HILTON ROSE HALL-MONTEGO BAY
Booked using Resort For A Day Website:
After a lot of research, I knew that I wanted to find an all inclusive place to visit here in Montego Bay (like we had in Ocho Rios last time). We decided on Hilton Rose Hall due to it being a resort and the pictures online made it look so beautiful. We had booked this excursion with "Resort for a day" (formally known as Jamaica for a day). We used them last year when we docked in Ocho Rios and went to Sunset Grande Resort and had a great day and loved it there. So, we decided to give it another try and use them again.
Our choices this time were either Hilton Rose Hall or Sunset (which is located right at the port). Hilton Rose Hall gets a lot of great reviews, however there are a lot of gripes about the pricing here. I can say it "significantly" went up just during the time from us considering it until the time we actually booked it. I was in communication with the person the entire time during our decision. After the price jumped up (anywhere between $114 pp to some reporting as high as $134 pp), we decided that we would go with Sunset. But I contact RFAD and was able to get a really good deal if we booked Hilton right away...and we did. It was actually my husbands decision and I told him there was a really big price difference and he decided to "splurge" on this one. Ok, fine with me.
We were told to get off the ship and wait in the waiting area by 9:15am. We were out there early and the bus filled and pulled away by 9am. We had about a 30 minute ride to our place of destination.
They had nice furniture at the entrance up and down the sidewalk. Plenty of places to sit and relax while waiting on a cab.
As soon as you walk in, there were 2 desk to the left with people ready to check you in. I gave them our paperwork and we paid the balance. However, they proceeded to tell me that there was no charge for our daughter, which RFAD told us there was and we put a deposit down on her. Um, ok. We were definitely happy to put that money back in to our pockets and not complain about it. They put wrist bands on us indicating that we were guest for the day and off we went.
The hotel was all decorated with Christmas spirit and Christmas trees everywhere. This was a huge place and very plush of course. But we were having a problem finding our way out of here. Every place we went out, it seem to be a dead end and sort of like a terrace.
We finally found some steps and decided to try them out. We found another tree by the steps and had to stop for a picture.
I was busy taking pictures while walking, like I always do, and I missed a step...oops. I caught myself before falling down these steps and my husband gave me that look again. He told me I didn't need to break anything this vacation....got it? ok good! (I fell and broke my hand on our Epic cruise while in St Maarten at Maho Beach in 2010...he will never let me live it down and forbids me to walk on concrete barriers now...who knew they could be so dangerous?)
Down this hall you would find a store and other places for the guests.
We finally made it outside and a way to get down to the ocean and pool area.
There's a bar up by the hotel and a dining area that you could eat at up closer to the hotel. I was busy taking pictures of some of the grounds along the way and places to play games at, like corn hole. There were a lot of little lizards running around today. If you think you might be lost (the grounds are huge) there are plenty of signs to let you know which way to go.
We kept traveling along trying to decide which way to go and find a spot to put our things at for the day and call home.
Oh no, Sakari had spotted the beach and she was ready to go. But I had other plans and quickly directed her toward the pool area.
We came to a building, which would end up being the side of the pool bar, but wasn't open yet. It was a pretty place. Then Sakari noticed the pool slides.
We put our things down right beside a pretty fountain. It was along a walkway and the pool/lazy river was in front of us. There were streams everywhere on the property in this area. It was definitely going to be a beautiful day....or was it?The landscaping was out of this world and I loved every bit of it. So many places to explore.
I decided the first thing I wanted to do was float down the lazy river. My husband knew that this place had wifi and today was the 18th. You see the 18th was his "dead line" for his customers to get orders in, respond to pre-orders, and it had to be done by today in order for shipment to arrive by Christmas. He hadn't been in contact with his distributors since Sunday and he knew his email would be blown up. So, he decided to take the computer we brought with us and head back to the hotel and find the wifi spot to play catch up. Away he went and away Sakari and I went into the pool. I snapped pictures as we floated along. It was such a beautiful day.There was various places to get out along the way.Simply breathtaking. Still floating along the lazy river I seenm there were different ways to go, which go around little islands. You could also get chairs right by the lazy river in different spots. They were pretty neat areas.
Sakari decided she just wanted to swim the lazy river instead of floating around. It was a lot funner that way.
When we returned to the pool area, I noticed my husband waving me down. He ask me for the credit card. Um, I don't bring credit cards to the ports with us. He needed it to place orders, then quickly remembered he had the numbers saved somewhere else and off he went.....AND I DO MEAN OFF...stay tuned why.
But first we would grab some drinks and Sakari likes to do "cheers" before we drink (I have no clue where she got this from, maybe a show she has seen???)
