Just returned from a family trip and want to share some initial thoughts. Not as exotic as some trips in the past, and rather boring flight wise, but we were able to fit in a quick trip to a new place. Best of all, there was minimal out of pocket cost. We mostly used points for flights and hotel nights. This is the first time we’ve done a Hyatt all inclusive, or anywhere else.
For the most part we enjoyed it. We went to the Hyatt Ziva, near Montego Bay, Jamaica. We booked this with a mix of points and cash. I intended to use points, but with a 3rd guest (my 5 year old daughter), the 25,000 point per night rate jumps to 37,500. That’s still a decent deal including all meals, and most everything else. The only additional expense we had is my wife’s massage and a bogus charge I’ll describe later…Thanks to a promotion with Chase Hyatt Visa cards, we paid less than half price for the one night booked with cash. The nightly rate was just over $400, and with transportation, and a massage, our bill was over $500, and the $250 credit has already posted.
How do Hyatt All Inclusive properties work?
Unlike my friend Sriram, I’ve never taken a cruise, and I’ve never experienced an all-inclusive hotel. Another friend has stayed at a few of the Hyatt all inclusive properties a few times and recommended it. Hyatt has several of these, branded as Ziva and Zilara. The Ziva properties are family friendly, for guests of all ages. There are a few more of these, with 3 properties in Mexico, including Cabo, Cancun, and Puerto Vallarta. Plus the newly opened hotel in Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic. We stayed at the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Jamaica. Zilara are for adults only. These are co-located with the Ziva hotels at Cancun, Rose Hall, and Cap Cana.
Prices for these hotels vary quite a bit. When I was booking a few months ago, cash prices were over $800. As we got closer, the price dropped a lot, by about 50%. Still, we mostly booked with points. In terms of Hyatt points, most of these properties are category 5 or 6, so 20,000-25,000 points per night. Keep in mind that is for 2 people, so an additional person, even a child causes an increase in points. Although not clear online, we were told we would be charged 37,500 points per night for our stay since my wife, daughter, and I would be staying in a room.
What is included?
As an all-inclusive, the room rate includes all meals, most drinks and most activities. There was mild pressure from some wait staff upselling to better drinks, but we didn’t bother. All mixed drinks I saw are made from scratch, and while not top shelf liquor typically, it is better quality than I expected. We tried most of the restaurants available to us (there are a few more on the Zilara side we didn’t explore), and the quality was fine. I’d say food was mediocre. Perfectly tasty, but nothing outstanding. My favorite outlet was probably getting lunch from the jerk shack between the pool and the beach, as shown above.
There are also various beach activities such as a standup paddle board or kayaks available for free. Plus multiple daily group fitness classes. There is a kids club as well, and while we didn’t use it, there are other daily kids activities that my daughter enjoyed, especially the giant inflatable slide. Finally, the gym on property is among the best hotel gyms I’ve ever seen anywhere. I’ll discuss this more when I write up a full review of our stay.
Our only charges were for one night stay, transportation to/from the airport, and a massage. We were also charged for damaging a cell phone used for contacting our butler. I’m still waiting for some things with regard to my bill, so I’ll save the details for my review post. It feels like a scam, but I’m waiting to see how things may be resolved before sharing more details.
Final thoughts on our stay at a Hyatt All inclusive property
We enjoyed our stay here. I’m not in a big rush to return to another place like this, but it was a nice way to spend a short trip. We spent a lot of hotel points, but I have many more. Plus zero additional cost for meals. Minimal cash price, and much of that will be refunded thanks to a promotion. Food is nothing outstanding, but fine, and being all inclusive it was actually better than I thought it might be in terms of freshness and quality. I used a Suite award to get us more space, and we even got upgraded to a better room than promised at booking, so that was a nice bonus.
Have you visited a Hyatt Ziva/Zilara or another all inclusive property? What was your experience?