First, you should know that there are three linked resorts on this property -- the Beaches, the Suites, and the Grand. Beaches is economy (but still fine), the Suites are more upscale, and the Grand is superior but it is only for couples. We checked out the Beaches and the Grand while staying at the Suites and we were very happy with our choice of the Suites. Our room had a king bed and a pull-out sofa, so we had a lot of room. The balcony was large and private. Our room was spotless. We had a broken lock on our patio door. We asked that to be repaired and it was fixed in less than one hour!
All of the staff are very nice -- particularly the wait and serving staff. The front desk people are ok, some are great, but most are low level rude or non-polite. Politeness matters to Canadians. To be fair to the front desk staff, I saw two encounters with unpleasant guests, and the front desk staff handled it quite well. But, it would not hurt the staff to perhaps try to be a little more polite (or at least fake it better).
The Suites is an all-inclusive which means you are pretty well stuck there -- so small annoying issues can tend to add up and ruin your holiday. We were very pleased that we had almost no negative events -- and that is very rare at an all-inclusive.
The food is fantastic -- we loved the Gourmet restaurant. That restaurant was nouvelle cuisine, so we enjoyed not stuffing our faces for at least one night.
We went to the family shows every night and they were quite excellent. Basically a lot of audience participation and physical humor. Both I, my wife, and my daughter loved it. This is a very family-focused resort. You do have the odd drunken boo-hah at the swim-up bar (it is always the swim-up bar) but that was rare and it was handled quite well by staff.
Now, the most annoying thing about all-inclusives are the dreaded reserved pool lounger people. You know, you try to find a lounger at 8:30AM and they are all "reserved" with towels, a flip-flop, or a book. Lounger reserving, of course, occurred at the Suites. It is discouraged by signs, but it was not actively prevented. We arrived two days before Canadian March Break and we had no problems finding somewhere to sit. By the middle of March Break, however, there was no room on the pool deck (well, actually there was a lot of room but it appeared that it was only towels, flip-flops, and books sunning themselves -- where the people were that might have been attached to these items was unknown!).
Yet, we were always able to find a lounger on the beach. So, don't worry, you will always find somewhere to sit in the shade.
One last point -- excursions. We booked the Dunn's River Falls excursion with Cool Runnings that was recommended by our Air Canada on-site rep. Overall, it was nasty. Ninety minute bus ride to Ocho Rios, crappy snorkeling on the reef with one hundred other people, and a visit to the Falls. The Falls was nice (don't think Niagara, think a long bunny hill on a ski resort) and you get to walk up the Falls. But it was quite busy on the day we went and you must go up the Falls with a guide. It seemed every time you turned around someone was trying to extort some form of tip or payment from you. Certainly, could have lived without that.
Instead, the best excursion we had was right at the Suites. We booked a three-hour tour of a mangrove lagoon in kayaks followed by a great snorkel dive. It was only $60 US per person, limited to no more than 10 people per excursion, and was a great deal (if you like that sort of thing). Our guide was fabulous and I would highly recommend that excursion (book it on-site on the beach at the dive-water sports shop).
In sum, overall value: A+. Staff: A+. Food: A+. Front Desk: B-. We loved our stay.
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Rose Hall Hotel Rose Hall
- Iberostar Montego Bay
- Iberostar Rose Hall Suites Jamaica - Montego Bay