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ROR / Couples SS Review - LONG w/ TONS of PICS!!


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#1 PrecisePlans

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    Posted 27 May 2008 - 07:35 PM

    This is a MEGA review. Just a warning.............it's LONG...........so sit down, grab some snacks, and get comfy. For those who didn't see the first set of teaser pics, you can find them here: Click the image to open in full size.

    Check-In: C
    Front Desk: B


    When you first walk in the lobby, it is breathtaking. It open air concept and decor is truly amazing!! For most of my guest, check-in was a headache. Either the rooms were not ready yet, or the key cards didn't work. People constantly had trouble getting accurate room or phone number information from the front desk. One of my guests told me that they attempted to call the front desk and ask if they could be transferred to my room. The operator told her that there was nobody in the hotel under that name. My guest then told the operator that "Of course you have a guest by that name..........I'm here for her wedding!" What's funny is when my parents checked in, they had flowers and a handmade welcome towel design on their bed...............in my room, they had nada!!!


    Rooms: A-

    The rooms are beautiful. They are modern, spacious, and nicely decorated. However, a few of my guests complained of having mold in their rooms and had to be switched. Here are some pics of the jr. suite:

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    Click the image to open in full size.


    After finally waiting for 3 days before getting our upgrade, they put us in a huge jacuzzi suite with a gigantic balcony.

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    Click the image to open in full size.
    Click the image to open in full size.
    Click the image to open in full size.

    The sad part is my room was always damp and had a very unpleasant smell. I didn't want to deal with the hassle of packing up and moving again, so i kinda just dealt with it and constantly had the fan on and balcony door opened.

    #2 PrecisePlans

    PrecisePlans
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      Posted 27 May 2008 - 07:36 PM

      Ceremony Site:
      Some of you all asked me to take pics of any beach receptions that I happen to come across, so luckily I had my camera handy when they were setting up for this one:

      Click the image to open in full size.

      Here is a closer look at the Lagoon (Pond) Gazebo - the location that I choose:
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      The long walkway to the gazebo:
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      Ceiling of Gazebo:
      Click the image to open in full size.


      Welcome Mixer: D+

      The welcome mixer turned out to be a disaster. I was adamant on starting on time. I had been up for 32 hours the night before and spent all day putting together the welcome boxes.
      Click the image to open in full size.
      Since I was the only one interested in being on time, I had no one to help me bring the boxes down, so I called the front desk to send up a porter to help me transport all of the boxes. Long story short, (after calling 3 times), nobody showed up, so i had to hand-walk all of the boxes down to the bar myself. I was so upset.

      Secondly, to top it off, none of my guests showed up. The groom was 45 minutes late and guests pretty much came and left whenever they felt like it. I was totally disgusted with my group at this point and time. Lastly, Chandlyn was kind enough to set up some white tablecloths for my mixer, and she informed me that there would be somewhere for me to plug in my bose ipod soundock (specifically purchased for this mixer).............we'll there wasn't any outlet or extension cord near where she had us set up, so we had to go without music which made the situation even worse.

      Oh almost forgot to mention that my photographer got trapped in the elevator for 1 hour and a half on her first day. The elevators have no AC and the call button didn't work, so she had to pry the doors open and scream for help. Somehow, she still found a way to deliver awesome pictures...........lol


      Renova Spa (HAIR HAIR HAIR): A

      The girls at Renova Spa are really nice and fun!! As you all know, I was truly STRESSING about my hair. I emailed Paula (Director of Renova Spa) pictures of my "inspirational style" and my actually hair texture before I left home. She assured me that it wouldn't be any trouble to replicate that style and also said that it wouldn't be any problem "pressing / straightening" my natural hair. Well as it turns out, I show up at the salon for my trial and the first thing that the girl tells me is that "they only straighten with a blow dryer" and on top of that, Paula doesn't even work in the Jamaica location. She's located in Mexico...........so of course, I'm freaking out!!! Luckily, I brought my own pressing comb and Audrey attempted to straighten it.

