Stayed at the Rose Hall Suites for 13 days and 12 night, spending Christmas and New Years in Jamaica. This was the fourth time to the Iberostar Suites and the sixth time to Jamaica. No hotel is perfect so there were a few mistakes, however, if you go looking for a perfect vacation and find one let us all know! It's all about how you deal with the bumps in the road.
We arrived earlier than 3pm so our rooms were not ready. We were given full access to the property and came back after eating at the grill. We got our 2 rooms and one of the rooms had the worst view, could not even see the sea. The front desk instructed us to come back in the morning for a switch. We moved both rooms the next day and had a much better view.
The food is really top-notch most of the time. Making reservations at the specialty restaurants can be a tedious process, but try and make your reservations as soon as possible. You can make reservations based on how many night you stay. We stayed for 12 nights so we were able to make 5 dinner reservations at a time. We ate at the Gourmet, Mediterranean, Mexican, Japanese and Ruby's steak house. All of these were top notch, except for Ruby, where the steak was not as tender as we remembered it being in the past. Service is what is expected for Jamaica. The buffet dinner offer a wide selection of choices and endless quantities.
Christmas eve and New Year Eve dinners were amazing. It would be physically impossible for you to try everything offered, the human stomach is not big enough! All types of seafood, beef, pork, lamb, sushi, pasta. Desserts were really good....I gained 8 pounds in 13 days!
I have no idea which bar one of the other reviewers went to where they waited 15 minutes for service, not any of the ones I went to during my 13 day stay. Whether it was in the morning by the pool or at the grill in the afternoon, lobby bar at night, we never waited more than a few minutes for a drink from a VERY friendly bar tender. Whether you tip or not you were always met with a smile and willingness to serve. Christopher, Jules, David, Lenois and Glenroy at the pool area were just so happy and service oriented. Then there is Doreen - one of the nicest people we have met on the island. She is at the lobby bar with Wailan, another fine gentleman.
The Star Friends are part of the entertainment crew that organizes the daily activities and spends time getting to know the guests during the day. In the evening they put on shows at the theatre. Some nights there are professional shows that are entertaining. The show includes a man that walks and lays on broken glass - unbelievable!
The beach is made up of white sand leading out to three man made reefs teaming with wildlife. All sorts of tropical fish, puffer, long jaw, doctor fish and some lionfish too. I saw a school of tuna just past the man made reef. Watch out where you step because there's a lot of urchins out there.
I took a kayak out a few mornings from the dive shop hut to go to the outermost reef. The water is not too deep and you can see fish from the surface, too. It was a little awkward when the staff at the dive hut asked me for my sandals and another time my watch. Not affiliated with the Iberostar, I think they were part of Dressel Dive shop. I have been to the islands enough times to joke it off, and go on my way. I'm sure some tourists give them things, that is why they ask.
The rooms were fine, neat and not musty smelling. We stayed on the fourth floor which is a plus because the noise travels through the floors, as I know because we stayed on the other floors during different stays. The gardening staff woke us up at 7am one morning shouting at each other. The doors do slam hard, and some other guests don't seem to understand just because they are awake doesn't mean every one else is up too.
We wanted a one-hour late checkout, (checkout time is 12 noon) and when I requested a late check out the front desk said no. This was the first time in 4 stays we had been declined a late check out. I persisted and the front desk employee said he would have to wait for an answer form his manager when they arrived. At 11:40 the front desk advised me that I could have a late check-out. At that point is was too late because we had readied ourselves to comply with the 12 noon check out.
Overall there we were quite happy with the trip. Nothing is perfect, but when the weather is 80 and the sun is shining and the reggae playing....it sure is better than the cold, dreary climates.
Suggestions: Make dinner reservations as soon as possible. Bring your patience, and relax.