Couples Sans Souci is in Ocho Rios – just a 5 minute bus ride from Tower Island. This means you can “Trade Places” for the day and explore Sans Souci.
It takes one and half hours to travel from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios. The bus ride is pleasant as the highway between the two is in good condition and there is a lot to look at on the way including great ocean views.
Recognize the lobby? If so, you just might be a James Bond fan. The Sans Souci lobby and other spots in Ocho Rios have been featured in 3 James Bond movies – Dr. No (1962), Live and Let Die, and Goldfinger.
Just out side the lobby, you will find a beautiful water garden with fantastic flowers and orchids.
While all of the Couples resorts are well maintained and kept beautiful, Sans Souci has the most natural beauty of all the Couples Resorts.
You will find small gardens, nooks and crevices filled with flowering plants and tropical foliage.
The main beach is the largest beach in the resort. It is not as long as the beaches at Couples Negril and Couples Swept Away.
The beach is set in a cove and is private (no outside vendors wandering in) and is sheltered from wind and waves. This makes it an ideal place to kayak, paddle board or learn to hobie cat. Once you have mastered the hobie cat, venture past the ropes to catch some wind.
The main beach is also where all of the water sports take place. This is where you will board the snorkel, glass bottom or dive boat. You can exchange your towels at the water sports pavilion.
The main beach is serviced by the Beach Bar and Beach Grill during the day time. Just raise your flag and drink service will come to you. The Beach Grill becomes Bella Vista at night and has water front dining under the stars.
The water at the main beach is not very deep and can have grass in it – it’s perfect to float in – especially with a cocktail in hand – and warm enough to sit in and enjoy.
However – if you are looking for a place to swim – continue reading as the best place to swim is just off the mineral pool.
Mineral Pool and Grotto
The mineral pool is located on the eastern side of the resort and is central to D, E, F and G Blocks which are situated to surround and face the mineral pool.
There is a pool, grotto, hot tub, sauna, gym, fitness pavilion (for yoga) and a smoothie bar.
The mineral pool is especially nice in the early morning as the concrete tends to get a bit hot in the afternoons.
Charlie’s Spa is located near by.
For more information about the mineral pool – including why it’s the best place to swim – read our blog post.
Sunset Beach (SSB)
Sunset Beach is the au naturel facility at Sans Souci. It includes a beach with Palapas, pool with swim up bar, restrooms and a grill.
You must come together as a couple and both of you must get completely nude in order to enjoy the beach. You will be asked to leave if you keep bottoms on, or one of you does not participate.
The Au Naturel beach is open (almost) 24/7 – they will close for an hour or so in the morning to re-stock and clean up.
At 5:00 (6:00 in the summer) the beach becomes “clothing optional” for sunset. This means that guests may come to the beach to watch the sunset without taking their clothes off. This does not mean that everyone will be clothed as the clothing is optional at that time.
The sunset is especially beautiful (when their are not clouds) and coming over to watch it is highly advised.
For more information and photos of SSB, read our blog post.
Sans Souci is built into the cliffs and so the result is that there are a lot of stairs between the lowest levels of the resort and the highest levels.
If you are concerned about the stairs, read our blog post to find out if they really are a problem or not.
Room Types and Blocks
There are 6 different room types at Couples Sans Souci spread across 7 room blocks.
All of the rooms face the ocean in some way, but it just depends on the room as to how much of an ocean view you may actually have.
Trying to decide which one works best for you can be quite a challenge at Sans Souci as there are many factors to consider.
We have put together a guide to help you decide.
There are 4 restaurants – 5 if you count room service.
We have put together a complete guide with reviews and sample menus in our blog post.
Keep reading for the condensed version.
Breakfast at Pallazina – this is where you will eat most of your meals as this is the only restaurant that serves a full breakfast (you can also order a limited room service breakfast). Breakfast is a buffet with an omelet/pancake station and a smoothie bar. They have the typical buffet items including large selections of pastries, bread, cereals, fruit, yogurt – plus hot items – bacon, sausage, potatoes, french toast etc. Plus smoked meats, vegetables & varying hot dishes.
This is the only meal that may start to feel repetitive if your stay is more than a week. One tip is to talk to the omelet chef for recommendations – he can cook up something unique like eggs “Jamaican Style”.
Pallazina is open for a sit down lunch and is the only air conditioned restaurant open for lunch so it can be a very nice change to the hot beach. They have rotating entrees that are different every single day. They also have a very fresh salad bar and pizza bar that can satisfy you immediately if you’re starving.
For dinner, Pallazina requires reservations and serves a large variety of entrees. The salad bar and pizza bar are also open with the addition of a pasta bar. You should never leave this restaurant hungry as it provides the most variety with several options even for the pickiest eater.
Bella Vista/Beach Grill
Bella Vista and the Beach Grill are directly on the beach. At lunch, this restaurant is called the Beach Grill but it becomes “Bella Vista” or “Nice View” in Italian at night.
The Beach Grill has a variety of sandwiches, jerk chicken, burgers (yes, veggie burgers too), fish, fries, onion rings etc. The menu will change but not daily and only a couple of items will change.