      Here is a picture of what my hair normally looks like when it is straightened:
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      Click the image to open in full size.


      Here is a pic of what it looked like when Audrey first did it:
      The Front:
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      The Back:
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      IMG

      Not exactly straight, but to add to it, the SECOND I stepped outside, it turned into a huge poof ball!!! So I had to resort to plan B:
      My Bun!!!

      Click the image to open in full size.

      Although I didn't get my "inspirational style", everything turned out beautifully and worked itself out. I also got my hands and feet done by Joy and she did an excellent job!!

      #3 PrecisePlans

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        Posted 27 May 2008 - 07:36 PM

        Because of the humidity, for most of the trip, I ended up wearing my hair like this:
        Click the image to open in full size.
        Click the image to open in full size.
        Click the image to open in full size.


        Food: B
        The food at Riu was pretty good, but after being their for quite some time, it gets a bit repetitive. We ate at the Steakhouse, Japanese Restaurant, and St. Ann's for most of our trip. Last time when we visited Riu (Over 2 years ago), you could eat at any of the specialty restaurants as long as you made a reservation. Now, you can only eat at each of the specialty restaurants once during your stay with a reservation. The way to get around it, is to have other people in your party reserve it under a different room number each night.


        Beach: B+

        The beach at Riu is nice, but it's a bit crowded and sometimes you will get locals attempting to sell you something while you are on the beach relaxing or even swimming in the water. Please beware: I saw several people sunbathing (topless) on the general beach where kids were playing. I also saw one lady who was completely nude (but she was laying on her stomach).

        Fitness Center: A

        The fitness center is clean, with AC, televisions, and good equipment. Sadly, I only made it in there 1 time.


        Excursions: A+


        Lee's Tours was excellent. I cannot recommend Norma enough. She is extremely professional. I had about 26 people RSVP for the tour.........but only had about 12 actually show up. I was really upset because originally, Norma had taken my credit card info over the phone to secure the reservation at the Jerk Center. She even reserved 2 buses for our group, so I was so upset to see people NOT show up. Norma took the situation in stride and told me not to worry. The people that did go on the tour had a wonderful time and it all worked itself out.


        Wedding: A
        Despite not having my chair sashes set up properly and the steel band not playing the right song, starting 15 minutes late, and having to DEMAND that the pool aerobics guide turn off that loud music and shut down the "party" at the adjacent pool, everything was great. We had a rehearsal the night before, but it didn't cover half of the stuff that actually took place during the ceremony, but through the glitches, everyone just laughed and we moved on. We got so many compliments on the minister's sermon. Lots of our guests were crying.

        Note: The brown chairs that appear wooden are really plastic. I really wanted to get the white chairs, but I was told that they were $8 per chair (although one of our BDW brides just got some for $5 per chair)........Either way, it wasn't happening for us because we had over 100 guests and I refuse to spend that much money on plain chairs.

        Reception: A+
        All of my hard work payed off. Our reception was a dream. Everything was perfect. We hired the dancers and fire-eaters (big up tuh mi gyal Michelle!), and Chandlyn put out all of the stuff that I lugged to JA (menu cards, table numbers, centerpieces, cake topper, candles, favors, treasure box, pictures, and seating chart). The only issues is beforehand, I thought that all of the meals would be plated and served, but after meeting with Chandlyn, she said that my group was too big and that everyone may not get served in enough time before our 9:00pm scheduled slot at the disco, so we decided to only do 4 plated tables, and the rest was buffet style. It all worked itself out.

        Note: Chandlyn STAYS BUSY!!! Before actually meeting her, I had to go to her office 3 times and got lucky with a lead that she was setting up another reception at the Plantation. I literally RAN to the Plantation hoping to catch her before she left. Luckily, I met her briefly there and then we finally scheduled an actual appointment for the following day.

