Mid-April 2009 my husband and I were treated to 3 incredibly romantic nights at Couples Sans Souci in Ocho Rios. “Sans Souci” is French and when translated into English means “Without a Care” or “No worries” which is a cute way to refer to Jamaica’s famous tag line.
Sans Souci is a very special resort in that it is built around a mineral spring said to have healing powers. From the turn of the century, people from the small fishing village of Ocho Rios would congregate on Sundays, lining up for the whole day, to take their 15 – 20-minute turn in the mineral spring which is particularly good for rheumatism, arthritis, and skin problems. Nowadays you have the possibility to bath in these healing waters during a stay at Couples Sans Souci.
Ocho Rios has a very rugged coastline with rocky hillsides and small bays. Sans Souci was originally built along the hillside running down to the mineral springs. It was setup to become one of the Caribbean’s most luxurious beach-side complexes. In 1966 the property was bought by a Bermudian who was truly impressed by the “tropical beauty” of the place. On viewing the site with its steep elevation, Mr. Ward, the architect, remarked that it was an “exciting challenge” to his architectural skill. This was the beginning of Sans Souci, which as such opened its doors in 1984.
Today Sans Souci is a truly unique property which embraces its history. You can feel the love the different owners had for this place.
In 2005 Couples resorts bought Sans Souci, the Jewel of the Caribbean, situated on a high bluff of land. The property entails approximately 35 acres with terraced gardens leading down to the Spa. At the west end of the property within a small bay is a 400-foot sand beach.
The resort is just off the main road so no long driveways or anything alike. You check-in at a desk in the lobby area where you also find the tour desk and the resort concierge. Check-in is fairly painless but the fun starts when the bellman tells you how to find your room. Sans Souci is small but pretty complicated and you can easily get lost within the small walkways (particularly on the day of your arrival).
We were allocated a suite in the D block which sits high on a bluff. We really enjoyed our suite which was large with absolutely gorgeous views. The most unusual feature was the shower which after having stayed there for a couple of days is still a mystery to me. I guess some people just have more imagination than others.
We arrived fairly late in the afternoon and we quickly learned that it wasn’t all that easy to get reservations at one of the specialty restaurants. We ended up getting a late reservation at the beach restaurant which serves Caribbean inspired fare. The setting was really gorgeous. Right at the beach, the tree lighted with small lights – it couldn’t have been more perfect. The food was very good and it was interesting to discover the different tasting foods.
The next day we signed up for snorkeling which was no problem at all. The site we stopped at was fine but for someone who snorkeled the Great Barrier reef, it wasn’t all that exciting. Other people on the boat told us that they sometimes take you to see a wreck which is pretty interesting.
Couples Sans Souci also has a great spa with very cute spa huts that are really romantic for couples massages… Since our time was limited I only tried a facial and it was very nice.
That evening we dined outside on the hilltop terrace at the Italian restaurant which turned out to be more Caribbean than Italian really. Again, the food was great and the setting truly romantic.
Nighttime entertainment is fun but it is by no means a party resort. It’s all about celebrating your love, rekindle the romance…some fun games, karaoke and a lot of cuddly dancing.
Our last day they organized the Gala Dinner which they do once a week. They spend the whole day setting up tables, food stations, decorating… just for an evening. The buffet and selection were great and it was nice interacting with other guests. For those who did not like to socialize the only other option available was room service, which by the way is available 24 hours a day and included.
Couples Sans Souci is a great resort if you are looking for a romantic place, something unusual with a Caribbean feel.