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Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall | Best Family Vacation EVER!

First a little about the hotel itself –

The resort is just a 15 minute shuttle ride, which, by the way, is included in your stay, away from the airport. It is an “all-inclusive family resort offering the vacation experience of a lifetime.” That was pulled directly from their website, and it couldn’t be any closer to the truth! This resort was the former site of The Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort in Rose Hall, which closed in May of 2013. After major enhancement and expansion the resort re-opened its doors as Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara in March of 2015. In researching this property, it was clear that the Rose Hall property has long been considered the finest luxury resort in Jamaica. Upon arrival, it was clear to see why.


Alright, on to the good stuff –

Upon arrival at MBJ we hustled along with the other travelers through immigration and baggage claim and finally to the Hyatt Ziva/Hyatt Zilara lounge for a quick rest and some light refreshments. From this point on everything is taken care of for you. They have you point out your luggage and ask that you watch them load your belongings onto the complimentary shuttle. Again, the ride is about 15 minutes long. You are greeted at the front doors of the resort where they promptly remove your bags and set them to the side while you check in. Check in is simple and painless. Before you know it, you are off to your room and ready to start your fabulous vacation at this amazing place.














The room

We opted for the Hyatt Ziva Deluxe Resort View Double room. Friends of ours went with the Ocean View room, and, while it was amazing, I couldn’t justify spending the extra money when we were up at the crack of dawn each day and on the beach or by the pool before most were even up. We spent very little time in our room, so the view didn’t really matter to us. With that being said, we still had a very nice view of one of the swim-up rooms and a nice area of the resort. You will find no complaints from myself or my family on this matter.


Our room had two double beds that were very comfortable; a large TV with lots of channels to choose from (which is great when you have kids that need entertaining while you are getting dressed for dinner); a desk area; decent closet space; a mini bar and snack station with water, Red Stripe, soda, juices, Doritos, Nature Valley Coconut bars, and few other things I can’t remember at the moment; a coffee maker; an iron and ironing board; a hair dryer; and a large bathroom with a tub and a shower! The rooms are rather perfect if you ask me. I’ve read reviews where some complained about the rooms being old, but I didn’t get that at all. It was part of our oasis for the week.


The pools

There are two pools at Ziva – one large and one slightly smaller. Both are right next to each other in the main corridor. The smaller of the two is home to a lot of activities. My son LOVED this pool. He played countless games of water soccer here. At any given time you’d find children and adults forming teams and playing water games of all types. At times it was hard to tell who the kids were and who the adults were. The activities staff members were out multiple times a day getting guests involved in some type of game. I am not a game person, but it sure was fun to watch. From dance contests to scavenger hunts, the good times were to be had either as a spectator or a participant. Oh! If you are into water aerobics they have daily sessions for you to join as well. Check out a video from our vacation here!


The larger pool was more laid back and relaxed. It featured its own swim up bar that not only served up tasty alcoholic beverages, but also delicious smoothies for the kiddos on your trip. Surrounding the bar were swim up tables to sit and enjoy your recently acquired beverage of choice.


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Let this serve as a warning to you…these alcoholic concoctions are potent! They will leave you on your ass if you don’t watch what you are doing. My husband learned this the hard way on our first night there- hence the lady bug cuddle session going on in the picture below. Don’t judge now. All good rebels have been here a time or two.





A few things I’d like to mention about the pool areas are the cabanas and the in-water-sun-shelves. First, let’s talk about the cabanas. While we were there, they were available on a first come first serve basis (unless you had a butler suite, which gave you the option to have the butler reserve one for you). Even with that, there were still quite a few to choose from. We had one a few times and they were great, especially when my son and I got a little sun tired and ended up taking a nap. The day before we left Hyatt changed the way the cabanas worked. They are now $89.00 – $99.00 a day to reserve between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. This is something I really wish they hadn’t changed. I think this should be an included feature for all guests. Second, the in-water-sun-shelves are freaking awesome. It is rather amazing to sit on one of these shelves while soaking up the sun, watching the kids play, reading a book, or just enjoying your drink.





The beach

I read some reviews about how rough the beach was, and I can see how some might say that. There are rocky areas, but the majority of the beach is not like that. The beach is clean, and it’s such an amazing place to just relax. This was my daughter’s favorite place to be. She is such a beach bum. They have this huge man made rock wall that keeps waves out, which is really great. The waters stay calm, which keeps it rather kid friendly. They almost always have this huge trampoline in the water that’s super awesome for the kids…and adults.


Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall Beach





The Restaurants

Each of the restaurants we ate at were great in their own way. Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to try out Fuzion, so I have no review on that one. It is very typical for these restaurants to not allow you in if you are not dressed properly. Bathing suites and wet clothing are not permitted. Oh, and fellas, I wouldn’t try the tank tops and flip flop thing at dinner time with any of the restaurants. They are not fans of that at all.


Choicez – they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they have a wide range of food to choose from. This was our typical breakfast spot, but we did have lunch and dinner there a few times. With such a large selection we were able to try things that we wouldn’t normally try while still having fan favorites to choose from. I will say that lunch and dinner weren’t our favorites here, but their breakfast is spot on. No reservations are needed here.


Di Roza – this place has such a great atmosphere. It is dimly lit with a fancy, yet cozy, atmosphere. Their pizza was delicious! Although I’m not sure anything we had here was anything short of delicious. There is no need to make a reservation here, but I would suggest you do as the wait can be very long without it.


