My family and I spent 5 nights at the Wyndham Rose Hall in Montego Bay April 16 –21st. We loved the resort, for the most part and found the majority of the staff to be very charming and friendly. Our check in was fast, but our room was not ready (we arrived around 1pm). The sweet helpful lady who helped us, Melissa, gave us our cards and we changed into suits and had lunch and hit the pool while we waited. It ended up being well after 4pm before we were able to get a room, but it was worth the wait. Being Wyndham by Request members, we were upgraded to a room with an awesome view of the ocean, the golf course and ruins and the mountains. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer view, and the sunsets from our balcony were truly amazing. Our friends who joined us a couple nites later paid for a mountain view and were upgraded to a room overlooking the main pool and the ocean. The rooms themselves were very average, but clean, and the beds were very comfortable. They served their purpose, so we were fine with it.
The water park is just a perfect place for anything you want – fun and water play with the kids, relaxing and sunning on the comfy lounge chairs, drinking at the swim up bar (which is why my back is peeling now!), or finding a quiet shady place to chill out. Our favorite bartenders at that swim-up bar, Kenroy, Robert and Almartino made our drinks as strong as we wanted them, and were so much fun to just hang around and chat with. My kids and hubby did the water slides over and over and we all loved the lazy river. I got up the nerve to finally try the slides on our last full day, and wished I’d done it earlier – especially the slide that you tube down – that was the best! Our home was the waterpark everyday from after breakfast til around 6 every day. I loved getting up early and taking my coffee down in the morning and finding a good spot to reserve. Even at 6am, there were so many employees out bustling around, cleaning up and working hard, but they’d always smile and say good morning, and answer any question. There always seemed to be enough chairs for all, but we were joined on our vacation by another family of four, so I wanted to make sure we had chairs together. There really was not a bad spot to hang out anywhere at the waterpark. We’d also mosey down to the beach for an hour or so every day…never camped out there, but we’d play in the water and sand. The water was not perfectly clear, but just looked like it had sand stirred up in it. After a couple of windy days there was also a wash-up of leafy stuff, but the employees would be out with a tractor raking it up. We spent a little time at the other pool…after 5 or so the sun was over there, and that one was cool too.
We ate at the buffet every breakfast, and most dinners. We all liked the breakfast, and the dinners were consistently decent. You could almost always find a few things that were really good – enough to go back for seconds. If you go, give their soups a try…they were ALWAYS delicious (especially the pumpkin soup and the cream of cauliflower). The Beach Bash had really cool entertainment – just a little on the loud side….they held it in the ballroom, but I think we would have enjoyed it more outside. We had a fantastic waiter at the buffet most days, O’Neill, who would see us waiting in line and come get us and take care of us. We did do the Three Palms one nite, and weren’t really impressed. The atmosphere was nice (maybe a bit too dark) but we found the menu to be limited. Our entrees were presented beautifully and tasted all right…thank God they did have a kids menu too. We never did get around to the Luna restaurant…kinda wished we’d done that instead of Three Palms. We also ate one dinner at the Java Café….the food was pretty good, but the service sucked. That was really the only bad experience service wise. For lunch everyday we just grabbed burgers or chicken nuggets for the kids from the Waterpark Pool Grill (Mangos) – my 10 year old said the nuggets tasted “just like McDonalds”, which I guess is a GOOD thing. Then the grown-ups would walk over to the main pool grill for jerk chicken and bring it back over to our “camp” at the waterpark. I also fell in love with the stir-fried veggies you can get at the main pool grill (and also at the buffet many days) that are served with rice and peas. My only real complaint regarding food at the Wyndham is that after the pool grills close at 3pm, your kids (of course) will suddenly be starving at 3:45 and unless you dry them off and dress them to eat at the Java Café, you’re out of luck til dinner. We asked to just order from Java and carry the food out, but were refused, and they also refused to seat the kids (who had cover-ups over their suits and towels wrapped around them) because they were wet. After that day, I just tried to keep track of time, and we’d feed the kids at noon and then again just before 3pm. One day there was also a Manager’s Reception at the waterpark, which was terrific because that was the nite that we had 8pm dinner ressies at Three Palms. They had yummy jerk wings and Jamaican meat pies (that the kids absolutely fell in love with), fruit, cheese, tortilla chips and salsa, etc.
Other than the trip my daughter and hubby made to the Rose Hall Great House, we never left the resort. We did buy some souvenirs from the vendor in the gazebo near the golf course, and at the Beach Bash they had a large array of vendors available to shop from. Having been to a straw market in Ocho Rios a few years ago, I knew that the stuff is about the same everywhere, and our trip was short, so we didn’t plan any outside excursions. We made a contribution at the casino one nite, but did see a man win $1,000 US playing the poker slots. We usually just enjoyed a little of the evening outdoor entertainment, and hit the sack by 11pm.
Regarding tipping, we did plan ahead of time and took a bundle of ones and fives. We’d usually tip every other drink or so at the pool bars (usually 2 or 3 bucks) and we’d give the server at the grill the same. At the buffet, we’d give O’Neill a five after each meal. At Three Palms we tipped 20%, and hoped that our “assistant” waiter would get a cut – we liked him better than the main waiter. Housekeeping, $5.00 per day. We definitely saw preferential treatment after our first day there – we never waited in line for the buffet, had great drinkees at the bars, and were even pulled out of line at the grills to have our orders taken off to the side. We did see some dirty looks, but in our opinion, these people work very hard for very little and deserve to be shown appreciation. If they want to show us some appreciation back, NO PROBLEM, MON for me!
Oh, I checked the weather over and over before we left and rain was predicted for every day of our visit. When we were actually there it was windy for the first few days (as Weather.com also predicted) but it was in the 80s and NO RAIN. I did hear thunder in the middle of one nite and could tell it had rained that nite by the wet cushions, but they dried very fast, and no more rain for the rest our stay. Overall, the resort was a big winner for our entire family, hands-down and we would definitely return. We miss the staff mentioned above already, and wish that we had planned a longer stay. The grounds are beautiful, and just what you’d expect from a Jamaican resort, the pools totally awesome, the staff friendly and accommodating, the food and drink tasty and plentiful, the rooms comfy and clean, the beach – good enough for us – overall, an excellent value in our opinion. If you have any questions at all, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org