Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall, Jamaica

Five-star all-inclusive resort offers luxury amenities and service

© Iberostar Hotels and Resorts

 

Most hotels or resorts in Jamaica can be described as funky, eclectic or laid back, but the oeuvre at the Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall -- much like that at the nearby Ritz-Carlton -- is strictly luxury. The difference: the Iberostar is an all-inclusive.

Jamaica's coastline is dotted with all-inclusive resorts, all competing for the ever-shrinking international tourist dollar. Iberostar has set the bar higher, boasting of a new standard of luxury all-inclusive resort, with a 5-star oceanfront hotel as the centerpiece, as well as a more economical set of sister properties that will appeal to all class of travelers and fun-seekers.

The family owned, Spain-based Iberostar chain currently owns and operates 100 properties around the world, and the Rose Hall resort is one of the newest. "The Grand" is an adults-only all-inclusive with a focus on wellness, accommodations, fine dining, entertainment and recreation, and features personalized butler/concierge service.

To really impress that special someone with a romantic getaway or to create some new memories, this resort really should be experienced. A drive 20 minutes east on the North Coast Highway from Montego Bay's Sangster International Airport will bring you to this gated and fenced complex of colonial-style buildings, which opened in 2009. An iced towel and tropical drink will greet you upon arrival, and check-in is quick and efficient. The Greco-Roman inspired lobby architecture is fantastic, with a marble staircase leading to the pool area.

Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall Rooms

The Grand is a five-story building with 295 suites, including 104 oceanfront suites, 189 Grand suites with ocean or garden views, and two Presidential Suites. My spacious, ground-level oceanfront suite featured a long foyer area with closets, mini-bar, safe, and iron/ironing board. The bedroom area includes marble floors throughout, a king-size bed with fine European linens, different types of sleeping and body pillows which you can choose from a pillow menu, a plasma TV, iPod docking station, and a step-down lounging area with sofa, coffee table, and desk/workstation with internet access.

A sliding glass door leads you to your own private deck with a sofa, table, wicker swing, and outstanding ocean views.

The luxury marble bath has his/hers vanities, a large soaking tub for the signature rose-petal baths your butler can draw, a huge walk-in tile shower with rainfall heads and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries. Putting an emphasis on "attentive, not intrusive," your personal butler will check in with you periodically and inquire into any special requests. Upon check-in, my room safe was broken and my butler had someone in to fix it in a flash. In addition, your mini-bar can be customized to your liking, and there is 24-hour room service.

Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall Dining and Restaurants

After a day in the Jamaican sun, the diverse restaurants at The Grand will please your palate. In addition to the requisite buffet restaurant typical of most all-inclusives, there are four specialty a la carte restaurants; Japanese, gourmet, Italian and a classic American steakhouse. The decor is classy, and the service is what would be expected of a 5-star. The head chef has extensive training and experience in the Michelin starred restaurants of Madrid and London.

Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall Amenities and Activities

Exploring the impeccably kept grounds you will find a large pool area at the center of the Grand with plenty of sunning chairs, some strategically located for more privacy, and several canopied beds. There is an outdoor restaurant located oceanfront and a swim up/aqua bar. There are always a few of the social activity staff around trying to get some games going and some crowd participation.

Stepping out on the beach, you can walk east for a half mile before you reach the end of the protected area of the resort. The beach isn't the best you'll find in the Caribbean, but there is a good supply of lounge chairs covered by thatched umbrellas to give you relief from the sun as you place your drink order. Non-motorized watersports are available, such as sailing and kayaking. You may also happen across the occasional wedding on the beach, as well.

After a day in the Jamaican sun, the diverse restaurants at The Grand will please your palate. In addition to the requisite buffet restaurant typical of most all-inclusives, there are four specialty a la carte restaurants; Japanese, gourmet, Italian and a classic American steakhouse. The decor is classy and the service is what would be expected of a 5-star. The head chef has extensive training and experience in the Michelin starred restaurants of Madrid and London.

Later, you can take in a show at one of the several theaters throughout the complex. Diverse Vegas-style nightly shows include a Jamaican history dance show, the hits of Bob Marley, a big band show, and once a week the performers bring the show outside for a beach party.

Other evening diversions feature local musicians performing in the music bar and lobby bar, a cigar bar, and a lower level discotheque that draws a younger crowd into the wee hours. Evening time at The Grand is also punctuated by the gentle sound of White Ibis birds that sing throughout the night.

For some more pampering, The Grand features a two-story spa that focuses on couples-oriented treatments. There are Thalassotherapy pools, Turkish and Roman baths, and you can also get a massage on the beach. All guests at The Grand who stay at least 3 nights are also offered a free round of golf at the nearby Cinnamon Hill golf course. Other local excursions include shuttles to the Hip-Strip and Margaritaville in Montego Bay. Be sure to explore other parts of the resort, as well. A stay at The Grand entitles you to visit Iberostar's adjacent Rose Hall Suites and The Beach at Rose Hall, which feature a lazy river and infinity pool.

To ensure exclusivity, you can visit the rest of the resort but The Grand is restricted to guests only. That's good for ensuring privacy, but does tend to make it rather quiet. You may get the feeling that The Grand can seem a little too "grand" at times. It is mostly geared towards couples and smaller intimate groups, and there is definitely a higher energy level at the pools, beach and restaurants of the neighboring resorts. However, the "adults only" concept ensures a more relaxing experience.

Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall Information

Address: Rose Hall Main Road, Montego Bay – Little River P.O.St. James / Jamaica W.I. Phone: 1-888-923-2722


Rates: $254/night(suite, low season) to $654/night (oceanfront suite, high season) Dining: Full-menu buffet restaurant, beach and poolside snack bar; four specialty a-la-carte restaurants: Japanese Teriyaki, Italian, Gourmet, American Steakhouse; six bars Other amenities: Spa, gym; gift shops, gaming lounge with slot machines, internet cafe, meeting rooms, live music, live theater, wide range of classes including yoga, tai-chi, spinning, tennis, sailing Rooms: 295 including 104 oceanfront grand suites, 189 grand suites and 2 presidential suites

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.