Iberostar Grand Rose Hall ~ February 15 - 22, 2013
We have travelled to numerous 5-star all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, Cuba, DR and Bahamas over a period of 10 years; Iberostar Grand Pariaso, Secrets Maroma Beach, Excellence Playa Mujeres, Sandals Emerald Bay, Excellence Punta Cana, Royal Suites Yucatan to name a few. This was our first trip to Jamaica. We are in our late 40’s.
My husband and I flew on a direct Sunwing flight into Montego Bay, arriving at 11am. We were in a very long lineup to clear customs but it surprisingly went quite smoothly and quickly. Within 30 minutes we were out of the terminal and loaded onto the waiting bus. We waited on the bus for another 30 minutes before we had all the guests on board. We were the only two people getting off at Iberostar (20 minutes away), with the majority of people travelling to Ocho Rios – a 90-minute ride. We were the first stop, then to Bahia Principe then to Ocho Rios. Our Sunwing rep on the bus was very friendly, offering beer and drinks for $5/each. Upon our arrival at IGRH, we were greeted with a cold cloth and a cold drink.
We were given our wristbands; and told our room was not ready until 2pm. We booked a standard Junior Suite and asked at the time if an upgrade was available, but they stated they were full to capacity. We were handed a resort map and asked to come back at 2pm for our room. I was disappointed that they did not have us flagged as a “3-time repeat Iberostar customer” on file even though our travel agent noted it in our booking. I thought we may receive some sort of recognition, but there was nothing….(we received t-shirts from Iberostar Grand Paraiso). We quickly changed into our swimsuits and headed out to enjoy the welcoming sunshine. After about an hour, my husband decided to confirm with the front desk that we previously requested a high floor room. We know the requests submitted are all dependant on what is available at the moment you check in, so we like to confirm these requests. He was told they didn’t have our requests and that our assigned room was in the back end of building 6 – facing vegetation. After previously staying in an oceanfront room at the Iberostar Grand in Mexico, I knew this view would be a huge disappointment. Luckily Dane came to our rescue and provided us a room on the 3rd floor in building 5 with a lovely view of the pool area and the ocean. It wasn’t oceanfront, but it was a huge improvement to where we originally would have been. We are so thankful for Dane! He provided us excellent customer service!!
We requested a bottle of Baileys for our room from our butler (I won’t name him as I don’t think he was supposed to give us the full bottle). This was the only request we had for him and we were very, very pleased he was able to have it delivered to our room. Again….excellent customer service!
Our suite was beautiful and looked exactly like all the pictures and was the same layout as the Iberostar Grand in Mexico. It was large, bright and extremely clean. The bathroom had a great layout with his and her sinks on opposite sides of the room, large soaker Jacuzzi, separate shower and separate toilet area. There was a display of shampoo, conditioner, bath gel, body lotion, as well as a hair dryer. There is good storage under the sinks for makeup, hair accessories, etc. Another nice feature was having the lights to your room automatically turn on when you opened your door.
The living area had a chaise lounge and a desk area. The room also had a coffee-maker, ice-bucket, as well as an alarm clock and iPod station, TV and a DVD player. The mini fridge held 3 or 4 different types of beer, soft drinks, bottled water, wine and small shot size bottles of rum, vodka and whiskey.
There are two closets with ample room for hanging clothes, ironing board and iron. There is a combination in-room safe, at no extra charge. Maid service was excellent! Air-conditioning worked great and was set at a perfect temperature. The pillow menu is a wonderful touch. Turn-down service is provided every evening. They also wipe down the shower, leave clean towels, take away dirty dishes and leave you chocolates.
We were very happy with the view of the pool and ocean as well as the size of the balcony (10’x14’). It contained a swing, a comfy sofa, coffee table, side table and laundry drying rack. However, there is only a partial wall separating some balconies, which hinders privacy. We could hear every word our neighbors said to each other!
Great for the most part! Other than Secrets Maroma Beach, Mexico (which is tops in our books), the service at Iberostar Grand Rose Hall was great. Our day and evening butlers were both very accommodating and friendly. We didn’t need them to do much for us, as we prefer privacy, and they respected that. The service at all restaurants and bars was great. Entertainment Staff extremely friendly and made a point of recalling our names. They work long hours and do a great job.
One small complaint; We ordered a pot of coffee from room service on our first morning at about 6am and it was delivered within 15 minutes. We ordered the second pot and it never did arrive. The next morning we ordered 2 pots of coffee as we were in a hurry to leave for the golf course. We waited 45 minutes but it never did arrive. We never bothered to order room service after this. We made our own in-house coffee.
U.S. currency works fine. If you pay for something in US money, they will give you change in US dollars. This was a nice surprise, as other countries we visited usually made change in their own currency.
The resort grounds are lovely from the moment you drive through the security gate. It is a very small resort and we found it very easy to find our way around. The gardeners work very hard to keep shrubs and trees trimmed.
The beach area has soft sand with lots of chairs and palapas for shade. We did find the palapas positioned too close together, which didn’t allow much privacy on the beach. We didn’t even want to talk to each other in case we bothered someone reading beside us. They seemed to crowd them into 2 areas rather than spread them out. We had to reserve early in the morning before 7am for a shaded spot by the pool or beach. The water is lovely and a mixture of blue and turquoise colors with a sandy bottom.
