About us: This was our first trip to Jamaica. We have been to several other Caribbean destinations including Aruba, Bahamas, Anguilla, St Maarten etc. We picked the Iberostar Grand based on the positive feedback on Tripadvisor.com. Reviews are pretty spot on. Our primary objective for this trip was to relax and not make decisions except where we gonna eat tonight and what drink should we order next. Also, we have very high standards when it comes to food. We eat out about 4 times a week and have eaten at over 1000 restaurants worldwide. We didn’t avail of nightly entertainment, spa services, scuba diving and water sports.
Airport: We took a cab from the hotel although we had paid for the transportation. Just didn’t have the patience to get into a bus and stop by at 3-4 hotels on the way. It’s $30 to get to the hotel and takes about 20 minutes. Simple and predictable.
Room – One of the strongest points for this resort. The room is awesome – very well designed. The bathroom is huge, double vanity is great. There is lots of closet space. Mini bar can be customized. Jacuzzi is good. Bed is very comfortable. Tried the pillow menu – got the butterfly pillow was good. Turndown service is a nice touch. There are a lot of curtains in the room so darkness is great if you love to sleep – you don’t know whether its 3 am or 9 am when you wake up. Patio with the swing and sofa is great as well for an early morning breakfast or a late night drink. iPod dock in the room is a good feature so don’t forget to bring your tunes.
VFM (Value for money): The room is definitely worth $250-$275 per night. That is what you would pay at any other comparable resort. Which means you are paying approx $100-$125 per person per day for Breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and all the alcohol you can drink and nightly entertainment. That’s not a bad deal at all. Dinner at most of the restaurants including wine or cocktails would be pretty close to $100 for 2 people in a medium sized US city. Breakfast – with the spread they have I would pay about $10-$12 per person. Lunch is the sad part as I said earlier. I would pay about $7 per person for that lunch not including alcohol of course. So you can get mixed drinks for lunch and make it up.
Beach – its located at the very end, no waves. No local vendors except the guys who sail by in their kayaks selling local merchandise. Beds are amazing – availability depends what kind of people are at the hotel with you– some days we found a bed at 10 am and some days didn’t find one at 8 am. We are not the type that require a drink every 30 mins so Keneesha pace was acceptable. She is very sweet – if you want her to check with you more often then tip her well.
Food: Breakfast spread is good. It’s a buffet. I would say its 4 star overall. Lot of fresh juices – passion fruit, cucumber juice, pineapple, star fruit and the OJ is so sweet. They have breads, pastries, donuts, waffles, French toast, eggs (different styles), cheese, cereals etc. The spread does not change much from one day to the next so if you want some more variety, venture over to the Suites – lot more people & kids there though.
Lunch – spread is by far the weakest and would say their biggest opportunity for improvement. They reuse a lot of stuff from one day to the next. Lobster and shrimp is very dry from being heated over and over again. The choices are better at the Suites but again lot more people including kids. I would recommend BBQ on the beach (on Thursdays) - it is a welcome change from the sad spread at Port Maria. Don’t be a chicken (pun intended) – try some Jamaican food – it won’t kill ya maan!
Dinner - We ate at all the restaurants on the property and tried room service one night as well. We don’t know why people are raving about the Japanese restaurant – it was very ordinary and average – unless of course you are easily amused/impressed by standard Hibachi stuff and watching your shrimp fly in the air. They use imitation crab meat for the rolls and sashimi slices are wafer thin. It was our least favorite restaurant compared to the other 3 restaurants we tried. Surf n Turf has a decent steak and very good staff and would be the favorite. Followed by the Italian restaurant and the gourmet restaurant. Wine list is the same at all restaurants. Astica is a decent Malbec Merlot blend. You can find something. You have to pay extra for some wines – mostly the American ones like Robert Mondavi etc. You can get cocktails at all restaurants.
Room service: Caribbean lobster soup is absolutely horrible and inedible. Spaghetti Bolognaise is decent. Kobe burger (medium) was actually pretty good. Good flavor and decent size – was a pleasant surprise.
Alcohol – They do use premium liquor, not weak watered down stuff. They ran out of mint most days so limited mojitos. Miami Vice, Blue Hawaii and Jamaican Sunset are good islandy drinks with rum.
Staff – Keneesha, Richard, Joselito, Cassandara, Leroy are really good.
What would make it truly 5 star for me - Room service – needs to improve, Lunch needs to improve, wireless connection in rooms or longer ethernet cord, printer in internet café, quicker room service, more enthusiastic concierge service.
We did tip a lot – these are hard working folks and a dollar goes a long way for them – it does add up for them.
Pool – Infiniti pools are very clean. Pool bar does get loud. Lot more beds at the pool – volleyball and basketball in the pool is a nice touch.
Other activities: Ping pong, board games, Acrobics (aerobics in the ocean), beach volleyball.
Big question – will this resort be able to sustain the same level and what happens when stuff gets old?
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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