In the midst of the winter that brought us a Polar Vortex and more snow and cold than I care to remember, we were dreaming of warm days on an island. Spring Break was months away, but we needed to plan a trip that we could really look forward to... so, we checked into many options... Cancun, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, the Florida Keys... anywhere that we were likely to be guaranteed a sunny and warm escape.
We ended up finding the trip we were searching for by using Costco Travel - did you know that you can book vacation packages through Costco? We were able to adjust our flight times, dates and resorts until we found one that fit our budget and our visions of warm escape.
We settled on Jamaica since we had not traveled there as a family before and the Hilton Rose Hall resort fit our needs. It is an all-inclusive resort that also happens to have a mini-waterpark as an amenity.
We arrived in Jamaica and were greeted by warm breezes and a relaxed atmosphere almost immediately. Our luggage didn't make it on to our connecting flight, but everyone was extremely helpful and reassuring that we would have our bags later the same day. Luckily, swimsuits were packed into our carry-on bags so, we didn't have to wait to get started enjoying the resort. Our luggage did arrive a few hours after we did, which was quite a relief!
The hotel is just as you would expect any Hilton to be - the decor did not have a major island vibe to it, but it was very nice. It could use a fresh coat of paint in some areas, but overall was lovely. Below is a view looking into the outdoor seating area for the buffet.
We loved having the option to eat our meals outside, just more opportunities to enjoy the beautiful weather. While I did not take photos of the food, I will share our general impressions. The buffet has a "theme" each day of the week, ranging from Asian to BBQ to Jamaican and a few others as well. The selection was varied enough that I didn't get tired of visiting the buffet. For those who have pickier eaters, they do offer the usual "kid" food (chicken nuggets, french fries, spaghetti and sauce, etc.).
The breakfast buffet had an omelet station, where you could select your fillings and they prepared it fresh for you. At each meal there was a variety of fresh fruit, and several types of fruit that are native to Jamaica for those looking to try something new.
I would recommend making your dinner reservations at the sit-down restaurants upon arrival (or sooner if you are able to) to ensure that you can have earlier seatings - we had a couple of 8 p.m. reservations, which were not easy for us since a day on the beach and playing in the waterpark had us worn out and ready to kick back very early each night.
Our favorite restaurant was Luna, their Italian offering, our server was excellent and each dish we ordered was delicious and beautifully plated. (Sorry no pictures, but I was living in the moment when we were dining.) We would highly recommend this restaurant over all of the others that require reservations. We did try Three Palms and the Seaside Grill - both were good, but Luna really hit it out of the park for us.
Each morning, My Husband got up early to head out and take pictures and save lounge chairs for us. The first few days, it wasn't too big of a deal and we were able to find a nice spot that had enough shade to keep me from feeling like I was getting too much sun. After the first few days, it became more crowded and people were going out incredibly early but, it worked out fine for us as we relocated to another spot that was just a nice. I would suggest to anyone traveling to a resort like this to bring a couple of your own towels just for saving chairs - we have some red and white striped towels (with our name written on them) that we take on trips like this. The hotel provides towels, but ours look different enough that we can always find our spot from a distance and no one is likely to take them.
In addition to the waterpark, non-motorized water sports were included. My Oldest really enjoyed kayaking and we all enjoyed taking the catamaran out. They do offer banana boat rides, scuba diving and parasailing, but all of that is an additional charge.
The lazy river was a relaxing ride that had enough current to keep you moving and a few mini waterfalls to get you soaked, if you chose to get close enough. Once you finished drifting along, you could stop off at the swim up bar and have a variety of drinks prepared. Our Boys loved that they had a kids bar menu so that they could order things on their own.
There are a couple of waterslides and My Youngest really enjoyed those once he got the nerve to give them a try. The pool was nice and not over-crowded since there were so many different things to do. The water was comfortable - we are not fans of cold pools!
A question that I'm sure some people might be curious about is the drinks - are they watered down? No, they are definitely NOT watered down. The bar just outside the lobby "The Barking Frog" is a fun place to kick back and have a few drinks - the bartenders are very accommodating. They will ask if you prefer rum or vodka based drinks and then bring you something they think you will like. There were jokes and stories that were shared by the bartenders and the other guests. A very cool place to hang out and enjoy the company of other people who are there to have a nice time.
The one thing that I would definitely say based on the number of activities and things available to do throughout each day and night is that this resort is similar to a cruise - without the ship! Between daytime pool and beachside activities to a movie with popcorn each evening to live entertainment every night... if you are bored at the Hilton Rose Hall, it's because you chose to stay in your room!
We are not golfers, but they also offer a nice golf course if that's your thing. Based on what other guests said, it's worth playing a round while you are there.
We were all thrilled with the level of service that we received while we were there. My Boys couldn't stop talking about how nice everyone was and that everyone was so happy to ensure that you were enjoying your stay.
Our stay lasted 6 days, and we had to leave very early on the morning of our 7th day there. It was sad to leave behind the beauty of the island and the hospitality that we had the pleasure of enjoying. We would definitely go back to Hilton Rose Hall in Jamaica.
This was not a sponsored post in anyway... we chose the resort and Costco based on our own research and all opinions are my own.
Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman, unless otherwise noted. If you want to use something please ask first.