We took a short family trip a few weeks back, to the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Jamaica. It was a good trip, relatively short distance for us, and a quick break for family time and more importantly away from work, etc. We’ve never been on a cruise, and have never done an all-inclusive before, so this was something new. I wrote up a short post of first impressions after our stay. This is my full report.
How did we pay for our stay?
We spent 5 nights, using mostly points, but we paid for one night with cash to take advantage of a promotion from the Chase Hyatt credit card, where I spent $500 and received a $250 credit. When booking, room rates were showing $800 and up, so we were hoping to book with points. Originally I couldn’t book a few of our nights due to lack of availability for a base room. Eventually it opened up. Later, as our stay approached, the nightly rate was around $400. So with paying one night, plus some small other expenses, we got over the $500 threshold, and got the credit.
Booking with points is 25,000 per night, although with more than 2 people, the rate goes up to 37,500. This was odd, as while the points were debited, the reservation only showed 25,000 points per night, and now that we are gone, only 25,000 points were taken. I’m not complaining, just a little confused. 25,000 points isn’t cheap, and 37,500 is a lot, but remember this includes all food and drinks. I was able to use a Tier Suite upgrade, and we were assigned an Oceanfront Suite with a butler, which is considered a premium suite, and not normally included as a standard suite upgrade. A very nice bonus and the extra space was appreciated.
Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall – One Bedroom Ocean Front Butler Suite
We flew to Montego Bay, and in the interest of ease, booked a ride through the hotel. The Ziva/Zilara properties have a lounge at the airport, and we went there once we cleared customs and had our bags. This costs $39 round trip for adults and $20 for children. Not cheap at all for the 15 minute or so ride, but just easy. If renting a car, it seemed a very easy trip, and parking on property is free.
Upon arrival, we were told we would have a butler during our stay, so after checking in our butler took us to our room. This was a nice bonus, and our butlers were very nice, but we didn’t really need the service. They offer benefits such a luggage unpacking, but that didn’t interest us at all. Mostly, they met us before dinner and let us cut the lines. Since we were dining with our 5 year old, we weren’t out late, and likely wouldn’t have had a wait for dinner anyway.
Our room is large, with 2 full bathrooms, 2 balconies, a large living room, and a walk in closet. Here is a quick photo tour:
The living room, which became my daughter’s bedroom. We kept the queen sized bed out that folds out from the couch.
In the living room, there is a small refrigerator with juices, beer, and a small tray of snacks. There is also small bottles of rum and vodks. These items are replenished, although seemingly not every day. We requested a few other items, and these were delivered quickly.
The porch facing the ocean is a nice spot to relax out of the sun. In the bottom right of the photo below is a comfortable round lounge chair. We also dried wet swimwear here in the evenings.
King sized bedroom photo at the top of this section and below
The main bathroom is large, double sinks, plus separate bath and shower.
This room was great, especially since we only booked a base level room. The hotel did not seem very busy, especially on the first few days of the stay. We were told we’d have to move for the last night of our stay, but for whatever reason we stayed here all 5 nights.
How is the food?
This being our first time with an all inclusive, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d say food was better than I thought it might be, but it is not particularly notable. Since we were traveling with our daughter, we were limited to only the restaurants on the Ziva side, since Zilara is adults only. Here is the hotel website which lists them all. All restaurants have a “Z” in the name somehow, such as the ChoiceZ buffet/breakfast restaurant, FuZion Asian grill, and GrindZ for coffee/donuts. Names are a little cheeZy, but fine, it fits a theme.
Breakfast each day is served in the ChoiceZ buffet, or the coffee shop. The latter is mostly snacks, coffee, and a wall of donuts. We tried to keep my daughter away from here otherwise she’d just want donuts for breakfast.
ChoiceZ has a large mix of options, and while I often am worried about quality at buffets, the food is fresh, and much better than most buffets I’ve had possibly outside Las Vegas. We didn’t eat there other than breakfast each morning.
My favorite lunch spot is the jerk chicken/pork shack between the pool and beach (see photo at the top of this section). Several other options are available as well. We spent much of our time in or around the pool, so we mostly took lunch nearby.
