Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Caribbean Islands
Reload this Page >

Just back from Couples Swept Away - let me know if you have any questions!

Just back from Couples Swept Away - let me know if you have any questions!

Old Nov 11th, 2003, 10:53 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93
Just back from Couples Swept Away - let me know if you have any questions!

Overall, we really enjoyed our vacation. We were disappointed with the food, but are both very much into sports so we took full advantage of the tennis program, the fitness trainers, the gym, yoga, golf, and watersports. We never ran out of things to do and both of us improved on our tennis game in the short time we were there. The tennis program is great and they have fabulous pros. The service was exceptional (except for a run-in with the front desk people). The beach is gorgeous, but a lack of umbrellas/palapas means you have to sit in the sun a lot, so bring lots of sunscreen!
beachgirl is offline  
Old Nov 11th, 2003, 02:36 PM
  #2  
j_c
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 8
We are going to SA in June. What about the food was disappointing? What type of room did you stay in? Any information on the construction? Thanks!
j_c is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2003, 08:52 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93
We stayed in an atrium room. We were pretty close to the construction, which was loud, but we didn't notice it until our last day when we stayed in our room to pack because they only do construction from 9-5 and we were always out of our room at those times, so it didn't bother us and I didn't hear any complaints from anyone else.
The food: as a disclaimer, my husband and I enjoy very good food on a regular basis and we cook a lot, almost always with fresh ingredients. First of all, understand that lot of the food at Swept Away is edible and that most of the people there seemed to like the food. However, speaking solely for my husband and I, the whole time we were there, we did not have one dish that was "great." Rather, we ate a lot of food that was edible and tasted "okay." And, there was a lot of stuff that, for us, was just not edible. Swept Away likes to serve food buffet style. Not all food, is served this way, but most food in the main dining room was. To their credit, the staff did a good job about changing the food regularly. However, one muggy afternoon in particular there was a bowl full of herring and anchovies that was just swarming with flies. Our first night there, I ordered a fish dish with a scallop sauce. The fish was really dry and overcooked and the scallop sauce was a brown, gravy-like, heavy sauce. I could barely taste the scallops. Really, the only good thing about the sauce was that it covered up the fish a little bit. My husband ordered an appetizer that was supposed to be a snapper dish, but it was heavily breaded and fried and tasted like chicken fried steak. He then got a chicken dish that - again - was heavily breaded, fried, and tasted like chicken fried steak. The buffets really got old because a lot of the time the food was the same. I was disappointed in the green salad they had out every day, which was usually a bowl of iceberg lettuce with a few strips of romaine on the top. We understood why the food was like this - I mean, they want to save money and so they skimp on ingredients. Plus, it's just really hard to cook good food when you're cooking for a huge resort and when it's not made to order. The wine that they serve there is Gato Negro. We live in wine country, so maybe we're wine snobs, but come on . . . Gato Negro? At the "gourmet" restaurant, Feathers, they served good wine, but you had to pay _a lot_ to get it. At Feathers, I ordered the sun dried tomato risotto. Risotto is made with arborio rice, usually onions, and parmesean cheese, and it should be creamy. I ended up getting, literally, Spanish rice. And it wasn't even good Spanish rice! It was really dry. We went to the sports bar and ordered "whole wheat" bruschetta. It was served on French bread - certainly not whole wheat. We then ordered the veggie pizza with "whole wheat crust." The crust was not whole wheat. At the veggie bar, they advertise a hummus plate. Yet somehow, every day when we ordered the hummus plate, they were out of hummus. Also at the veggie bar, the first day we were there, we ordered the "chips and dip." I grimaced when I watched them reach into a glass container that looked like a popcorn container at the movies with a huge light shining down on the chips and scrape the bottom of the container (instead of making new chips) and serve us the last of the heat lamp chips. The "chips" themselves were overfried. They were like nothing I have ever seen before. They literally glistened in the sun and when I put some of them on a napkin, the oil soaked through in no time. The salsa was from a can and the guacamole was clearly a dried mix - with no avocado. Plus, the "veggie bar" does not really serve any veggies -- that I noticed, at least. I mean, the lack of fresh vegetables was extremely disappointing to us. To get our veggie servings, we usually had to make due with iceberg lettuce and bean sprouts, unfortunately. They usually had very obviously canned peas and corn in a type of salad together at the buffet and they also served a lot of tomatoes and tomato dishes, but none of the tomatoes were ripe and some of them tasted sort of mealy. On a positive note, the jerk fish and jerk chicken sandwiches at the "veggie" bar are, in fact, made to order (although all they put on them is an unripe tomato slice and a strip of iceberg lettuce) and the meat itself with the jerk sauce tastes pretty good. The dessert buffets were also disappointing. The cakes were dry and one time we had a slice of chocolate cake that was not dry, but it was by no means spectacular - it just tasted like your run of the mill Duncan Hines chocolate cake. The cheesecake was not firm enough and was a little too runny and the banana cream pie didn't have any cream in it and it tasted almost gritty for some reason.
On a positive note, the service at all of the restaurants is beyond outstanding and the waiters and buspeople are all extremely nice.
beachgirl is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2003, 11:10 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,268
What a shame about the food. We travel to Jamaica pretty much every year and I count on gaining at least 5 pounds there because the food is so good!! I honestly haven't had a bad meal in a restaurant there, but we have only stayed all-inclusive once and that was the first trip, when i was about 22, so I don't think i really cared.
liza is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2003, 01:18 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93
Liza: I know! I thought about not going all-inclusive there, but there were so many activities that were included at Swept that my husband and I were interested in and I don't know if we would have been able to do them otherwise. Especially the tennis - Swept is really a great resort for tennis, especially in Jamaica and the pro that was there our week, Anni Miller - well, I couldn't have asked for a better teacher. It was a great vacation, but like I said, food is important to me so I probably wouldn't go back. I hate travelling to a foreign country and not being able to sample some great, fresh, local cuisine. I was especially excited about the fruit but the only ripe fruit they had there was papaya. Papaya's awesome, but it becomes routine after every single day. Overall, I'm happy with our choice because we were able to do a lot and our tennis games really did improve, but . . . yeah - the food issue really is a shame.
beachgirl is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2003, 02:39 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 216
Call me boorish, but we enjoyed the food at Swept Away and Feathers. Only complaint we heard from other guests was that it was "too rich". Ah, the spice of life....

