I will apologize in advance for the length of this review. I wanted to be as thorough as possible. We always read Trip-Advisor before selecting a resort and felt it important to share what we thought about this resort. You will always hear some good and some bad no matter what. Some people will never be happy anywhere, and others do not have experience enough to really know what to expect.
My husband and I are well-traveled throughout the Caribbean and Mexico. We have been to many different countries/Islands and have stayed with many of the resort chains. Our comments related to travel always focus on the resort itself and not on the flight, etc. as the resort company has nothing to do with that. With that said, we traveled from Philadelphia non-stop to Montego Bay. The flight was easy, and the transfer process to the resort was equally smooth.
Immediately upon arriving at the resort, we were greeted by smiling faces and a cool towel. Within minutes we were checked in and had a chilled champagne in our hands.
We booked "oceanfront". Although, the reception desk rep made the mistake of informing us that we had been offered a complimentary upgrade to oceanfront....until we quickly pointed out that we had PAID for oceanfront to begin with. So we assumed that they were automatically doing that (for Oceanview guests) due to low occupancy in the hotel . However, when we asked for a corner room, she quickly refused saying that they were 100% full. Huh? They were most definitely NOT anywhere near full until near the end of our stay when it became difficult to find a seat at the pool. More on that in a minute.
Since we arrived after the standard check-in time, we were able to get into our rooms without wait. We were told at check-in that a Butler would be visiting us shortly.
We only saw our room, so we do not know what the rest of them look like, but we are assuming that they are pretty much the same. On the dresser was a personalized Welcome Letter addressed to us---very, very nice touch. The room was very spacious and comfortable. Bathroom is huge, with two separate vanities (ladies, you will appreciate that!), a separate toilet closet, jacuzzi tub, and large marble shower.
We had more closet space than I am accustomed to in a hotel room (two separate closets!), plus an adequately stocked mini-bar, room safe, etc.
The room included a step-down sitting area and a large, gorgeous covered patio with a comfy sofa, table and wicker "swing". We spent many eves there just prior to going to dinner, enjoying the quiet twilight, a glass of wine and a good book (for me)/ cigar (for him).
The bed---simply to die for. Best sleep in a hotel--any hotel--anywhere--- ever.
Good food with enough variety to keep you satisfied for a week or so. The buffets were always well-stocked with fresh fruits, salads, fish, etc. And oh, yeah--really good ice cream!
The resort offers a variety of restaurants and guests at the Grand Hotel also have the option of eating at any restaurant in the complex (but the guests of the other parts--Beach Hotel, and Suites---could not come to ours.) We took advantage of that one night and ate at the Mexican in the Suites. That actually was one of our favorites! Check out the Grilled Lobster there. And oh yeah, all of the Mexican appetizers on their app bar.
We also were able to eat at the Surf and Turf (very, very good), the Italian and the Gourmet. All had excellent points, and of course some weaknesses as well. But overall, the restaurants are quite good.
I say we were "able" to eat at the restaurants because reservations were one of the disappointing areas during this trip. It was difficult to get reservations. Restaurants are only open certain nights, and even at around 50% occupancy (they told us!), we were told there were no tables available. Booking weeks start on Sunday, and so reservations for after Sunday cannot be booked prior to Sunday. EXCEPT--apparently, you can book from home in advance of your arrival to the resort. Makes no sense though, considering that booking is NOT ALLOWED prior to Sunday for that week. It was frustrating and disappointing. And Concierge is terrible. I will address this under a different heading in a moment.
Pool and Beach:
Great pool areas with enough chairs and places to sit--up until the last two days of our vacation when it was apparent that occupancy truly had increased and there were not as many chairs to be found. You can opt to sit quietly and read or people watch, close to the pool or a little further away. Or you can choose to be in the middle of the party which was closer to the pool bar area and where most of the pool activities were held. Water was a bit chilly in February, but once you were in it felt great.
The Beach experience was pretty much the same. Plenty of places to sit and enjoy. Water is very clear and warm enough to take a dip. No waves though, so no body surfing!
Overall, this resort has some of the nicest, genuinely friendly people we have ever met on vacation. So many people to mention, but we will do our best:
Great servers by the pool--Carinna and Vivienne. These ladies made sure we always had just what we wanted/needed, and if a few times surprised us with stuff to try.
Beach waitress--Racquel. Ask her to get you one of her "Specials". You will want another!
