As I wrote about back in March, we chose to spend our honeymoon at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We have been to the Hyatt Ziva in Puerto Vallarta twice and absolutely loved it, and we were hoping this would be just as great.
This resort is located about 15 minutes east of Sangster International Airport and flanked by other vacation resorts. We checked in on Tuesday, July 23 and checked out Saturday, July 27.
When planning, we wanted to find a way to make it free using points and miles. We were able to score some Delta Comfort+ tickets on a direct flight between Atlanta and Montego Bay and use points to stay at the Hyatt Zilara.
The Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall is available as a Category 6 hotel, which goes for 25,000 points per night for a standard room. While I do hold the World of Hyatt Credit Card, I actually just transferred over 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards for this redemption. Transferring to Hyatt is one of my favorite uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Drinks were all made from scratch and were very good.
There are a ton of restaurants to choose from thanks to the neighboring Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall; the jerk chicken stands on the beach were absolutely wonderful.
Beach is really spacious and has a lot of chairs (although not all were covered).
Some rooms are dated and walls are super thin (see more below).
Room service was 24/7, but it wasn’t great by any means. In fact, a few of the items were tough to eat they were so bad.
The pool area was very loud and not peaceful at all.
We opted not to use the airport transfer service offered by the hotel. The hotel transfer service was $100. Based on online reviews, it sounded like it was a group bus with stringent pick-up and drop-off times.
Because we wanted more flexibility, I took to Yelp and TripAdvisor to find another way to the hotel.
I found a company online called Island Transfer and Tours, and it was awesome. It was just $55 round-trip for two of us for a large, clean and air-conditioned van. We had the same driver both trips (he even remembered us!), and he was really great.
When we arrived at the Hyatt Zilara, we were greeted with cold sparkling wine. This was a nice touch given that the open-air lobby was warm thanks to the Jamaican heat.
Once we were all checked in, the bellman took our luggage and showed us to our room.
Once in the room, our honeymoon stay at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall got off to an interesting start.
The room was located on the backside of the resort. Believe it or not, this was actually a good thing because the main pool area sounded very loud. The room seemed just fine when we walked in – check out the video below.
Very quickly, however, we discovered a major problem. At first we thought there were people in the hallway that were being loud, but then realized the noise was coming from our neighbors through the wall and adjoining doorway.
Even though they were talking at a normal level, we could hear them clearly. Our neighbors then started playing music which turned our room into a club it was so loud. This wasn’t going to work for our honeymoon.
I hate complaining about things, but I called the front desk and asked for a new room. Simply put, this room wasn’t acceptable. After being transferred three times, I was given a chance to go look at another room in the main building.
This room was a second-floor room with a partial ocean-view balcony.
And it was so much nicer.
We very quickly told them we would switch. While we had to wait nearly 40 minutes for them to come get out bags (for the record, I asked if I could move them myself, but the bellman already had the room keys), it was well worth the wait.
As my wife said, this room actually felt like a honeymoon room, not just a hotel room. Truth be told, standard award redemptions are typically for garden view rooms, but the first room seemed very dated after seeing the new room.
I’ll give props to the staff for handling this situation. It was a bummer to have to deal with, but they never even questioned it when giving us a new room.
Food & Beverage
The food at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall was about what I expected. I’ll be the first one to admit that you’re most likely not going to get five-star restaurant-quality food at an all-inclusive resort like this, but the food wasn’t terrible by any means.
What I’ve learned after going to a Hyatt all-inclusive for a third time is that there will be really good items and then there will be some really bad items. But, it’s an all-inclusive, so if you don’t like something, just don’t eat it.
There were a ton of restaurants to choose from. There were two restaurants on the Zilara side (not counting several bars and a coffee shop) and then another six (again, not counting several bars and a coffee shop/deli) restaurants on the Ziva side. We had dinner at the following places:
Urban Heat by FlavorZ
Jamaican RootZ At HoriZons
FuZion Asian Grill at Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall
Blue Grill at CalypZo at Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall
Urban Heat was our breakfast spot just off the Zilara lobby. It had a small menu and a buffet. The last three were our dinner spots each night. For lunch, we got jerk chicken, veggie burgers and pizza from the jerk chicken huts and a small beachside pizza bar.
My wife did comment about how the vegetarian food at the restaurants was really good. When we’ve gone to all-inclusives in the past, it’s been a struggle to get her a variety of vegetarian food.
Room service is also included at Hyatt all-inclusive properties, however, that’s not necessarily a great thing.
While the breakfast is fine, it’s not great. It’s definitely nice to take your time getting up and ready for the beach in the morning and having breakfast brought to you.