Dinners have even more options, including an Asian restaurant, Brazilian style steakhouse, and an Italian restaurant. While these places were fine, and decent quality, neither were memorable. Sure, expecting the selection and quality of an authentic Brazilian churrascaria in an all inclusive property in Jamaica is probably too much to ask. The meal was fine, but the cuts of meat pretty limited. At least I didn’t eat too much as I sometimes do in a place like this.
We also visited the Asian restaurant a few times. Once for Teppanyaki, and another just at a normal table. I visit southern California frequently for work, and usually Asia a few times a year, so I’m pretty picky about Asian food. Our meals here were fine, but again, not particularly memorable.
Not knowing what to expect, overall I think food was better than I thought it would be, but not really a highlight.
Being all inclusive, there are many bars. The swim up bar in the main pool is nice, and it seems weird to swim with my daughter to get cocktails (and a virgin daquiri for her), but oh well. Liquor selection isn’t top shelf, but also not just rail quality either. All cocktails are freshly mixed as ordered, and pretty strong. Requesting a specific liquor seemed to be no issue. Only at dinner was there any upselling, at least to us. Despite this, the bars are open for house wines and beers. Although we didn’t visit the English pub, apparently at least some of their drinks are chargeable.
I wondered if this place would have a spring break type atmosphere given open bars. Not that we were out late, but I never saw anything too wild. People certainly are having a good time, but I never saw anyone getting too rowdy. The staff seems to find the right balance of keeping things fun without letting anyone go too crazy.
What else is around the property?
We didn’t venture off the property…at all. Not really what I planned, or usually prefer to do. That said, the point of the trip was relaxing and some family time, so we very much accomplished that. The property is a popular wedding venue, over the course of our stay, there were weddings at least daily. Somewhat noisy at night, but only when walking around outside, once in our room, noise was not an issue.
My daughter would have stayed in the pool all day if she could, and some days basically did. The pools are really nice, and even on the last day of our visit where occupancy seemed highest, are never crowded.
My wife and I would take turns going to the gym most days, while the other stayed at the pool. One day my wife got a massage at the spa. The gym is accessible 24 hours a day, while the spa is somewhat more limited. They share an entrance near the main lobby. The gym is extremely nice, and among the best gyms I’ve ever seen at a hotel.
It spans 2 levels, with a large array of cardio equipment, and free weights on the upper level. The lower level has a few rooms for smaller classes, and a bunch of TRX and medicine balls. I almost always prefer running outside, but given the humidity, and how nice the gym was, I just went here. Most days I had the whole complex to myself, or maybe one or 2 others.
As mentioned, our booking changed several times from our original reservation. However, after our stay, I noticed a charge on my credit card statement. Oddly, not the card I put down at check in, but rather my default card for Hyatt.
Not really a big deal, but it took multiple emails to get a copy of this bill, and only then did I realize that the ground transportation from the airport, and a premium internet charge was on there. Unfortunately, it took more than a month to get this internet charge credited back. Thanks to my status, premium internet is free. I knew I’d get this credited back but it shouldn’t have taken a month.
Also, our fancy suite came with a butler. The team we worked with is very friendly, and they offered to unpack our bags among other things. Not something we were interested in. They also let us cut the line at dinner, although most night we ate right as the restaurants opened, so there was rarely a line. The hotel provides a mobile phone for contacting our butler. One day we left it in our room, and we missed countless calls while we were out and about. Mostly they wanted to make our dinner plans. The next day we brought the phone with us, but unfortunately, the phone stopped working. The hotel wanted to charge us $100 for this phone. I managed to get that down to $50, but I remain annoyed that I had to pay that much for something that I never used.
I made suggestions to use texting or other methods to contact butlers, but the property didn’t seem receptive. After this hassle, I refused another phone, and we didn’t have much trouble reaching our butler when needed to make dinner reservations, etc.
Final thoughts on the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall
I found good value for the points we spent here. Our first time in an all inclusive property, and while we all enjoyed it, I’m sure we will travel to more traditional properties more than these. I’m sure some people love it, and we certainly liked it a lot. We’d do another Ziva sometime, maybe even here in Jamaica. My daughter loved it, and I mostly did too but a few annoyances leave me with a somewhat less positive impression of our stay.
Have you stayed at the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall or another Hyatt All inclusive? How did you like your stay?