A review of this fabulous and friendly boutique resort for couples (no singles or kids!): Couples Tower Isle, Jamaica
Couples Resorts offers a wonderful location in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, called Couples Tower Isle (formerly Couples Ocho Rios). This spectacular beach hotel is small compared to other Jamaican resorts like Sandals or Beaches, but the attention to detail and the wonderful staff makes this our favorite place to go in Jamaica, every time!
Originally built in 1949-1950, it was a small exclusive resort catering to big names and big wallets. A few years ago the Couples chain invested more than $50 million in renovations to the resort, and it shows very well. The founder (Abe Issa) was known as the “Father of Jamaican Tourism” who pioneered the all-inclusive style of resort on the island.
What You Get
Couples isn’t for everyone, but it is perfect for us. It’s small, which means less people and a better staff/guest ratio. There is always someone ready and willing to help you. That said, they are not intrusive like at other resorts. One major reason for this is that there is no tipping allowed. Staff does not chase guests looking for tips like at some of the bigger resorts. The people are incredibly friendly and work very hard to make your stay perfect.
Because it’s small, it is quieter. That may not appeal to some, but if you are looking to get away and relax, this is the place were you can have a semi-somnambulant day of doing nothing except eating, drinking, swimming, or just laying in the sun.
It’s all inclusive. Lots of places are, but at Couples the food is really, really good. There are four restaurants, a snack bar, a piano bar, a health bar (try the yam chips) and a coffee shop (Jamaican Blue Mountain roast, need I say more?). You can always find something to eat. Plus, there is a soft ice cream machine near the pool (right next to the fully stocked nacho machine).
There is also no limits on alcohol. There is a huge variety of drinks and liquors in addition to the local Red Stripe and Caribe beers. It can be a lot of fun trying some of the more exotic blended frosty drinks on a hot day. There is also a swim-up pool bar for those who prefer to spend their trip that way.
Why is it so quiet? No KIDS! That’s right, no children are allowed. The name of the resort says it all. It’s a place for couples only. No singles, no kids, no teens, it is a perfect getaway for people who want to reconnect or simply enjoy each other in a tropical paradise. You must be a couple or pair to get a room (no singles!).
Snorkeling, diving and the sunset cruise are just some of the free (or small fee for diving) activities provided. The resort also provides paddle boats, kayaks and catamarans for the guests on the private beach.
For those who prefer, there is an au naturel option for sunbathing on the private island just off the resort. The boat runs all day shuttling people back and forth. There is also a bar and the island can be reserved for special occasions. Be sure to bring extra sunscreen!
As mentioned already, the food is fantastic. We’ve visited many all-inclusive resorts over the years and have never been impressed with what we’ve been offered, until Couples. The food is simply delicious. There is a large buffet-style restaurant serving all three main meals. The variety is simply astounding. After dinner, you can sit at your table and watch the live band over dessert.
The three sit-down restaurants are exquisite, catering to different styles and themes of Jamaica. In between meals, we love ordering french fries and fish burgers at the snack bar while we read in the outdoor lounge. It would take far too much space here to write about each restaurant and what they offer except to say that you should book at least one night in each restaurant upon arrival at the resort.
There is so much more to this resort than what I have included here. There are tours to local attractions (Dunn River Falls and zip lining are a few favorites). There are beach weddings to watch, sports, photography (the resort photographer is always around to snap a picture or help a novice capture a shot) arts, music and the list goes on. There is a vibrant community of guests that go back year after year (including us). But mostly, for people wanting a real break from a hectic life, it is the perfect place to unplug, unwind and feel all your cares melt away.Couples Tower Island Resort really is like everyone who has been there says: “It’s like coming home.”