This was our second time to this resort (we liked it so much the first time) and many returns to Jamaica (16+) ... here's the run-down:
Getting there :
Its about an hour and a half from Sangster International so make sure you stop in the facilities before boarding bus ... The airport reception is very efficient ... gets you processed and beer in hand in a matter of seconds...... once on board its an easy ride ... bring a couple of dollars for the airport porter and your driver you are on vacation so relax let someone else carry your bags!
Couples is a small resort set on a lovely well maintained grounds..... so if you are looking for a massive hotel so you cant fight for chairs and attention at bar this may not be the place for you
Checking in ..... So easy its almost like they expect you (unlike some other places where you have to wait a wait), greeted with a cool towel and like airport reception ... they have a cool drink in your hand in almost next to no time.
Bellmen ... always in good humor super friendly and efficiently whisk you (and luggage) to your room ....(and from your room on the way out ... not quite as fun but you are in good hands)
Rooms ... we stayed in premium room overlooking ocean 3210 & 3220 large balcony great view ... I had a look at the garden view rooms that looked very nice too but probably more buggy on balcony. Rooms are clean spacious and well looked after by maids... and if you in room bar service is great .... just call down and order a bottle of Rum, Scotch, Vodka and some mix just in case you fancy a cocktail while sitting on balcony after long day basking in sun!
Beach: over all the beach is ok, its not Negril but the water is just as warm.... some rocks when you are getting in so if you have sensitive feet beach shoes might be in order .... but really there isn't that many .... there is a lot of seaweed outside the swimming area so snorkelling off beach isn't that great ... better snorkeling are is right off the Island but that is the nude beach so non-naturalists might feel a little pervy being over there even if intentions are to see fish .... I ended up over by bay side restaurant where there is some larger fish and stingray. They have a snorkeling tour if you go to good area not to worry
8 Rivers (Fancy Dress) and Bayside (shorts) are 2 reservation restaurants both excellent, last time we wished we went to the 8 rivers more and might have skipped bay side (asian fusion cuisine) ... this time we went to 8 rivers 3 times and Bayside once and it was so good we wished we went to bayside again) (Guess it just depends what you order....)
Verandah (shorts no reservation required) excellent food defiantly our favorite although by the end of the trip we were leaning towards just ordering appetizers, soup and salad because food was so good one tended to eat way too much (but again you are on vacation !)
Buffet - we never ate dinner there but breakfast and lunch are excellent (lots of choice and quantity something for everyone)
Snack Bar just in case you Ever get hungry or just wants something simple ... the snack bar featured a pretty good burger frys etc and Jerk chicken and was only closed a few hrs a day
Health food Bar - Smoothies and plantain chips and other healthy alternatives ..... tried a few things all excellent but managed to resist in favor of non healthy choices.......like the bread pudding of the day ...... mmmmm so good :)
Bars ....well staffed very efficient premium brands, fancy drinks ....
Gift Shop: standard resort stuff..... but still had good selection of touristy things to buy .... picked up brother's 17th Jamaica T rather than waiting for last minute Airport
Dive Shop : Guys were great (Thanks again Chris and Captain Dave!) ... equipment was reasonably new ... I didn't feel the need to bring my own regulator but most of the divers brought their own gear.... 2 dives a day 1 at 09:00 and the other after lunch ... sometimes earlier and some times later depending on learn to dive class. Saturday is 2 tank morning dive. The greatest part of Jamaica Diving is all dive sites are less than 10 minutes from resort, water is clear and warm ! other places I have visited dives have been as much as 3hrs away (and back) making non diving spouse less cheerful and less willing to allow similar activity tomorrow.
Cat Cruise ... didn't go this time .... I enjoy sailing ... last time it was more of a drive around the Ocho Rios Harbor and the sails only went up for show ... this time I don't think they bothered putting the sails up ... but those that went seemed to have fun !
Glass Bottom Boat : non diving spouse went on this said that she saw some fish ew! but mostly very interesting because driver pointed out all celebrities houses......
Snorkeling tour: sorry I didn't go but I know the area where they take them is a good spot ... good visibility and lots of things to see.....
Water sports ... all of the gear was new and in good working order .......
Piano Bar: Charming ... best place to have a pre dinner cocktail .... lots of pictures of founder and stars that visited resort.
Spa: Sorry couldn't make it
Golf: we didn't golf this time but last year we brought clubs and did 8 rounds ... nice course grate caddies. Advise get a cab to pick you up early and take you home after ... resort shuttle leaves at 9 ....same as Sandals shuttle .... this means all, golfers arrive at the same time and their is only 1 fist hole so ..... depending what order you signed in .... you will have to wait to tee off and wait for all to finish to go home ..... you can order food or beer at course but that means $
Nude beach (island): Sorry No one wants to see me naked so I didn't find out .... again
Pools ; 2 1 swim up bar ......well looked after very clean
Whirlpools 2 ..... not sure I liked the look of these so I didn't partake ..... they were cleaned every day but every night they were murky .... possibly proximity to bar or perhaps just the chemicals ..
General: the resort is charming, decor reminiscent of the old 50's / 60's movie feel but all renovated and new. Its a great place to chill, rest and recuperate from long (extra long winter) and stressful work life. On the downside its not a real active place ie a lot of activities going on all the time so if action is what you are looking for ... some extracurricular off res tours may be in order. But if you are looking for great place to kick back and chill with great food and no kids running around screaming.... its an outstanding place to stay !
- 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