        Another Note: The night of our wedding, their was NOTHING in our room for us. No special towel design, decoration, rose petals, flowers, NADA. Actually, housekeeping didn't even visit our room. Right before the ceremony, the room looked like a tornado hit it because I was busy trying to get myself ready, and I was hoping to come back to a nice, romantic room with my new hubby, but nope.......didn't happen. Also, we never got our breakfast in bed for the next morning as promised. My TA even sent a letter requesting this and said that if it wasn't complementary that she would PAY OUT OF POCKET for it, and we still didn't get it, but that didn't stop us from having a great night!!!

        #4 PrecisePlans

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          Posted 27 May 2008 - 07:37 PM

          Flowers: A
          Some of you guys remember the issue that I had with the first vendor that I was going to use........Long story short, I ended up using a vendor that I normally use for the other weddings that I have planned in the past. (Click the image to open in full size.
          Click the image to open in full size.
          Click the image to open in full size.

          Here is a slide show of some more pics that she posted on her blog: A Show of Slides!: Marsha and Brian - Punam Bean Blog. - Punam Bean Photography

          Video: B
          I actually met with Michael to discuss getting my DVD done. He is very nice, professional, and accommodating. Unfortunately, there was another reception going on at the time during my wedding, so I had to share the videographer, but it was okay because the DVD turned nice. The problem arrived the next day when I went to go and get my musical cd's (the ones that I gave them to add background music to our DVD)..........well, they couldn't find them so I have to go out and re-purchase 3 cds. It's partly my fault because I didnt have time to burn them to one cd and make copies beforehand. I should have never given them my originals.......oh well!!

          Security Drama: F-
          The morning that our guests were scheduled to depart, we escorted them to the lobby and watched as they got on the bus to head back to Montego Bay airport. One particular bus (which was blocking the exit) had been sitting there for quite some time and people were worried about possibly missing their flight. To make a long story short, one of the resort guest who actually was another groom and happened to have gotten married on the same day as ours, got out of the bus to question the driver as to "why he was blocking the exit when people needed to leave". All of a sudden, I heard all of this yelling and cursing. Then I see the groom push the driver and then they were on the floor. When the "recent bride" sees her husband involved in this altercation, she then jumps in and starts to physically "fight" the driver and he returns PUNCHES to her!!! My new husband decides to jump in to get the driver off of the girl. After he separates them, he comes back over to me and some random guy comes from behind the other bus with a lead pipe. It turned into utter chaos and the sad thing is that security did not show up until 15 minutes after all of this happened. The bride and her groom are in the process of pressing charges.

          #5 PrecisePlans

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            Posted 27 May 2008 - 07:38 PM

            Couples San Souci:
            Overall Grade: A (Definitely Returning - Already planning our next trip!!)

            Check-In / Front Desk: A

            When you first pull into Couples San Souci (after leaving Riu), from the outside, it looks as if you would be disappointed. It is much smaller and doesn't leave a big impression, but the minute you step into the small lobby, it instantly feels intimate and comfy. We were greeted with Champaign and check-in only took a couple of minutes. The staff here is EXTREMELY friendly and accommodating.


            Rooms: A-

            The rooms are very comfortable. Our room had just been renovated, so we had 2 flat panel tv's in our suite, a full living room, double his/her sinks, with a walk in closet and a huge balcony.

            Click the image to open in full size.
            Click the image to open in full size.
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            Click the image to open in full size.

            View from our room!!
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            Click the image to open in full size.


            The only thing that I didn't really like was the shower, but other than that, the beds felt good and the housekeeping service came twice per day to make up the room and turn down the bed.

            Spa: A+
            Since we were celebrating our honeymoon, couples treated us with a ocean couples massage. Yipppeee!!!! It was on top of a cliff and you could just hear the waves crashing on the rocks! It was sooooo good! Atmosphere was lovely and massage was great too!

