[Smackdown] Which Couples Resort is Best for You?

Which Couples Resort is Best for You?
Which Couples Resort is Best for You?

Abe Issa started Couples Resorts in Jamaica before the wheel was invented.

In A Nutshell:  Abe’s goal with Couples Resorts was to give the Hollywood Elite a place that was fun, friendly, elegant, and felt like you are hanging out at a famous friend’s posh beach house.

His first resort, Couples Tower Isle in Ocho Rios, was just the start of a dynasty that would expand to a total of 4 resorts in Jamaica.

When you are first in any industry – you take some arrows.

But you also get the best locations.

And as with anything, its Location, Location, Location.

Old Abe picked only the best locations.

Where are Couples Resorts located?

  • 2 of the Couples Resorts are in Ocho Rios and the other 2 are in Negril.
  • All resorts are about 75 – 80 minutes from MoBay Airport due to new highways.
  • Gone are the exciting days of dodging goats, blaring horns, and driving styles that required a pair of Depends.
  • The new 4 lane highways are way better than the old 1.5 lane obstacle course  (or 2 lanes if you counted the grassy shoulders as part of the road).

What is the Couples Resorts vibe?

  • Arriving at a Couples is like being transported back to the elegance of the 1950’s
  • They are old-school architecturally and intimate (all small by today’s standards – about 200 rooms)
  • Romance – laid back relaxation – and more romance is the agenda for the day
  • They only allow adult couples, so no waking up to screaming kiddies attacking a waterslide at 6:00a
  • The staff is super-friendly, always smiling, and within an hour they know more about you than your travel partner does
  • The service is typically fast (maybe not fast for a New Yorker) but efficient and consistent

Miscellaneous stuff to know about Couples Resorts:

  • Entertainment is a good book and a better drink
  • Dress nicely for restaurants – but it’s not your Prom Date – so you don’t need to go overboard
  • All resorts have King Beds only……so make sure your travel partner likes to snuggle
  • You can golf at all of the resorts.  The only cost is a Caddy Fee of $35
  • Tipping – there is no tipping.  Couples tries to be fair to all its staff.  Part of what you pay goes to each staff member.  The only exception is off-property tours and your transfer drivers
  • Consider signing up for the Romance Reward Program.  Its free and has lots of goodies.

Each Couples Resort has its own personality. Here’s a great downlodable Overview Fact Sheet:
Couples Resorts Overview (PDF)
AND a cool Comparison Chart so you can compare the resorts side-by-side (click to view larger image).
Couples Resorts Comparison Chart

OR you can download it here:
Couples Resorts Comparison Chart (PDF)

So let’s dig into which one would be right for you…You can watch our video or scroll down to keep reading.

Let’s start with the Grand Daddy of them all

Couples Tower Isle

Couples Tower Isle
Couples Tower Isle
Check PricesCouples Tower Isle is the flagship resort that has been updated recently.   And it has a nude island in case you don’t like tan lines.   The island can be reserved for weddings (they restrict the nudies during the wedding events so no fear of Fred and Ethel photobombing your wedding pics).

Who it’s for?

  • Active vacationers who love unlimited golf, tennis, water sports (including free scuba diving)
  • Nudies who want to hang out on the private island (which has food/liquor)
  • Honeymooners – or Destination Weddingers
  • People who want their own Villa but like the all-inclusive amenities next door
  • They have an exceptionally cool spa
  • People who have mobility issues.   It is the only Couples Resort with an elevator
  • People who like Room Service.   Only Tower Isle and Sans Souci have full room service.
  • Fans of Dunns River Falls. The tour is free. Editor’s note: the contract between Couples Resorts and Dunns River is expired and currently in limbo…we’re hopeful it will get resolved soon, but meanwhile the tour is not free.

Who it’s not for?

  • People who love long walks on the beach (Negril is better for that)
  • People who love constant Hair Band music blaring all day and night
  • People who love lots of entertainment. The pool staff does not bug you to do the Macarena after 10 Mojitos

Maps, Activities, & Fact Sheet:

Couples Sans Souci

Couples Sans Souci
Couples Sans Souci

Let’s move on down the beach. Check PricesCouples Sans Souci is about 6 minutes from Couples Tower Isle.

They have complimentary shuttle buses that go back and forth between the resorts so you can stay at 1 and play at 2.

This is kind of a weird property.  It started out life as a condo unit but has been massively updated over the years.   In fact, Couples Sans Souci has recently been renovated again so check your dates to be sure it’s not closed. The whole layout is very jungle chic meets hippie hangout. They have a famous pool that the indigenous natives said has ‘healing qualities‘. I just found it cold and contributed to major shrinkage.

