Pool, ocean, beach, spa. Repeat. If this schedule sounds like one you’d be willing to give a try, and you’re in the market for a vacation that won’t feel like more work than play, the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica is for you. Read on to get the scoop on why it’s the perfect place for your next truly relaxing family getaway.
1. You can bring the kids (and still feel like you’re re-living your honeymoon).
White sand beaches? Check. Warm tropical breezes and swaying palm trees? Total yes. But for parents, the real beauty of this resort is feeling completely welcome with your kiddos in tow. The Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall actually has an adults-only, adjoining property and beach (the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall) for those who prefer not to hear the pitter patter of little feet. This means parents can rest-assured they are not disturbing the peace, especially when the littles are getting over their jet lag. So dine, roam, swim, swing, relax and play with the gusto of a five-year-old. They’ve got you.
2. On-site amenities & activities, galore.
When they are ready to finally get out of the pool (pool is open late but only has a lifeguard on duty until 6-7 p.m. depending on the season) the kiddos can join you in daily ping-pong and cornhole tournaments, shuffleboard, beach volleyball, bingo, fitness classes and other adventurous-but-not-that-far-from-a-frosty-drink activities. Seriously: you can make them laugh endlessly as you attempt to Zumba, Jamaican style. Each evening at turn down you will receive a print out of the next day’s schedule so you can plan accordingly.
3. The Kidz Club is where it’s at.
Even though YOU want to do all the things, your kids want to hang out. With other kids. Enter, the Kidz Club. Open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. every day, there’s a host of rotating activities including arts and crafts, beach going and more. Evening might call for a PJ party or even a mini-disco. You’ll find warm, fun-loving staff who are all CPR trained. Unlike other resorts, the Kidz Club at Hyatt Ziva will actually take the kiddos to eat both lunch and dinner. There is a one-hour break between 5-6 p.m. so staff can change shifts, etc. The resort also offers a Teen Club which includes video games, air hockey and more. (And did we mention that the entire resort has free wi-fi?) That means you can book time at the spa or relax near the beach (cabana + novel) while the kiddos are happy and busy. The Kidz Club is designed for children ages 3-12. Kids under 3 can participate in crafts and other activities if accompanied by a parent.
Insider tip: If you have a young babe but want a little time to yourselves, visit the Kidz Club to see if they can connect you with a babysitter.
4. Buffet dining with unlimited dessert is usually every kid’s idea of a good time.
In total, the resort has 13 bars, restaurants and lounges. The family-friendly stars we think you’ll be rotating through with the kiddos are: Choicez, which features an upscale buffet ladened with fresh fruits and vegetables along with local hot and cold dishes, breads, soups and the aforementioned dessert buffet; Barefoot Jerkz—Jamaican jerk BBQ served while you squish your toes in the sand; and Bitez Deli where you can grab quick and delicious bites, sandwiches and treats for hungry kids who need to tuck in ASAP. Adjacent to the lobby parents will want to make a stop at Stirz, a coffee bar where you can get your latte fix. Naturally there’s also swim-up bars, adults-only fancy pants dining and more.
photo courtesy Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall
5. The rooms. Oh, the rooms.
Every room feels like deluxe accommodations. This recently remodeled resort, formerly the spot of the Ritz, left no detail out. Balconies, sweet breezes and super comfy beds (where do they get those pillows??) are all the norm. Parents with smalls can request a suite, many of which come with a mini bar area/fridge and additional sleeping on fold-out couch. Want to take things to uber-indulgence? Upgrade to a Butler Suite, which will come with your own personal butler. You are outfitted with a phone to call your butler, for those times when you simply can’t lure “the kids” away from the beach but everyone is hungry, or you find yourself poolside and in need of a cooler of drinks. Seriously. We are not even kidding about this. There’s also pool suites, ocean views (well, all the rooms have ocean views so more direct ocean views) and more. Parents should know that the rooms on the Ziva side near the stage (the building over Choicez buffet and shops) can be loud past younger kid’s bed times so you might want to request a poolside room.
6. Jamaica, no problem
Few places on earth match Jamaica and Jamaicans for generosity of heart and spirit. Each and every person you will encounter here will not only offer you smiles and courteousness, but you and your children will make genuine connections that will become the most memorable part of your vacation. If you relax and go with the Jamaican way, you will truly have no worries.
7. Nearby excursions (including a haunted plantation).
When you want to venture off-property, there is no shortage of activities, all easily arranged by the concierge. Go in search of the legendary White Witch of Rose Hall Plantation (the night tour makes Disney’s Haunted Mansion look like a fun house) or book a family snorkeling excursion, hike the jungles, explore luminous caves and more. There are even nearby parks that include animal encounters and ziplining. You know, if you have time.
8. All inclusive, with extras.
All the food and drink, including room service, as well as on-site activities come with your stay. As an added bonus, one free round of golf is also included. Choose between two par-71 links-style course: White Witch or Cinnamon Hill. Check in with the concierge to arrange tee time (and even reserve rental clubs). Additional awesomeness (which has a fee) include upgrading your poolside chaise lounge to a cabana complete with towel swans; couple massages en plein; spa treatments like hot stone therapy and body wraps; candlelight beach-side dining and much, much more. There are also two gift shops on site so you can bring back a t-shirt for your catsitter.
photo courtesy Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall
9. Getting there is easy.
From most major cities you can book a flight (with one stop) to Montego Bay, Jamaica. It’s less than 2 hours flight from Miami, about 3 from Charlotte, NC and there are even nonstop flights on American from NYC and Chicago. Check out Fun Jet Vacations to book the most direct route. Once you arrive at the aiport, proceed past baggage claim and into the main hub where the Ziva (and Zilara) have a lounge. You chill there with a cool beverage and wait for your quick shuttle to the hotel.
Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall
Rose Hall Rd.
Montego Bay, St. James
Have you been to Jamaica or an all-inclusive resort with your kiddos? What are your tips?
—all copy and photos by Amber Guetebier except where otherwise noted