What a remarkable, relaxing vacation. This review details a ten-day stay at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort Montego Bay Jamaica all-Inclusive property, paid for in full with Hilton points earned from my Hilton Amex cards.
- I booked this before the current price per night increased to rather high current levels and took advantage of the book-fourth-night-get-fifth-night-free twice. This resulted in 10 nights for 480,000 points vs. the cash price per day for this resort ranging between $300-500 per night for two.
I also want to begin this review with a full disclaimer: I alerted the property that I would be blogging about the stay with photos and video as I did not want a repeat of the event that almost resulted in a call to the police in Grand Cayman. I will be sure to detail any perks provided to me as a blogger that were not included in my points payment or due to my Hilton Diamond status.
Also, I am breaking this review into two parts to keep it from becoming too much of a monster post. Part one of this review will cover the room, resort area and beach. Part two will be the many meal and fine dining choices you have to enjoy onsite.
We flew down to the resort on American Airlines for a stunningly cheap point award price in business class (plus taxes) I documented here. It was very odd exiting the jet in Jamaica to be met with well over a dozen who had paid for fast track service. While another stupid expense ($50 per person) on top of the already huge airport fees charged on the ticket, you may want to consider it as it does save standing around in rather long lines depending on how many planes are landing at the same time as you. For us it went fairly quickly so no big complaints.
Considering how long luggage took to come I am not sure that those who did pay for fast track inbound got any real value of paying for the upcharge for our flight. We next used Jamaica Transfers Online to shuttle from the airport for $60 round trip for both of us and the service was excellent and way cheaper than having the Hilton arrange our transport.
You will be welcomed by a “door man” who will collect your larger luggage for you. Once checked in they will take your bags to your room.
Check-in was quick and mostly painless but we did arrive so early our room was not ready. So we were directed to the bar to have a tropical refreshment and look around for a short while.
The main bar is just outside the lobby and, let me tell you, the bar crew make really good drinks. My only complaint at this — and it seems all all-inclusive style — resorts is very few choices in wines are included.
We booked a mountain view and were upgraded to a pool / partial ocean view room. I can not tell you if this was due to my Diamond status or from the hotel due to being a blogger (a good friend who is also a Diamond often gets golf course / partial ocean view upgrades). Had we been put in one of the very large end ocean view rooms I would have said it was much more than a perk of Diamond status.
The room was unremarkable but was very clean, had big bed, and the furnishings looked good — that is, they were not beat up (something so many tropical resort rooms suffer from).
My wife and I were here to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary so the nummy greeting in our room was fun to see. Also I seem to have found where all the Norwegian towel animals have disappeared to – they are here at the Hilton now! 🙂
The bathroom, like the rest of the room, was just fine and everything worked. I will also share that the service from the hotel house keeping was outstanding and every day the room felt very fresh and neat. I was impressed and gave our dilligent attendant a nice tip on the last day.
A pool view balcony was so nice with music and shows every night providing a theater like viewing experience. Other than being rather loud at night (shows go till 10PM), I would highly recommend these rooms.
The main pool is huge and the water was warm. There are a few negatives however of the main pool area. First up the fact that they require everyone to wear wrist bands with the different colors not just demonstrating your elite status but also if you are of age to get adult beverages. But I find these things immensely annoying and hard to sleep with them on my wrist. If you need to remove them the front desk will replace it at no cost.
The other issue around the pool is the lounge chairs. They are incredibly uncomfortable and put painful pressure right in the small of your back. I hope they are replaced one day soon. One of our pool days we were comp’d a cabana and they come with cushions – that makes it much better to sit in the provided loungers. Most days, as you see above, water aerobics was performed and it was a real workout and the hotel staff leading it were both fun most impressive.
After we spent the first two days by the pool, we later found a much better spot that I suggest you beeline to when you wake up and reserve your spots for the day. More on that soon.
There is also a lazy river that has a decent motion and we did a few laps almost every day as it really is fun. We found these chairs were covered in guest towels, that is, reserved, VERY early in the day every day (think shortly after 6 am). Some of the chair reservations were done by butlers that you can pay an upcharge for their service each day to have them do this for you. Next a number of shots of the river and slides.
Also right across from the river is a small beach area (see below) that seems to have been suffering from a bit of an erosion problem but a nice swimming area and beach chairs.
The lazy river is basically the mid point of the resort because as you pass it you get to the area that we spent the rest of our days enjoying. Take a look at this spot.
Along the front of the beach are upcharge cabanas. We paid for one one day (Diamonds get a discount) and the service from the cabana guys is outstanding. You get a full cooler and attention is constant even for food choices. If you are going to splurge on a cabana please get these not the cheaper ones by the pool.
If you don’t want to pay for a cabana you have a nice beach area with lots of much more comfortable chairs and some island style free cabanas. The ones on the very end have a much better view that is not blocked by the pay for play cabanas. For the first few days of our stay service by the beach was hit or miss but the last 5 days was spot on and constant.
The other nice part of planting yourself at the beach is you are close to the included at no charge water sports. I took the hobie-cat out every single day and when the wind was up it was a blast. They did not let guests take the bigger cat out on their own and it had the smaller sail installed so the chance to ride it on one rail was not an option (for those who are not aware, I grew up sailing every summer in Sweden).
This really is a very nice resort and my wife and I could not be more happy with the property and amenities and service. The only thing I did not review, outside of the stunning meal choices that I will cover in part two, is the golf course. While I am an avid golfer and have thousands of rounds under my belt I did not bring my sticks for three reasons: 1st the cost to play was more than I wanted to spend and 2nd the hassle of bringing my clubs for just a round or two and 3rd because I wanted to spend the week with my wife (it was our anniversary after all).
Next week or so I will wrap up this review with the many many meal choices you have at this Hilton resort. Other than one of them they were all stunning and oh so good. – Rene
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I actually stayed at this resort in January 2001 when it was a Wyndham. I thought it was fine and adequate, but nothing special. Looks pretty much the same as I remember it, which I suppose is a good thing as it shows that the property has been well cared for over the past 20+ years.
Glad you enjoyed yourself, and thanks for sharing pics … a nice walk down memory lane!
@Taylor – Wow it was a Wyndham back then? My understanding it was last a Hyatt property before becoming Hilton. The food was really really good and I will cover that next post. I would go back again but only if the points prices are less than they currently are running. I can not see the value at 100,000+ points per night for two!
I first stayed at this property in 1975 and 3-4 times after that into the early 1980s when it was originally “The Rose Hall InterContinental Hotel.” I last visited the place in late-1991 when it had become a Wyndham, though did not stay there. I always liked the hotel for it expansive size and footprint. Only good memories.