Man-made beach is small, rocky, and full of debris
A la carte restaurants occasionally close based on occupancy or season
No children allowed (a major pro for some)
Situated along Jamaica’s resort-heavy northwest shore, Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall is one half of a luxury two-resort beachfront Hyatt compound. Along with its sister property, Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, the two collectively offer excellent communal amenities, including nearly a dozen restaurants, two large pools, and an oceanfront spa. The quiet, elegant vibe is what most guests would expect of a luxury adult-only Jamaican resort. Each of its 234 rooms features a spacious floor plan and bright, modern decor. Amenities include fully-stocked minibars, free Wi-Fi, luxurious marble bathrooms, butlers in some rooms, and private balconies or terraces -- many with ocean views. For a luxury property, though, the small, man-made beach is surprisingly rough and rocky. The adjacent Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall offers identical amenities in a more affordable, kid-friendly package.
Luxurious, beachfront all-inclusive with a strict adult-only policy
As part of a two-resort development, Hyatt Zilara is the more exclusive half of the development, in part due to its adult-oriented ethos that draws plenty of couples in search of a romantic escape. The no-children policy is strictly enforced in all rooms and common areas, ensuring the vibe is quiet, relaxed, and elegant. Hotel staff are posted 24 hours a day at the intersection of the two Hyatt properties to make sure that kids don’t wander over from the adjacent Hyatt Ziva. A spacious pool terrace at the center of the property seamlessly connects to a small, private beach, and while the former is gorgeous, the latter is a bit underwhelming. The hotel’s architecture and design are typical of similar sophisticated Caribbean resorts built on a grand scale. Large swaths of bare white walls, an open-air lobby and common areas, and a combination of teak furniture and contemporary wall art all provide a look and feel that exudes luxury. Tasteful tropical touches -- including fine wicker furniture, bright blue patterns, and soft coral accents -- all remind guests where they are.
Among Jamaica's most posh resorts,a 15-minute drive to Montego Bay
Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall is situated directly on Route A1 -- the main thoroughfare that connects Montego Bay to Kingston. The immediate area around the hotel is dotted with other all-inclusive resorts, most of which are at the top of the spectrum. The exclusive address means that there's little within walking distance, though, and guests looking to get off-property will likely need to rent a car or hail a cab. The restaurants, bars, shops, and other attractions of Montego Bay’s bustling tourist district are only 15 minutes away by car. The Rose Hall Great House, from which the hotel takes its name, is also in Montego Bay for those looking to explore the area's history.
Jamaica’s main airport -- Sangster International Airport -- is less than 15 minutes from the hotel by car. The Hyatt provides all guests with free shuttle service to and from the airport. Several major car rental providers are stationed at the airport. However, the island’s taxi service is an inexpensive and reliable alternative for getting around.
Bright, modern rooms with minibars, luxurious bathrooms, and private balconies
The modern, upmarket decor found throughout the property carries through to each of the rooms. Dark wood furniture, beige walls and flooring, and contemporary seating all contribute to a sharp and luxurious feel. Still, appropriate for the hotel's beachside setting, the look is relaxed, and the abundance of neutral, seaside tones are contrasted by bold pieces of contemporary art in many rooms.
The list of standard amenities in all rooms is lengthy and typical of a luxury property. Modern electronic conveniences in all rooms include flat-screen TVs with satellite service, Bluetooth MP3 players, and free Wi-Fi. We found the Internet service to be fast and reliable during our stay. Coffeemakers come standard, as do minibars stocked with beer, wine, soda, and snacks. The plush beds in all rooms are firm, but comfortable. First-floor rooms feature private, furnished terraces while rooms on upper floors have balconies with full or partial ocean views.
Rooms in all categories are spacious, even for a luxury all-inclusive. Entry-level Standard Rooms offer nearly 500 square feet of living space (46 square meters) in a single-room layout. View Rooms and Swim Up Rooms feature identical square footage and a similar floor plan. In addition, the former features unobstructed water views, while the latter adds a semi-private pool area that connects directly to the central pool. Junior Suites are among the hotel’s most spacious, at 673 square feet (63 square meters), and come in a variety of categories, including Swim Up and Oceanfront. Top-of-the-line Butler Suites provide more than 1,000 square feet of floor space (93 square meters) that includes a separate bedroom, a large terrace, and personal 24-hour butler service. Most rooms are available in single-bed or two-bed configurations.
Bathrooms in all rooms are equally luxurious, with modern fixtures and rich accents throughout. Marble countertops, polished chrome hardware, and dual sinks are standard in most room categories. Upgraded Suites feature spacious bathrooms which are two to three times as large as typical hotel bathrooms. These feature a large, two-person soak tub and an oversized, modern glass shower stall with a rainfall shower and a detachable showerhead.
