In January 2015, I was invited to tour the recently opened Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Rose Hall properties. The resorts had been under construction and were expected to be complete by December 2014. There were some construction delays and by the time of my early January visit, things were not quite done. We were offered vouchers to return once things had been completed.
I returned just a few weeks ago. I took the opportunity to bring my husband along so we could enjoy some R&R. Since our stay at the Hyatt Zilara was for only 3 nights, we started our visit with 2 nights at Sandals Negril.
Negril is a great destination. The beach is long and walkable, the water is amazingly calm and the vibe is laid back and relaxed. Just the way I like it.
Sandals Negril does not disappoint. It is an intimate sized property, not a lot of walking from your room to the beach. In fact, I don’t think you could get much closer. The Beach Bistro and Bar is steps off the beach and my favorite Barefoot by the Sea is literally on the beach so you can dine with your toes in the sand. The resort caters to couples and romance and is perfect for a honeymoon, destination wedding or special anniversary.
We had an amazing room with butler service. That was new for both of us. It surprised me (not really) how fast we adjusted to the idea of a butler. Our butler was reachable by a personal cellular phone and was available only during daytime hours (8a-10p). He was there when we wanted him, and not when we didn’t. Little touches included setting up dinner reservations for us, decorating our table with flowers and candles, reserving beach chairs for us with towels and a cooler full of Red Stripe and waters, bringing us a pizza and drinks on the beach (without us even asking), reminding us when it was time to head to the glass boat bottom tour so I wouldn’t have to check a watch, decorating our room and bed one of the night with flower petals, candles, a bubble bath and champagne, and arranging my transportation to Beaches Negril for a site inspection.
We were sad to leave Sandals Negril, but after my site inspection there and at Beaches Negril we headed back to Montego Bay area for our 3 nights at Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall. This is an adults only all-inclusive property as well. It shares the grounds and many dining venues with their family friendly sister resort next door, the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall.
We were greeted warmly and taken to our rooms within minutes of our late afternoon arrival. I would have to say that my favorite thing about this property was our swim-up room and the food. The food was pretty awesome.
We loved floating in the pool right from our swim-up. We were fortunate that our swim-up connected to the main pool (although not the swim up bar.) Some swim-up rooms at the property have a smaller, private pool. Ours meandered out into the larger pool area.
The Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Rose Hall are built on the former site of the Ritz Carlton. Some of the buildings are new construction. One of the original structures is the ballroom and conference facility of the Ritz. The property does continue with conference business. We were there at the same time as an insurance conference. The buffet was pretty crazy for breakfast one of the mornings because of all the conference attendees. We solved that the next morning by eating at one of the a la carte restaurants. Having many people on property in business suits and conference lanyards does take away from the resort feel, I think. However the property is very pretty and well manicured with upscale modern furnishings.
The beach here is man-made. It is 2 small coves with a pretty gazebo in between. The water was much more wavy and rough in contrast to the glass-like Negril.
It was the beginning of hurricane season during our stay. We had beautiful weather in the morning and early afternoons, followed by afternoon showers most days. It would generally clear up by dinner and the stars would be out in the evening.
Each property is very different. Both are beautiful. We discussed it and agreed that we would return to Sandals over the Hyatt properties, just because of the conference hotel feel. It was not bad, just different. We also really loved the unlimited watersports activities that were available to us (and included) at Sandals, and the focus on couples/romance.
I have photos of Sandals Negril, Beaches Negril and both Hyatt Ziva and Zilara in my photo albums on Facebook. Check them out if you would like!