While we were standing there, we found something basking in the sun...It looked like a ferret, but I have no idea if that's right or not. We got pretty close to it before it got a little too uncomfortable with our presence and scurried off.
Looking back at our view from our chairs was nice and pointing toward the pool. We stood around enjoying the weird palm trees and everything excited Sakari.Sakari found a "baby" coconut and she decided it was just too cute to put back. Yep, she kept it and still has it. Momma coconut looking a little worried up in the tree.
At this point, I thought maybe we would head down to the beach to check it out. I brought along the puddle jumper for Sakari and went through the same routine of talking her into putting it on for safety or we wasn't going in. She agreed because she really wanted to get in that water!
Then off she went and I took pictures of the surrounding area. I have to say I wasn't "too" impressed with the beach itself. It didn't give me that "wow" factor and the water was not clear at all. It might have just been the day we were there. It was a little "wavy" in the water.
We did take our snorkeling equipment and I attempted to "look" around with no success. The water was just too stirred up in the area we were in.
A tradition we have started when cruising during
Christmas is to take the Santa hat and have Sakari
take a picture by the beach with it on. This trip would
be no exception.
Back to the pool area and to look around and take more pictures. For some reason I just noticed a waterfall nearby when we returned from the beach area. Maybe they didn't have it going when we went down the lazy river.
Back to swimming fun and Sakari found it fun to swirl around in the tubes. The dizzier the better.Spin, spin, spin...
Sakari found a small water spout in the shallow area and said "Look mom, I'm peeing out of the water" Oops
At this point, I wanted to walk around and take a look at more of the place. I knew I was missing a lot, but I had to talk Sakari in to getting out of the water. It wasn't pleasant. Where is daddy??? I need to "do my thing" and take pictures of this gorgeous place.
So I manage to coax her out of the water by telling her I needed to get a drink. Then we started walking around to find "new and exciting things" I told her. Different views around the place...which wasn't too interesting to Sakari when all she wanted to do was swim. I needed a break from the water, so we WALK!
We found a gazebo around toward the back of the slide area. Sakari wanted her "toasting" picture taken by the gazebo. Anything to keep her happy at this point.
We turned around and found a little gem hole in the wall...complete with a waterfall. WATER=not having to convince Sakari to get in. She was in before I ever opened my mouth. I had to try it too. I have to say it wasn't much of a hot tub. It wasn't hot at all. Maybe because of the waterfall? Sorry for the waterspot but this is a shot of the water slides from behind. There was a windmill at the falls.
More drinks and Sakari claims the cherry on top.
I felt like I was in a tropical paradise with the huge palms and trees. We spotted a banana tree. Sakari really wanted someone to climb up there and get her one. More critters were roaming around. They would not let Sakari catch them of course (lizards).
I seen some colorful painting toward the back and had to check it out. There were some people there with a set up for things to sell. I'm not sure if they just didn't notice us or what but they didn't ask us to come over or bother us. They had tennis courts, basketball hoops, and a swing set back there. There was a building back there that according to the signs, it was like a day care place for the children during certain times. I thought that was a nice touch for the families that might be staying there to have some "me" time. I did peak in and seen some children in there.
The entrance into the spiral staircase that lead up to the water slide that we couldn't go on because they will not allow children under 6 on it (even with a parent) and I couldn't go because my husband was still MIA. Would you look at those water slides? I would REALLY like to try them out at this point...really. But...where is the hubby?
About now it started looking a little cloudy. It never did rain and the clouds went away, but just in case, my belly was telling me not to wait on the hubby to eat. It had been hours since we had seen him and I was getting hungry.
We walked back to a little grill shack that we had went to in order to get drinks off and on during the day and ordered some food and I ordered a drink while I was waiting for my food. I ended up ordering the pulled chicken with fries and an order of fried conch balls. Sakari had chicken fingers and fries. Of course I needed another drink to go...in order to cool me off because at this point I'm getting really hot and it's not the weather.
I started walking around again taking more pictures to fill the day while my head was filling with thoughts from "what if he was kidnapped by the Jamaican mafia" to "does he really have this much work and sales" to....I don't know, but I was getting worried. Walking across the bridge, I was staring at the water slides, and trying to sort out a plan to find my husband. Just imagine the fun I could be having on them!
So I decide it's time to go on a hunt...a man hunt, and not just any man, my man that went MIA now 3 hours ago! Snapping pictures along the way of course.
They had these little blue huts that you see in this picture (below) are private huts that I assume people rent. I walked over to them and there were people under them with just a lounge chair and table. I didn't stick around long enough to see anything else because I didn't want to invade their privacy. I actually thought these were massage tents, which is why I walked over there.
