I travelled to Jamaica 6/17-6/24 for our honeymoon. The first 3 nights were booked in Montego Bay and the remaining 4 were booked at Couples Swept Away in Negril. I knew Negril was rustic, and that Couples Swept Away would not likely be as nice as Iberostar Grand in Montego Bay, but wow...I feel so mislead by their website. The pictures on the website must be from whenever the resort first opened...I am guessing 20 or so years and tens of thousands of hotel guests earlier.
We arrived @ Couples on June 20th and I thought we were being dropped off at the wrong hotel. It looked nothing like the website photos. Well, maybe it sort of did. Just much older and in need of maintenance and updating. My husband had to point out the name on the welcome floor mat for it to sink in that this really was our resort. I know a lot of travellers go here because it has not changed, but for those of us who have never been there before, a caveat emptor would have been appreciated. The lobby is dark and old, and the staff was less than organized. Someone grabbed our bags and moved them. Someone else told us to go to the lobby desk to check in. Then someone realized we hadn't received a welcome drink and we were served warm, flat sparkling wine. Not the best first impression. Everyone in the lobby looked hot and bothered. Not a smile to be found. (I mean the guests and the staff.). When we were checking in, we were told we had to go across the lobby to make our dinner reservations, so we went to the "concierge" and did so. I told him I would like to dine at Feathers that night, and his response was, "I'll book you for Lemon Grass. You'll be too bored at Feathers.". I have no idea of what he meant by that, but I rolled with it. I set up the remaining reservations for the other nights and we were bustled off to our room.
The bellman was very sweet and lugged our bags quite a distance through a maze of pathways surrounded by ill-manicured grounds. The lush landscape was out of control in some areas, and just plain dead in others. There were several stray cats roaming the property and we saw room service trays left sitting atop trash cans along the pathway. Again, not a good first impression. I am a fussy person when it comes to cleanliness and having nice accomodations, so my perspective is definitely swayed, but for the same price we were paying for all inclusive at Iberostar, I expected something in the universe. This was worlds away.
When I arrived in the room, my heart sank again. We compared the room to an older Motel 6. Maybe even worse than that. It looked like something you would rent by the hour, not something you pay $440/night for. The room was dark and very outdated. The shower was a tub/shower combo with a plastic liner. Bed was hard as a rock. All of the furniture was original to the room. I asked about room service and he said it was continental breakfast only. No other room service. Seriously?? At an "All Inclusive"? The mini fridge had some soda and beer and a bottle of some cheap liquor. When the bellman left, we immediately started to plan a way to leave. In the meantime, I tried to make the best of it since I knew we may not be able to cancel the remainder of our stay or find another hotel to go to. We went lunch at an outdoor burger joint on the beach. The waitress must have seen the look of despair on my face because she walked over and said, "You'll be alright. Don't you worry...you'll figure it out.". The food was not horrible, but we were sitting at plastic tables on a dirty deck floor. Just not a 5 star situation. My husband and I both agreed that had we paid $150/night, we could have been okay with the situation since the beaches in Negril are uncomparable. However, at the rate we were paying we felt really stupid.
Suck it up. Went to the beach bar to talk and have a drink since there was nothing drink worthy in the room. Not a top shelf brand to be found. The drinks were terrible versions of frozen island drinks. We quickly realized we needed to go straight to the hard stuff if we wanted a drink that we recognized. Vodka tonic is hard to mess up. The crowd on the beach looked like mostly 20 somethings...a smattering of older couples, but not many.
So between lunch (limited times and places on where you can go....have an itinerary if you want to eat) and the beach bar (closes at 6pm, I believe, so go back to your dingy room and have a coke) we had decided to call our travel company and try to cancel the reservation and book another hotel. Our travel company said they already released payment to Couples, so they called on our behalf to try to get the cancellation/refund. No dice. Couples said we didn't have to stay, but they were keeping our money for the remaining nights. So, we went to the front desk and explained our situation. The staff member was very nice, but said we would have to talk to the manager @ 9am the next morning. We went to the dinner at Lemon Grass and it was really a lovely dinner. Food was okay, but the ambiance was nice and the steel drum band show afterwards was really cool. This was the only enjoyable moment of my 20 hours spend at Couples Swept Away. After dinner, we headed back to the room and slept.
At 8:45am we headed up to the front desk and tried to speak with the manager, but she stayed behind her office doors and only communicated with us through the front desk staff member who had to call her and tell us what she said. Long story short, they refused to refund the remaining nights, so we called Iberostar Grand in Montego Bay who gladly found us an ocean view suite and welcomed us back with open arms. We basically double paid for the remaining 3 nights of our honeymoon, but it was worth it to get away from Swept Away.
Warning to those who have really stayed in nice resorts and are expecting this to be what the website looks like: it isn't. The place is a dive, in my opinion. If you like upscale, clean, updated amenities with top notch service, food, and beverages then you will not like this resort. If you are very young, not very travelled, really like camping, or just have a flair for the nostalgic...then perhaps you will see this property through a different lens. I wish I could have liked this resort, as I do love the beach in Negril, but it was not to be.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC