We visited the IBRHS Jan 5-12, 2012 as a group of 4 - husband and I (mid 30s), and 2 girls (10 and 4) and the resort was fantastic. This was my daughters first hot holiday, so finding the perfect resort was my ulitmate goal and this fit the bill.
First Impressions - This resort is grand, stunning and so clean (and as an added bonus a quick 20 min or less from the airport)! It was simply beautiful. We arrived at the resort after travelling through the night at 8:30 a.m. - over 6 hours before the 3 pm check-in. I had emailed a few weeks in advance requesting an ocean and pool view room and informed them of our early arrival. We were greeted by a warm and friendly young lady at the check-in counter who immediately looked at us asked our names and checked on the status of our room. She advised us it was not ready but she was going to check and see if there was another room we could be placed in. We were in our room (3327) that fully met my request for a ocean and pool view, with our bags at 8:50 and eating breakfast by 9:10. In fact, we got our room so quick, I hadn't finished at the guest services desk making our a la carte reservations. The quick check in could have been that we had a toddler, but it was certainly appreciated.
Room and Housekeeping - All the rooms are suites. When you entered 3327 there is the bathroom (jaquzui tub, shower, double sinks with a large vanity, toilet) and kitchen area (with a door a mini-fridge, coffee maker), huge closet and storage shelving areas with sliding doors to hide all our stuff. There is then a door that you can close to separate the storage area/entry way from the rest of the room. The remainder of the room is two double beds, a table with 4 chairs and a pull out couch. There is also a large flat screen tv and dvd player, along with a unit that has a few drawers and additional shelving space. So much storage that I can "hide" all the stuff I overpack. There is a nice size balcony with a small table and chairs and a drying rack. Housekeeping makes up your room twice a day, early afternoon and the evening turndown service. Each day all of our dirty towels/faceclothes were changed at each of these times. If you needed anything extra, there was always a housekeeping personnel nearby, extra towel - no problem. The days my husband went scuba diving, we would leave up the do not disturb sign until he returned, rinsed out his gear, showered and the room would be made up within an hour after we removed the sign. Housekeeping was so good that on one of the days the do not disturb sign was left up the entire day by accident. We informed the front desk of our error and told them what time we would be leaving our room for supper and I checked on it when we returned and it had been made up. True customer service.
Food/Restaurants/Room Service - Breakfast was buffet. We have a large variety of tastes in our party and we all left satisfied. In terms of made-to-order stations, there was an omlet/egg station, pankakes and french toast, and juice bar. There was also a cook making fresh donuts. Tasty! We were always seated immediately, and in and out as quickly as we wanted. They have some packaged granola/nutrigrain bars and crackers which we would grab a few for snacks for the kids at our room.
Lunch was buffet at aunt ruby's steakhouse. Your standard fare. There was always pizza, pasta, hamburgers, hotdogs, some jamaican specialty dishes, meats being cooked (steak, chicken breast, pork chops), salad bar, cheeses.
Al a cartes. As we were staying 7 days we had 4 guaranteed reservations. We opted for the buffet the first evening and ate al a carte the remaining 6. We ate at the Mexican, Mediteranean, Steakhouse, Japanese. We had a reservation at the Gourmet but it was for 8:30 on the last evening so we decided to get an earlier reservation at the steakhouse so we could go to the 8:15 kids show. We wanted to try the Cajun but couldn't get in which was disappointing. In our experience, it was the easiest to get into the Mexican, Mediteranean and Steakhouse so if you want to eat at the Cajun or Japanese, be sure to book them upon arrival using your reservations. Foodwise, the mexican and mediteranean were my favorite - I was surprised to see lobster on the menu at the mexican and found the best coconut shrimp I ever tasted at the appetizer bar there. Our least favorite was the Steakhouse - my husband felt the steak at the mediteranean was better. The seafood grill at the mediteranean is a must try. It says minimum of two to order it, but I am the only seafood lover in my house, so my husband asked if they would do a half order and they did (I ate half of the half - such a big serving). The mexican is also open through the night a a grill for the late night, post drinking munchies. All al a cartes had a kids menu with the standard kids fare, but were always given the option to order off the adult menu.