So I make it up to the hotel and look around everywhere outside in the dining area, the terrace, the bar...nothing. I go inside and look around the lobby and down the hall...nothing. At this point I'm worried as worried can be. I turned around and headed back to the desk where we checked in (which is not the reception desk) and ask them if any guy had come up and ask them where the wifi spot was. They ask me if I had checked the internet room, which was upstairs and down the hall.
I went in there and there he was. I couldn't believe I had actually found him. I was relieved that he wasn't captured and taken away....and then the truth sat in that he had been gone for over 3 hours and we only had about another 1 1/2 left there and then anger sat in. Let's just say I had my say, informed him how long he had been (just in case he had forgotten how to read the clock on his computer), how we had not got to do much or go down the water slides, that we only had another hour or so left before it was time to leave, and then lastly how he ruined my day. Whew, I felt better now. I need another drink. I stormed out.
By the time I made it back outside, he was pretty much catching up to me. He was magically done with his work all of a sudden. Imagine that. I mean I know it was an important day for his business, but we are on vacation and it couldn't be THAT important to spend that amount of time on...right?
Well now it was my time. I wanted to go on the big tube slide. You had to grab a tube and walk up the winding staircase to get to it (just like the last place we went to here in Jamaica at Sunset Grande). It was in a castle like type structure. There is a guy that sits at the top to make sure you are "legal" to go down the slide and to let you know when to go down the slide.
Then we headed down the smaller water slide. We knew ahead of time, from my research, that this was several smaller slides that empty into several small pools before coming into the big pool at the bottom. There wasn't anyone watching this area and we (I mean I had witnessed) very young children going down it, parents with kids on their laps going down and even parents with infants going down it.
I had planned on spending the DAY on the slides and having fun, but instead, I got to go once and once only. Thank you hubby!
Daddy tried making up for the day by playing with Sakari while mommy continued to pout taking any chance to take a shot at his words any chance I got to remind him how upset I was with him.
The bar in the water was open and it was time to get another drink!Yep there was a lot to chose from and I had tried a lot of them already. Of course this is not a complete list. I had many "Dirty bananas" that day. I can also tell you when they use the real bananas, the sweeter the drink was versus the banana syrup. I also tried the Bam-Bam and then Bam I was on my arse really quick. Man it was strong. They always made the drinks pretty strong, but this was almost unbearable for a light weight like me. The Hurricane was pretty good and so was the Miami Vice. But my favorite still remains the dirty banana anywhere I go.
So as you know, we didn't have very much time left so things were wrapping up. Sakari had met a little friend she was swimming with and the friends older brother, I would assume, really wouldn't leave Sakari alone. He would pull at her, push her under, dump her out of the intertube she was in, take it from her and so on. She kept telling him to stop and looking at us with the "help me" look. Now if you are on this board and you notice this is your son....all I have to say is HE IS VERY MEAN. There, I said it. Now it's time to go and get away from this very disturbing day I had.
We went and gathered our things back at the lounge chairs, they hubby "picked" at our left over food (yea this is what happens when you're not around all day to eat, you get left overs) and started heading to the hotel lobby. We were told that they would pick us up at 2pm. Our all aboard time was 3:30pm and we had to take into consideration the travel time of 30 minutes, rush hour traffic, getting to the port and getting into another bus to take us over to "our" port. So this was really a good time to leave in my opinion.
We returned our towels to the towel shack (yes, they provide you towels to use while you are there, so no need to haul your ship towels)
We went out front and met up with others that were on the excursion from the Jewel with us. The bus pulled up around 2:05pm and we were on our way. Now mind you, I swear my husband is the one who has had 4 kids and his bladder has dropped, because he can't hold it for nothing. When he has to go, he has to go. He went to the restroom prior to leaving the hotel and had to go again soon after we left in the bus. We were half way there and all of a sudden in a traffic jam. This was not good. He ask the driver if there was a place to pull over. When the opportunity came, the driver stopped at a souvenir shop for him really quick while he ran inside. Yes, this driver was tipped well for this. Meanwhile, I held my head in shame from the other passengers. Even Sakari can hold it better than him.
I absolutely loved this place. The hotel and grounds were beautiful and there's plenty to do here with the hot tubs, falls, lazy river, slides, tons of games and beach. There's more than enough to keep a family busy with lots of fun.
The food was decent and so were the drinks. Since it's an AI that meant they were flowing all day, you just had to get them yourself.
I know this place is expensive (and the prices have increased a lot since we went, but I felt it was worth the price for what we paid for it).
I would highly recommend Rose Hilton Hall and also I highly recommend Jamaica For A Day (which is now called Resort For A Day).