Jamie’s Jamaican SCUBA Adventure Part 3

The last half of our week at Couples Negril was just as good as the first half.  I am typically more of a pool person than a beach person, but I could not tear myself away from the beach – any time we weren’t busy with something else, you could find us perched under a tree, half in, half out of the shade, watching the gorgeous blue ocean.  There were also entertaining beach vendors, who would come by and sing songs for a tip.  Some of the people complained about them and the security guards would eventually shuffle them along, but I thought they were awesome and certainly added to the ambiance.  Well worth a dollar here and there.  Otherwise, the vendors on the beach never bothered us, unless we walked past the Couples beach and on to other parts of the beach – even then, they were few and far between.

One of our favorite things about Couples Negril is that we never had to wait for a chair at the beach or at the pool – there was always an excess of chairs.  The hotel has been full all week and in addition to not waiting for chairs, we never once had to wait to get into our choice of restaurant.   We ate at the main dining room three times, Lychee twice, Heliconia once and tonight, our last night, was their “Jamaica” night, with a Jamaican Buffet (awesome), a typical Jamaican Quartet (very awesome) and the Silverbirds Steel Drum Band (unbelievably awesome!).  The energy of those kids is amazing!  Afterwards, there was also a bonfire on the beach and some more entertainment.  Definitely our favorite  night of the whole trip.

After my initial SCUBA training and dives, I have done two more dives.  Both were good, but the last one was the best.   It was a deeper dive to 60 feet.  There were lots of us, so they split us into two groups.  My group saw turtles, rays and tons of fish – huge schools of fish, including Lionfish.  The other group saw a huge ray and three sharks – eeek, I think I’m ok with being in my group.  A shark would be cool, but there is no guarantee I wouldn’t panic just a little bit!

We also wandered over on our one rainy morning to do an inspection of Breezes Grand Negril and Hedonism II.   I had toured both of these resorts about 10 years ago.  I was pleasantly surprised with Breezes Grand Negril.  It was a Grand Lido when I last saw it and not a lot had changed. The rooms were nice – nicer than the ones at Couples Negril with whirlpool tubs and a nice sunken sitting area.  The grounds were also nice and well kept and the restaurants looked nice, although we didn’t eat here.  The only downsides – it’s big, lots of walking and the pool area is very small.  They now only offer room service to their suites – they used to offer it to all rooms and they have done away with the free manicure and pedicure.  Otherwise, I think staying in one of their beachfront luxury suites would be quite heavenly – they have a private courtyard that opens to the beach and has a private hot tub on it.  Nice!

Hedonism was…well, Hedonism.  They are busier now that Hedo III closed.  The grounds were nice, the rooms were barely just ok – very basic and dark with pleather couches.  It wouldn’t be my choice to stay at, but for those who want more of a “naughty” vacation and want the option to be nude 24 hours a day, then this is the place for you.  We did have a lunch buffet here while we waited for the sales manager and the pasta lunch station was quite good.  The other guests seemed quite happy there.  A tip for those who have never been – it is definitely not all gorgeous 20 something’s at this hotel – all ages, shapes and sizes!

All in all, my final thoughts on Couples – not a 5 star luxury resort, but a comfy, relaxing 4 star resort with 5 star service, great food and a great beach.  There are many, many, many repeat guests here – many of whom met friends here and they all make plans to come back at the same time every year.  It is definitely the sort of resort that gives you a feeling of “family” and “welcoming”.  Would I return?  Definitely.  Jamaica and Negril definitely lived up to my memories of them and I can’t wait to return again!

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