Couples Of The Caribbean

December 31, 2011

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We had a wonderful time at Couples Swept Away in Negril, Jamaica!!

The resort was beautiful, the food was outstanding and the activities were plentiful (including lots of lounging on the beach!). Although we generally like to explore new places, if I were to book another Caribbean resort in the future, it would be very tempting to skip all research and unknown and book another week at Swept Away. We felt the resort was a great value for the price (see more on that at the end) and while this was our first tropical resort, we spoke to several guests who had traveled to tons of Caribbean resorts and felt that Couples Swept Away (CSA) was the very best.

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Arrival

After arriving in Montego Bay, we were guided to a lounge with free beer and a small bathroom where we were told to wait for about 15 minutes until our luggage was packaged up and we were instructed to follow a guide to a bus. This process was a bit confusing, which made me nervous just arriving in a foreign country, but everyone was friendly and we boarded the bus OK. After an hour and a half ride, we arrived at the resort. [While our ride to the resort was a bit crowded and long, our ride from the resort back to the airport was great with a bigger bus and a really friendly driver who told us stories and history the whole ride.]

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Check in also took a bit of time, but a complimentary glass of champagne helped ease the wait. Once we were settled into our room, everything else went very smoothly the rest of our stay.

Grounds

The grounds of the resort are gorgeous, tropical and well kept – especially the beach, which stretches a good ways and is filled with palm trees that provided awesome shade for those who, like us, didn’t want to burn. There were plenty of wide parts for those who love their tans too though.

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The beach chairs were plentiful (although some people would claim them early in the morning and by late morning it was sometimes hard to find an empty one). And staff often came ‘round asking if we would like anything to drink. We had fun waiting for the cigggggggggggggsss guy to come by everyday, who I talked about at the end of this post.

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I loved the squishy mats that you could use to cushion your chair or float on too!

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The water at the beach was plenty warm for swimming, and the waves were very tame so you could float and swim. It wasn’t too deep either. The swimming area was roped off so the watersports boats were no risk to swimmers (and this made me feel safer from fish attacks too : ) )

We also enjoyed the hammocks!

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Both pools were nice, a bit on the small side, but we never really got in them. The ocean was where the fun was. We did get in one of the jacuzzis one night, which was fun!

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Our Room

Our room was “rustic, colonial, tropical” and very nice – we were in the ocean view rooms about a 100 yards to the beach.

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I loved the bed (and the giant down pillows!) and being able to wake up in the morning to billowing curtains and an ocean breeze. Our room had an air conditioner that we turned on at night with a remote control and turned off in the morning with that same remote from bed. So convenient! The temperatures were great.

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The staff kept the room very clean, and we had a mini fridge full of water, beers, and sodas that was kept stocked daily based on our consumption the day before. You could also request to have even more things like juices and full bottles of liquor, all for free.

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The bathroom wasn’t anything special, but it was nice enough. The shampoo and body wash smelled great, but do bring a deep conditioner from home! There was just shampoo and it wasn’t enough to get all the tangles out of my ocean hair (and for some reason I didn’t bring any extra in my cosmetic bag!)

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Dining

The resort has a variety of restaurants from upscale to casual. We tried them all over the course of 5 nights and our favorite was definitely Feathers, the fancy restaurant that required reservations at least a day in advance. The meal we had there was matched in quality to one in a fine dining restaurant in the US. We would have loved to go a second time when the menu changed on our final day, but we planned to go to the beach party instead, which unfortunately was held indoors due to rain : (

Dinner at Feathers post

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We also really enjoyed Lemongrass, the Thai restaurant. It also required reservations, but these were a lot less competitive to come by. The menus at the restaurants seemed to only change twice a week or so, which was nice because it encouraged you to try all the restaurants for variety’s sake, but we also would have been pleased with a different menu every meal : ) Lemongrass was delicious, and the pan-seared snapper was fantastic! The atmosphere was also really fun – it was on the second floor with open air.

Dinner at Lemongrass post

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Our third favorite meal was at Patois, which featured some Jamaican favorites as well as wood-fired pizzas and plenty of seafood. We didn’t love the atmosphere here as much, but the food still tasted great.

