the “fish of the day” was snapper – never anything else! But it was delicious!

That night was karaoke. I tried to go to bed, but some of our newfound friends had my husband bring me back and I had fun doing some songs  I really did find, though, that after the day in the sun, drinking, and so much food that I was exhausted after dinner. (I tend to be an early nighter anyway.)

Day 3: We had scheduled room service breakfast for delivery between 7:30 and 8 a.m. Around 8:20, we hadn’t gotten it and said “oh well, we’re hungry” and went to Patio buffet, stopping at the front desk to let them know we never got it and to not deliver it. It was a little annoying, but the other two times we scheduled breakfast, it came right on time.

Today was the day we tried the island  I had read about going right/left, so we started going right and laid down to read in peace and quiet. After a little while, we did venture over to the poolside. I really enjoyed sunning au natural, but was a bit more uncomfortable around others. We went back once later in the week to even out tan lines, but for me, the whole “you’ll be addicted when you try it” thing wasn’t true.


For lunch, I tried the sweet potato chips and pumpkin dip at the beach/veggie bar. Yum!

Dinner was the beach party, which was soooo good. So much food! I fell in love with Jamaican Pepper Pot soup. And the setup on the beach was really nice, so was the dancing and limbo/fire-breather for entertainment. Right afterward, Katie (entertainment coordinator) organized a dance competition on stage, and we were just walking away, but she had learned our names and called us back. And therefore, we were humiliated in a dance competition (if you were there Monday night, we were the first pair with the super tall guy and the very sunburnt girl in a pink shirt). So mortifying, but we got a small bottle of rum out of it.

Day 4: We went to Dunns River Falls at 9 a.m., and that was a great experience. I loved how the guides took pictures of you at opportune moments, and the water was cold, but so nice! We were really sunburnt, and the cool water felt great on it.

They made us form the human chain at first, but it was really easier to climb it without holding hands.

Later, we hit the swim-up bar again, and I had quite a few mango daiquiris. Probably too many! We had reservations at Eight Rivers for dinner, which was delicious. Great service. I had the Cornish game hen, and my husband had snapper.

Day 5: The middle of the week gets hazy  We went back to the island for a little while, and then we went on the catamaran cruise in the afternoon. Because the water was rough due to storms, they took us by bus to another hotel where the water was calmer. We were thrilled about this because we had such bad luck with water sports – we were never able to scuba or snorkel due to rough seas, so we thought this would be canceled, too. The staff was tons of fun with dancing and music, and they brought rum punch (though it ran out). Bring money to tip the catamaran staff – we forgot to bring cash and felt horrible about it)

A note about tips: We tipped the bus driver from the airport, baggage handlers, spa staff, and dunns river falls guides. We did see some other guests tipping throughout the week, but not a whole lot. We didn’t tip at any other time, but didn’t feel like we needed to (though maybe we would have gotten that darned bottle opener!)

That night, we went to Bayside for dinner. I absolutely love Asian food, and Bayside was good, but not out-of-this-world. It was also really windy, so sitting in the open air over the water was a little breezy.

Oh, this is the last service-related note. I had scheduled both our reservations for 7 p.m. When got our reservation sheet back and the reservations staff member had marked “OK” next to both of the days I chose, so I didn’t look at the card I was given. We showed up at Bayside at 7, and it turned out they had reserved us for 7:45. We were starving (I like to eat pretty early!), and luckily they were nice enough to seat us at 7, but make sure to check the cards for the time, even if the original sheet says differently!

That night was the steel drum band. Don’t miss it – so awesome!

Day 5: It rained allllll day on Thursday, which was disappointing. The resort tried to accommodate us by changing the schedule for more indoor activities and having a band onstage at Patio, but what can you do? Most people hung out in the rooms and watched movies, like us. We ordered room service for lunch (snapper sandwich and jerk chicken), which was prompt and delicious.

I had a Swedish massage scheduled for the afternoon at the spa. It was $110 (but we came with a $300 resort credit), plus tip, for 55 minutes, and it was lovely. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was my first real massage, and I think I’m addicted now.

We had dinner in Verandah again with a few friends we had made. I had snapper (there it is again!), while my husband had chicken in black bean sauce. That night, we spent some time at the piano bar and actually stayed up for the singalong! I have a new favorite drink, cherry martinis, which I indulged in every night.

