Couples Swept Away Jamaica: Our 2006/2007 Trip Journal
Here is our trip journal from our 12/27/2006-1/3/2007 stay at Couples Swept Away Jamaica. Like I mentioned in the previous post, we put to rest an old website where we shared this info and are moving it here to our travel blog. I’ll be adding all of our Jamaica travel reports, reviews, etc to our Jamaica page.
Remember we have been there a few times since this trip journal was written and it’s been a while since our last trip there so things could have definitely changed since then. Either way, we hope you’ll enjoy our play by play trip journal to Couples Swept Away Jamaica resort.
Warning….this is long!
Wednesday, December 27th:
White stretch limo picked us up at 3:30 am, great way to start our vacation. Comfortable ride to airport flew Air Jamaica flight 70, Champagne and breakfast flight. The flight took just under 4 hrs. Left Chicago and arrived in Montego Bay on time.
Arrived in Jamaica, went through immigration & customs, easy process and then on to the Couples lounge. It was full, we were offered drinks. Met Dr_Bird, Rastagirl and Ralf from the message board. Waited for approx. 15 minutes and then hopped on a bus to Negril. John was our driver and we had a nice ride considering we were riding on the wrong side of the road. Stopped on the way and had our first taste of jerk chicken and jerk pork yum-o! Saw locals in town, homes of various sizes, a little Jamaican boy waved at me and I saw my dream car, a Cadillac Escalade along the way.
Arrived at Couples Swept Away in Negril around 2:15 PM, got checked in, handed cool washcloths and offered a glass of champagne. Check in process went very smooth, given keys to our room and our bags soon followed within 5 minutes. Spent time unpacking, as we didn’t want to live out of our suitcases for a whole week.
Got room that I had requested through our travel agent (heard great things about this room on the message board). Atrium room #1117 was more wonderful than we ever imagined. Beautiful porch/patio area with hammock and built in couch area, first floor, loved the fact we could walk right out the back door and be on our way. The bed is large, a bit too firm for my taste but Kev liked it. Good size bathroom, large shower, very tiny bugs around sink area, walls, and floor and red ants on patio. Hey it’s the tropics, what do you expect? Partial view of the sea and love the sound of the waves crashing, we could hear it from our patio. Shelved closet space-pretty good size, safe, iron, ironing board, extra pillows and a large umbrella inside.
Walked around a bit, went to Seagrapes/veggie bar and had sweet potato chips with 2 types of dips and a smoothie-the smoothie was not very tasty. Service here could’ve been more attentive and helpful. This was our first stop so we didn’t let that first experience sway us either way.
Went to the resort orientation at 5 PM. Andre “Chubby”, the Entertainment Coordinator, was an excellent guide, fun, very knowledgeable and informative. We would highly recommend this to all first-timers for sure. Had a blast learning about all the resort had to offer, even after over a year spent on the Couples message board, I still learned things I had not read about before.
Ate at Cabana Grill, it was fantastic! I had the snapper sandwich and Kev had the jerk chicken sandwich. We shared the appetizer for two (various foods like calamari, spring rolls, conch fritters (yum-o), etc). Patricia was very nice and helpful.
Took a stroll around the resort, checked out the Internet café, the Internet was down but we found a great drink machine where we got awesome cappuccinos, mochas, lattes and espresso.
Made Thursday reservations for Patios with Tecita at the concierge’s desk, she was very nice and helpful. Saw couples having dinner on the beach and got very excited about ours booked for Sat., the night of our vow renewal. Also saw the wedding arch and gazebo. Both were very pretty locations.
Walked on the beach! Definitely in awe of the entire resort at this point. Came back to room to find Gladys doing the nightly turndown, what a treat. She folded back the bed covers, closed all the shutters and left daily thoughts cards. She was very nice. Tree frogs sang us to sleep, not a disturbance at all but actually quite calming.
Overall AWESOME first day @ Couples Swept Away!
Thursday, December 28th:
Woke up early-Kev took a stroll to take lots of pictures and pick up our “Go Juice” for the day- the famous Internet café ‘coffee bar’. Went to breakfast at the Palms, buffet style and boy was it good. The buffet has a wide variety of breakfast food choices, I really enjoyed the wheat pancakes-freshly made. Sausage links a bit overcooked but overall a great breakfast.
