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The Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall is an all-inclusive resort located in Montego Bay, Jamaica. It opened up at the end of 2014, with much of the resort being converted from a former Ritz-Carlton. The Hyatt Ziva is on the same premises as the Hyatt Zilara, which is the adults-only portion of the resort, while the Ziva is kid friendly. The hotel’s opening was a tad bit rocky to due some infrastructure issues but the hotel has come a long way since it opened. Here’s a review of my recent 3-night stay at the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall.
Parking at the Hyatt Ziva
We rented a car while in Jamaica (more on that experience later) and parked it on-site free of charge. There are plenty of parking spots available at the hotel, but if an event is taking place, you might struggle to find a spot. In that case, look to park directly in front of the entrance where they allow temporary additional parking.
It should be noted that the hotel offers complimentary airport transport from Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay (along with access to an arrival’s lounge). Since we rented a car, I didn’t get to experience that but it seems like a good way to cut down some costs.
Once we entered the main lobby, the check-in desk was directly to our right. Check in was a breeze with little to no wait time and the staff members were very friendly and professional. They gave us a small booklet with a map and list of all restaurants and facilities on the property.
This booklet was very handy for us, as there are a number of different building and restaurants to discover at the hotel. I did notice that the hours listed on the booklet didn’t always correspond to reality, so for some of the shops and restaurants, you want to call ahead to make sure they’re going to be open.
The main entrance/lobby area is on the third floor, which is also the floor that our hotel room was on.
Our room was in building “7” and there was a bit of a labyrinth of hallways getting to 2344.
The hallways were a bit warm during the afternoon so be prepared for that when exiting your room. Also, because some of the buildings of the resort were part of the old Ritz-Carlton, some of the elevators are noticeably older (we never experienced any technical issues with them, however).
I personally thought the older buildings had a bit of a charm to them, but I could see how others would prefer the new buildings. You can also get Hyatt to put a note on your reservation that you prefer a newer building and they can do what they can to make that happen.
Our Hyatt hotel room
We stayed in the ocean front Butler Suite and you can read more about the experience in the room here. It’s a very spacious suite complete with two bathrooms and two separate balconies.
Since this is an all-inlcusive resort, all of the in-room beverages are complimentary. The standard offering for spirits were: Jamaican Appleton rum, Old Tom Gin, and Skyy Vodka. They also offered some wines, which we never touched.
Inside the fridge you’ll find Red Stripe, Miller Lite, juices to mix up your own cocktails, and sodas, such as Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, and the Jamaican soda, Ting. They also supply you with at least six bottles of water at a time, but you can always request more.
You’ll also have a supply of snacks, which include Doritos, Nature Valley bars, and Banana chips. And finally, there’s a stash of coffee (including decaf) and tea. Overall, the liquors aren’t the most premium options available, but if you’re just trying to mix you up a cocktail to relax in your room, they will certainly do the trick.
The living area in the suite allowed a lot of natural light into the room and you could look from the room and see the ocean through the balcony.
The balcony from the bedroom looked out over the interior of the resort, where the main pool is located.
The balcony from the living area is much bigger and is the one that looks directly out to the beach. Although the sun doesn’t set directly in front of your balcony, you still are able to catch some brilliant sunsets from the balcony. Also, at certain times of the day, the sun lights up the ocean and it turns a brilliant turquoise color. It’s kind of mesmerizing to just gaze off into the ocean from your balcony.
One of the highlights to Caribbean resorts are the pool areas and the Hyatt Ziva and Zilara both boast beautiful pool areas. There are essentially three pools found at both the Hyatt Ziva and Zilara. The Ziva has two pools while the Zilara only has one. During our stay, the pools on the Ziva side were much more lively, while the Zilara pool offered a more laid back experience.
The pool pictured below was the more calm out of the two Ziva pools. It’s home to the swim-up bar called Lagoonz and people seemed more concerned with just lounging around in this pool area.
It’s very aesthetically pleasing to look at with palm trees sprouting from platforms within the pool.
If you get somewhat of an early start, you shouldn’t have trouble finding some lounge chairs to rest on. The cabanas in the pool area and the beach area are available to reserve but you must pay a fee.
During the evenings the pool areas really clear out but still make a nice place to walk around and catch a sunset.
The second pool at the Ziva is the pool where more of the activities took place, such as the games, water aerobics, volleyball, etc. I wasn’t sure if it was because most them were tipsy or what, but the people taking part in the water aerobics seemed to be having a lot of fun moving to the music blaring.
This pool also had cabanas, including some that were directly over the water in the pool.
And other ones that were located outside of the pool.
Around the Ziva pools, you’ll find a couple of circular whirpools. It was hot enough for me just being outside so I didn’t even think about using them. The whirpools are open from 8am to 8pm.
The Zilara’s pool is strictly for adults and it seemed to have amore subdued atmosphere. There’s a sign that states it’s for Zilara guests only but as long as you don’t have kids with you, I don’t think anyone would be able to question your access if you were staying in the Ziva.
I liked the mini lazy-river in the Zalara, which also connected to some of the swim-up suites.
The Zilara also had a whirpool but it was more secluded than the other ones at the Ziva.
At night the pools light up in picturesque fashion.
Another common sight around the pool areas were the multiple fire pits.
The Ziva building farthest to the east doesn’t have a pool area but it has a nice fountain area. You can tell that this is one of the new buildings by the balconies which are transparent versus the older building with the traditional columned balconies.
While there’s no pool area, the scenery is still is pretty picturesque.