Dinner at Patois post

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The breakfast we had at Patois was awesome!

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Finally there was the Palms, which is the big casual dining hall. On Monday they had an amazing looking International Buffet, but we didn’t realize this was a special night and had already made reservations for Lemongrass. We are still sorry we missed all the amazing looking buffet foods that night!

Dinner at the Palms

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Friday night there was a Shipwreck Beach Party which for us was sadly moved inside due to some rain. But the buffet was awesome and included tons of Jamaican traditional dishes like shrimp, jerk chicken, sweet potatoes, plantains and lamb curry. Of course the dessert portions of the dinner buffets were my favorite part! When they didn’t have a buffet going, the Palms has an a la carte menu, which was just OK. The best part of dining in the Palms is that you could catch the beginning of live music or a show from your table if you were still dining around 9pm.

Ship Wreck Party dinner post

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The breakfast buffet was in the Palms, and we LOVED it. From custom smoothies to omelets to oatmeal and yogurt to tons of tropical fruit to pastries to fish and vegetables, they had it all. Just like at home, breakfast was my favorite meal of the day!

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I loved the made to order whole wheat coconut waffles, the smoothies and the museli oats. The overflowing coffee was also good!

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Another restaurant to mention is the Sea Grape oceanside café, which served vegetarian food and fish. We LOVED this place for lunch!! It had a healthy spin and the best sweet potato chips ever! The fish tacos were also really good. Sea Grapes also has self serve beer and an ice cream machine! We liked eating lunch right by the ocean.

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Lunch at Sea Grape post

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Everywhere you look on Couples there are vita-mixes blending away smoothies! I think the smoothies were my very favorite part. All the fruit was totally fresh and blended into a frothy mix with ice.

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A special treat at Sea Grape was the fresh coconuts cut open to enjoy fresh coconut water. These are a little hard to come by so you have to know when to go and see if they arrived. But boy was this delicious!

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Overall we were very impressed by the food for such a big resort feeding so many people. [And coming from us, that says a lot!] Everything was fresh and tasted on par with any restaurant I would go to at home. Of all the food we enjoyed over 5 days, there were only a few dishes we didn’t think were that great, but most of it was exotic, flavorful and creative. And since I haven’t mentioned it yet: the resort is all-inclusive!

Drinks

All inclusive on drinks too!!

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The bars were well stocked high and low with all kinds of liquors and mixers. I worried that they might only have the cheapest varieties that you’d expect at an all-inclusive resort, but they had a wide selection and nice brands too. The bartenders were pretty good too – they could make just about anything, including some nice virgin drinks when I didn’t want the alcohol during the day [like the papaya + nutmeg + milk smoothie I got!]

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The best bar was the Martini Bar next to Lemongrass, which had all the high end liquors. So of course that was our favorite bar : ) Matt got several Maker’s Mark Mint Juleps (his favorite drink of the trip) and I fancied the Lemon Drop Martinis.

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A word to wine (and beer) folks: One of the only complaints we do have with the resort was the lack of wine variety. There were just two kinds: a red Cabernet and a white Chardonnay to choose from. While I wouldn’t expect the finest of wines, I would have really liked to have a few more varietals of grapes to choose from. I felt like they favored the liquor drinkers with Grey Goose and Maker’s Mark but had so few wine options for the wine lovers! Perhaps wine is just that much more expensive per drink than liquor. Feathers did have an additional Sauv. Blanc, but you needed reservations to get to it! And one night we were handed an a la carte wine bottle list, but they were really expensive.

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One good thing was that the servers were excellent at refilling your glass (for wine and coffee!) and it rarely went empty. A good thing for drinking but a bad thing for hangovers!

Beers were also quite slim pickings: Red Stripe and a few more Caribbean brands in cans, but that’s what I would expect and was OK with us. Can’t expect craft brews overseas!

