Travelled with husband and two kids - 11 and 5. December 1-8, 2012
Had a ridiculously early flight. I knew that few people get early check-in, and that the hotel was completely booked so we mentally prepared ourselves for a long period with no room. Front desk service was quick and polite. Alcohol-free fruity drinks were especially appreciated by the kids. We got our wristbands, towel cards and a map of the hotel complex. We left our large bags with the bellhop. Beautiful bathrooms off the main lobby with showers and towels so we could change. I also took the opportunity to book our 4 a la cartes and didn't have a problem getting 6:30 times.
Had a leisurely buffet lunch on the veranda of Aunt Ruby's with a view of the ocean. Then to the beach and later the pool. By that time it was after 3:00 so I returned to the front desk to ask about the room. Not ready yet. I came back in 20 minutes and still not ready. Another 20 minutes and they said they could give me another room but they'd hate to do it as ours was so nice. With my Westjet booking, I'd requested a high floor facing the pool and if they were willing to accommodate, I was willing to wait, in spite of our need for naps.
By the time we returned to the lobby after 4:00 ours were the last bags with the bellhop, but the room was worth it! Top floor, 4 rooms from the ocean and sunrise views.
But after seeing how efficient maid service is (getting to our room while we we were at breakfast each day), I do wonder why they can't get people into rooms earlier. Again, I was happy to wait for the excellent room; I just wonder if there is some software that other hotels use that allow for a more efficient cleaning / check-in schedule. They already know everyone's flight times.
Fantastic big room. Beds were comfortable pillow top. Couch, coffee table, desk and chairs give plenty of room for kids to spread out their stuff. Large balcony with amazing view of pools and ocean. Nice added touch is a drying rack that pulls out from balcony wall that negates the need to drape wet bathing suits over every available surface. Bathroom is huge. Double sink, wide counter, giant tub with handheld shower head that was perfect for our youngest, rain head shower in large shower stall. Four people could easily get ready for dinner at the same time without bumping into one another although the lack of privacy with one big room and a clear glass shower stall takes away from that.
Pools were cooler than the ocean but still fine for these Canadians. Always clean. Never had a problem getting 4 tubes for lazy river. Tip: there is a non hot tub just west of the pool bar that's kind of hidden. No one ever used it since it wasn't any warmer than the regular pools but my kids loved it as their own private snorkeling pool. Pool bar service sometimes took a few minutes. Nice loungers with cushions that are taken in each night. Looking for chairs either mid-morning or later afternoon after being on the beach we could always find 3-4 loungers together in the shade. Never used the activities pool as there was a large group there that week (I heard 60 rooms) that monopolized it for the week.
15 minutes to walk from one end of the beach to the other. No, it isn't 7 miles long, but how much beach do you need? Wide, nice sand, and always able to find loungers in the shade of trees between the Suites and Beach resorts. Water was very warm! However, small weeds 20 feet out so you want to be swimming instead of walking by that point. Resort has dumped 3-4 piles of rocks in the water out from the three resorts. It's an easy distance from shore, safely inside the buoy line. Coral has started to grow on the rocks and all the usual reef fish were there. The visibility wasn't the best I've seen, but we had a few windy days while we were there and that might have churned the water up more than usual. I'll add a few underwater photos to this review.
Best all inclusive food we've had. Even if there were a few misses, the huge selection offered plenty of hits to make up for it. Breakfast has large fruit station, smoothie station, cereal station, and cold trays such as smoked salmon and cheese in addition to the usual hot choices and omelette station. Lunch at Aunt Ruby's offered incredible marinated grilled meats (the steaks were my husband's favorite), and a daily variety of stews and curries that had me craving more. Large salad bar, kids selections, and a nacho station (salsa, guacamole, chili, cheese options) that we made use of late afternoon. We only did the buffet dinner a few times but were happy with the wide selection of North American and Jamaican options. Son was thrilled that Asian night offered a large selection of sushi rolls. Other guests were amazed at the kid filling up his plate with sushi. Lol!
The a la cartes were good to great and a nice change from the buffets. The main courses themselves weren't that big, which was fine since the appetizer buffets were so amazing we almost made a meal of them. Gourmet restaurant was the only one with a la carte appetizers. The lobster tails were good, but small (Mexican and Mediterranean) and the tuna steak was a bit dry (Mediterranean). The steaks were excellent (Gourmet and Mexican). Tacos were good (Mexican). The duck was excellent (Gourmet). The kids menu had all healthy options. Normally as a parent I'd be thrilled but our daughter decided to stop eating things she happily eats at home. I think her logic was that because we were eating in a restaurant, she should be eating chicken nuggets and fries for every meal. She happily lived off the adult appetizer buffet and the chicken soup though. The 11 year old ended up getting adult meals in the Gourmet and Mexican. Food in the Japanese restaurant was OK but you're really there for the fun. Our chef made sure to get the kids involved. Also nice to chat with other guests around the table.
Lots to keep a family busy all day. Never a problem getting two double kayaks. The min-cats looked like fun but with young kids it was either too windy or too becalmed for us. I liked that the ping pong and foozball were in the hut beside the pool. It allowed for a lot of spontaneous play that wouldn't have happened if they'd been up in the main resort (like at the Beach hotel). Tennis courts are shared by the three resorts. Tip: you can pay for a private lesson but why not show up for either the advanced (8:00) or beginner (10:00) lesson and hope that you're the only one there? My son and I ended up with a private lessons while my husband got semi-private his day. Good selection of new equipment for adults and kids.
I thought I'd mention it, even though we only used it for movie night one evening. There is a small water park attached to the Club but the water was cold and the sprayers so unavoidable that my daughter didn't want to use it.
The entertainment crew had different activities for kids and adults throughout the day. I even did the aerobics on the beach because my daughter wanted to dance. I expected a silly workout but it was a real workout, made harder by standing in the sinking sand at the surf line. The only issue I found is that with island time, activities didn't always take place when they were supposed to. For volleyball, either no one was there or they were already playing 6 on 6 with no subs. One day I found a Star Friend at the allotted time and he started a game for me. It didn't take long to get up to the 6 on 6 so I guess a little initiative goes a long way.
Special K took a special interest in our kids and Krazy Kenny always get a mention in reviews because he's a true showman. The commentary during the magic carpet (foam strip floating over the main pool that people have to run on) had our 11 year old cracking up with his, "One...two...tonight in the theatre..." as he was preparing to run.
Our kids got the fastest times of the day for boys and girls. (We grow them speedy and lightweight in our family) Considering that the kids were typically exhausted and ready for bed by 8:30, I wasn't impressed with having to collect their medals at the show that night. As well, Magic carpet is considered crazy games instead of kids games and those awards are given out at the adult show at 9:30 instead of the kids' show. Gah! But they're good quality medals and the kids love the special souvenir.
I'd recommend this hotel to anyone going to Jamaica and I'll definitely be looking at Iberostar for future vacations, whether in Jamaica or elsewhere.
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Rose Hall Hotel Rose Hall
- Iberostar Montego Bay
- Iberostar Rose Hall Suites Jamaica - Montego Bay