Calypzo – breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served here, but we can only attest to their lunch. We ordered take-out lunch from here a few times and sat by the pool to eat it, which was actually really nice, especially when you have kids that never want to stop what they are doing to eat. It’s a grab and go situation with them. The kids loved their grilled cheese sandwiches, which are not featured on the menu, but they do make them (and fries). We really liked their Lobster Stamp & Go (Jamaican style fritters with pepper jelly) and their Chicken & Pineapple Skewers (which are glazed with guava sauce). Absolutely delicious! No reservations are needed here.


Brazil – be prepared for a long lasting, yet very tasty, meal. They offer deliciously grilled meats of different varieties served tableside. Each table is also served with bread, a variety of dipping sauces, and some additional sides. I can’t see how any meat lover would ever be disappointed here. No reservations are needed here; however, we made a reservation and were promptly seated.


Barefoot Jerkz – absolutely, hands down, the most amazing jerk chicken ever! Do yourself a favor and make this your first stop for food when you get there. You will NOT be disappointed! If you were to ask my husband, my daughter, or myself where our favorite place to eat was, it would, without a doubt, be here. I’m not even ashamed to admit that we ALL had multiple servings on any given day here. It was a running joke while we were away that if we couldn’t find our daughter the first place we should look is Barefoot Jerkz. Don’t judge! The sun and water make you very hungry! They are only open from 12:00 PM until 5:00 PM daily, so make sure you get your fill between those times!


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Union Jack’z – this is a sports pub that serves tavern style food. The guys seem to like it here because they have games broadcasting, the kids like it because of the table games set up throughout the restaurant, and I liked it because I got to eat in peace.  This was my son’s favorite place to eat. Basically he fell in love with their jerk wings, and I’d have to agree with him because they were out of this world. We all loved them. They have a really great cheeseburger called the California burger that was pretty great. Their fries…mmmmm…that’s all I’ll say. No reservations are needed here.

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Room Service – We only did this once and that was the very first day. Remember that picture I posted above with the warning about the drinks? Yeah, well, that was the reason we ordered in that night. I can’t say I was thrilled about the food we received. It just wasn’t all that. I would definitely rather eat at one of the places mentioned above.


The Coffee Shop – there is one located where the restaurants are, but our favorite was the one closest to the lobby. We loved the staff there! Their mocha lattes were ah-maz-ing! Their pastries are pretty good too!

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Day Trips

We did two and that was more than enough. The first one was the hotel offered shopping trip. You definitely do not need a ton of time there as it’s not that big, but, if you want to get a little shopping in, have at it! The shuttle dropped us off and picked us up later. We then spent the rest of the day pool side. The second one was through Island Routes, which can be booked at the activities desk off of the main lobby. The shuttle picked us up and dropped us off at Margaritaville. There was just enough time for my husband and son to take a ride down the slide there before we boarded the boat and took off on our snorkeling adventure. Ever had a party on a boat? Cause that’s what this is. One big party, and even the kids join in. There are light snacks and refreshments served while on board. Once you reach yourdestination you suit up and jump in. This was the second time my husband and I have done this, but a first for our children. I have to say this time was way better because of them and the staff who called us over before he threw in some bread crumbs. Holy crap! The fish were all around us, and my son absolutely LOVED it. Thank goodness they did that early, because when you weight nearly nothing and have no body fat you tend to get cold quickly. It wasn’t long after that he was ready to get out. Once everyone was back on the boat we headed back to Margaritaville. On the way back they turned it up a notch with loud music, dancing, shots (alcohol for the grown-ups and juice for the kids), and lots of fun. I think we’d all highly recommend the Island Routes tours. ***PLEASE NOTE, If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to take something beforehand. Both the ride and the snorkeling can mess you up a bit. I find that Sea-Bands help a lot. Try them if you haven’t.



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The Shows

The Jamaican Michael Jackson show was one of our favorites. The man who played Michael Jackson did an incredible job. Actually, all of the entertainers did. The dances were awesome, and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t like getting down to some old Michael Jackson songs? Our other favorite was the Z Beach Party. Wow! Wow! Wow! The fire eater was INSANE! Be sure to check out our YouTube page for the very raw footage of some of the awesome entertainment we witnessed. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch all of the shows every night, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do a spectacular job with those as well. After a long day at the beach/pool, and with full bellies, we were ready to go hit the sheets. Who knew such a relaxing day could be so exhausting?! Anywho, the shows we caught bits and pieces of while walking by after dinner seemed just as well put together and just as entertaining as the two shows we did catch.



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The staff at the resort are absolutely amazing. They are top notch, friendly, and always willing to stop and answer any questions you have. The bar staff and the entertainment staff are outstanding. There is not even one remotely negative thing I could say about any of the Ziva staff.


Gratuity – make sure you take money for tips! The staff really is that wonderful!


Sunblock – Don’t be a fool! Pack as much as you can. My husband thought I was taking too much, but he wasn’t complaining when we had enough to last our entire trip. Take something extra strong for your face too. You will not only burn, you will blister and peel too, and that is no fun! We took Zinc Oxide for our face, which worked wonderfully when used correctly. Unfortunately, it was very hard to round the kids up and re-apply as much as we should on the first day there, and they burned and blistered something fierce. They were forced to wear hats and extra sunblock the rest of the time we were there. If you end up not packing enough, don’t worry, the resort has a shop that sells it.


Hats – bring hats! They protect your very sensitive face! If you can find a Red Stripe hat like the one my husband wore our entire trip you just might become well-known at the resort. He sure did!


Oh! I almost forgot…if you ask for a fresh coconut they will cut one down from the tree and give it to you! How awesome is that!?




To sum it all up this is an amazing place to vacation! From the sun, to the water and sand, to the food and the drinks, to the entertainment…it’s all so incredible.