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Sports

When you aren’t eating, drinking or lounging on the beach, there’s an awesome fitness facility across the street. I took a spin class on some pretty nice spin bikes the first day and would have loved to do some beach yoga if I could have gotten myself out to the beach by 8:30 am!  They had several boot camp classes and aerobics, but this trip was more about the beach than fitness. Maybe next time I’ll do more classes! There was a great jogging track that was about 1/3 a mile long and a great selection of cardio machines and weight machines. Tons of tennis courts too, with free lessons if you wanted! Plus racquetball and squash. And a huge lap pool! Definitely a great resort for staying in shape! We made it over there 3 times for workouts and it was nice to be able to sweat a little away from the beach.

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The resort had tons of activities like kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, scuba diving, paddle boating, water skiing and more. Matt water skied and had fun, but we didn’t partake in any of the other boating activities – too much relaxing got in the way. If we’d stayed another few days, I’m sure we would have gotten to do more of these things!

Activities

Two activities we did do (all inclusive!) were a catamaran booze cruise and a snorkel trip.

The catamaran was lots of fun – a 2 hour ride down the shore line to a pirate’s cave where we got off to swim.

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The snorkeling trip was great too – a 15 minute ride out to a reef and then 30 minutes in shallow water with lots of marine life to see. I LOVED that both of these activities were included. Even if they’d been only $10, the hump of paying might have deterred us. Another reason why we felt the resort was such great value.

Oasis Spa

The one thing we did pay for was a spa treatment. The spa was very nice with a beautiful long hot tub to visit after treatments. Matt said his massage was great, and it was priced just as you’d expect. They offered tons of spa treatments from facials to pedicures and seaweed wraps.

Entertainment

We felt there could have been a bit more entertainment (like a cruise ship with shows + comedians) but every night they had live music (and to be honest we didn’t do a lot of late night partying). One night there was a romantic bonfire on the beach with a wonderful guitarist that we enjoyed very much.

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And we caught a great steel drum show once

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One small thing to note: the staff was very friendly and also very laid back. So laid back that they forgot several of our drink/food orders and the service wasn’t quite what we’re used to when servers are eager for high tips in the US. This wasn’t a big deal, but we realized we occasionally had to ask 2-3 times for something, so mentally prepare for that if you visit.

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Value

When we started talking about a Christmas Caribbean vacation back in the summer, I began to research resorts and prices. While our budget wasn’t huge, we also did not want to risk going anywhere really inexpensive (you get what you pay for, right?) or under-reviewed where we might leave disappointed. We wanted something all-inclusive, well-traveled and very tropical island-y where we could just sit on the beach and read. After some preliminary research, I was shocked to find how much many of the trips cost (super expensive flights included.) I knew going Christmas week was going to be at a premium, but since it was our only week of the year to travel, I didn’t realize it would be that much. At this point we decided not to go – it was just too much money for one week.

A month later the trip was still on my mind, and a bit more searching of different islands led to me to discover that flights to Jamaica were much less than the surrounding smaller islands. Couples came up as one of the top resorts in Jamaica. A search on cost and availability showed that it was reasonably priced. The trip was back on!

The same day I came across Couples, our friends Eileen and Stephen came over for dinner and said they had honeymooned at CSA and that it was fabulous – word of mouth was enough of a review for me to book the trip. It made for a wonderful Christmas present and the most relaxing week together, which was priceless.

As I said in the intro, our temptation would be to try something new next time. But we really had such a good experience at Couples Swept Away and coupling (ha!) our good experience with the reviews of other travelers who have “seen it all,” I think we would definitely consider a trip back in the years to come. What I do think we would do next time is take a day trip (or perhaps split or time) to one of the other three Couples resorts on Jamaica – just to try something new yet stay in territory we know and love.

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{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sana December 31, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Now I can’t wait to take a trip like that! It really does sound amazing :)

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2 Jen December 31, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Such a well-written and thoughtful review post. Thanks for sharing your experiences this week. I enjoyed it because the relaxation jumped off the page! So, does this mean the next one is next Christmas? :) Would you choose the Caribbean again or a trip that’s more active or sight-see’able’ (lack of a better word!) Also: do only the servers mix up the juices and smoothies? Or are guests allowed to use the blenders themselves?)

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3 KathEats December 31, 2011 at 9:49 pm

I thought we were sight-seeers. We have claimed to be our whole lives. The thought of sitting on the beach for a week was boring.

