Romance and Relaxation at Jamaica’s Couples Resorts
Are you looking for a secluded hideaway for your honeymoon or anniversary? Consider Couples Resorts, Jamaica’s original all-inclusive resort. With two locations in Negril and two in Ocho Rios, Couples offers four luxury, all-inclusive properties as the setting for your next romantic beach vacation: Couples Negril, Couples Swept Away, Couples San Souci and Couples Tower Isle.
Two weeks ago, I visited all four Couples Resorts to get firsthand experience and all the latest updates about room categories, wedding venues, group space and, of course, the world-famous beaches. I also learned about the most recent safety protocols Couples Resorts is implementing to keep guests safe and socially distanced.
What is a FAM Trip?
I visited Couples Resorts with about twenty other travel agents for a FAM (familiarization) trip. A FAM trip is a trip that is exclusively for travel professionals to help us learn about all aspects of resorts and destinations. A FAM trip always involves at least one hotel stay, but sometimes I stay at multiple hotels. It also includes dining at various restaurants and participating in cultural and adventure activities.
People often ask me, “Are FAM trips free?” The short answer is “no.” I am never charged full-price for staying at a particular property during a FAM, but it is not always free. The destination, resort or hotel group often assigns a price for the FAM (for the hotel, activities and dining), but it rarely includes airfare. So every time I go on a FAM, I am paying money out of my own pocket and I plan on paying full-price for my airfare.
My Couples Resorts sales manager invited me and other travel advisors who specialize in romance travel to fully experience the Couples Resorts by staying, eating and playing at the four properties. During our stay, we participated in site inspections of each Couples property, which involve tours of the:
- Grounds and beaches
- Various room categories
- Fitness facilities
- Gourmet restaurants
- Wedding and Vow Renewal Department
- Water Sports and Recreation area
- Front Desk and Check-In
Which Couples Resort is Best for You?
After touring all the Couples Resorts and staying at two of the four, I can attest that there is a Couples Resort for everyone. Each resort has a distinct atmosphere and vibe. So how I know which resort to select for you and your love? It all depends on your vacation goals.
When you fill out my quote form, we set up an initial phone consultation where I ask you targeted questions and assess what you desire most in your relaxing getaway. My job shifts to “vacation matchmaker,” as I compare your goals to the features and offerings of each resort with which I am familiar.
Here are four common requests and the corresponding Couples Resort that best fulfills the request:
Long Walks on the Seven Mile Beach
If you and your sweetheart are looking for a resort on the world-renowned Seven Mile Beach, I suggest Couples Swept Away. This resort has one of the most extended stretches of sandy beach in Jamaica, and it offers the perfect setting to walk the beach in the morning or enjoy one of the famous Negril sunsets.
Room categories are tricky at this resort, so do not book without your travel agent. After staying at this resort, I know exactly which room category will provide blissful respite and privacy. I also know which room type will keep you up all night because of road noise! This resort is on a long, thin piece of property, and location matters immensely.
Couples Swept Away also has the most extensive health and fitness facilities of all the Couples Resorts. Are you interested in swimming, tennis, racquetball or pickleball? This is the place for you. The fitness areas are a quick walk across the street, and there are friendly staff members everywhere to help you get the maximum benefit from the equipment and facilities.
Modern, Updated Rooms
Couples Resorts prides itself on providing you with a local, authentic Jamaican experience. Many of the resorts include rooms with old, dark mahogany wood, darker floors and natural wood blinds. If you seek a room with contemporary Jamaican style, bright white furnishings and local art bursting with Caribbean color, I suggest Couples Negril.
Couples Negril’s beach is much smaller than Couples Tower Isle, but there are many features of this resort that I prefer. The resort feels much smaller because it is arranged around a more cove-style beach instead of a long, extensive beach. We ate lunch at the outdoor restaurant called Cassava Terrace and we found it to be friendly and accommodating with sumptuous local cuisine.
Inspiring Views of the Caribbean
One resort captured my heart with its breathtaking views. Couples Tower Isle, the first Couples Resort ever built, wins hands-down for the number of rooms with balcony rooms that overlook the private island for which the resort is named.
Couples Tower Isle is the flagship all-inclusive resort in Jamaica. Built in 1949 and still family-owned, Couples Tower Isle set the standard for all-inclusive vacationing in the Caribbean. The island features au-natural sunbathing, and you must remain completely “natural” while on the island.
This resort also features other room categories that other Couples Resorts do not have, including private villas. These villas sell out faster than any other room category. Even during COVID when the resort was at 20 percent capacity, the villas were booked entirely except for one.
