One of the nice things about our stay at Couples Sans Souci in Jamaica was it is an all-inclusive resort, so we didn’t have to think too much about where to dine. The resort has a total of six restaurants — two of which require reservations; the others are for walk-ins.
Every morning we ate breakfast at Palazzina, where you could pick and choose from the buffet — which was always fresh — an omelet made any way you’d like by an amazing chef who often serenades guests while cooking, or freshly made waffles. I fell in love with the banana French toast, and I must admit, I had it almost every morning. They also had made-to-order smoothies and a mimosa bar for those who like to start the day with a bang!
I was impressed with the creativity of dinner presentations at Casanova, where every course looked like a piece of art. My favorites were the scallops, eggplant Parmesan and my first taste of escargot. (If you’re wondering, it just tasted like butter and garlic.) The servers even turn soup into an experience, artfully placing two bread sticks in the bowl, and then pouring the soup from what looks like a tea kettle. It was a fun way to serve what is normally a boring course.
My only complaint about the food service wasn’t about the food but about the drinks. Couples Sans Souci advertises tipping is not allowed, and we heard employees can actually be fired for accepting tips. Since we didn’t want to be responsible for any employees losing their jobs, we adhered to what we thought was a strict policy. But we were surprised every time we went to a bar, we waited a long time for drinks even though it was not crowded, and the bartenders were not very engaging. We like to think we are a fun group and enjoy interacting with our servers and bartenders. I stood at the pool bar for about 20 minutes one day, just waiting for a glass of water. I wanted to see how long the bartender would actually ignore me.) He went around the bar to the other six guests, and even had time to wash glasses, but would not make eye contact with me. It wasn’t until the end of the week we noticed a guest with a purse on her lap, happily handing over cash to the bartender and getting her group drinks quickly. I was very disappointed we were following the rules and got punished for it all week. Had it not been an advertised policy, we would have happily given bartenders and servers tips, as we are accustomed to tipping fairly. I do think they need to rethink that policy, as it is not working in the guests’ favor.
Twice during the week there was a big buffet dinner on the main lawn. The first night it was the Gala dinner, and then, on Tuesday nights, they have a Jamaica Night featuring a Caribbean buffet and performances by local entertainers. Both buffets were excellent, and the entertainment was great!
I wouldn’t say every meal at every restaurant was a home run; but even if someone didn’t love their meal, room service was also available. Overall, there were plenty of food options for everyone in our party of six, and we never got bored with the restaurants on site.
— Tracey Cullen, art director
After almost four years in the planning, design and reconstruction stages, Baillie Lodges’ flagship property, Southern Ocean Lodge on Australia’s Kangaroo Island, reopened late last year after the original hotel was razed during the summer of the 2019/2020 Kangaroo Island bushfires.
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The resort offers several thoughtfully crafted artisanal cocktails to celebrate National Margarita Day or any day; however, if you can’t make it to Cancún this month, shake up two of Hilton Cancun Mar Caribe’s margaritas at home with these recipes.