And then we got busy and decided that’s just what we wanted to do. And it was glorious! So…not sure how I feel about sight-seeing at the moment!

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4 KathEats December 31, 2011 at 9:51 pm

[Blenders are for bartenders only]

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5 Jen December 31, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Yes I can definitely see myself going that way too! Especially after a crazy year – bakery, new house – busy!

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6 kaila@ healthy helper blog! December 31, 2011 at 9:47 pm

What a thorough review!! I feel like I visited there myself!! I love all inclusives! They make the vacation so much more enjoyable and fun!

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7 Nadine December 31, 2011 at 9:58 pm

We’ve vacationed in Negril 7 times in a row, but we stay on the cliffs, not at the beach. You may have seen our resort on your boat trip to Pirate’s Cave. I’m glad you loved Negril, our home away from home. One love!

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8 Lee December 31, 2011 at 9:58 pm

I’ve been to a few all-inclusive resorts and the beer and wine selection is always very minimal where I’ve been too. We stayed at two different resorts in Mexico and all they had for beer was Dos Equis.

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9 Vaz December 31, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Thank you for for the wonderful review! It looks like a fabulous place to visit. I was looking at their website, and it mentions that topless sunbathing is allowed on the main beaches. At the risk of sounding prudish (which I guess I am, ha!), is that something that was really common? I don’t know that my husband would be very comfortable with that.

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10 KathEats December 31, 2011 at 10:16 pm

I saw a total of 4 boobs. [None of them were mine!] So no, not that common!

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11 Vaz December 31, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Lol! Thanks. :)

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12 Karen January 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm
13 Elisabeth December 31, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Looks like a wonderful, relaxing vacation! I’ve never been to the islands (I usually choose a city vacation because I like to go to museums), but your trip made me eager to make a beach vacation :)

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14 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga December 31, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Kath this is a great post…soooooo in-depth and informative. Everything you said was very helpful about the place and I find myself nodding in agreement with many sentiments…in general, I find service slow in the Caribbean, anywhere. Even at 5 star resorts with really high price tags, the laid back attitude prevails, i.e. forgetting orders and need to be asked 2 and 3 times for drinks, not uncommon in my travels anywhere, really. And the part about lacking wine options, also common. Beer and liquor plentiful, wine, not so much.

Glad you guys had such a nice time that you may consider forgoing the unknown and just re-booking there. That speaks volumes. Whatever you do for future vacays, at least you had an amazing time on this one. Love it when the unknown ends up being awesome!

Last comment for 2011.

Happy 2012!

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15 Christine @ BookishlyB December 31, 2011 at 11:25 pm

I just looked up the rates online- seems like a really great deal. I’m definitely bookmarking it!

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16 Christine @ Oatmeal in my Bowl January 1, 2012 at 11:37 pm

I second that!

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17 Christena December 31, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Very nice review! I’m catching up on several weeks, so forgive me if you mentioned this in a previous post — did you get a new camera or lens? I went back several days and just have to say that your recent photos are AMAZING, especially the close-ups….your best work I’ve seen on the blog!!! If it is a new lens, do you mind saying which one? :)

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18 KathEats January 1, 2012 at 11:05 am

Thanks!! I’m using my same lens – Canon 35mm f/2.0. I love it! I think I just had more time for photo ops :)

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19 S December 31, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I very much enjoyed your vacation this week:) It reminded me of where my husband and I stayed in Cancun for our 10 yr. anni. I can highly recommend Excellence Playa Mujeres http://www.excellence-resorts.com/excellence-resorts-image-gallery. It was over the top amazing! (It’s so important to go to an adults only place. It just wouldn’t be the same with kids running around.) Just like CSA I can’t imagine finding a better place. I’m dying to go back!
XO

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20 Angel7 January 1, 2012 at 12:37 am

Great, thorough review, Kath! Thanks for all the detailed information!

http://faithfulsolutions.blogspot.com/

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21 Ella January 1, 2012 at 1:39 am

Sounds like a great trip! Love the beautiful photos! Especially,obvi, the food. Yummmmm!!! I want a coconut smoothie. STAT. When you receive emails from companies that want you to review their new food products or kitchen items, how do you decide if you want to try and blog about it? Do you use that same process to select non-food items, like your cali bowls? After reading this fabulous review of your trip, it sounds like you and Matt really put some thought into whether or not you wanted to go. I’m curious what your decision-making process is, since you obviously accepted an awesome opportunity!!!