Met Henry, the landscaper for our area of the resort. He’s a chatty character, “Ya Mon” but very nice. Comes by daily to say hello, showed Kev some different flowers (what is the flower that smells only at night and not during the day? He told us but we forgot the name of it) and he does a great job at keeping the area around our atrium room very nice.
Made some more trips over to the Internet café to check in @ home and to grab a cappuccino. Took a stroll down the beach to a little shop to check out the goodies. We were offered Mountain Smoke but of course we declined and the man went on his merry way, thankfully. Walked back up the beach and in to the sea (I keep wanting to call it the ocean but I keep getting corrected that it’s actually a sea and not an ocean ha ha) Current was a bit rough but we enjoyed it and it was relaxing.
Had our vow renewal appointment with Tamika at 11 AM. She is absolutely fabulous. Went over all the prep for our Saturday vow renewal, picked out our Romance Package called Forever Yours, chose our cake-Jamaican Rum cake, flowers-Ginger, booked our couples massage and she took care of booking dinner at Feather’s for us the next day. Also booked the catamaran cruise for us. Went over to meet Niki at the photo desk in the Great House to set up our vow renewal picture order. Stopped at gift shop so Kev could get a hat and then he took pictures of the casino.
Got lunch at the Cabana Grill again. Love that place! Back to room to get ready for snorkeling. Snorkeling trip was a blast. Our guides Trillan and Devian were awesome, very attentive, especially since it was my first time snorkeling. They made me feel so at ease. Took pics with underwater cameras, saw tons of fish, coral, sea urchins, star fish and other fun things. Beautiful experience!
Came back from snorkeling around 2:30 PM- just before a bit more liquid sunshine came. We took a nap.
Got ready for dinner at Patios Patio, our reservation was booked for 7 PM. Good service, not our favorite menu selections. Some of the food was overcooked but I did enjoy the soup. The side dish was not as listed on the menu and we weren’t told that it was something different. No biggie! Teresa was a good waitress and I even got a pic with her. Left Patios and saw a little crab on the sidewalk, how cute.
Went upstairs in the Great House to take pics of the Aura lounge, where Ultimate plays piano. There is a bar and disco here too. Talked to the bartender and he told us to be sure to come back later for Ultimate and the disco.
Went back to room to journal a bit before heading back to the Aura lounge. Aura was a great experience. Loved Ulti, he was fun and very talented. He had us all introduce ourselves and mention why we were at Couples. Lots of anniversaries, birthdays, honeymooners, etc. The bartenders even did a little singing skit for us. They were funny!
After that we headed to the disco floor for a fun time dancing. DJ seemed to be having some issues with his equipment, songs kept repeating but overall a good time.
Back to room to get camera and headed to the beach to take late night pics of the moon on the water. Kev enjoyed testing out his new digital camera using the nighttime settings. He got some awesome pictures. Went back to the room and hit the sack.
Another AWESOME day at Couples Swept Away!
Friday, December 29th:
Slept in today-after all we ARE on vacation and on Jamaican time. Went to the Palms for breakfast buffet, it was good, wide variety of food choices. Service was good. Our waitress was fun, kept refilling Kev’s coffee making jokes about him not being awake and that she would keep serving him coffee until she felt he was awake. Cute gal!
Met Andre “Chubby” again and Kev invited him to join us for breakfast. That was a treat. He is a wonderful asset to Couples Swept Away.
Watched a man cutting coconuts out of a palm tree, then headed back to the main pool deck for the Talk Jamaican class headed by none other than our new friend Andre “Chubby”. We had a blast learning different phrases and more about the Patios dialect.
From there we went to the Cook Jamaica class on the other side of the main pool deck where Lady Barbie and Big D taught us more about Jamaican cooking with a chef who did an awesome job. Tasted Ackee & Saltfish, tried a Ginger Rootbeer and Ting. Another fun class. Neither class was too long, just the right amount of time.
Back to room to change into swimsuits, back to the Internet café to check emails and then headed to the swim up bar at the pool outside of the Great House. Met Duke at the bar and he made us the BEST blended fruit smoothie, he was pleasant and kept good conversation. We swam in the pool and hung out by the waterfall in the pool. Very relaxing.
Walked down the beach and took a swim too. Surf was much calmer today. Back to room to get ready for the catamaran cruise. Rained heavy but not for long, quite relaxing to sit on our patio and watch the rain.