atticus is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2003, 08:49 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 383
I have been to Swept Away twice and while I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it, I never recommend it for the food. It is probably better than many AIs but it cannot compare to the restaurants or even the patty man in Negril. One friend of mine compares food at most AIs to going to Macaroni Grill for a night out - another uses Olive Garden as the comparison. Either way, it ain't gourmet.
cartera45 is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2003, 10:39 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,189
I thought the main justification for AI's was the unlimited food/drinks.
If the food is mediocre, why would someone pay the exorbitant prices of AI's?
For what you pay at most AI's you could stay at a nice resort and eat good quality food with unlimited variety.
Activities can be expensive outse the AI's. But if the food is not high quality, I can't understand why someone would pay so much extra for an AI.
travleis is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2003, 10:51 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,268
For future reference, there is a small resort called Idle Awhile just down the beach that is also owned by Couples, as I understand it. It's not AI (though does have a restaurant) and comes with unlimited use of SA's facilities. That probably doesn't mean scuba trips and such but does mean the gym, pool, fitness center, tennis, etc.

www.idleawhile.com

(I'm sure SA's food is a subjective matter, atticus liked it, but one nice thing about not going AI is that if you don't like the restaurant you choose for a meal you can move on to a different one for the next.)
liza is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2003, 11:29 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 40
travleis - Rational or not, there is a psychological reward to the all-inclusive. Basically, for people like myself, we don't want to second guess our participation in activities or that second glass of wine because of the check at the end of the night. I just find it so much more relaxing and fun to think simply about whether I want something instead of what it will cost, and having to whip out my credit card five times a day. Its a true escape for money not to matter for a week!

beachgirl - Did you notice any ants in your room? I've seen this mentioned on some reviews, and I couldnt tell if they were legit or not...
BlueDevil98 is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2003, 12:20 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 140
Beachgirl,
Sorry to hear about your disappointing cullinary experience at SA. This (among other things) is a reason I avoid AI's.

In Jamaica, I find better food at some of the most quaint and individually owned resorts. For example, we had excellent food at Hotel Mocking Bird Hill. Everything there was fresh and tasted as though they were prepared by an experienced chef/cook.

It floors me to read posts, your's in particular, pointing to these resorts using packaged crap for food....I mean, give us a break! You think on a tropical island that they would get with the program. You see, these resorts look for the cheapest route when providing their cuisine. That means canned foods ordered from other countries. I mean...give me a break! I don't even eat canned while goods here in the states. The only thing I will have from a can are sardines (yes, icky, I know). No canned fruit, no canned veggies, period! I don't do pre-prepared meals either. I'm so skittish that I don't even feed my baby gerber foods (the ones in jars). I cook and mash everything for him.