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22 KathEats January 1, 2012 at 11:06 am

Hey Ella, This trip was not sponsored – we researched and paid for the whole thing ourselves. I would have disclosed if it had been sponsored in any way per the FTCs guidelines. I no longer do product reviews on KERF – I only test things behind the scenes for opensky, and yes, I give that lots of thought!

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23 Kelly @ Foodie Fiasco January 1, 2012 at 5:32 am

It sounds like a great place! Beautious, delicious, memorable, and well-priced! I am so glad you had fun, and here’s to a healthy, happy, and safe 2012 (and all the years to come)!

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24 Simply Life January 1, 2012 at 6:51 am

sounds like it was a great trip! We did an all inclusive resort for our honeymoon in Belize and I love those for the times when you want a relaxing trip and not have to worry what things are costing each day, etc.!

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25 Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) January 1, 2012 at 7:23 am

What a great review post! You hit all the main highlights and important details when booking such a vacation. Thanks for taking the time and energy to do so for your readers!

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26 Karen January 1, 2012 at 7:55 am

Excellent review; I appreciate the detail and honesty, and your photos from this trip were outstanding. All inclusive resorts aren’t my thing, but I’m directing my parents to this recap. Thank you!

Happy New Year, Kath and Matt…may your 2012 be filled with lots of wonderful surprises! xo, Karen

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27 Sarah January 1, 2012 at 8:28 am

Wow! Everything looks so beautiful. I would love to take a vacation like that especially in the middle of winter. Looks like you guys really did enjoy yourselves. Happy New Year!

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28 Amanda January 1, 2012 at 8:46 am

I loved reading your vacation posts and found your review to be really helpful. I will definitely be keeping this resort in mind for a future vacation. :)

I know you mentioned there was a vegetarian cafe, but would you say that there were vegetarian options at the other restaurants?

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29 KathEats January 1, 2012 at 11:07 am

There were lots of vegetarian options. At least one dish on every menu and tons of veggies at the salad bars and things. I think as a vegan though, choices would have been really hard to come by.

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30 Amanda January 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Good to know. Thanks, Kath!

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31 Rebecca @ Naturally Healthy and Gorgeous January 1, 2012 at 9:10 am

Thanks for the unbiased review! I’ll have to convince my husband to consider it!

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32 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 1, 2012 at 9:21 am

Sounds like a great trip! I can’t believe it was all-inclusive! that makes things so much easier because you aren’t worrying about paying for things while on vacation!

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33 Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count January 1, 2012 at 9:23 am

I remember when I was still working as a travel agent that Swept Away got glowing reviews. Glad you enjoyed your time there!

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34 Sarah@The Flying ONION January 1, 2012 at 9:28 am

Ahh!! I am so jealous. What a beautiful resort. I could use some warm weather and sunlight right about now. :D

Have FUN!

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35 Hillary January 1, 2012 at 9:37 am

Thanks for the super detailed review, Kath. My boyfriend and I have been talking about taking a super laid-back vacation when we both finish graduate school next May, but neither of us have ever done anything tropical, so we don’t even know where to start! Like you and Matt, we usually like to take “sight seeing” trips to places we’ve never been before, and we usually like staying busy, but the idea of just crashing on a beach for five days sounds like the perfect way to reward ourselves and actually relax/enjoy each other. I think we’ll definitely give this place a shot!

Glad you guys had such a great time. Welcome home!

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36 Lisa @ Life in Green January 1, 2012 at 9:48 am

Love your pictures and great review. Pretty much matches what we thought of Couples Negril in 2010. My absolute favorite part was the beach…the water was so calm and beautiful. The group I went with is trying out Couples Tower Isle this March, which I believe was fairly recently renovated.

