7 things to know before booking a stay at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall or Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Montego Bay
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In a much-needed escape from the cold of the Northeast this winter, I spent three nights at the all-inclusive, adults-only Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I also spent time at the neighboring all-inclusive resort next door — the family-friendly sister property Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall. Adult guests at both properties can move freely between the two while kids are limited to the Ziva property. Both resorts were great, with fine service and spacious rooms.
After staying at the nearby Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay, I can sure tell you to choose one of these Hyatts if you are deciding where to stay in Montego Bay. Despite a few hiccups, the Hyatts have everything you need for a relaxing week to get away from it all.
Here are the seven things you should know before you go.
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Room rates at the Hyatt Zilara range from $420 to $508 per night, depending on the dates, for double occupancy in a base-level room. The Ziva can be had for cash rates starting at just $376.
Points redemptions run from 21,000-25,000 World of Hyatt points for a standard night award to 40,000 points for a suite. Do note that the properties sometimes play games with award availability, including when I was trying to book using points. At various times, the properties were showing zero award availability or only suite availability.
I finally booked a suite for one night for 40,000 World of Hyatt points and two more nights at 25,000 points on a separate reservation for the Hyatt Zilara.
Like at other all-inclusive resorts, meals, drinks (including alcoholic beverages), 24-hour room service, entertainment and some activities are included in your stay. One of my favorite perks of my stay? No resort or amenity fees.
- Fabulous property with multiple pools, beaches and restaurants to enjoy.
- Friendly staff that got it right most of the time.
- Good variety of food and entertainment.
- Great location only 15 minutes from Sangster International Airport (MBJ).
- Reasonably priced for all you get.
My colleague Benji Stawski wrote the definitive review of the Hyatt Zilara, so I won’t go too in-depth on the property here. Benji did like his stay more than I did, but I agree with most of the positive things he had to say about the resorts.
- The only all-inclusive aspect of the room was a sad minifridge with a few bottles of water and soda. Two granola bars were the extent of the snacks available, though on another day housekeeping did bring a few small bags of chips and a couple of minibottles of liquor.
- Service was sometimes spotty with very erratic delivery times and occasional unanswered calls.
- Housekeeping wasn’t always prompt and there were small service failures.
- Food quality was not consistently good.
One interesting part of my stay was being able to check in at the private Hyatt arrival lounge at the airport, but after arriving at the hotel I ended up having to wait in line at the actual property, and it wasn’t a short line, to check in again. It was an annoying start to an otherwise good day.
Another disappointment was that when I told a woman who brought me a Globalist gift of Champagne that I didn’t drink alcohol, she not only failed to deliver something else but never bothered to take away the booze.
Vibe: Civilized party scene
At the Zilara, there is a huge three-level swimming pool that never got too crowded during my stay. The most popular portion was definitely the swim-up bar, which was the center of socializing at the resort. The massive pool at the Ziva was actually quieter, even with kids being welcome.
There was a shortage, at times, of available pool chairs, so keep that in mind. You might want to get to the pool early to get prime spots. Thankfully, there was never a shortage of beach chairs on the lovely beaches.
The beaches were simply gorgeous with plenty of private spots for sunbathing or lounging. I also loved the little spots like fire pits, hot tubs and even a gazebo at the end of a quiet pier.
There are lots of places to get away if you get overwhelmed by the sometimes-busy pool bar areas.
Overall, my suite was pretty nice. I liked the modern furnishings and artwork, but it did bring back memories of many Hyatt Regencies I’ve stayed at over the years with a West Elm twist. I did like the pops of navy blue throughout the room.
I had a large living room that I’d peg at about 500 square feet and a similarly sized bedroom. There were two bathrooms, which would be amazing if you are traveling with a family.
This was a true suite and I was really impressed that the front desk let me have the suite for all three nights despite only paying the higher suite rate for the first night.
I loved the two terraces of my ground-floor suite. One had a large lounger and the other had a table and two chairs. The bathrooms were fantastic, with tons of marble, lots of space, a rain-head shower and a nice bathtub, though the KenetMD amenities are tired.