We ordered non-breakfast food the first night (when we were in the first room), and the food had no taste. They also sent a chicken sandwich instead of the grilled cheese sandwich we ordered which was not great for my vegetarian wife.
The drinks were wonderful at this place. Unlike other all-inclusives, there wasn’t pre-made drink mix which ensured the drinks were stiff but tasted great.
At several of the pool bars, they had a drink menu which was a nice but small touch. It made it easy to try drinks. If you’re not always visiting the Caribbean or pool bars, it’s tough to know the names of many drinks.
The resort had just two beers – Red Stripe and Red Stripe Light. While it could’ve been nice to have other beer, it was fun to drink Jamaican beer all week.
The other small thing that stood out to me was that they served drinks at the pool and beach in compostable plastic cups. At the Hyatt Ziva in Puerto Vallarta, they served them in hard plastic reusable cups. The number of cups that were washed out to the ocean was horrible. Having compostable cups were wonderful, and it was nice not having to worry about whether the plastic drink cup was clean or not.
Pool & Beach
Before arriving at the resort, I had guessed we were going to spend more time at the pool than at the beach. The pool looked huge, while the beach actually looked pretty small.
I was wrong.
We spent approximately zero minutes in the pool and all of our time at the beach.
One of the major downsides of this resort was how loud and raucous the pool was on a daily basis. There was ALWAYS something happening. It was Zumba in the morning, dance parties at night, and games in between.
And, it was also always super crowded. By 10 am, it would’ve been hard to find two chairs together at the pool.
The pool had two levels with small, infinity pool waterfalls connecting both of them. Some of the swim-up suites are actually connected with the upper pool as well. The lower level was always more crowded, but that was most definitely because the swim-up pool bar was on that level. If an adult-party is your thing, this pool would be perfect for you! But it wasn’t for us.
Since everyone was at the pool, the beach was actually pretty empty. While there was some noise that carried from the pool, it was much more subdued. I fell asleep multiple times, so the noise wasn’t too bad.
There were roughly three rows of chairs of about 50-60 chairs wide. While there weren’t umbrellas on all of the chairs, they were on maybe a quarter of them. But the chairs were movable and could be moved into shade under big palm trees. We had no problem finding shaded seats on the days we were at the beach by 10 a.m. On our final day, we actually got first row seats in the shade.
While the water area seemed small because it was protected by rock walls, it was actually the perfect size. I like to float in the waves and was worried that these rock jetties were going to keep the water too calm, but I was wrong there, too. It was the perfect amount of wave and calm water to keep me pleasantly entertained.
Hyatt had servers going around from chair to chair collecting drink orders which was great. And the aforementioned Jerk Chicken stand was just a short walk away. On our final day, I went to the chicken stand four times! Not much beats jerk chicken and a cold Red Stripe sitting on a beach. Pure bliss.
Comparisons to other Hyatt All-Inclusives
It was really tough to write this and not just compare it to the Hyatt Ziva in Puerto Vallarta. Like I mentioned above, we’ve loved both of our visits to the Ziva in Puerto Vallarta. While it’s a big resort, it’s the smallest Hyatt all-inclusive. It’s set south of the city perched between mountains and it feels very private and secluded. Below are some comparisons:
Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta starts at just 20,000 points per night for a standard room
While Ziva is not an adults-only resort, I found more child-like, annoying behavior at the Zilara in Jamaica.
All of the rooms at the Ziva in Puerto Vallarta face the ocean. This is not the case in Jamaica. In fact, a very few number of rooms face the ocean.
The room service in Puerto Vallarta was better than Jamaica. They do the Mexican dishes really well. The Zilara in Jamaica didn’t offer any Jamaican dishes on room service
Unlike Ziva in Puerto Vallarta, there were no people on the beach selling trinkets and clothing in Jamaica. Major plus here, as that gets a touch annoying.
I will definitely go back to Puerto Vallarta again, but I’m not sure I can say about Jamaica. The smaller resort, more quiet setting is definitely more my vibe, even if there are kids running around.
We had a great time on our honeymoon at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall. Our goal was to go to the beach and stay at an all-inclusive for free, and we did just that.
I determined that we only spent $122.20 total – for four nights and five days at an all-inclusive hotel! We spent $11.20 on taxes/fees for our Delta flights, $56 on tips, and $55 on the airport transfer.
But would we go back? Probably not – just because we preferred the Hyatt Ziva in Puerto Vallarta. The only major negative in my mind was the pool, but the quiet beach made up for it. While the room situation was frustrating, the hotel made the situation right be relocating us quickly.
If you’re interested in learning about the other Hyatt all-inclusives, we covered all of them in a story here. We also reviewed Hilton, IHG and Marriott.