The one thing I didn’t care for was actually the Appleton’s…I so wanted to like it, but just didn’t. I drank a lot of Citron & tonics, as tonic water was on tap at all their bars. Loved that!

I want to travel and see other parts of the Caribbean, but I think the Couples experience might not be beat. Glad you had a great vacation.

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37 Susan January 1, 2012 at 9:54 am

We honeymooned at CSA in 2006 and absolutely loved it. We have been to quite a few all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and the food is typically passable. I was pretty surprised by the quality and variety of the food at CSA. You’re used the gym every day-loved that it was open air (though pretty hot in June) and well-equipped. You are making me want to go back!

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38 CaitlinHTP January 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

I want this vacation, stat.

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39 KathEats January 1, 2012 at 11:07 am

:) Let’s go together next year!

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40 betty January 1, 2012 at 10:32 am

Thanks for sharing the review. Glad you guys enjoyed some tropical RnR! Nothing beats swimming in those blue waters to reset the spirit. I wish I was on “island time” right now …

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41 Kate @ Stripes and Polka Dots January 1, 2012 at 10:58 am

Thanks for the review! I’m going to file this away for when we are looking to take a trip!

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42 Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon January 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

Listening to a guitarist in front of a bonfire sounds pretty darn perfect!!

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43 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen January 1, 2012 at 11:00 am

Thanks for the review! We went to an all inclusive in Mexico in March of last year and were so happy with it even though I’m usually the type that likes a go-go-go sightseeing kind of vacation. I’d love to try out Jamaica but it would be hard to not pick Mexico again after how friendly and nice the staff were our entire trip! I’m really trying to convince the husband for another tropical all inclusive in Feb or March so I just made him read this with me ;)

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44 J January 1, 2012 at 11:02 am

Was your trip sponsored and you were asked to do such a detailed review?

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45 KathEats January 1, 2012 at 11:07 am

No, not sponsored at all. We paid for it 100%. I would have disclosed loud and clear if I had been sent to review.

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46 Anne January 1, 2012 at 11:11 am

Kind of intense review, do you sometimes just enjoy yourself and let go ? I think you should.

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47 KathEats January 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

I spent the whole week letting go. I recapped this during our flights home because others asked for more details should they want to go – and it was nice to recap the whole trip in one post for us to remember. Blogging is my job and I enjoy it!

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48 Anne January 1, 2012 at 11:22 am

I know it’s your job and good for you it works and you like it, but I meant by that nobody work 365 days a year, a vacation in my mind is to take a break…

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49 KathEats January 1, 2012 at 11:23 am

I would have taken all of those photos anyways… it was a wonderful vacation

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50 Kelly (meatlesswithaman.blogspot.com) January 1, 2012 at 12:39 pm

That’s where we went for our honeymoon!! Loved it and glad you did too!!!

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51 Cristin January 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Great review! I had heard great things about CSA. If you go to Negril again and want to split time btw two places, Rockhouse is amazing. It’s not an all inclusive but it’s wonderful and the food is great. We went their for our honeymoon and met a couple who were splitting time between CSA and Rockhouse because they loved them both so much!

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52 Alex January 1, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I saw from their website that they’re couples-only, but I can’t find out whether gay couples are allowed. Do you know?

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53 KathEats January 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I’m sure they are. It wasn’t just couples – there were some families (with older children – not young ones) and groups. And while I didn’t necessarily notice any same sex couples, it was not the kind of place where they would be unwelcome.

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54 Heather C January 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Sorry to butt in…I have sent same-sex couples to all four of the Couples resorts in the past. They were very welcome!

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55 Allison O'Mara (A Girl in her kitchen) January 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm

So glad you had a good time! I am going to start working on my hubby to make a visit there next year…:)

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56 Sam January 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm

My husband and I went to Couples Negril and your photos looked very similar! We had an amazing time there as well. Glad you have a nice vacation!

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57 Leila @ Spinach and Skittles January 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Loved the in-depth review! We honeymooned at Sandals in Montego Bay and LOVED Jamaica. However, Couples Swept Away sounds much nicer than Sandals (food quality not great, and the bed was not comfortable). We’ve been thinking of going back to Jamaica, but to a different resort…looking like it might be CSA!