Went down to the Water Sports hut to meet everyone for the catamaran cruise. Waded through waist deep water to get on the catamaran. Very lively ride, Rasta Ralphie sang and danced. No cliff diving for us but if you do want to do it, its $2 per person. There is a bar and there was a lady selling jewelry. Rasta Ralphie was selling CD’s and t-shirts so plan to bring money if you are interested in any of those items. Total trip time was about 2 hrs. Pirates cave stop is about a ½ hr where you can get off the catamaran and dive off cliff, float in the water, snorkel and use the slide that is on the catamaran. Kev and I snorkeled there and he had a blast going on the slide quite a few times. As he was getting off the cat once, he scraped his leg pretty badly but had no idea how/where it happened. No sun for the cat cruise. I’m glad we experienced this but I’m not sure it’s something I would do again…Kev probably would just for the slide. Ha ha! The ride has a nice view of the coastline and is calming as well.
Back to room to get ready for dinner at Feathers. Feathers was a 5 star experience from the minute we walked in the door to the time we left. Just remember that the door pulls open, you don’t push it (I’m sure many that have been there know what I’m talking about LOL). Service, food and ambiance at Feathers was outstanding. Very nice treat.
Made a pit stop at the Internet café to check email and get another cappuccino and mocha. Headed to the main lobby where we went upstairs and saw many pictures of Couples Swept Away repeat guests, pictures and info on the Couples founder and this is also where the ATM and Bureau De Change is located.
Couldn’t find the Shipwreck party that was scheduled to be on the main beach so we asked at the concierge and was informed it was moved to the Palms due to the rain earlier in the day. So we went to the Palms and as if we needed more food after Feathers, we sampled some of the food & desserts. Enjoyed the Reggae band and performers.
Stopped by a jewelry vendor who was set up on the main pool deck outside of the Palms and bought some very pretty jewelry.
Back to room, more journaling and off to bed. Busy but fun day at Couples Swept Away!
Saturday, December 30th:
Today is our vow renewal!
Woke up early this morning to a knock on the door. We had ordered the continental breakfast room service the night before and it was dropped off right on time. We were on the 1st floor so they left a nice tray of goodies on our patio. You got to choose a variety of items such as fruit, coffee, tea, cereal and more. All we had to do was fill out the form by our bed and hang it on the door by 1 am. It was pretty good but the milk was not cold. This was the only time we ordered room service. Kev also ran (literally) over to the Great House Internet café for more cappuccino and mochas. Our daily ritual! Then we went to the Palms for the breakfast buffet. They have something for everyone there.
Went back to room to get ready for our vow renewal. Kev and I wore matching outfits, I had a sarong wrap skirt and top and he wore the matching shirt to my sarong and also wore black drawstring pants. He looked GREAT. Tamika came to our room around 10:50 AM to put on Kev’s boutonniere and hand me my bouquet, we chose the Ginger flower for both. She then gathered the Jamaican themed rings and bracelets that we were exchanging and a CD of love songs that we had with us to play during the ceremony.
Walked from our room to the ceremony location on the beach and met the photographer and minister. Our new friends, Gale and Emily (Dr_Bird & Rastagirl) who I met on the Couples message board were there to witness our renewal and were kind enough to take pictures of our vow renewal. The ceremony was beautiful. I walked down the isle on the beach barefoot (well, I had on barefoot sandals) to Kev who was standing by the wedding arch with the minister.
The minister blessed the items we were exchanging, did the ceremony and I Do’s and sealed the ceremony with a kiss! There was a table next to the arch where we did our sand ceremony and it turned out very nice. We also signed our vow renewal certificate here and Gale & Email signed as our witnesses.
After the ceremony, Tamika took us to our reception area. It was a table set up in a garden setting with a Jamaican Rum cake, one bottle of non-alcoholic champagne for Kev and myself and a regular bottle for Gale & Emily. We cut the cake, each of us shared a piece with the other, had our ‘champagne’ and enjoyed the time we spent with our newfound friends.
After the reception, the photographer took us around to different areas on the resort property to take pictures. He was fun and attentive to our needs. I told him I wanted to cover up my stomach as much as possible and for most every picture, he reminded me to do so. Great job!
We had a fantastic time and will have these memories that will last a lifetime.
We headed back to our room to change clothes and then we had lunch at the Palms. Took more pictures and then headed to Bob & Traci’s vow renewal at 3 PM. (I met Bob & Traci on the Couples message board as well). They had a beautiful ceremony. Kev took pictures for them and we were their witnesses and were invited to join them at their reception. They chose the chocolate cake and it was yummy. It was fun experiencing it from the other side this time. CONGRATS Bob & Traci! More new friends for life. Thank you Couples.
