This was our third consecutive annual stay. In past years, we would have given the resort an unqualified 5 stars. Regrettably we were disappointed this year. Many aspects were still perfect – wonderful butlers (Randy and Darwin); excellent food and drinks; spacious, comfortable rooms; beautiful surroundings, and friendly staff who are eager to help. As returning guests, we were upgraded to an oceanfront room, and the manager had left us a bottle of wine and lovely welcoming note.
So what were the problems? First, although the resort has a clear policy against the practice of “reserving” pool and beach lounges with towels, the policy is not enforced consistently. During the week we were there, it was difficult to find a spot in the shade by the pools or beach after 9 am. But one couple took the prize for boorishness: They had brought with them a colorful, professional-looking sign stating “Specially reserved for Mr and Mrs (name withheld). Enjoy the sun in Jamaica!”, and tied it to one of the palapas on the beachfront. The clear implication was that the resort had reserved the spot for these guests. They had also apparently hammered nails into the soft wood of the palapa and the one adjacent to it, from which they and their friends hung their beach bags. And they sequestered rolled-up towels in the “rafters” of the structure, where staff were unlikely to see (and remove) them in off-hours. When I removed the sign on the fifth evening and took it to the manager, prompt and decisive action was taken (which I hope, but doubt, included telling the offenders to take their business elsewhere in the future!) But the sign had been posted for 5 days before I complained. It shouldn’t be up to the guests to do the policing.
A second source of irritation is the fitness room. It is wholly inadequate for the number of guests. In past years, the attendant had been extremely helpful in ensuring that guests had equitable access to the cardio machines. This year he was virtually invisible. A simple sign-up sheet would have facilitated fair use of the cardio machines. It may take time – and resources – to improve the fitness facility, but it takes nothing to put out a sign-up sheet and ask guests to limit their time on each machine to 30 minutes.
We found the buffets to be superior to all but the Gourmet restaurant. The Italian restaurant, in particular, could easily be improved by allowing guests to have a pasta as well as a main course, and by putting a basket of good bread on the table, instead of dishing out tasteless tiny rolls.
In past years the general atmosphere was more fun, too. What happened to the great guy who led the water aerobics at the beach every morning? And the daily 4 pm pool game in which the Star Friends held taut a mat across the width of the pool, and invited guests to try to run across it? We missed the hilarity at the end of each day.
Will we return? I’m not sure. We love Jamaica and there is much to love about the Iberostar Grand. We really thought we had found the perfect resort to return to every winter.
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Grand Rose Hall Hotel Rose Hall
- Iberostar Montego Bay
- Iberostar Hotel Montego Bay
- Iberostar Grand Rose Hall Jamaica - Montego Bay