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58 Angie January 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Great review of our favorite resort! This year would have been our 5th visit in 3 years but we won a beach blogger trip from Marriott so we had to skip it this year. I’m not complaining though, the St. Thomas trip was great.

But Couples Swept Away is home to us and we look forward to heading back this year. In 2010 we participated in the Reggae Marathon half marathon and will probably do the 10k this year.

Kev and I snorkel 3 times a day when we are there, it’s our favorite activity to do. And always a couples massage too.

My favorite restaurants there are Palms, Lemongrass and the Sea Grape cafe. Delish! I am sorry to hear you missed the Shipwreck beach party. We always plan our trip around that and pray it doesn’t rain lol

Glad to hear you had such a great experience!

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59 Emily S January 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm

this sounds amazing. Our five year anniversary was this past June – BUT we’d just had a baby the month before – so no special anniversary trip for us in 2011. But we’re looking into a trip for 2012 – all inclusive – and this sounds just fantastic!

Did you find there was a lot of the reggae-type music and such to enjoy? My husband loves raggae and ska music so much, so I know he’d appreciate that touch of authenticity.

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60 KathEats January 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Yes, tons of reggae!

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61 Sandy January 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm

We went on our honeymoon there almost 5 years ago. We LOVED it!! So cool to see it all again. We did about everything you did and we went scuba diving which is also included, which you won’t find at many all-inclusive resorts. I have to admit after the minimal practice we got, I was not ready to be thrown in the ocean, so the guide held my hand the whole time and worked all my controls. Us and another couple were the only ones who passed the swim test (8 laps in the pool), haha. I also did knee-boarding behind the boat.

Even after all the amazing food we ate, I still lost weight due to all the swimming and walking we did. Such a fun trip, really makes me want to go back!

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62 Eileen January 1, 2012 at 5:45 pm

so glad you liked it! your photos and recaps brought back great memories.. now I want to go back :) Oh and sounds like you got a room upgrade? nice :)

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63 KathEats January 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Maybe we can go together sometime!

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64 Katelyn January 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Thanks for writing this post about the resort! It was incredibly informative and thorough. Also, your photos are gorgeous! I really appreciate your honesty in this post and being open to sharing what you loved about the resort and what you found was lacking. It looks like you and Matt had a wonderful vacation! I will definitely keep this in mind for the future – maybe for a tropical honeymoon one day! ;) Welcome home!

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65 Rachel A January 1, 2012 at 7:28 pm

I’ve never been to an all-inclusive resort but have been doing some research for our vacation next year. Couples Swept Away sounds awesome. My husband and I would love a relaxing vacation, especially with free booze. Do you tip your servers at an all-inclusive? Just curious, since I want to plan appropriately budget-wise.

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66 KathEats January 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm

The resort is 100% tip free, except the spa where it is optional. We still left something for the maids for our room, but that was optional too.

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67 Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables January 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Great post Kath! My fiance and I are currently trying to figure out where to go for our honeymoon and this has opened our eyes to a great option!

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68 Andrea January 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm

So glad you had a great time in Negril! We went in September for our 10th anniversary and had a wonderful time at Breezes. We were specifically looking to get PADI certified and all scuba dives (two a day) were included, which is why we chose Breezes. When we weren’t scuba diving, we were just relaxing and being together. Bliss!

I definitely think all inclusive is a great way to go. And “adults-only” is really nice if you aren’t taking small children. While we enjoyed Riu Cancun for our 5th (all inclusive, family resort), I think I liked Negril better. I definitely liked the adults-only aspect, though my parents love the Excellence in Punta Cana, Domincan Republic and go back …seems like every year. It’s so nice to know everything is taken care of!

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69 Glenneth January 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Thanks for sharing where you were. Hubby and I are due for a vacation and that place looks fabulous. Not having kids, a couples only place would be great for us.

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70 Hillary B January 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Thanks so much for writing this post – it was amazing to see all your vacation photos over the past week and hear your thoughts on the resort. I also like to take vacations to places I have never been, but now I want to go back to Negril for a second visit! I’m glad you guys had a great time. Welcome back to Cville!!!