Natural Island Beauty
Couples San Souci has the most natural beauty and lush vegetation of all the Couple Resorts. It is truly an oasis in paradise. From the private massage gazebo that overlooks the Caribbean to the turtle and pelican pond, this resort exudes old-style Jamaican charm and tradition. The rocky walls, colorful flora and meandering stone paths are perfect for exploring.
This resort also has another important feature of “natural beauty.” Three of the four Couples Resorts offer natural sunbathing, and this resort offers the largest au natural beach. Guests return year after year because this beach offers so much acreage and privacy.
The dining at Couples San Souci is second to none, and we enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Pallazina. The chef came out to speak to us and told us how he was committed to using fresh, local ingredients that allow guests to experience the spices and flavors of Jamaican cuisine.
One Criterion is Not Enough
Let me just say that I do not recommend you go out and book one of these resorts on your own. One criterion like “long walks on the beach” is not enough for me to recommend Couples Swept Away is the right match for you. Many other measures are also crucial like:
- What size resort are you seeking?
- How much privacy do you want?
- Do you like lots of dining choices or just a few?
- Do you want access to other neighboring properties that have exchange privileges with your resort so you can visit two resorts during your stay?
- Are excursions important to you? What types?
Finding the best destination and resort for you is a complex process because thousands of quality properties are excellent. However, it takes time, patience and experience to make that perfect match.
Why Book With a Travel Advisor?
I see it as my privilege and responsibility as your travel advisor to learn about your vacation goals so I can match you to the resort that will exceed your expectations. I know which resorts cater best to guests with:
- Mobility issues
- Food allergies and dietary needs
- VIP requests
- Large parties
- Need for privacy and quiet
I also know how long it will take you to get from the airport to your resort. I am friends with the local transportation companies who provide transportation and tours. The best reason to book with me is that I’m just a phone call away when you need me, and I will be the one to answer the phone when you call.
An online tour operator (OTA) like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz or Cheap Caribbean focus on price (which often be a bait and switch), but they offer no personalized service or support. Calling an OTA is hugely frustrating because you will speak to someone new every time. Because there is no relationship, an OTA sees the dollar as the bottom line. Filling rooms (often inferior rooms that the resort would rather not sell directly) is its primary goal, and an OTA is not concerned about your personal experience.
What Keeps Me Coming Back to Couples Resorts?
I love Couples Resorts for so many reasons, but here are my top 4:
- Authentic Jamaica. The first thing I notice when I walk on to a Couples property is the lush grounds that are not overly manicured. You will see hundreds of flowers, trees and plants growing in their natural habitat, and the grounds staff maintains them with gentle care. No logos or signs are reminding you of the brand. Your experience will beckon you to return.
- The staff. The Couples Staff are warm and hospitable, yet they assume guests want privacy and space. I enjoyed this pleasant blend of friendliness and distance.
- Quality of food. Often, all-inclusives offer too much of the same cuisine in restaurants within the resort and across the brand. I found the food at Couples Resorts (I ate at all four resorts during my stay) to be varied enough to please me, and I thought the ingredients were fresh and tasty. If you have food allergies, you do not have to worry. I am gluten-free, and all my food was cooked to order.
- Health-focused. I really liked that each Couples Resort had a Veggie Bar that offered smoothies and fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the day. When I travel, I want to eat fresh and local, and Couples does not disappoint. If you’re not a health nut, don’t worry! You can still find favorites like jerk chicken and french fries at various locations around the resort. I encourage you to try new foods on vacation that you can’t get at home. I suggest trying the tropical fruits at breakfast like passion fruit and dragon fruit .
Travel Hacks for Selecting that Perfect All-Inclusive Resort
I always want my blog to provide specific suggestions to my travelers, so here are a few suggestions to get you ready to take your next all-inclusive vacation:
*Make a list of all the previous destinations you visited. Write down what you liked and did not like about each of them.
*Check your passport. Does it expire at least six months AFTER the day you plan to return? If not, you need to renew your passport.
*Close your eyes and envision yourself at a tropical resort. What five things do you see around you? Do you prefer a resort that features a long beach or one that focuses on daily and nightly activities? Would you rather have huge pool with energetic music and a fun pool bar, or an intimate, swim-up room with your own plunge pool? Do you want a butler or concierge service to go with your room? Are you dreaming of an over-water bungalow?
After you do all these things, you are ready to call your travel advisor and start planning! Fill out my quote form and let’s make an appointment for a consultation.