My family stayed at the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach from Feb 23 – March 2, 2014. We were 4 groups in 4 rooms, for a total of 13 people.
Overall we really enjoyed our stay of the Iberostar. For the first week of our vacation we had stayed at the Grand Bahia Principe down in Runaway Bay (review already posted), and we collectively felt that the Iberostar was overall a much better experience.
Check-in was smooth. I had emailed them a week in advance confirming our reservation and asked if we could get all 4 rooms within close proximity of each other. Upon arriving our rooms were already arranged as requested and they had our keys, towel cards and everything we needed in labelled envelopes ready for us. They also had some tropical beverages –Miami Vice (non-alcoholic for the kids) - all ready at the front desk.
Our rooms were good. We had booked the upgraded Ocean View rooms. The rooms were nothing fancy, two double beds (very comfortable), excellent view of the ocean, etc. However compared to our earlier stay of the Bahia Principe, we were very happy with the rooms. We always had fresh towels and face cloths in our rooms each day, all the mechanics (including the showers and air conditioning) worked just fine, and there was no extra change for the room safe.
We ate at all 3 a la cartes and liked them all. Among our group there was no clear agreement on which a la carte was best since they were all great – everyone liked the fact that Uncle Tony’s (Steakhouse) did not require long pants so it definitely made that one a preferred choice. Personally I liked the Cajun best – had the Ribeye which was delicious and they had the best selection of desserts. The Japanese show cooking was also a lot of fun, although most of my group did not prefer the Japanese food. We also ate lots at the buffet – the food was of great quality and there was always plenty of selection. The waiters were always making sure you were served a drink with your meal and they seemed offended if I tried to get a drink myself. One of the waiters overheard my 7 year old comment on the fact that there was no chocolate milk so he went off and made her a glass from white milk and cocoa, which was great initiative on his part. It was nice that Uncle Tony’s served a late breakfast from 10 am – noon, since my kids liked to sleep in. Although they advertise it as a continental breakfast, they still serve made-to-order omelettes, bacon, waffles, etc which is more than what I typically expect from a continental breakfast.
The pool is somewhat small, but still very nice. It was 4 ft deep pretty much the entire way around which was a challenge for some of the smaller kids that couldn’t swim well. The pool bar was nice with great service. I was very happy to see that there were plenty of servers walking about the beach and pool area taking drink orders. Pool towels were not a problem here - every person is given a towel card which you trade in at the towel hut for a fresh towel - this is fine since this is what most resorts seem to do. The week before at the Bahia Principe we experience a daily “pool towel shortage” but not the case at the Iberostar.
The entertainment staff did an exceptional job of keeping everyone active through the day. They had pool volleyball, beach volleyball, Jenga, Bingo, aerobics, etc all coordinated by the Star Friends – Breezy, Champagne, Tootsie Roll, Angel, Barbie and so many others – they were all fantastic. The Star Friends would stop and talk to you, join us at the buffet at meal time, and they knew everyone by name. They also had plenty of kid games throughout the day. There was a kids club at the resort which my kids enjoyed and I have to say that Tinkerbell and Rainbow who run the kids club did an amazing job. They knew me and my kids by name and felt like part of our family.
We attended several of the nightly entertainment shows. They were overall very good. There would always be a kids show at 8:00 pm run by Tinkerbell and Rainbow that would get the kids on stage to play games and dance, and then a grown-up show at 9:30 pm that the whole family could enjoy. Overall we very much enjoyed the shows.
The beach was very, very good. Because of the layout of the resort the beach is only steps away from the pool area, so I could have my family split between the beach and the pool and still see everyone. The sand was very soft and smooth. There was snorkelling right off the beach - we saw some some tropical fish, gathered lots of shells and found some nice starfish. There were always plenty of loungers available and we did not once have to search for a lounger.
Dressel divers had a building at the end of the beach where you could rent (for free) sail boats and kayaks. Every person got 1 hour free to use these boats per day and we took great advantage of it. I got to know May, Gary and T.J. at Dressel Divers and they took great care of me and my family. They also had banana tube boats and parasailing available right at the resort for a fee.
Lobby Bar Area
We generally hung out at lobby bar every evening after the show. It was fairly quiet in the seating area but more active at the bar. The alcohol was top shelf with lots of Smirnoff vodka and Bailey’s cream liquor for no extra charge. Andrew, Dean and Ricardo at the bar all had their own signature drinks that we enjoyed sampling.
The resort did not offer any free wi-fi anywhere on the resort which was disappointing. It’s probably the only negative feature that I would list. They did offer wi-fi for a fee ($3 per hour) so I did buy a 1 hour pass a couple of times through my stay just to check in back at home.
I used the gym every second day. It was small but overall well equipped.. They had some stationary bikes, 2 ellipticals and a couple of treadmills. They also had an area with free weights and some machines. Most of the equipment was in good shape and I was able to get a decent workout.
Neighbouring Resort – Iberostar Suites
It was disappointing that next door is the sister resort, Iberostar Rose Hall Suites, and although we had plenty of the Suites guests venture onto our resort to enjoy the amenities, guests at the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach are not allowed to venture to the Suites. Especially given that they appeared to have a nice kids water park we were only permitted to walk along the shoreline. Seemed unfair and fairly annoying.
Overall my observation is that the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach is a very nice resort with a lot of positives, and I would be happy to return to visit this resort. The main positive features were the Star Friends who were entirely fantastic, the beautiful beach, the food and beverages and the overall cozy feel of the entire facility. The only negatives were the lack of free wi-fi and the restricted access to the neighbouring Iberostar Suites resort. As I said, my family stayed at the Grand Bahia Principe the week before, and we felt that the Iberostar was a far superior experience overall. I would definitely recommend this resort to anyone looking for a great vacation destination.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This new 5-star- hotel is located in beautiful Montego Bay, Jamaica. Directly on the beach. Elegant colonial design. Water sports galore. Scuba diving. 3 specialty restaurants. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Montego Bay
- Montego Bay Iberostar
- Iberostar Rose Hall Jamaica
- Iberostar Jamaica
- Iberostar Rose Hall Beach Hotel Jamaica - Montego Bay