The room was spotless, and while there were lots of scuffs in the halls, the room itself was in good shape.
The bed was comfortable, and I was able to sleep despite being next door to the pool. Noise, thankfully, was never an issue. There were enough power outlets and USB ports in the bedroom and bathroom but I had trouble finding an appropriate plug anywhere near the dining or living room areas where I was working. There was a tablet for room service and activities research, but I found it clunky and not intuitive.
The internet was serviceable with decent upload and download speeds; however, I frequently got booted offline, and sometimes had trouble logging back in. Just as one example, I wasn’t able to upload the screenshot I took to show you the internet speed. I got upload speeds of 7.70 Mbps and download speeds of 7.55 Mbps.
Dining and drinking
As this was my first time at an all-inclusive my mind was officially blown that everything is free once you arrive, aside from tipping.
There are literally dozens of food and beverage options between the two properties and there is truly something for everyone.
Between the two properties, I counted at least 12 restaurants, bars and lounges.
My favorites were two dessert cafes where you can get coffee and something sweet most times of the day or evening. I hit those two cafes at least 10 times to get coffee (OK, I had a few treats too).
Making dinner reservations can be a bit complicated. They really want you to use the QR code that comes with your Hyatt “passport,” but frankly I found it a bit clunky. Instead, I either just showed up at the restaurant where I wanted to dine or I called the “At Your Request” line from the room and they transferred me to make reservations with an operator.
Overall the food was a bit disappointing to me. I found the quality of the room service food pretty low. Though the salads and breakfast food I got were serviceable, nothing blew my socks off. The coffee was simply dreadful and I ended up walking to coffee bars for a cappuccino in the mornings instead.
I tried the Fuzion Asian restaurant at the Ziva one night and was seated at the yakatori station. It’s hard to go wrong with grilled meats, but I wasn’t blown away by the quality of the options.
I ate at Petit Pariz, the French restaurant, on my last night at the Zilara.
The amuse bouche was a delicious sauce with half a sauteed shrimp. I also had the beef tartare, which was tasty with a pop of tartness from honey mustard sauce and dabs of caviar. Sadly, the French onion soup was bland. As the main course, I had the chicken breast with tarragon. It had a small sprinkling of bacon, mushrooms and pearl onions. The meat was tender and well-cooked, though the sauce didn’t leave much of an impression and I couldn’t taste any bacon.
My favorite part of the meal, however, was the kittens that roamed the restaurant. (I managed to feed them pieces of meat on the sly.)
On my last morning, I ordered room service again at 9:42 a.m. They quoted me an hour for delivery, but by 11 a.m. it still hadn’t arrived. I called back, was placed on hold, and then told it would go out in another 15 minutes. More than an hour and a half for room service is not acceptable.
There was no shortage of activities at the sister Hyatt properties, but the highlights for me were the two massive swimming pools and the beaches.
There were poolside and beachside activities at all hours of the day and live entertainment at both properties each night. I enjoyed a night of regional food carts on the Ziva side dubbed a “street food festival.” Another night, there was an amazing entertainer who juggled flaming sticks to the accompaniment of a live DJ.
The incredible gym complex deserves a special mention. The two-story building takes up a good chunk of property between the two resorts and it’s one of the nicest gyms I’ve ever seen at a hotel. It had top-of-the-line, brand-new gym equipment including some contraptions I’d never even seen before.
There’s also a spa that offers treatments like body wraps and massages, including the option to have a massage in a beachside cabana, all of which cost extra. And for golfers, the staff can organize a tee time at one of two nearby golf courses — again, for an additional fee.
I’d definitely recommend a stay at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall or the neighboring property, the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall. Fabulous facilities and activities, large swimming pools, multiple beaches and roomy accommodations are my top reasons to visit. While the food could use improvement and there were a few service issues, overall I left with a really good impression.
Despite being one of the few single people at the resort, I didn’t feel too out of place and I’d go back again. The staff was mostly warm and helpful.
If you are looking for a great redemption for your World of Hyatt points, I think these resorts could fit the bill. Cash rates are expensive, but a good bargain compared with nearby properties like Secrets.
Featured photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.
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