More strolls around the property and back to the beach for the sunset. Took more pictures and was able to watch Jelita set up our table and surrounding area for our dinner on the beach that night. I took a book and was able to read a bit while Kev took pictures. Total relaxation! Went back to room to get ready for our very special dinner at 7:30 PM. Dinner on the beach was a breathtaking experience. Jelita, our server, really outdid herself, as you will see in the pictures. Imagine being able to dig your feet into the sand, listening to the waves crashing in front of you and eating a 5 course fabulous dinner with your special someone. Dinner on the beach is highly recommended.
After dinner, we walked on the beach a bit. Back to the room and hit the sack.
VERY SPECIAL DAY at Couples Swept Away!
Sunday, December 31st:
New Year’s Eve and our 10th Anniversary
Kev got up early today to take more pictures, got more cappuccinos and came back to wake me up. Got ready for breakfast, went to Patios Patio and asked for Jelita, our server from our dinner on the beach the night before. We were lucky to have her as our server for breakfast as well. Breakfast was good. Went upstairs to get another cappuccino and mocha and checked email.
At this point Kev had a terrible headache (and yes, I forgot to pack Tylenol oops) and I had some major bug bites that were huge red welts on my legs so we took a trip over to the nurse in the Sports Complex. Gave Kev some meds and had me put on some hydrocortisone. The nurse was great.
Had our Couples Massage at 11 AM and it was sooooo relaxing. WOW what a neat experience.
Had lunch at the Palms and we bought some goodies from a vendor on the pool deck. Headed over to get my hair braided by Janet, a vendor on the beach. It took 2 hrs but it was totally worth it. It was nice not having to worry about my hair for the rest of the trip. I wore a hat though so my scalp wouldn’t burn. Went to the Great House afterwards to meet Niki to choose our vow renewal pics. Stopped by the gift shop too.
Pouring down rain, went back to the room for a quick nap. The staff left a small bottle of champagne and two glasses with a nice card to wish us a happy holiday season. Got a knock on the door telling us the cocktail party was moved indoors and delayed by ½ an hour, also got a flyer with the info. We got up and dressed to the nines for New Year’s Eve. Kev wore part tux and part beach wear. Very creative outfit! I wore my new silver strapless dress and jewelry from lia sophia.
Grabbed the umbrella from the closet and made our way to the cocktail party at the Westmoreland Conference Room in the Great House, next to the Aura lounge. There were plenty of horsdourves and alcoholic beverages. I had the oyster on the half shell and Kev and I ate sushi there too. It was however not a party conducive to non-drinkers as there was nothing available for us, not even water. We totally understood that it was a cocktail party but I was just a tad disappointed that water was not even available. No problem though, we just got something to drink when we went to the Palms for dinner.
Made our way to the Palms where we had reservations for our New Year’s Eve dinner. We were given a top hat, tiara and noisemakers upon arrival. Plenty of great food and drinks available here. The theme for NYE was Casino Royale 007. The invitation was nice, it said, “Couples Swept Away presents a 006-007 New Year’s Party-Casino Royale. The folklore of Bond 007 invites you for an exciting mission. Are you licensed for this thrill?” ShowTime at the Palms was called “The Event That Came”. Excellent set up, beautiful decorations and a rockin’ dance floor with tons of balloons and confetti dropping at midnight. There were a variety of musical talents too. We rang in the New Year at Couples Swept Away, what could be better than that?
Danced the night away at the Palms and had the pleasure of meeting Randy Russell (aka Randymon from the Couples message board). What a treat that was! Once that spectacular event had ended, we went over to the disco and Aura lounge with Bob & Traci. Stayed out until 2:30 AM dancing and had a blast.
Back to the room and while Kev was in the bathroom, I quickly pulled out the faux rose petals that I had brought and spread them out on the bed and set up the champagne glasses and bottle of non-alcoholic champagne we got in our Forever Yours romance package. This was the first chance I had to get those out and surprise him to celebrate our 10th anniversary. He was surprised!
Another excellent day in paradise.
New Year’s Day
Monday, January 1, 2007:
Woke up and followed our morning ritual of Internet Café, Cappuccinos and mochas. Had breakfast at the Palms and then got ready for snorkeling at 11 AM. Still had to use the float while snorkeling but had a blast as usual. Trillan and Devian, two of the Watersports guys are always so helpful and very attentive.
