As we all know, vacation satisfaction is largely about what we expect vs. what we experience as reality. It is obvious from the stellar reviews that the IB Grand Rose Hall has generated, that they are doing a lot right. If we had not stayed at the IB Grand Paraiso in Mexico, we would probably be among that happy group. Unfortunately, we were forced to compare our three visits to Mexico upon arrival at the Grand in Jamaica and I hate to say we were quite disappointed. Since the Grand Paraiso was the first of the "Grand" brand for Iberostar, they went all out to make it their crown jewel and so anything less coming after, is bound to suffer in retrospection. I'll try to compare by the points which really stuck out for us.
I did know that the IBGRH was smaller than it's older sister so size wasn't the real issue. The big difference was the attention to detail in Mexico versus the total lack of the same in Jamaica. In Mx, literally every inch of the place was perfect; every light fixture was magnificent and there were so many. Every one of the bathrooms was a work of art. Every floor surface was gorgeous marble and even the halls connecting different parts of the resort put you on sensory overload. There was a rotunda in the front that was breathtaking. Nothing was run down and the level of maintenance was superior. The minute people started leaving the beach, towels were picked up, chairs lined up and the sand, cleaned and raked. The pool was spotless shortly after closing and ready for the next day. On our first morning in Jamaica I went down to play the towel game and was greeted with last night's mess both at the pool and the beach. Big turnoff. In Mexico, gardens were lush, colorful and perfect as opposed to the bare minimum in Jamaica. In Mx, really good art and sculpture abounded and you didn't know where to look next. In Jamaica you were lucky to see an occasional, unremarkable print. In Mexico the beach was huge and palapas were spread out so that you never had to sit on top of anyone else. The indoor pool in the spa building was spectacular and coming from someone who does not like indoor pools, this is saying a lot. In Jamaica there was a common water circuit but no indoor pool.
The Grand in Jamaica seemed like a smaller, basic outline of Mexico with nothing much filled in. All I could think of, doing a comparison of the two places, was that they just chintzed out on every level in Jamaica and since the architectural style is somewhat over the top for an island resort, if it's not done right, it looks nothing but tacky. All of the hallways were downright dismal and the carpets, well, I won't even go there.
Housekeeping in both places was excellent for us. Our room was cleaned at our convenience in Jamaica and we had turndown service every night. We were pleasantly surprised at the warm reception we received upon check-in as the latest reviewers consistently complained about attitudes or indifference upon arrival. Sara was the epitome of efficiency and graciousness and we were lucky to have had her greet us after a very long day of travel.
As for a beach/water comparison, it was much easier to enter the water in Jamaica as there were no rocks to contend with, like in Mexico. The beach itself was so much smaller in Jamaica and at only 60% occupancy, people were on top of each other, which was never the case in Mexico. The Suites in Ja. had the biggest and best beach of the three connecting resorts.
As for the restaurants, the menus were virtually identical in both places but the food itself was much better in Mexico. Since we haven't been to the Grand Paraiso in a few years, the perceived downturn in quality could be a consequence of economic times across the board. In both resorts, restaurant service was spotty and inconsistent. At IBGRH breakfast buffets, staff who were preparing items like eggs or omlettes seemed clueless. Every morning in Jamaica we actually had to laugh when, after requesting something like "two eggs over" the person acted like it was the first egg they ever cooked and unless you gave them a play by play, the poor eggs were invariably broken or rock hard. One young man would use the spatula to bang on the grill a hundred times when making anything. Maybe he also worked in the Japanese place and thought he was still slicing and dicing.
I hope that everyone who has intentions of staying at the IB Grand Rose Hall without having experienced the IB Grand Paraiso, will take this review with a grain of salt. I'm sure your reality, without having to compare the two resorts will be a pleasant one.
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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