The following is a detailed overview of our Spring Break 2013 trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica.
During our 7 night stay, we stayed at two of the All-Inclusive Iberostar Resorts in the complex; the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach and the Iberostar Rose Hall Suites. We also visited the adults-only Iberostar Grand Rose Hall which is right next door.
This report is all about the first part of the trip at the 4.5 star, all-inclusive, Iberostar Rose Hall Beach.
We departed on the Apple Vacations charter flight from Rockford, IL airport, which a fantastic alternative to Chicago O'Hare. (We will have a separate report on this). The flight was about 3 hours, 30 minutes and went by very fast. We purchased the Apple Preferred Perks which allowed us seating in the first four rows, more leg room, a complimentary snack and two complimentary cocktails.
The arrival and immigration processing was very easy and fast in Montego Bay. We boarded the Tropical Tours transfer bus en-route to the resort which is about 15 minutes away from the airport. The bus did make two stops along the way which added another 20 minutes to the transfer time...not bad at all.
Upon arrival at the resort, we were greeted with a cold drink. I was also struck by the very friendly staff. Our room was ready when we checked-in so we were able to unpack, make a quick change and head off to lunch. One important point to note is that the resort only has Wi-Fi access in the lobby (at a charge) so if you want this, you will need to purchase a log-in and password at the front desk. I used this on several occasions with my laptop and the connection was good but not necessarily overly fast compared to what we are used to at home.
There are two main choices for the lunch; the Buffet and the Grill down by the beach (note this is also the steakhouse at night). Both have lot's good food choices. Don't miss the Jerk Chicken or maybe even a burger with Jerk sauce. And, I highly recommend a cold Red Stripe beer (or maybe even two!). Jamaica is also known for it's rum and Appleton Rum is the marquis brand.
The next important step was to get with the hotel concierge to make dinner reservations. They are in the lobby and have set hours for when they will assist reservations in the three specialty restaurants (Steakhouse, Japanese, and Cajun). Depending on your length of stay, you are guaranteed a reservation for a set number of nights: 3-4 Nights = 1 Reservation, 5-6 Nights = 2 Reservations, 7 Nights or more = 3 Reservations. Note: You can also check with them for same day reservations to see if there are any openings.
The room was nice, clean, and comfortable. There was a stocked fridge with beer, "Wata", and soda. The bed was perfectly fine as was the air conditioning which can sometimes be a bit of a challenge in Mexico and the Caribbean.
The resort itself and the grounds are really beautiful...lots of lush flowers, palm trees etc and very well maintained. There is one main pool area with a Swim-up bar. There are two separate pools here right next to each other. There are plenty of pool lounge chairs but if you want a chair with a palapa to shade you, I would recommend stopping by the pool before breakfast and throwing a towel, beach bag etc. on the chairs you want to reserve.
The pool area is very fun (but not annoying) with reggae music playing. We loved the activity staff at the pool! Make sure to meet a.k.a Lemonhead, Barbie, Smiley, Kanye, Bootie Girl, Lightning and many more. They were super friendly and very fun. They are especially great with the younger kids.
At 3:00pm each day, they play music and do line dances at the pool which is very entertaining. Many of the guests jumped in to participate. Throughout the day there are various scheduled (but optional) activities to get involved in such as table tennis, beach volleyball, bocce ball, water aerobics, reggae dancing lessons, patois lessons, etc.
There are many other activities on the beach. Dressel Divers is right there and they do scuba trips, parasailing, and banana boat rides for a charge. You can also check-out a kayak or even a sailboat at no charge. Make sure you can sail however as if they have to come to your "rescue" and tow you back, there is a $49 per person charge.
The beach and the ocean are really nice. Very nice sand and swim-able ocean. There is a reef right in front of the resort so you can check-out a snorkel and mask at no charge and see lots of fish. Know too that the beach is private...that means no locals or vendors at all interacting with the guests!
Tip: Bring lots of sunscreen and be very conscious of the intensity of the sun. It is very easy to get sunburn in the Caribbean. If you normally use factor 8 SPF, start with 15 or higher. Better to ease into it than to get sunburn on the first day and suffer for the next couple days.
During our stay, we ate at the buffet and the beach grill several times and the food was very good. We also enjoyed the Steakhouse (Uncle Tony's) and the Japanese Restaurant. This is Teppanyaki style and was excellent. Our chef was extremely fun and engaging with the guests and everyone had a great time. Each of the restaurants also offered a kid's menu.
Tip: Remember that long pants and collared shirt are required for men and don't be 15 or more minutes late or they could deny your reservation.
The staff was super nice and the service was very good. There was a fair amount of tipping going on and we did tip fairly generously-but I think the service would have been just as good without it.
After dinner, there is nightly themed entertainment. This starts about 9:30pm. Compared to the many shows I have seen in the past these was very good. And the talent of singers really stood out...no lip syncing here! Also, one of the nights they had a really fun pirate themed beach party with games for the kids, dancing, and a fire show.
Finally, the Lucy Club is a great spot for children ages 4 to 12 years. They can hang with the other kids and take part in arts and crafts, play and read, or watch movies. The Club is open in the evening which gives parents a chance to take in dinner or a walk on the beach knowing that the kids are being taken care of.
Overall, this is an excellent resort in a very good price range.
Q: Do we highly recommend this resort to our clients?
A: YAH MON!!
This is a great place for families, groups, or Destination Weddings. I met with the Wedding Team while I was there and the wedding set-up on the beach was very beautiful...
If you would like to see more photos on the resort, you can find them on our Facebook page:
We also encourage you to give us a call with any questions or to get started booking your next Jamaica trip to Iberostar Rose Hall Beach.
Our number here in the office is 877-404-4228 or e-mail us at info@SunsationalBeachVacations.com!