It does have a very cool nude beach just in case you don’t favor tan lines.  The nude beach is very secluded so you don’t have to worry about Fred and Ethel hanging out at the pool bar.   There are some things you can’t un-see.

Who it’s for?

  • People who want something a little unusual
  • People who love small, intimate resorts. It’s not couch surfing, but it is small at 153 rooms
  • Nudies who love wedding crashing
  • Friendly types who like to get to know everyone they see
  • Small groups that want to hang out together, and with everyone else
  • Monkeys.  This whole resort is in a jungle of huge trees

Who it’s not for?

  • The mobility impaired.   It’s a lot of steps, stairs, and walking to get around
  • People who want to get lost in the crowd
  • People who love chrome, steel, glitz, and glamour.  Sans Souci is REALLY laid back with a charming old-world vibe
  • Catamaran Cruise lovers.  The bay is too shallow for the Cat to dock so you have to go to Tower Isle for your Booze Cruise

Maps, Activities, & Fact Sheet:

Now let’s head over to Negril.

Oh, in case you have a jones for textile-free prancing they have a secluded nude beach at Check PricesCouples Negril too…..

Negril is an old Hippie enclave whose beaches are ranked by some as the Best in the World.

7 Mile Beach is famous.

Bloody Bay is my favorite.

Despite the gory ‘Bloody Bay’ name (named by whalers in the 1800’s), the bay is stunning.

Soft sand, warm waters, and little-to-no waves (or seaweed).

On to the resorts, Couples Swept Away and Couples Negril.


Couples Swept Away

Couples Swept Away
Couples Swept Away

Ok…..Check PricesCouples Swept Away is a very cool resort.

If you want to wake up, step out onto the beach, and be surrounded by Palm trees, this is your home.

If you want a TV be sure to request a Verandah Suite room. The Atrium Suites have 4 suites to a building and no TVs.  But some rooms do have hammocks.

It also has the largest sports facility of all Couples Resorts – and I think of all resorts on the islands.

The only downside is that to get to your sweaty heaven you have to cross the main road in Negril.

There are crosswalk guards trying to slow down the road racers – but cross at your own risk.

Other than that, you are in heaven.

Who it’s for?

  • People who want to feel like they own a beach house right on the beach.  I mean right on the beach.
  • Active types who love to work out, play sports, or get their downward dog on.  The squash courts have A/C and tennis lessons with a Pro are free
  • People who love to walk for miles on a beautiful, hardpacked beach holding hands
  • People who can’t wait for sunsets. They have beautiful sunset’s here

Who it’s not for?

  • People who love high rises.  In Negril, a hotel cannot be higher than a palm tree.  So most room blocks are 2 or 3 floors
  • Mobility impaired.  Lots of walking here too
  • People who hate friendly staff who dote on you
  • Scuba divers looking to feed the sharks.   Diving is good, but not world-class like Cozumel or Anthony’s Key

Maps, Activities, & Fact Sheet:

Couples Negril

Couples Negril
Couples Negril

Check PricesCouples Negril happens to be my favorite of all the Couples Resorts.

Because of the water…It’s shallow, soft, and warm with no seaweed.

And because you can walk for miles on the beach and feel safe.

There are the typical Ganja purveyors once you get off the property, but they are polite.

Who it’s for?

  • People who love small, intimate resorts that are large enough so you have your space
  • People who enjoy hanging out at the pool bar with Jerome while he whips up his famous ‘Dirty Monkey’
  • People who love water sports.  Couples Negril is not like Swept Away with its exercise complex – but there is lots to do in the water
  • People who just want to relax, rekindle and renew their romance.  2 or 3 times a day
  • Honeymooners and Weddingmooners without kids in tow
  • Nudies who want some privacy.  The nude area is surrounded on 3 sides by tall shrubbery.  Unfortunately, you have to wrap up for food or drink service.

Who it’s not for?

  • People who must be active 24/7.  This is a very laid back resort
  • People who want evening entertainment that requires dressing up
  • People who love a big sprawling complex of 1700 rooms. This has a very old school Jamaican feel
  • Those who freak out when they see a Speedo. There is a Riu down the beach and Speedos are still all the rage with that crowd
  • People who hate their travel partner.  Things will get weird quickly

Maps, Activities, & Fact Sheet:

So there you have it. My experiences at Couples Resorts from the BackSeat.

I love the Jamaican culture and food – so I go every time I can make up a new excuse.

Tings Irie Mon


P.S.  I will let the Ganja crew know you are headed their way.

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About Jake Johnson 249 Articles
Jake Johnson is a full-time travel bum, who prefers warm climates where the women wear less clothing. We've tried to teach him things like manners and diplomacy, but we've given up and simply rely on our editors to remove the most offensive bits from his articles. We take no responsibility for his inane ramblings opinions - they are his own.
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