Bella Vista serves dinner and its location on the beach and lack of a need for reservations makes it our personal favorite. They have a variety of grilled entrees and pasta dishes.
Casanova is only open for dinner and requires reservations, pants and close toed shoes for men. The menu will feature a several course meal and can take a while as they assume you and your partner are there for a long romantic evening. If you make reservations for later, they tend to move you through a bit faster.
Casanova is near the lobby, martini bar and balloon bar up on the hill and can be a nice change of pace as it’s where most of the evening activity takes place.
Tip: For all the restaurants – don’t make reservations for right when they open – especially dinner as they can get a bit overwhelmed with the opening rush and you might find yourself waiting longer than usual.
It is possible to get dinner reservations the same day (Call the reservations desk) or even walk up and ask if they have any tables available – sometimes other couples will cancel at the last minute (Too much to drink!) or the restaurant might not be full at that moment. They might say no, but if you forgot to make reservations you don’t always have to end up at Bella Vista.
For more tips on making your all inclusive vacation go smoother, read our blog post.
The night life at Sans Souci is not as lively as some of the other Couples resorts.
The entertainment is fantastic but most guests have retired to their rooms by midnight except for a few hold outs at the Balloon Bar.
Many times guests will take this into their own hands and will arrange after parties at SSB or impromptu pool crawls.
For comparison, Tower Island has a disco that stays open until the last guest leaves.
The spa at Sans Souci is called Charlie’s Spa.
It is named this after a sea turtle that used to live in the waterfall area down below.
The spa has most of the same services at each resort – massages, body scrubs, and aroma therapies – but at Sans Souci they have a special place where you can get your massage – the “hut”.
We like to get a massage early on in our trip to really get us into a relaxed mode.
All of the water sports are included at Sans Souci! This includes scuba diving – bring your PADI certification, or get your certification at the resort.
Water sports includes stand up paddle boards, kayaks, hobie cats, trikes and paddle boats that you can take out anytime.
The sheltered bay is perfect for kayaking and paddle boarding but to really get the hobie cats going you need to get out past the ropes.
CSS has a large pond in the middle of the resort that attracts a lot of wildlife and is a great place to walk and bird watch.
There is a jogging/walking/bicycle track and tennis courts.
For more information about the CSS pond, including what to feed the turtles – read our blog post.
Sunset @ SSB
Sunset can be hit or miss at Sans Souci due to the clouds that tend to gather over the mountains in the afternoon.
Many evenings will be cloudy – this should not discourage you though as there are many times when sunset will seem like it’s not going to happen – only to have the clouds dissipate just in time for the sun to peak through.
If it rains in the morning – this is a good sign for a great sunset in the evening.
Sunset beach becomes “clothing optional” for the sunset. This means you do not have to become nude to enjoy the beach.
For more information about sunsets in Jamaica – read our blog post.
For more information about sunset beach and Au Naturel – read our blog post.
You’ve been reading the weather report and you’re getting worried because the weather report says rain – all week!
It’s a tropical country and it will rain on your vacation! Accept this now and you will not be disappointed when it does rain.
However – there are some things to know that will help you avoid disappointment and maximize your sun exposure.
First, The best weather of the day is almost always in the morning so getting up early can be very beneficial.
On most days in Ocho Rios, you will have clear skies and no rain up until about 1:00 – at that point the clouds start to gather over the mountains and will slowly move west towards the city of Ocho Rios. By 4:00, Ocho Rios can be covered in rain – the resort can still be dry – or can be soaked – it just depends on the storm.
By 5:00ish – the clouds are usually starting to dissipate and any rain has ended. Sunset will be hit or miss – but it’s worth making the trip to SSB to find out.
Second, On the odd day that it rains in the morning – this is a day to celebrate as this usually means a fantastic afternoon and most likely the best sunset of your trip!
Most importantly – do not let the rain change your plans! Most rain showers are over in 30 minutes and pools are still open and warm, hot tubs are especially nice and drinks are always still flowing.
In our 9 trips to Jamaica – over 100 days – we have had only 1 day that was a complete wash out and 1 day where it was cloudy all day, but never rained.
On an average trip – over a 10 day period – we will experience about 1-2 hours of rain total.
Check our blog post on the rain for more information
Hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th. If you are traveling during this time period then purchasing travel insurance is a must.
While a direct hit on Jamaica is pretty rare – it’s important to watch the tropical outlook and monitor the Atlantic hurricane forecast prior to your trip.
For more information on Hurricanes and Tropical Storms, read our blog post.
There are many great excursions to participate in at Sans Souci. However, always ask how long an excursion will take as many of the excursions require you to be on a bus for several hours and away from the resort for an entire day.
- Free excursion to Dunn’s River Falls
- The Blue Hole (about $80pp)
- Keith’s Bamboo Crew/White River Bamboo Raft Tour (about $75pp)
- Scotchie’s Jerk Center (lunch will run about $10, plus $20 for a cab – combine this with the Blue Hole for a great morning trip)
- Mystic Mountain
- Green Grotto
Not so quick (but great) excursions:
- Downhill Bike Ride
- Nine mile/Bob Marley’s house
- Appleton Rum Tour