Day 6: Our last full day – we were pretty lazy, I spent most of the day reading on the beach. My husband played beach volleyball. We went to the Patio buffet for lunch and dinner, and there’s not much else to report there  We didn’t stay up to do any after-dinner activities.

Day 7: Our bags had to be out of the room by 9:15 and we left around 10:30 for a 2:50 departure from Montego Bay. The immigration line was really long, but moved very quickly. We had enough time to buy some coffee, get lunch, and have just a short wait at the gate. So while it seems like it’s a long time in advance that they make you leave, it does make sense.

The coffee: A pound of Blue Mountain Coffee at the resort was $41, which I thought was steep. We didn’t do a shopping trip in town, so I waited til the airport, where we got it for $26. We came to the resort with a $300 resort credit, but I didn’t want to pay more than I had to, so we used the resort credit on souvenirs and the spa. We brought back a couple small bottles of rum for friends and a bottle of rum cream for ourselves, because I did enjoy that 

For reference, we’re 26 and 28 from Maryland and were there for our one-year anniversary. It was technically our honeymoon because we never took one, and our travel agent, trying to be nice, marked us down as honeymooners. I also marked on the check-in sheet that we were honeymooners, but we were never even asked about it. Because I was pretty sure that the honeymoon perks are only valid for 30 days after your wedding, I didn’t bring it up – but I was surprised that we weren’t even asked or offered anything at all. So if you are on your honeymoon, you might have to ask for the perks you’re supposed to review.


We met a lot of people who were repeaters! We talked about going back for our 5-year anniversary, but there are a ton of places I want to travel to, so I’m not sure!

Phew, long long review! Any questions, feel free to ask!

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
15 Thank kjc5032
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago ,IL
Level Contributor
125 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 April 2012

A private spot with a medium size feel to it makes the resort very comfortable. Views are beautiful and the staff and service is excellent. When we had a problem with our in room safe the general manager came to our room promptly and fixed it which was typical of the service we received. the food and entertainment was excellent. Everything was very accessible. he couples massage was one of the best we ever had. There was a nice mix of guests in terms of age etc. Everyone was very friendly. We particularly enjoyed the island.

Room Tip: One BR suite was great
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank jsmithkra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St. Louis, MO
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 April 2012

We stayed for a week from 4/21-4/28. My expectations may have been a little too high because we stayed at Secrets last year and the rooms were so much nicer and the food was amazing there. The beach is nice but small. The rooms are a bit dated but adequate. We stayed in a deluxe ocean view. One thing that was amazing was the staff, everyone we encountered had a great attitude and a smile. We did the catamaran cruise and Dunn's River excursions but we didn't get a chance to scuba dive because the weather wasn't the greatest while we were there. I stayed at Couples Swept Away probably 12 years ago and thought the food there was amazing so I was sort of expecting the same here but pretty much just thought everything was okay with the exception of the Eight Rivers restaurant which was really good. We didn't try the nude island, not my thing so I can't comment on that.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank belgrl48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Henlow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
303 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 243 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 April 2012

We went to CTI expecting a holiday in Jamaica with good food, drink & service & that's exactly what we got. CTI is an International hotel in the Caribbean, occupanacy was 95% American due to its proximity to the US and flight connections. The BA Kingston connection from Gatwick meant a 2.2 hour taxi ride to CTI but we had an excellent driver in Eric so it didn't seem quite so long. Our 2nd floor room was good with an Ocean view, however some rooms on the ground floor could be noisy as the main corridor to the resaurants was directly outside the doors. With 4 restaurants to choose from, eating selection was good, however with a full occupancy you needed to reserve times in 2 Bayside & Eight Rivers on arrival. Service in all was very good with exceptional waiters in Denville & Davinth, 2 guys who coundn't do enough (make note Mr Henry) to help. Don't expect true Caribbean food, this is an International hotel, but overall excellent. Evening entertainment varied with the Silverbirds exceptional, Beach party was fun but other nights were average.
Having a daily stocked mini bar in your room is a great move as the bars can be quite a treck if your room is located at the resort extremes; Champange with onion rings & fries while watching the sun set was "awesome" !
The beach was relatively small, but cleaned 2/3 times a day with seaweed being brought inshore by quite strong winds, loungers & shade were plentiful & beach butlers were also good. Excursions provided by CTI were Dunns River Falls (take aquashoes as hiring or buying is a ripoff) but you need to be fit or have strong travel insurance, we saw 2 ambulances arrive during our visit. The Catamaran was good fun especially when it circled the nudist island, though on our visit the transfer from the beach (normally it boards via the jetty) was tortuous via a small boat due to the wind.
Shopping was an experience as you get dropped off into a den of shops that are designed for the cruise ships cliental, most items can be bought cheeper at CTI's own shops; however it's fun to see it. Other excursions were plentiful but due to some of the distances to transfer made them quite expensive.
In summary, we have visited many other Caribbean resorts, Sandals/Almond etc and Couples is up there in qualtity & service; if you want a true Caribbean holiday then maybe there are other resorts to go to.

