If there’s ever an excuse to go to Jamaica, it’s in February. Boston in February is cold and dark and the winter seems to drag on forever. Seeking sunshine and warmth, my boyfriend and I spent the last week of February in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. After a spectacular stay at the Couples Resort in Negril in June, we decided to try another one of their properties and spent 5 nights at Couples Tower Isle in Ocho Rios.
Arrival at Couples Tower Isle
To get to Couples Tower Isle in Ocho Rios, we flew into Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. Like many Jamaican resorts, Couples Resorts has an airport lounge for its guests where we were able to use the restroom, change, and relax with a Red Stripe beer before being whisked off to our resort in Ocho Rios.
Couples Resorts provides a roomy air conditioned mini bus to transport guests from the airport to the resorts. There’s one mini bus for the Negril resorts and another for the Ocho Rios resorts. The 1 hour 45 minute drive was long but comfortable and included a pit stop along the way for a bathroom break.
Upon arrival, the friendly resort staff greeted us with cold towels and tropical drinks as our luggage was hauled off the mini bus. After a quick check-in in the open air lobby, we were whisked away to our room by Byron, one of the resorts many porters. Throughout our stay, Byron checked in on us, making sure we had everything we needed for ultimate relaxation—the kind of special treatment that makes you feel part of the Couples Resorts family.
Situated on the east side of Jamaica, the property of Couples Tower Isle is long and narrow. Built in 1949, Couples Tower Isle is the oldest of the Couples Resorts properties and still has the old school resort feel of the 50s and 60s. The resort features 218 rooms and suites, 6 restaurants, 5 bars, 4 jacuzzis, 4 pools, and a private island reserved for Au Naturel sunbathing.
The resort grounds are manageable in size, a nice contrast to some of the larger resorts I’ve visited. There’s nothing more annoying than getting to the beach only to realize you left something a half mile away in your room! Walking from one end of the resort to the other takes just a few minutes, giving Couples Tower Isle an intimate experience.
The view from the hotel is of the beach, the brilliant blue water of the Caribbean Sea, the private Au Naturel island, and an outcropping of hut-like structures that make up the Bayside restaurant.
The beach at Couples Tower Isle is private and beautiful with gorgeous views and plenty of chairs for sunbathing. Unlike other resorts, including Couples Negril, the beach at Couples Tower Isle is secluded from other resorts. Looking out at the Caribbean Sea, you feel like you’re the only ones for miles because of the rocky shoreline.
Resort staff keep the beach well groomed and maintained between guests. There are plenty of beach chairs—we never encountered a need to put towels down early. Beach chairs come equipped with Couples Resorts branded cushions that double as floats for the water. The beach is far enough away from the outdoor restaurants to be peaceful but close enough that you don’t have to walk far to get a snack or use the facilities. If you’re too lazy to walk to the bar, don’t worry! Simply stick a flag in the sand for drink service!
The beach is windy and had limited direct sunlight after about 3pm while we were there. This may vary based on the time of the year. During the day there was a slight breeze which kept us from getting too hot in the sun.
A swimming area is roped off for safe swimming although the only boats in the area are those used by the resort. The water is clear and blue and mostly calm, with soft sand underfoot. The swimming area includes two large tethered rafts for ultimate relaxation on the Caribbean Sea.
If you’re into adventure, there were plenty of watersports activities including snorkeling, windsurfing, and stand up paddle boarding. Unfortunately, we waited until our last day to do these activities and due to winds and choppy seas, were unable to participate.
Au Naturel Island
My boyfriend and I are big believers in experiencing life, including embracing the nudist experience on the Au Naturel island. We had been on a nude beach at Couples Negril so we knew what to expect but were a bit intimidated by having to physically get to the island by boat. We quickly got over our fears and delighted in nude sun bathing and swimming so much so that I ended up with a sunburned booty!
I’ll spare you from more naked photos and write more about the Au Naturel island in another post.
Couples Tower Isle has 4 pools—one on each end of the property, one at the spa, and one on the Au Naturel Island. There are two swim up bars, one at the main property and a second at the pool on the nude island. My boyfriend and I are more beach than pool people and although the pools were beautiful, we spent most of our time with our toes in the sand.
Activities and Excursions
If you’re into activities and excursions, Couples Resorts leaves no room for boredom. Water sports, beach volleyball, salsa lessons, Jamaican trivia, arts and crafts, catamaran cruises, day trips—this resort has it all! We went to Dunns River Falls, a 3 hour excursion that is included with the resort. Having planned outside excursions in the past, it was nice not to have to worry about reservations and payment; we showed up in the lobby at 9am and headed out on buses with the group.
Couples Tower Isle seemingly never lost it’s old school resort charm. What the older resort lacks in modernity, it more than makes up for in entertainment. My favorite entertainment of the week included the lively piano bar, the Silver Birds Steel Drum Band, and the smoky-voiced Shyam Moses who serenaded us on the beach under the stars.
It’s safe to say that I drank my weight in piña coladas during our stay at Couples Tower Isle. I typically don’t imbibe sugary drinks because the sugars make me feel sluggish, but the piña coladas here were the exception to the rule. Unlike the heavy ones I’ve had in the past, the piña coladas were more like a coconut flavored rum slushie.
Other favorites boozy drinks included Bob Marley shots and Dirty Bananas.
The Bob Marley shot is a daring combination of Bacardi 151, creme de menthe, and grenadine. The shot tastes like cough syrup but will take you from stressed out tourist to Jamaican beach bum in 2 minutes flat—perfect to put you in vacation mode.
We also loved the Dirty Banana, a frozen drink made with bananas, Tia Maria, dark rum, rum cream, and milk. This resort favorite tastes like a milkshake but packs a strong punch. I’m not usually a banana fan but these blew me away!
I’ve been to several all inclusive resorts and the food at Couples Tower Isle was some of the best I’ve had. Every meal was delicious, including flavors of both local and international cuisine.
What stood out to me most was the Veggie Bar, a healthy outside lunch spot serving up vegetable chips and dips, grilled fish paninis, and freshly cut coconuts. A huge fan of anything made from coconut, the coconut water at the Veggie Bar was my go-to drink in between piña coladas.
My boyfriend and I got two couples massages at the Spa at Couples Tower Isle. We arrived for our treatments about 45 minutes early so that we could relax in the spa’s pool and use the jacuzzi and steam room.
The pool at the spa is a small and peaceful water sanctuary for use by spa guests only. This beautiful pool was one of the highlights of the trip, providing us with a pre-massage cool down that focused and zenned our spirits.
Room for Improvement
While our vacation at Couples Tower Isle was great, there’s always room for some improvement. The main issue that I had with the resort was the quality of the rooms. We stayed in a Deluxe Garden room with a large balcony that provided a lush view of the mountains in the distance. Our room was on the third floor, almost directly over reception, which meant less privacy and quiet on the balcony than I would have liked. The room was okay but could definitely use a facelift.
Would I recommend Couples Tower Isle?
Absolutely! If you’re looking for an adult-only couples resort, I highly recommend Couples Tower Isle. The resort is perfect for any couple, whether you’re 21 or 71—there was even a group of octogenarians partying it up during our stay! My boyfriend and I both loved Couples Tower Isle. Our only question is, when can we go back?