We recently stayed at the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica over the Thanksgiving holiday. The Hyatt Ziva is a relatively new concept by Hyatt which caters to family travelers. Next door is the Hyatt Zilara which is the adults only portion. All Hyatt Ziva/Zilara's are all inclusive resorts.
We traveled with our two kids (ages 6 and 4) and had a wonderful time. We had a one bedroom oceanfront butler suite which was nice.
The first question that you must be asking is why I am reviewing a hotel when I am The Timeshare Guru. The answer is that first, timeshares do not always work for traveling. While I definitely prefer timeshares to hotels, timeshares sometimes simply do not work due to locations, flights, availability, amount of points or lack of points, etc. In this particular vacation, we stayed 8 nights so it would have been difficult, but not impossible, to reserve a 1 week vacation and tack on a day. Sometimes tacking on one day can work but can be very expensive.
Second, Hyatt recently entered into a franchise agreement with Playa Resorts to manage their properties and the Hyatt Ziva / Zilara concept is what emerged. Playa Resorts offered timeshare/memberships to their program and existing members can still book into Hyatt Ziva / Zilara properties. We will cover the various intracies of booking through existing members in other posts. Essentially, timeshare/membership participants of the Playa Resorts do have options to book the Hyatt Ziva/Zilara hotels.
Additionally, the Hyatt Zilara Cancun and the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos can actually be booked through Interval International. In other posts, we will detail the Playa Resorts program as well as whether booking through Interval and paying the mandatory fees makes financial sense as opposed to booking directly.
The food at the resort was fantastic. There are tons of restaurant options.
The Hyatt Zilara which is really a part of the overall resort offers even more options. Since it is adult only, you cannot bring your children. Here are the options at the Hyatt Zilara portion.
As you can see, they offer the standard buffet, which was actually very good, Asian cuisine, brazil cuisine, a English style pub, deli, French cuisine, Jamaican cuisine and others.
We stayed in an 1 bedroom Oceanfront Butler Suite. This suite was in the older building so the rooms were not extensively renovated as the other parts of the hotel. Some parts of the hotel are brand new which has very nice modern/contemporary furnishings. Our room has the basic, old luxury feel. It was fine but not as nice as other hotels or timeshares that we have stayed at.
The 1 bedroom suite was spacious (for hotel standards) and had 2 bathrooms and a separate bedroom and living area. There were two balconies, one ocean front and the other looking over the pool area.
While the room was spacious, I still highly prefer our timeshares! The one bedroom timeshares units with full kitchens that we have stayed in are generally far superior to this room.
As stated, we traveled with our 4 and 6 year old. The resort offers the Kidz Club which is included in the all inclusive package. The Kidz Club was fantastic. The staff, especially Sonia and Monica, were fantastic and really cared for the kids. They have a decent size indoor Kidz Club with TV’s, playground, games, etc. as well as a separate Game Room located in a different building.
The Game Room was geared more toward older kids with foosball, air hockey and Xbox’s. The Kidz club was really fantastic in that they did activities throughout the day. They went out and took the kids to feed fish, build sandcastles, do arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, swimming, etc. They rarely stayed in the Kidz Club for more than 1 hour. It was great that the kids could get out and do activities as well instead of being indoors most of the day.
As part of our 1 bedroom suite, we had Butler Service. I have never had Butler service at any hotel so I was kind of expecting this to a be more of a marketing pitch than really something special. I have to say that I surprised and that it really made a difference in our enjoyment. They give you a phone where you can call your Butler throughout the day.
Our butlers, Ryan and Ricardo, were fantastic. They would call us in the morning to find our what we were planning and got us chairs at the pool, made reservations, brought kids snacks (without asking), checked in with the kids to make sure they were happy at the Kidz Club and brought a cooler to where we were sitting with cold water, beer and anything else that we wanted.
One of the biggest perks of having a Butler was that they would bring food to you at the pool or beach. If you did not have a Butler, the hotel did not offer food service at either location and you had to eat at the restaurant.
Our Butlers would bring snacks to room everyday at 5pm so the kids could have a snack before dinner. They also prepared the room for our kids birthday as a special surprise and left pieces of cake.
The beach was just okay. I was disappointed in the beach since the water was very rough. The have man-made rocks in front of the beach to make the water calmer but it was still rough. It could have just been this time of year but I anticipate that it like that year round. The sand was nice but overall, there are much nicer beaches in other destinations. I would not recommend this resort if you really enjoy the beach. There are far more superior options available.
The resort was doing major construction on one beach at the time of the trip were somewhat effected the scenery and relaxation.
The pools were very nice. They had two pools at the Hyatt Ziva (one upper and one lower) and one pool at the Hyatt Zilara. The pools were nice but were quite chilly. The upper pool had a swim up bar.
The resort also had two hot tubs at the Ziva side and one at the Zilara side. The Ziva hot tubs were barely warm and one was shut down for the construction. We were told that after construction, the hot tubs would actually be hot. This was disappointed as it was not very hot during our stay and the pools were really too cold to enjoy it.
Overall, our family had a fantastic time at the resort. The food was plentiful and delicious and the drinks were good and free flowing. The beach was a bit of a disappointment as I generally enjoy swimming in the ocean and snorkeling but this was not the beach to do this.
The Kidz Club was great and gave us and the kids a needed break from each other. The Butlers really cared about our well being and enjoyment. This was a great vacation and would definitely recommend the resort. The construction and chilly pools was a bit of a disappointment but overall had a very good vaction!
Stay tuned for more information concerning Playa Resorts and booking these types of resorts through Interval.