Came back from snorkeling, ate lunch at Seagrapes/veggie bar (we have found that the service is much faster when sitting at one of their tables and not at the bar, really good food too). Then we took out one of the Water Bee’s from the water sports hut for a quick spin around the sea. This is the two-seater pedal thingy and it was fun but the water was a bit to rough for me so we came back.
Laid out on the beach and then soaked up the rays on the chair floaties in the water. Very relaxing and we really enjoyed it. Saw Bob & Traci on the beach and I think they said they took pics of us out in the water. Back to the room for a shower and to relax on the patio. Kev took pics of the awful looking bug bites on my legs. Ick!
We went back to the beach to do some shopping from a vendor selling woodcarvings. Beautiful work, we bought a large wood carving with 2 dolphins and a fish and another fish woodcarving as a gift. Brought our loot back to the room and headed back to the beach for the sunset and more pictures. I think this is one of Kev’s favorite things to do although he got a few sand flea bites on the back of his legs.
Had dinner reservations at Lemongrass. This is the restaurant above the Palms. The food was really good. Our favorite part of this dinner was the Lemongrass Cooler, a non-alcoholic tea like drink and dessert was banana tempura and ice cream. So devine! Saw Bob & Traci having dinner down below at the Palms, they didn’t see us.
Hit the sack early.
Tuesday, January 2nd:
Breakfast at the Palms buffet again (can you tell I really like this restaurant?) and then out on the Glass Bottom boat tour. We saw starfish, turtles, stingrays, parrot fish, corals, sunken catamaran, etc. Trillan was a great guide as usual. The boat tour went up the coast and we saw different resorts and WILD life at the Hedonism resort LOL
Got back from the Glass Bottom boat tour and rushed to room to get our masks & snorkels to go snorkeling again. Went to a different spot this time for snorkeling and I was finally able to snorkel without a float the entire time out in the water. Very cool experience and I even did a few free dives underwater.
Ate at Seagrapes/veggie bar again, love the veggie burger, snapper, sweet potato chips and dips plus the banana smoothies.
Back to shower and went over to the Sports Complex to book our Manicure/Pedicure Spa package. Went to the Great House gift shops to buy goodies for friends, family and us. Went back to the spa for our appointment and it was relaxing. Had a few fruit drinks from the bar at the Sport’s Complex.
And back to beach for more pictures, showered and got ready for dinner. Had another reservation for Feather’s, 2nd time during our stay. We love this restaurant, the service and food is exceptional.
More night time pics on the beach and back to room to pack up our luggage. Had to have luggage ready by 11 AM the next day. Went to bed!
Wednesday, January 3rd:
Our last day at Couples Swept Away boo hoo
Kev got up very early to take more pics of the moon setting on the sea. Had more cappuccinos and mochas. Went to the Palms for breakfast and then to the beach to get in the water and lay out for the last time. Back to room to finish packing our luggage. What a sad feeling. Had to have luggage out by 11 AM, checked out but we still had a few hours until the bus ride back to the airport. Went to lunch at the Palms, saw Bob & Traci and said our good-byes to them. They had a few more days left in paradise, lucky them!
Walked all over the resort one last time, reminiscing about our great vacation. Headed back to the lobby to wait for the bus. Bus ride back to Montego Bay was fine, took pictures and was very sad to have to leave. Arrived at the airport and what a sight- people everywhere and the airport was so unorganized. It was hot so I’m glad we decided to wear shorts and tanks instead of something warm to wear back to Chicago. That was a smart move as we had to stand in line for over 2 ½ hours and to find out our flight home was delayed FOUR hours. Checked our bags, got a dinner voucher from Air Jamaica for Margaritaville and went to eat. Walked around airport waiting for the time to pass.
Finally left around 9:30 PM, very uncomfortable flight home, seats on the plane were terrible-they definitely need to replace those and the flight was a bit bumpy. Long day and we were exhausted. Finally made it home around 3 AM.
I’m really excited that my stepson and his soon to be wife will be spending their honeymoon here. Maybe I can get them to give us some updated pictures to share on the blog. For now I’m posting this trip journal without pictures. I’m hoping to put together some sort of video montage of all of our vacations to Jamaica and add it here when complete.
Have you been to Couples Swept Away? If so, what is your favorite part(s)?