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71 Dee January 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Wow! I just had to share this post with my husband. Amazing!

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72 Hope January 4, 2012 at 12:02 am

Thank you for posting such a great review! My fiance and I are in the process of trying to figure out where to go for our honeymoon in August. We were looking at the Couples resorts. Do you think this would make for a good honeymoon resort?

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73 KathEats January 4, 2012 at 11:34 am

Absolutely!

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74 Joni January 5, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Loved the review! My husband and I went to Couples Sans Souci for our honeymoon two years ago and had the best time. Reading this review makes us want to go back…especially after how you said all the other guests that had traveled elsewhere always came back to Couples. We heard the same thing from multiple other people during our stay too, so it must be true! :) Also, just in case you’re ever looking for something different (still on the less expensive end), we just traveled to Live Aqua in Cancun in August – talk about the most beautiful pools you’ve ever seen! I spent hours in the pools as well as on the gorgeous beach reading! It was just as fantastic as Couples, and all-inclusive too.

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75 Andrea @FrSeed2Stomach January 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I can recommend some good excursions for your next trip to Jamaica! It really is the cheapest place in the Caribbean and we just returned from our second trip. I really recommend doing the Black River Safari and YS Falls on the south coast. Absolutely beautiful. The bike tour down the blue mountains is also stunning. Skip the luminous lagoon (cheezy and not that impressive) and rastavillage.com (not really a village!). Hopefully, I’ll blog about our trip soon!

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76 Amy January 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm

What a wonderful and detailed post! My husband and I are headed back to Swept Away for our 6th time in March. We love it there and I think you said it best at the beginning – “tempting to skip all the research and just go back”. Whenever we think about going to the Caribbean, we automatically book our trip to Swept Away. You know you are going to go to a little piece of paradise. Glad you loved it as much as we did!

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77 diana@mymarblerye January 11, 2012 at 9:48 am

how did you choose between the couples resorts?

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78 KathEats January 11, 2012 at 9:52 am

We had two friends recommend Swept Away so we decided to go there. I think it’s the biggest too?

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79 Heather C January 14, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Kath, do you mind if I post your review on our agency’s Facebook page? I have Gina & Tom’s from Sandals when I booked them and I think I put Jen’s from when her and Brandon went to last May!
This is our Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Classic-Travel-at-Tacketts-Mill/96491773207

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80 KathEats January 14, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Sure, that’s fine!

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81 Ashley April 15, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Hey Kath.

My husband and I just got back yesterday from an all inclusive in Mexico. We loved it but as you might expect from an all-inclusive, the food was lacking a bit. I love food (I DO read your blog! haha), so I wish I had seen this post when we were planning! Next time we’ll have to try it!

I was curious about one thing though. What book(s) did you read? I’m always looking for good books – especially now – I am a teacher and Summer is coming! (Last Summer is when I discovered your blog! I have a great screened-in porch and an awesome deck (that my husband built all by himself last Spring – I’ll have to get you a picture!) so I spend my summers reading and web-browsing outdoors! I also stumbled on pictures of your new house this afternoon… Your porch is absolutely amazing! I had to show my husband. He loved it and got some good ideas for renovating our own sun porch, so thanks!!)

Thanks for your awesome blog! I could (and too often do) waste hours reading and looking at all your beautiful photos.

-Ashley

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82 KathEats April 15, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Hey Ashley! I read Wally lambs “she’s come undone” in Jamaica… Loved the writing! My favorite book is “Ahab’s Wife” by Sena Jeter Naslund.

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83 Amanda Cowan May 21, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I’m so excited! We’re taking a trip for our 10th anniversay (from marriage, 12 from having met each other) in November. Originally the plan was NYC, since neither of us had been there before. But in the last month I’ve been craving some more tropical, and I found out that my hubby felt the same! We’ve been to Hawaii twice and aren’t in a hurry to get back. I kept remembering your post about this place and so we’ve been doing some research and I’m pretty sure we’ll be heading here! Thanks for such a thorough post. Makes it easy to say “yes please!”

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84 Michael Tavallaei May 22, 2012 at 6:31 pm

so jealous of those views

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