Bartenders--all great. Friendly, chatty, fun. Some people to make sure you meet: Morrison at the Lobby Bar, and Allando in Hemingway's Cigar Bar. Ask Allando for one of his Specials too! You will not be disappointed!
Activities/Entertainment--- Excellent group of young people. The Star Friends and Entertainment Team take the time to get to know you personally, not just as another guest. You can tell they really do want you to have fun, and take it seriously! They appear well-trained and are professional while still making sure you have a good time. We noticed that our group was more outgoing and friendly than the same group in the next resort. (We spent some time in the Music Bar of the Suites several nights.)
All of them are great! Some that we had a chance to spend some time with: Lucky, Mr. Kool, Tinkerbell, Storm, Crystal and Teniesha, and one of our favorites--Sebolious! Also, our review of the Team would not be complete without a shout out to the Manager. Jamaica is very lucky to have gotten Conan (O'Brien) away from Iberostar Bavaro (Dominican Republic). We were shocked to hear our names being called out by someone as we passed. Conan had remembered us from a previous vacation to the Iberostar Bavaro over 15 months ago!! We immediately recognized him as well. Conan, we are sure, has upped the service level that Rose Hall will provide to the guests in terms of quality activities and fun!
Mostly good, with some highlights (Boogie Nights!) and some that are worth skipping. But go anyway.
All I can say is...get the Chocolate Experience and ask for Juliet. It is not a treatment for the modest or shy, but it is by far the best spa experience ever, in any spa, in any country. The spa offers a nice variety of treatments, and very qualified Therapists. Spa Manager is also very, very nice and will guide you in making a selection if you are not sure what you want. Locker rooms--not so much. Absolutely bare bones. For a luxury spa resort, they could offer a few more amenities in the locker room.
My husband golfed at a local course, Cinnamon Hill. He could not stop talking about the beautiful and challenging course, and the Caddy, Michael. Golf was included in our package, so check with your Travel Agent. Take advantage of it if it is.
Service Staff ("Public Relations"):
One of the features of the Grand Hotel is the assignment of a Butler to each Guest Room. At check-in we were told that we would see our Butler soon who would review the room / features / amenities, etc. as well as to assist us with booking any reservations or appointments.
We waited in our room for an hour (precious time to waste on vacation in Paradise) and no one came. Finally we made our way to the Lobby to ask who we should see to book our stuff ourselves. We were pointed in the direction of one of the Butlers, Donovan. He was not our assigned person, but quickly got us to Marvin, who took care of us the rest of the week.
The Butler's role is really to do whatever you need. When we arrived and finally made our way to Marvin, the first thing we wanted to do was get our restaurant choices lined up. Dining is part of the experience for us at resorts, and it is an important part of our vacation! Since we arrived on Friday, we were told we could not get reservations at all for Friday night (all booked up!). So, we then asked for something for Saturday night. Nope, booked up then too. Come on! So we decided to attempt to get into Mexican at the Suites. The Concierge was supposed to get back to us on Saturday to let us know what time our reservations were for. Except she never did. So, we took care of it ourselves. The Concierge "forgot" to tell us that she was off on Saturday, and so just never bothered calling. And her replacement...well I guess she just did not feel like following up.
The Concierges are terrible, the worst we have ever encountered. Rude, attitude, rolling-eyes, snippy and snooty. And NOT helpful. And it was not just one. We encountered at least two of them and they behaved the same way. Absolutely shameful in a resort of this caliber.
Lucky for us, the Butlers pick up the pieces. Our Butler went out of his way, every day he was there, to ensure that we were taken care of. We cannot say enough good about Marvin. He truly cares about his guests, and wants to ensure their satisfaction and enjoyment. In addition to resolving several scheduling issues with reservations, he made my Birthday one of the most memorable ever. My husband arranged for our room to be decorated, and Marvin went out of his way. We arrived back to the room from dinner on my Birthday to find our room filled with candles, a warm bath with beautiful flowers. Marvin provided special flowers from his Mother's own garden to enhance our experience. I could not have been happier. He is a wonderful asset to the Butler Staff--a warm, sweet young man with a bright future. If you go this resort, ask for Marvin.
Overall, this resort has it "going-on". Room service came when it was supposed to. Wake-up calls were timely. People were friendly and helpful (with the exception of the one group whose only job is to be friendly and helpful--Concierge). Grounds are meticulously maintained and beautiful. Food is really good. You have to try really, really hard to NOT have a great time here. This is the third Iberostar we have have visited. Hands down, it is the best. And MAY even now be our favorite resort.
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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