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Earlier this year we visited the new all-inclusive Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica all on points. That meant that not only was our room “free” thanks to our Hyatt Gold Passport points and points transferred in 1:1 to Hyatt from the Chase Ultimate Rewards program and cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, but our food, drinks, and activities were “free” as well. Let that sink in. This resort would also be a good use of the two award nights that come with the Hyatt Visa sign-up bonus!
You can use airline miles for the flights, hotel points for the resort, and you have virtually no out-of-pocket costs for your vacation outside of things you do off of the resort. It’s an amazing feeling to have a truly “free” vacation. Of course nothing is truly fee, your points have value, yada yada yada, but this is darn close.
I already outlined details about the check-in process, our room, and the butlers, so now I want to focus on the pools and beach. You can read previous posts about our trip to Jamaica below.
The Pools at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall:
Presumably you are going to Jamaica to play outside, eat, and drink. A big key to having fun outside in Jamaica is obviously some time at the pool. Before I go further into the pools at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall, know that it is an adults-only resort, so you won’t have all the typical noise and splashing that comes from traditional resort pools at this property (well, at least not from kids, drunk adults are another issue…). That said, the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall is literally just feet away from this adults-only spot and it is a family friendly resort. There are no walls dividing the two properties, so I can’t promise a “kid free” tranquil spot, but there really shouldn’t be kids actually in the Zilara pools.
If you have some friends/family staying at the Ziva property next door you could certainly go join them in those pools as well for some “family time” if you were so inclined. Since our daughter wasn’t with us, we didn’t try out the Ziva pools on our trip, though I did snap some photos below. The pools at both resorts appeared pretty similar to each other.
Okay, back to the Zilara pools…
We visited in February and from online reviews were a little concerned that the pools would be a tad too cool for our liking. In reality they were a little cool, but not cold. While the sun was shining on you it was totally possible to get in and acclimate to the water temperature within a few minutes.
There is just one main pool complex, but it is made up of a series of small sections from the swim-out suites, as well as some larger sections, one of which even has a bar. Remember, since this is an all-inclusive property, those drinks in and next to the pool won’t cost you extra! There were plenty of rafts, shaded chairs, and servers to go around at the Zilara pools on our visit.
It’s fair to say that the foliage around the pools is still maturing, and likely will be for some time. Likewise, there were still some construction efforts going on with some of the cabanas around the pool and beach while we were there. I’m not sure what they were doing to the structures, but they were working on them. Unlike at most resorts, the cabanas are not an additional charge – you just have to get there early enough to snag one for the day by putting your stuff on it in the early morning hours.
There is a hot tub and outdoor rinse station in the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall pool complex. As you can see from the pictures, the pools were not over-crowded on our late February visit, but do keep in mind I don’t think the resort was fully up and running quite yet during our stay.
I had a mishap that prevented me from actually getting in the pools very much during our stay (more on that in the next post in this series), but from what I did experience the pools at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall were very nice, if perhaps a tiny bit on the chilly side for my Texas blood.
The Beach at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall:
In addition to time at the pool, Jamaica is synonymous with time at the beach, and it just so happens that the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall is located right on a beach. Now, it’s not a huge beach, and it most certainly had some man-made influences, but it’s still a beach.
I’ll start with the positives of the beach including that there were ample chairs and umbrellas available. The sand was soft and comfortable for walking. There were servers who came by frequently to see if they can get you anything – and remember since it’s nl all-inclusive you don’t have to say no just because of your wallet. My favorite aspect of the beach was that there were no outside vendors coming up to you trying to sell you everything under the sun!
The waves and water can get a bit rough on the beach on certain days, but there are some protected areas that were very calm and safe for little ones or not-so-strong swimmers. There are also activities and an equipment desk right on the beach so you can participate in such as wind surfing, boating, and more. I sound like a broken record, but again, those activities don’t come with an additional charge so take full advantage! We had a very fun guided boat ride on one of the little boats as shown below that lasted about 20 minutes or so.
The beach area of the adults-only Zilara was more likely to see a kid or two from time to time than the rest of the resort, so if you don’t want to occasionally see a little one run by then I would stick closer to the pool area since there really is no divider at all on the beach portion of the resort from the family-friendly Ziva side. In fact much of the beach shown in my pictures is really technically on the Ziva side as there is no barrier between the two resorts in terms of beach access.
I would not recommend coming to this resort purely for the beach as it isn’t the best I’ve seen, and right before our visit there were red flag warnings for days with waves too rough to be safe for most to play in. However, the water was not too rough on our visit, and regardless of the size of the waves, it is nice to lay by the ocean and watch the tide.
I will also add that while I didn’t spend much time on the beach at dusk or dawn, I didn’t personally have any issues with bugs and bites on my February visit, and I am typically a bug magnet.
Stay tuned for details on the food and activities at the Hyatt Zilara (and Ziva) Rose Hall in Montego Bay! If you have visited, I’d love to know your impressions of the pools and beach.
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.