There are only 4 or 5 palapas (with 2 chairs each) by the activity pool and these were usually reserved by 7am. There is a security guard walking through the pool area making sure nobody reserves the chairs before 7am…..unless you sit there and wait for that magic time. Make note the resort was at full capacity when we were there. In my opinion, they could provide a few more shaded areas; umbrellas are easily set up if there is no room to build palapas. There are plenty of shaded areas available in the quieter pool area near the main building, but most people wanted to be where the action was. At the beginning of our week there were a few white canopies scattered throughout the pool area, but they were removed during our week. Not sure if they will be replaced or if they have another plan for more shade. Beach towels are plentiful and available at the towel hut from 7am until pool closing. No towel keys are necessary so people are using 2 or more per person and there were still plenty to go around. My husband’s biggest complaint was the temperature of the pools. They were way too cold for him to get in. I managed a quick swim each day, but even I found them too cold. There was a spa tub (not a hot tub) but it had cool water as well. One day we counted 13 different people (we were sitting where they enter the pool) who tried to get in the pool and the comments were similar to “With all the money we spent on this place would it kill them to heat this pool!” (a negative that could easily be resolved for such a high-end resort).
We booked dinners at 3 of the 4 ala carte restaurants (Japanese, Gourmet and Surf and Turf). We emailed our reservation requests the week before arriving for early sittings (7pm) and they were all confirmed. All meals had FANTASTIC service. Our favorite was the Japanese restaurant which we booked twice during our week. We were seated at the show table and had wonderful meals both evenings. I highly recommend it. Each meal we had was cooked to perfection and beautifully presented. All wait staff were wonderful and friendly. We did not try the Italian restaurant, as none of the menu choices interested us. Men are required to wear long pants and shoes at the restaurants. Women can get away with just about anything other than beachwear.
Breakfast was predictable with the standard omelets and pancakes etc, but the side choices were very limited. We have stayed in many all-inclusive resorts that had the extras; (not this resort’s strong point). It’s located in the main building and opens at 7am. The beach buffet opens at 9am.
We enjoyed the cooking demonstration on the beach one afternoon. They did jerk chicken paella and seafood paella. The chicken was delicious! They had a bbq on a few days by the pool bar with jerk chicken one day and tacos another. Both were excellent.
We were disappointed in the dessert options throughout the buffets and ala cartes. Perhaps Jamaica is not big on desserts?? We like to have hot dessert choices such as apple crumble or more chocolate choices. Desserts were mainly squares with gelatin textures. The ice cream was good.
Room Service is available 24 hours, other than coffee in the morning we didn’t try it but heard from others it was really nice and fast.
Service was great at all bars. The waitress service on the beach and pool area was also excellent.
No wifi in the rooms! We found this very strange for such a high end luxury resort. There was wifi in the lobby and you could also request a hard wired connection for your room. I would like to see Iberostar offer free wifi in each room…for the cost to install, seems a no-brainer for a 5-star resort, just my opinion.
They provided a live musician in the main lobby each evening beginning at 7:15. Each one was outstanding!!! Violin, Piano, Flute, etc. We were totally impressed with the talent from each. The only disappointment was not having enough seating for everyone. We watched many people walk away, simply because there was no place to sit. They really need to provide more tables and chairs when the resort is at full capacity.
We went to 5 different theatre shows as well as the outdoor Beach Party/Pirate Show. Show time in the theatre was between 9:45 and 10. The theatre was comfortable and fully air conditioned with great bar service. The Big Band night was repeated twice within the same week we were there. We were disappointed we didn’t get to see Reggae Night, so went to the theatre in the Suites section a couple of times for a change of scenery. We also enjoyed the Blues Bar in the Suites section….they had a great live Reggae band there one night.
The Disco is located in the Suites building down a staircase. Star Friends were there dancing and mingling.
There are shops in the lobby area between the Grand and Suites that carry many souvenirs, cigars, liquor and jewelry. Prices are probably higher than the markets, but much more enjoyable to shop without being harassed. Liquor is highly priced, so I would suggest waiting to purchase any liquor until you get to the duty free shop in the airport. The airport has plenty of shops and free WI-FI to help pass the time waiting for flights. Very nice airport!
The Gym facility was tucked away in the lobby area between the two resorts. We didn’t use the facility at all as it was very small and appeared to be crowded during the peak morning hours. The Spa facility was there also, which we did not use. The Entertainment Star Friends offer many fun games around the pool each day and also on the beach. If you are lucky, you could win a bottle of Appleton rum or a T-Shirt.
My husband golfed twice at Cinnamon Hill, a short 10 minute taxi drive. With a 7 night stay, we had 2 free rounds of golf included. Taxi service was also included. We did have to pay a $20 cart fee and everyone is accompanied with a caddy with a minimum tip of $20. The course was laid out in 3 distinct formats; oceanfront, inland and mangrove. Beautiful scenery and well worth the few dollars to play!! Whitney was our caddie and he was a great help with club selection. He also gave us a wonderful history lesson on the area.
Excellent top shelf liquor and beer choices
Excellent gourmet food – the beef was always tender and delicious, jerk chicken was great
Not enough shaded chairs around main activity pool
No wifi in rooms
Restaurant Reservations required
Nightly shows were repeated during our week
Not enough seating in lobby bar during live entertainment
Room Service did not arrive 2 out of 3 requests
As an adult-only resort, Iberostar Grand Rose Hall is a great choice for those who want exceptional service, beautiful accommodations and excellent food and drinks. We don’t usually return to resorts so we can enjoy other places, but I would recommend this resort to others. Having already been to the Grand in Mexico and Jamaica, we hope to try Iberostar Grand Bavaro in Punta Cana next year, unless of course we are tempted by another 5-star adult only at a better price. Of all the resorts we have been guests of, Iberostar Grand Paraiso is my favorite, Secrets Maroma 2nd, Excellence Playa Mujeres 3rd and Iberostar Grand Rose Hall 4th.
High floors for ocean views.
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.