Author: Dennis Bisson
Date of Trip: June 2012
We returned to CTI on 31 May for a 12 day stay, our third visit in as many years. Traveling from Ottawa via Toronto with West Jet was uneventful and certainly more pleasant and reliable than my recent experiences with Air Canada.
There was little delay with Customs and Immigration as there were relatively few travelers and there seemed to be more agents than in the past. We presented ourselves at the Couples airport lounge, enjoyed two quick Red Stripes and were on our way about 15 minutes after getting to the lounge. A very pleasant and informative 2 hour ride with “Bud” our driver and we arrived at CTI to be welcomed “home” by Kirk and offered cold face cloths and drinks by other staff. A speedy check-in and we were in our room in minutes. What makes this Resort stand out is the staff. Regardless who you meet you are given a smile, asked if you need anything and welcomed “home”.
We find that one of the most appealing features of CTI is the wide variety of guests that frequent the resort. We mingled with 20 year olds marrying at the resort to 70 year olds renewing their vows. Everyone was friendly and having a good time. There were daily weddings and a number of couples reserved the Island for night time weddings and dinners.
We learned that you could request room servicing for a specific time period. Since we planned to scuba dive every morning we requested that the room be made up between 9 and 11 AM. Our housekeeper, Catherine, complied with this request and we were very pleased to return from our dives to find the room spotlessly made up and with a full supply of amenities.
Our dives were mostly lead by Collin, a conscientious, meticulous, safe and knowledgeable divemaster. On some occasions he was overworked by his tasks because there was no one else from the dive shop/watersports center to assist with the preparation, loading and operation of the boat. Douglas and Lionel were also wonderful members of the dive team.
Being a boater and mechanically inclined it distresses me when I see anything mechanical abused. The lack of proper dock facilities, specifically proper fenders or padded boards, is resulting in significant damage to both the pontoon boat and the dive boat. The pontoon boat, new last June, is virtually destroyed. This shortcoming should be addressed immediately.
We spent most afternoons at the Island enjoying the facilities Au Naturel. The water taxi, usually operated by Dalan, was always available by simply standing on the dock. Lunches, consisting of at least 2 main dishes and 2 sides were brought over about 12:30. Various bartenders looked after the Island bar on rotation. Rohan and Terry stood out.
Evening entertainment was highlighted by the appearance of the Silverbirds Steel band and the Jamaican night beach dinner. The rooftop patio was used on three evenings for Martinis and games. Teneesha was the usual bartender and she did a great job. Katy, one of the entertainment staff usually hosted the games. She has an infectious laugh and is a delight to be around. We frequently went to the Piano Bar for cocktails prior to dinner. This bar was often tended by Ricardo who remembered our names and drink preference after the first night. Great service.
We had three meals at Bayside, the Thai themed restaurant. We thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere and meals prepared by Myuri the chef. We dined twice at Eight Rivers the elegant dining room, once for the repeaters dinner and another time by ourselves. Food presentation and preparation were outstanding. Expect to spend about 2 hours enjoying this sophisticated dining experience. We dined once at the Verandah restaurant. Menu selection and service were of a high order but we found the room on that occasion very noisy because of several large parties in attendance. The other evenings we ate in the patio restaurant. Because of the off season occupancy rate we were offered a partial table service rather than full buffet. You served yourself at the salad bar then chose from a menu for the main course which was served. Not to be missed is the Grill especially for lunch. We got our fix of Jerk Chicken which was always hot and spicyyyy. Outstanding. Do not miss the Saturday night Grand Buffet. While we received great service from all the staff, servers to look out for in the bars and dining rooms are Rohan, Damian, Owen, Antoinette and Ricardo.
We noted that there were several new activities offered this year included a Jamaican cooking class on the front lawn. Try to take in the garden walk offered by Rohan the head gardener at 8:30 in the morning.
Most evenings we went to the hot tubs adjacent to the spa followed by time in the Budda pool under the stars. Often on these evenings we had the area to ourselves. Perhaps it was because we used the facilities before midnight while others were in the Piano Bar.
Our departure was scheduled for 9:15 for a departure at 2:05 PM. The hotel tries to have you arrive at the airport 3 hours before departure. On this occasion we were the only couple departing so we had a very comfortable van ride by ourselves with Rohan driving very safely. Because of the long terminal wait we decided to try the VIP Club Mobay departure lounge. The fee was $60 per couple and offered express service through security and immigration then a very comfortable lounge where WIFI and wired computer service was offered, sandwiches, snacks and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are offered. In addition, a more elaborate menu is available for a fee.
Overall this was perhaps the best holiday experience we have had. Except for high daytime winds the weather was perfect. We had outstanding service lead by the Manager Mr. Henry. In our opinion this Resort sets the standard for an all inclusive holiday. We noted that there is a high standard of maintenance and that there were noticeable improvements to facilities since our last visit. We’re looking forward to our return next year at the same time.
Dennis & Louise