Room Tip: Rooms on ground floor could be noisy, ocean view prefered
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank CGT21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Haven, Connecticut
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 April 2012

Hello,
We stayed at a grand resort in Riviera Maya just a couple of months before visiting this resort, so our first impression was somewhat of a disappointment. The resort is quite small, rooms and furnishings are somewhat outdated, first lunch was mediocre, nothing about it is grand but the beach/sea.. But we changed our perception of the place after a couple of days there. The sea is truly amazing, the beach view from the rooms facing the sea (you must have one!) is the highlight of the resort. Every night we were falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves at the bottom of our building. The resort is literally on the beach, rarely one gets so close to the water..
We were swimming back and forth to the nude island and it was excellent -- the water was so warm, clear, and beautiful. Snorkeling is fun too for small fish, but certainly not as breathtaking as in the Red Sea in Egypt or other places known for live corals (there is not much in Jamaica as you probably know).

Fantastic swimming in the sea and the amazing clean well-maintained beach are probably the main reasons why we enjoyed our vacation even more than in Mexico where the resort was out of this world, but the sea was breezy all the time and unfit for any quality swim or snorkeling.
The food was very good (you'll probably gain weight if you don't swim), service - no complaints too. They say "no tip policy" and I think people actually don't tip at all and then wonder about not getting their drink within 10 seconds. We tipped for the most part and had no problems with any service. A dollar or two can go a long way.

The nude island is fun, but it's kind for older people, at least that was during our stay. My bf and I swam there and spent a couple of hours on the island. There is no beach to swim and more limited access to a variety of drinks and food. Older unfit people hanging around naked is also not for everyone's taste. Visiting the island is fun for a couple of hours, but I wouldn't do it every day.

Don't do shopping trips, a waste of time. You'll find better deals for coffee and gifts at the airport or at the resort gift shops. We didn't do any other tours, but really regretted going on a shopping tour. Getting from and to the airport was not a problem, but it's a long trip (1hr 45 min). There is not much to see on the way to the resort.

If you decide to stay at this resort and love animals, please feed the kitties!! There are 6 stray young cats next to Building 3 (next to the parrots), and they come out at 7-9pm looking for kind people like you to bring them some snapper or chicken leftovers. We were feeding them for 5 days but couldn't find anybody to feed them after we left, comments were lime "we don't care about cats". Very sad some people can't see beyond their own egos.

Enjoy your vacation!

Room Tip: You've got to have the sea facing room. We had 4313 or something like this, amazing view of the...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank tetand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 April 2012

My husband and I travel often, however, this was our first time in Jamaica. This resort is nice but we are not too impressed. The view was breathtaking, however, the service in the hotel is on and off. There were times when we waited for them clear our table for what it looked like forever; we were done with our soups and almost with the main course while our empty soup dishes were still on the table making it all cluttery and messy. The wait staff would just pass by and not even notice; we had to stop them and ask to take the dishes away. Other than that and bugs on the first floor hallway and elevator (we were on the forth floor with ocean view), we had no complaints. The beach is awesome and so are the two pools. At the time of our visit (early April) there was ample space and lounge chairs to enjoy and get your tan on. All in all, we had a good time regardless of the above mentioned. After all, we were on vacation and wanted to relax with our friends. If you can tolerate the deficiency in service, then you will have a nice time enjoying what this beautiful beach has to offer.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ChicagoVacationers2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Couples Tower Isle

Property: Couples Tower Isle
Address: St. Mary, Ocho Rios, Jamaica (Formerly Couples Ocho Rio)
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 ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Couples Tower Isle 4*
Number of rooms: 226
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

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