Nice Spot in Jamaica!

100   Recommended

Room 563 , Partial Ocean View 2 Quee...
December 19, 2018 by
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Room 563

Partial Ocean View 2 Quee...

Liked:
Location
Service
Food
Amenities
Room

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Room
Partial Ocean View 2 Queens

For us, the first year in about 8 years that we hadn't done the Grand Wailea in Maui as our annual family getaway in early December. (I had neither enough HH points, nor did UA have any premium cabin award space, and wasn't doing that long in Y). So, you'll see a lot of comparisons to the GW in the following review. But in summary, it's nowhere near the 'quality' of the GW, especially the room...But it's SO hard to beat the all-inclusive aspect, especially on points...And we had just as much fun at the Rose Hall as we did at the GW--for us and for our kids, it is all about the pools. I'm actually torn for next year if I look here again or go back to the GW, as I think UA will dictate it, based on what we can find award travel-wise.

Check In

Check-in was horrible. No real-defined line. People lined up in different directions at different places along the front desks, and certainly nothing special for HH elite members. Took about a hour from stepping off of the shuttle bus to getting a room, including 20-30 minutes at the counter once we got up there. Was upgraded to a partial ocean view...Tried to sweet-talk (and even pay) for a 1BR suite, but they had nothing available. The agent did spend a lot of time looking and calling...I give him credit for that.

And not a blink-of-the-eye about having 2 kids on our award reservation...But both are under 5, so the point was probably moot anyway.

Room

The room was well below average. Very pedestrian. Tile floors, not a single piece of artwork on the wall, very minimalist. Bed was typical Hilton comfort, which I love. Lots of scuff marks, dings and peeling paint. Certainly in need of a re-fresh. However, it was indeed clean and everything worked well. Balcony was nice.  We were in the tower on the waterpark side. Definitely preferred versus the other tower...Shortest walk to beach/pools/breakfast, etc. In the future, I'd probably forego an upgrade and take a room in the back of the hotel, as music played nightly with bass resonating in our room--but not too late, they seemed to promptly 'call it' at 10PM every night.

Service

I thought the service was great all around. I thought every employee was friendly from waiters to housekeeping, FD staff and everyone else. Very nice. But the Jamaica lifestyle is slow, don't expect them to RUN to get you a drink or food. (It did help we took a bunch of $1s and $5s and tipped everyone).


Our housekeeper, Sandra was amazing. Every day she made a different animal out of towels for the girls--they couldn't wait to get back to the room nightly to see what Ms. Sandra made them. An Elephant, monkey (hanging from the mirror), a dog, a cat and more.

Dining

Food was great, especially for my wife who has a very serious gluten allergy and a not-quite-as-serious dairy allergy...She is a diagnosed Celiac. They MORE THAN took her allergies seriously. Lunch arrived daily from a special kitchen. Every restaurant, before we could ask, said, "Are there any allergies we need to be aware of??!?". We spent 8 days there without her getting sick once--which is amazing.

Restaurants: Seaside Grill: Okay, not great. Three Palms: I'd probably skip it next time--a bit of a hassle getting there by shuttle bus. Nice ambiance, but probably the worst food of the trip, despite it being the 'fancy' (as my 4 y/o called it) restaurant. Luna Di Mare: The BEST meal of the trip--would have eaten there 4 times if we could have (second trip I only did the antipasta bar, foregoing an entree). The 2 coffee shops (one near the lobby and one on the beach) were great for iced coffee/cold brews. And for lunch, Mark's Jerk Hut was amazing--I had something from there EVERY day, mostly jerk pork. Super good! We only did the buffet for breakfast--and it was pretty good with lots of options.

On 3 of the nights we took advantage of the special nights like the beach bash, Jamaica night and barbecue night...All served buffet style. Food was great at each event (again, lots of special attention for my wife), and the girls loved the live entertainment. They danced away the night until the wee hours of 8PM. :)

Despite it being included (for Diamonds), we didn't do room service as often as we thought we would, as the special 'nights' seemed like more fun (and indeed they were). We had 2 room service meals...Most food was pretty good, but the burger was horrible--a much better burger poolside from Mangoes. But what was fun was a few nights we just ordered ice cream (just for the girls, LOL). They brought up a few bowls and we had fun with that. But we spent NO time in the room during the day...Pools every day from 9:30AM until 4-5PM.

Waterpark and Pools

We did spring for a cabana every day. Seemed cheap to us coming from our usual stop at the Grand Wailea. Published rate is $100/day. We took our first day as our free day (benefit for being a HH Diamond), then realized we loved having it...No fighting over chairs, our 2 y/o still naps daily, so it was so nice to have quiet for her as she slept. The cabanas came with a 'butler' (as they called it)--more like an occasional waiter. Service was okay--but probably great for Jamaican standards. Things were indeed slow, but never had to wait TOO long for anything. 

Anyway, after our first night, we added the cabana every day for the rest of the trip. I was able to negotiate the balance nights to around $65/night. (Normally $85 for Diamonds afer the 15% discount). They structured it as $80/day with the last day being another comped day. The $400 we paid for essentially 8 days was about the price of one day at the Grand Wailea. 

The watepark/pools were nice. In 8 full days there, neither my wife, my 2 littles nor I grew tired of the lazy river, shallow pool, waterslides, swim-up bar and more. It was actually about equal to what the Grand Wailea offers, without a water elevator.

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