It's really sad because these resorts make enough money to provide their guests quality food. They rather penny pinch by avoiding trade w/local farmers in the community and order canned products from other countries.

Okay, maybe if their guests are paying $50/night the above might do, but at $$$/night that's inexcusable.

I think that more guests should let the resorts know just how uphappy they are/were with the service. For example, you should let SA know of your experience. If you tell the manager that you were unhappy and would not repeat as a guest...maybe then they would give it some thought. If all guests complained, hummmmm.

Welcome back. Did you do other activities off the resort?
andreaac is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2003, 02:28 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93
Travleis: We decided to go AI because of the activities and because of the awesome reviews we'd heard about Swept. Although I know Idle Awhile has access to Swept's fitness resort, I'm a scuba diver and Swept offers two free dives a day (I don't think that's included at Idle Awhile -- I think they just get the sports complex, but someone correct me if I'm wrong). Scuba diving is a very expensive sport to pursue on vacation, so I was happy that that was included. Plus, I really liked the fact that the sports complex was right "there" for us so we could just roll out of bed, spend all day at the sports complex or scuba diving, and then dinner (mediocre as it was) was just two steps away. Also, the Swept Away sports bar, which is right next to the tennis courts, was very, very convenient because, when we were starving, we could just walk a couple steps to dinner or to get a snack in our tennis clothes so it wasn't this huge ordeal - let's get showered and figure out where we're going to eat dinner. I have to admit, that was super nice. Plus, while we were playing, the waiters would bring us huge pitchers of ice water!! It also wasn't clear to me whether or not Idle Awhile provided the free tennis clinics and instruction that Swept Away does, or if you would have to pay for that.
BlueDevil: We did notice a few ants in our room, but they certainly didn't bother us. Our verandah was swarming with them, however, so we avoided eating breakfast out there.
Andreaac: Letting SA know how we felt about the food is a good idea and actually that's what we did before we left - we wrote a letter and dropped it off at the front desk and mailed a copy to the headquarters.
We didn't do anything off the resort except golf at Negril Hills just because there was so much to do at Swept. We did go for walks up and down 7 mile beach, though.
beachgirl is offline  
Old Nov 14th, 2003, 11:01 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,268
I totally understand the appeal of being right next to the sports stuff that you want to use every day

Just FYI, scuba in Jamaica is pretty inexpensive. Here are Sun Diver's rates for example:

2 tank boat dive* $60.00
4 dive package* $110.00
6 dive package* $160.00
8 dive package* $180.00
10 dive package* $200.00

Negril Scuba Center:

DIVES:
Daily Two-Tank Package:................$55.00
Morning One Tank Dive:.................$30.00
Afternoon One Tank Dive:...............$30.00
Night Dives:...........................$40.00

PACKAGES:
Six Dives:.............................$125.00
Three Dives:...........................$75.00

liza is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2003, 05:50 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 40
Can someone who has been to Swept Away tell me what women wear at night? Are sundresses and dressy sandals enough for Feathers?
BlueDevil98 is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2003, 09:12 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93
BlueDevil, sundresses and strappy sandals are great for Feathers. The women we saw there were wearing everything from sundresses and sandals to semiformal.
beachgirl is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2003, 10:35 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 45
Perspective is a funny thing.

My wife is a gourmet cook and was a chef at a top Italian restaurant for 7 years. She thought the food at Swept Away was very good and so did I.

The breakfasts were outstanding with fresh fruit, smoked salmon, french toast and anything else you wanted.

Lunch was very tasty - fresh fish with vegetables, jerk chicken or a variety of other meats and fresh salads.

Feathers is very good for dinner and we thought the food in the main dining room was just a step behind - but we enjoyed it.

We're not big dessert eaters - but dessert at Feathers was outstanding and the dessert buffet had lots to offer and I enjoyed my choices.

It's funny - the couples we shared meals with thought the food was great too.
JohnPH is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Ghengis
Caribbean Islands
15
Nov 14th, 2006 04:57 AM
screenwriter2006
United States
8
Apr 26th, 2005 06:29 PM
jammy_j
Cruises
6
Dec 2nd, 2003 09:30 AM
BayArea
United States
63
Jul 7th, 2003 08:51 PM
jende
Caribbean Islands
13
Jan 24th, 2003 02:03 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO