Just returned from a week at the Iberostar Grand Rose Hall near Montego Bay Jamaica. Simply put it was a fabulous vacation.
The Grand experience begins with mimosas as you arrive. The lobby faces the ocean so if you arrive during daylight you have an extraordinary view before you get to the reception desk. Check in was rapid, professional and courteous. Your bags are transported to your room by a porter who is friendly and informative. Once settled in your room you are met by your butler who will serve as your 'go to' person for all your needs for the week.
The rooms are large, well appointed, have beds that are comfortable for sleeping and terraces that are the size of many hotel rooms. The bathrooms have his and her sinks with whirlpool baths and separate rainfall showers. The Grand is an adults only facility and if you are traveling without children, this is a wonderful facet of life at the Grand. There are children at the Suites and Beach hotels which are connected to the Grand but no children find their way onto the property so you don't have the noise and issues that go with having kids about.
With all the comments regarding the four restaurants on site we thought it important to reserve for the evening we arrived as well as the next day prior to travelling to the hotel. Believe it or not, this was a mistake on our part as neither of the reservations actually made it into the system. Our reservation for the New Year's Eve gala was confirmed. If you want to reserve prior to travel, correspond by email with the public relations department who confirm to you in writing your reservations.
There are four themed restaurants at the Grand; Italian, Gourmet, Japanese and Surf and turf. Having read the reviews we thought that the themed restaurants were the be all and end all of dining at the Grand. Not true. In fact, we chose to abandon one of our themed restaurant reservations (surf and turf) in favour of eating at the buffet. The buffet pasta bar chef Kamar prepared two of the best pasta meals we have ever eaten. He is an extraordinary chef and shouldn't be missed during your visit to the Grand. Ask him for his 'magic' sauce if you like spicy food and you won't be disappointed.
For us, a dining experience is more than simply the food. The environment and quality of service can make a huge difference in the overall experience.
Dining at the Japanese restaurant was a case in point for the environment. While the food was very good, the service was also very good, the environment was loud. When you are eating at one of the grills and experiencing the performance art of the chefs making the meal for your group you might excuse the noise as you are participating in the noise generation. When you are seated at a table, the experience is not interactive and the noise level is simply irritating.
Dining at the gourmet restaurant was nice but we found the service wanting. The food was very good and the environment was beautiful. Our server was ill prepared for working in this style of restaurant.
The Italian restaurant was excellent. Service, environment and food combined to make the experience wonderful.
To finish your evening there are reviews put on in the performance space not far from the main lobby. We strongly recommend that you take in some of the shows to finish your evening.
There is a pace of life at the Grand that is very restful. The staff are relaxed, the animation staff are not intrusive and yet do a great job of getting guests involved in activities -- walking on water is particularly fun to watch. It is true that the towel brigade is out early and in force to claim the best pool side lounge chairs and parasols on the beach. As early risers this didn't pose much of a problem for us. Nonetheless I have never stayed in a hotel where you had to rise and leave your room before 7 a.m. to assure yourself of a good spot by the pool.
Service by the pool and on the beach is very good. This is the only hotel I have ever visited where sunscreen is provided for guests. Nice touch. The pool concierge service is friendly and really makes you feel at home in the outdoor environment at the hotel.
Non-motorized water sports are included in your package, however the snorkeling, sailing and kayaking are limited to an hour each per day. We suggest that you think about purchasing snorkel gear prior to your trip to allow you to visit the reef that is just off the beach in the protected swimming area at your leisure. For a marine area so close to a populated beach, the variety of marine life is impressive. We saw over 20 different species of fish, three species of urchins and several different types of crabs.
A quick note on tipping. We made a pilgrimage every day to the front desk to get change to be able to provide small tips to servers around the pool, servers for breakfast, lunch and supper, and the housekeeping staff and butlers. Others have commented that it seems over the top to have to pay the price for your all-inclusive package and then have to tip the serving staff. The point we would make is that the small amount of additional cost to the guest is small and yet the effect on the staff member's quality of life is more significant. You will receive much from these people and giving back seems the right thing to do.
The Grand lived up to all the hype we had read on Trip Advisor. This vacation ranks among our top three lifetime vacation experiences.
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Grand Rose Hall Hotel Rose Hall
- Iberostar Montego Bay
- Iberostar Hotel Montego Bay
- Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall Jamaica - Montego Bay