            Food: A
            The food here was excellent! I was very pleased with all of the restaurants (total of 3 restaurants, but we only ate at 2) and even their in-room dining service (which we ordered several times for some late night snacks). 2 of the restaurants require reservations and formal attire, but the one that we frequented often was casual dress, did not require a reservation and was outdoor right on the beach. It was very romantic. They also had a live band playing every night during dinner. Their presentation and quality of food selection was excellent!
            Click the image to open in full size.

            Beach: D-
            The beach at Couples San Souci is terrible. I only got in the beach once and never returned. It's filled with slimy seaweed at the bottom and lots of debris. The water was very cold (which i couldn't understand, because the outdoor temp had to have been over 90 degrees. Also, the sand felt like dirt. However, their mineral pool is wonderful. They have several pools on the property and a mineral grotto which is said to have healing properties. They also have a separate "Au Natural (NUDE)" beach on the property, but hubby and I were not that adventurous this time around.

            Fitness Center: A+
            I tried to be good and make it to the gym at least 2 times while staying at Couples. The gym at Couples was great. It had flat panel tv's, AC, and good, new equipment:
            Click the image to open in full size.

            #6 Spazz

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              Posted 27 May 2008 - 07:40 PM

              Marsha, you were a gorgeous bride and you had every detail done perfectly. I think I told you before... I totally crashed your reception so I could check out the set-up and it was perfect. It was so nice to finally meet you. Congrats again!!!!

              #7 PrecisePlans

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                Posted 27 May 2008 - 07:52 PM

                Excursions: A+
                Couples SS offered FREE excursions that were included in the price. We got to do snorkeling, horseback riding, dunn's river, margaritaville, cayoba gardens, shopping into town, golfing and countless other things for FREE:
                Click the image to open in full size.
                Click the image to open in full size.

                Ceremony Site:
                You guys know that I got married at Riu, but I took this picture of the gazebo at Couples in case any of you needed it. It's right on a cliff overlooking the ocean........just lovely!!
                Click the image to open in full size.
                Click the image to open in full size.
                Click the image to open in full size.

                So, there it is...........my LONG review!!! Hopefully this is as helpful as all of you have been to me. BTW, I'm actually thinking about going into wedding planning full time, so if any BDW bride is interesed, PM me.

                I will be posting some TTD and BD pics when I get them!! To summarize, Riu was perfect for my large group. All of our guests fell in love with Riu and are already talking about their next trip........... and Couples San Souci was perfect for just us 2. It's quiet and intimate. Much of the whole time, we felt like we had the entire resort to ourselves. All in all, I wouldn't change a thing. Everything was magical!!!

                Finally, my pics.......still waiting to get more, but for now, I took a sneak peak at Punam's Blog.......Be sure to click on the play button to start the slide show. Enjoy!!
                A Show of Slides!: Marsha and Brian - Punam Bean Blog. - Punam Bean Photography


                #8 Marnie&Peter

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                  Posted 27 May 2008 - 07:58 PM

                  Oh wow, thanks so much! We have been debating about where we should go for our honeymoon and Couples Sans Souci is one of the places! Thanks for doing a great review on both places!!!!!

                  #9 monicabrandon2008

                  monicabrandon2008
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                    Posted 27 May 2008 - 08:07 PM

                    What a beautiful wedding! It looks like everyone had fun.
                    HIGH FIVE, WE'RE MARRIED!!!
                    http://i51.photobuck...vtburks/1-4.jpg

                    #10 amandalovesryan

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                      Posted 27 May 2008 - 08:18 PM

                      okay, several things. First, you look amazing! I tried to catch you when you went into to the disco but I was too late. your wedding looked great! Second thing, I think the nude woman was situated near my grandmother on the beach, she told me about seeing too much of one lady! LOL
                      Third, your security drama was seen by my sis-in-law and her boyfriend. They came out to the pool and said you are never going to believe what we just saw. That is some crazy stuff!
                      I am glad that you had a great wedding! Thanks for the pics, i need to get mine up!
                      My favorite type of vacation, a relaxing one!

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