This building is also home to the amphitheater, which means that shows will be taking place at night. If your room is facing the stage, it’s possible that noise could be an issue for you so consider that.
I’ve got mixed feelings about the swim-up rooms. One the hand, it’s a creative design that I haven’t seen before. The idea of stepping off your balcony and directly into a pool is pretty cool. Some of the swim-up rooms like the one pictured below also connect to the main pool area, so you can easily make your way into the main pool and back.
It also helps that the swim-up rooms are gorgeous.
My only real complaint (besides not having an ocean view) is that they aren’t private at all. You’ve got people next to you and people walking around the resort so there’s really no privacy. I feel like I’d rather be in the main pool area if I’m going to be in a pool to begin with. That’s just my personal take on the rooms — I’d rather have a view.
Then again, I guess it is nice to always have your personal lounge chairs to hop on whenever you want to lay out and catch some sun.
The beach is a bit limited at the his hotel. I definitely prefer the beach at the Ziva over the Zilara, even though the latter is kid-free. The Ziva beach is bigger with much more space both in the water and out on the sand.
If you really want a long beach where you can walk along the sand for a long time, you won’t find that there. But if you just want a beach to listen to waves crashing, and to hang out and get some sun and maybe go for a little dip, this beach is perfect for that, especially if you have smaller kids that you don’t feel comfortable with in the water.
Aside from the beach areas, there are some beautiful areas around the hotel, including a few gazebos and tons of palm trees blowing in the breeze.
There are three gazebos but one “main” gazebo which is where they hold events, such as weddings and receptions. It’s very scenic and I think it’s a great location for an event. I took a stroll through it when it wasn’t set up for an event and it felt like a scene out of a movie.
There are two gyms at the resort, one for the Ziva and one for the Zilara. The Zilara’s is also connected to the tennis court. I walked into both gyms at around 7am and the Zilara’s gym was packed while the Ziva’s gym only had one person in it. Maybe it’s because folks are tending to their kids in the Ziva but I thought that was a little odd. The photos below are for the Ziva’s gym.
Both gyms are loaded with what looked like high quality gym equipment. You should have no problem getting in a great workout.
The bars and restaurants
I’ll probably dedicate a later article covering the dining and drinks at the bar later but I’ll give my general impressions. Overall, I had a positive dining experience here. Sometimes the food was a little underwhelming but nothing was bad and some of the seafood like the grouper was terrific.
I highly recommend going to Choicez for breakfast. It’s a buffet that opens up at 7am and it’s excellent. You can dine inside or get outside and start your day off with a tasty and filling breakfast and an ocean view.
I recommend heading to the buffet area where you can get fresh eggs cooked omelet style or just fried up. Both of these were delicious and much better than the standard scrambled eggs offered (although those weren’t horrible).
The bacon wasn’t bad at all, either.
You’ll also find many other items in the buffet. Plenty of very delicious pastries, fresh fruits, fresh juices, french toast, pancakes, jerk sausage, and various other breakfast dishes.
And there’s a little bar area serving up ingredients for mimosas and bloody marry’s. Sometimes it took them a few minutes to set this up so if you arrive right at 7am, you might have too wait a little while to get your alcohol (which hopefully isn’t a problem for you).
We also tried out some of the restaurants for dinner. We first tried Di Roza, the Italian restaurant on site. This place was okay. My pizza was pretty fine but Brad wasn’t crazy about his pasta. Brad’s also a more refined “foodie” than I am, so consider that.
On another night we tried Jamaican Rootz by Horizons, which is an adult’s only restaurant on the Zilara side. This place was pretty good. We had a dish with several different offerings including shrimp, corn, and the fresh catch of the day, which was red snapper (be ready to pick out the bones, of course).
Those were all pretty tasty but my favorite dish from there was the jerk chicken wings. They get very spicy after your third wing so I wouldn’t recommend those for people who don’t like spicy foods, but otherwise they were delicious.
Another place we ate at for lunch at a few times was the Blue Grill by Calypzo. This is one of few places open up at noon and is located right by the pools at the Hyatt Ziva. I tried some jerk chicken wraps which were pretty good while Brad had some fine tasting grouper. For other lunch options, you can grab some pizza from a stand located at Calypzo or head to nearby Barefoot Jerks for authentic jerk chicken.
I enjoyed the many different cocktails we had at the hotel. Some of my favorites were the Bob Marley, Rum punches, Purple Rain, Mai Tais, strawberry mango daiquiri, and just about any frozen drink including the pina coladas. I didn’t feel like the drinks were made very strong by default but so long as you ask for a little bit “extra,” you’ll be taken care of.
For more “refined” drinks head indoors to the piano bar where you can find some of the more premium liquors.
Room service, which is available 24/7 was also pretty good and I scarfed down a tasty cheeseburger while there. Room service was also very effecient, often delivering our requests in around 20 minutes, which for a large resort is pretty quick.
All things considered, I enjoyed the dining experience at the hotel. Some of the meals may not be blow you away delicious, but I still felt like they were generally solid so long as you don’t set your expectations too high. Also, the drinks were tasty and as long as you aren’t shy about asking for something a little stronger (e.g., “extra rum”), you should be fine.
The service we received from about 90% of the hotel staff members was amazing. That’s saying a lot considering how many staff members we interacted with. The waiters were almost always exceptionally friendly and helpful and the other staff members were always courteous and willing to help. Each time I called in for room service or some other need, it was always met with a smile. The overwhelmingly positive service I received while at the Hyatt Ziva made this one of my favorite Caribbean stays ever.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the digital smart wallet, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.