I read quite a few reviews on TripAdvisor before leaving for my honeymoon to Hilton Rose Hall and I had some concerns. These concerns were quickly allayed. Here are the truths. The resort could use some updating here and there. You can see some peeling and cracking paint in some places and the bottom of the lazy river could be re-sealed(it's a little jagged). However, these are exterior concerns only. Driving past other buildings, including a big condo place, I noticed that our hotel looked better from the outside. The ocean wind and moisture does a lot of damage to paint. It is what it is. It does not take away from the quality of the resort, it's staff, or anything inside the building.
The rooms are not small. I read this in a couple of reviews. Unless you are constantly staying in suites and are used to big places with kitchens, you're nuts. These rooms are the exact same size as hundreds of other hotel rooms I've been in all across America and the world. The food is not blow your mind good, but so what, you're not going to a 4 star restaurant. It's an all inclusive. There was plenty of variety and I ate different food for almost every meal. My favorite thing was the pasta station in the Fresh restaurant for dinner. Some nights it was Italian and you chose your pasta type, your vegetables, your sauce and some spices and they wokked it up for you. I mixed Alfredo with Tomato sauce and it was the tastiest thing I had the whole time I stayed there. Other nights it was Asian style and I had some Teriyaki beef and lo mein. All very good.
Another frequent complaint I read is that the drinks are watered down or not very alcoholic. There's two things I can say about this. If you sit around drinking mudslides and pina coladas and Ziggy Marleys that are filled with lower proof rum cream and other low proof liquors and a bit of rum, that's what you get. When I hung around the pool, the lower alcohol content of those drinks was perfect because I don't need to get wasted while I'm swimming around. When I went to the bar and club in the evenings, I would just order real drinks. If you ask the bartenders to put more liquor in your drink, they will. If you ask them to use premium liquor, they will. You ask for basically anything and you will hear 'No problem mon'. So if you think the drinks are a little light, do something about it. Don't just sit there and whine.
I realized one night that I would really like to have a vodka mixed with red bull, but the resort didn't stock red bull. I mentioned it to Davee at Bar King Frog and he immediately said 'I'll go get some for you. How many do you need?'. He was more than willing to immediately leave the resort, drive down to a gas station and pick up some Red Bull for me. This was the same in any and every situation(probably helps that I was tipping and he thought he could get a decent tip for the trip to the store). I bet if I had asked him to go get me a bag of Dorito's, he would have made it happen. No one had any problem jumping to meet your every wish.
My wife and I specifically planned this trip for early September because we wanted to come during the off-time. Specifically, we were there from September 8th through September 13th. We don't have kids and figured there would be far fewer of them screaming in our relaxing pools if we waited until the school year started. This was a pretty good call. The resort was clearly not full. Common TripAdvisor complaints about not enough towels/tubes/pool lounge chairs were not an issue whatsoever. One particularly sunny morning I had trouble finding a chair in the Lazy River area with an umbrella nearby, but there were tons of open chairs without umbrellas and way more on the beach itself. I almost never waited for a single thing. The few visitors who did have kids were below school age, or European. I don't know if the school year starts later there, but I would say it must based on the number of 6-10 year old kids from other countries.
The only disadvantage to our trip timing was that the Three Palms restaurant was closed. One bartender told me that Three Palms is the one restaurant that is not owned by the hotel so they can close up whenever they want. Everything else in the hotel was open and Seaside Grill was extended for dinner hours so we could have two fancy dinners. Luna Di Mare was excellent, though and I highly recommend the beef strips. I had it with alfredo sauce, even though that is not listed as an option. They were happy to make an exception. I wish I could definitely remember our waiter's name because he was our favorite employee at the resort hand's down, but I'm not sure. I think it was Nathan...
To be very clear, the room we got was room 214. This is probably the absolute closest room you can get to the stage where the band plays nightly from 8:30-10pm. When checking in, the receptionist warned us of the noise. We were not worried about it because we did not intend on going to sleep at or before 10pm any night. Inevitably, we got a little drunk and maybe jetlagged on our first day and were ready for bed at 9pm. However, the noise was not intolerable and I quickly fell asleep. If I had young kids with me, I would not have wanted that room, but I wouldn't be all that scared of the noise. It wasn't that bad and most of the time I was out watching the band between 8:30-10, not trying to fall asleep.
We did get some rain while were there but the resort tried to keep things upbeat by doing some trivia and bingo and other things while we waited around. They will not close the pool or anything else for rain alone, only when its accompanied by lightning. I swam around while it was raining a number of times. The slides really are a blast and I highly recommend taking advantage of the slides while you are there. You are not too old for it!
One other specific complaint to address is the nightclub. It's definitely true that not a lot of young singles come to this resort. It's a lot of families and many older couples. My wife and I are a bit younger and we did check out the nightclub a couple of nights. It was usually pretty bare and the crowds that did show up often vacated by midnight or a little after. But Bar King Frog is very lively from 9-11 and we always had a good time chatting with other travelers and the bartenders. I would say that if you're looking for one big party, this might not be your resort. But if you've come to relax and like chatting up strangers, you can still have a lot of fun. We made a lot of friends from all over the world. We even met someone who lived in our own hometown. Small world.
Overall, we had a great week, a great honeymoon, and we'd definitely go again. The price was definitely right. I also am very sure that I gained some weight on this vacation from all the food and sugary drinks and liquor. I went from beach body when I showed up to jerk chicken body when I left. One last very serious note, if you hear a bell ringing around 11am-noon near the pool, head towards it. That is the JerkMo jerk chicken cart. The chicken is delicious and the festival (fried dough) is hot and tasty. Don't miss the jerk cart, you'll regret it.
If travelling with kids or if you want to get to sleep early, avoid the lower levels. Rooms with low...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.