Room service. For the most part within 30-40 minutes - once or twice (late at night) it took over an hour. Awesome chicken nuggets. No breakfast items, but they had a few pizzas, sandwhiches, salads, desserts. For chocoholics the chocolate hazelnut tart was sooo yummy. I ordered it on a few occasions.
Bars - No complaints about the drinks - they were delicious. The staff were very fast and helpful (with or without tips). They had outstanding non-alcoholic mixed drinks for the kids. I do caution you about the Bob Marley shot - tread carefully with that one - it is a doozy! The poolside/beach waitstaff were awesome. As soon as they saw you claiming a chair, they were over to see if they could get anything. There are two outdoor bars in one builidng in the pool area - the pool bar and a walk up bar on the other side. Whether you are 4 or 40 they treat you awesome and get you wahtever you like (my girls felt like princesses with their special drinks). The lobby bar was my favorite - great coffee and the cappucino (which I don’t drink) got great feedback. We did not try out the disco (as we had kids and you have to be 18 to go).
Pool Area/Beach - My husband has a strict requirement of shade all day, and my requirement is the ability to move my chair into the sun. We also like to be centrally located (close to bard, bathrooms, etc). Each and every day we achieved that. One day we did not go to the pool area until 11:00 am and another after lunch and we still got exactly what we wanted. You DID NOT have to reserve chairs at the crack of dawn. They NEVER ran out of towels and you could trade them in as often as you wanted. I constantly saw staff bringing clean towels and taking away the dirty ones. The lazy river was a hit with my kids. The beach and water was great, not rocky - water was clear and warm.
Entertainment Crew/Kids Club - We were impressed. They were firendly and chatty without being annoying and pushy to join. They ALL made a point of remembering the kids names. You only had to tell them your childs name once and then they were on a first name basis. As a special treat, the new water park /pirate ship feature open 5 days before we arrived and the kids loved it. Our youngest went to the kids club without us a few times and enjoyed it when she did, but liked hanging out with us. The kids shows were great and the general show was kid-appropriate, for the most part. The beach party is not to miss. It was the highlight of the evening entertainment.
Watersports - Watersports were extra and operated by Dressel Dives. I went parasailing which was superfun. My husband went diving and was really impressed with the staff and had good dives. Our daughter did her first pool dive and thought it was really cool.
Safety - I had absolutely not one safety concern (and I am a majorly overprotective mother). I even let my 10 year old explore a bit or go to the pool area without us.
Lifeguards are fantastic and watch the pool/sea great - I even heard them "blow the whislte" a few times (which I have never heard before in Jamaica) and saw them talking to kids getting a bit rough and rowdy. In fact, I left the waterpark to take my youngest to the washroom and immediately the lifeguard asked my older daughter where her sister was.
Downsides - No resort is perfect, so here are a few of the downsides. With the exception of Aunt Rubies (which was our least favorite al a carte), all of the restaurant were indoors and airconditioned. The pools were FREEZING - this seems to be common with all resorts I have visited and since I am always cold, it would be nice to have a non-freezing pool. The only hot tub was inside at the spa (which my kids could not got to). There is not an outdoor bar/lounge in the evenings - just patios crowded with smokers. I really wished all resorts had an outdoor lounge with live music each night. This is not a resort issue, but I get SOOOOO annoyed with guests who have a sense of entitlement and, for example, bellow out demands and are rude. We had double beds (not queen) - however they were SUPER comfy and both my hubby and I fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows.
Overall impression - Amazing - I have not seen staff work as hard as staff do at this resort. Service is fantastic and fast (was missig the "jamaica time" a little bit). The resort is sparkling clean (even the bathrooms). And everyone greets you with a hello and a warm smile. Of special note, there was a wedding of 130 people there for most of the time we were and I did not feel it affected my trip or service in the least. Everyone is treated equally here and kudos to the staff or that. If you are wavering between beach or suites, go with your gut and book the suites - IMO totally worth the additional cost. I would not have been as happy at Rose hall beach, but I am a bit of "princess". I would return tomorrow and have already recommended it to friends.
This was our first, but I doubt our last to IBRHS! Too_cold.
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Rose Hall Hotel Rose Hall
- Iberostar Montego Bay
- Iberostar Rose Hall Suites Jamaica - Montego Bay