A large pool, a small and rocky beach, plenty of restaurants, and an oceanfront spa
As a luxury all-inclusive resort, Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall sits near the top of Jamaica’s luxury hotel properties, with almost every imaginable amenity available. A large, clean pool, oceanfront spa, and nearly a dozen restaurants ensure guests likely won’t need to leave the property. Unfortunately, the tiny, man-made beach leaves a lot to be desired.
Aside from these, there is a schedule of live performances and entertainment, and the hotel can arrange excursions. This is a popular destination for weddings, and the Hyatt can help arrange business events as well, with 50,000 square feet (4645 square meters) of event space.
As with all Hyatts, Wi-Fi is free here. Airport transfers are also free, and the hotel has its own exclusive lounge at the airport.
A clean, spacious pool with more than enough space to relax
While the hotel offers just a single pool, the relatively large size is more than capable of accommodating its guests. Even when the property is sold out, the terrace’s multi-tiered design provides plenty of chairs and umbrellas with ample space for guests to relax without feeling crowded. Islandz swim-up bar and several additional satellite bars service the pool area with a full drink menu of tropical cocktails, wine, and beer. Poolside drink service is likewise available, and we found the staff to be attentive and readily available during our stay.
Guests of Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall are also welcome to use the massive pool at the neighboring Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall. As the latter is kid-friendly, the vibe around the pool is considerably louder and more lively. Lagoonz swim-up bar on that side of the property services the pool with a similar menu of beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages.
The man-made beach is tiny relative to the size of hotel. While the lounge chairs and palapas provide ample shade, there simply aren’t enough seating to adequately accommodate the hotel’s size. The sand is often rough and rocky while the water is frequently full of seaweed and debris. Both of these points mean crews are often working for hours every day to clean the sand. The beach at the neighboring Hyatt Ziva (open to Hyatt Zilara guests) is similarly small, though cleaner and less rocky.
As with many Caribbean beaches, the condition of the water varies depending on the time of year. Seasonal changes can adversely affect the swimability. However, a horseshoe-shaped breakwater provides some protection against strong waves and rip currents. Aside from the murky water, it’s typically calm and safe to swim, even for children. Other than a beach volleyball net, the hotel offers no beach-centric or water-sports activities.
All-day drinks and dining via 11 on-site restaurants
The Hyatt complex has a total of 11 restaurants, including a beachfront jerk chicken shack and a deli. While many are located on the Hyatt Ziva side of the property, guests of Hyatt Zilara are welcome to access them all. As an all-inclusive property, all alcohol and meals are included with every stay.
The complex’s two main restaurants -- Flavorz and Choicez -- serve similar, buffet-style meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menus are a typical mix of Western fare and a handful of Jamaican favorites for each meal. Several additional restaurants are open only for dinner and offer themed a la carte menus, including Fuzion (serving hibachi and Japanese Yakitori), Di Roza (Italian), and Brazil (a Brazilian steakhouse). All are upscale and tout a dress code, although enforcement was lax during our visit. The hotel’s flagship Petit Pariz offers gourmet French cuisine in an elegant, fine-dining atmosphere. The dress code is formal, and it’s the only restaurant within the complex that requires reservations.
Additional casual dining spaces are spread throughout the property. Union Jack’z -- a modern, British-style pub -- serves a dinner-only menu of tavern and fried foods. There's pool, foosball, and checkerboard tables in a small game room at the rear. After dinner, this venue becomes a bar/nightclub with live music and a boisterous atmosphere. Adjacent to the beach, the tiny Barefoot Jerkz chicken shack offers light bites and finger foods in a traditional Jamaican barbecue setting. Bitez provides similarly light fare for lunch and dinner -- including deli sandwiches and simple cafe items -- in a casual, coffee-shop setting.
The food at all restaurants receives high marks for its selection and quality. While the two buffet restaurants are open year-round, hours at the a la carte venues are often unpredictable. The restaurants can close without notice depending on the season and hotel occupancy.
In lieu of a large, full-service spa, the hotel offers a small, open-air alternative with a boutique feel. Each of its three private rooms is situated just a few feet from the water. The tiny, beautiful reception area features a circular layout with beige brick walls, white pebble flooring, and a cathedral ceiling of exposed wood. A small hot tub and several upscale wood lounge chairs with water views are available exclusively to spa guests. There are no salon services, but the spa menu includes a variety of standard massage treatments.
Bright, clean gym with modern cardio- and strength-training equipment
Unlike many area hotels where the gym is an afterthought, the fitness center at Hyatt Zilara is bright, clean, and modern. With a large row of windows on the entrance-side and hardwood laminate flooring throughout, the space feels decidedly upscale. A dozen state-of-the-art cardio- and strength-training machines are available, along with a large rack of free weights and workout benches.
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