August Recommend 2017 - 32
Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall
at Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall.
Full disclosure: Eight years ago, I stayed
at what is now Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, in
Montego Bay, Jamaica. During my visit, and
until 2013, this property was a Ritz-Carlton-
boy, have things changed.
I barely recognized the expanded, rebranded, and re-imagined all-inclusive resort
with a bigger beachfront and an island vibe.
Not to mention 387 all-suite, all-balcony
guestrooms, seven restaurants, six bars and
lounges, and water therapy that includes a
meandering infinity pool and lovely long
There's more. A Playa Hotels & Resorts
property, family-friendly Ziva sits on the
grounds of a larger complex that encompasses
the adults-only 234-room Hyatt Zilara, so
adult guests staying at Ziva can enjoy Zilara's
beaches and restaurants as well (and vice
versa). "I think of the two resorts as a little
town and I am the mayor," says general
manager Diego Concha, with a chuckle.
While there's a cohesive flow between the
two resorts, which are connected by a
beachfront walkway, each has its own identity.
As in a real town, every restaurant and food
service outlet sports a different design and a
"Both Ziva and Zilara have a relaxed
luxury feel," says Dave Cook, owner, Love
to Travel. "They focus on what we like to
recommend to our clients requesting an allinclusive vacation: luxurious accommodations,
multiple a la carte restaurant options with
no reservations required including beachside
dining, a choice of quiet or active pools,
top shelf alcohol, 24-hour room service,
fitness centers, hourly activities, nightly
entertainment, fire pits, and more."
32 august 2017
Cook notes advantages to having two
separate yet connected resort options. "The
setup is a big plus for multigenerational
families," he says, "because there's the option
for adults to stay on one side and easily
mingle with family members with young
kids who stay on the other side." Similarly,
for destination weddings, "no matter which
resort our clients stay in, they are close to
everyone else attending. Plus, there are
a number of beautiful wedding locations
throughout the grounds."
There are 14 different room categories
at Hyatt Ziva and 11 at Zilara, including
Butler Suites at both properties. My palatial
King Room in the new wing of Hyatt Ziva
was elegant and comfy, with a clean modern
design. I loved the deep-soaking tub that
looked like it was sculpted from a big block
of stone for a European palace. However, my
location directly over the nightly outdoor
entertainment area meant that dance music
blared into the room until nearly 11 p.m.
If your clients want a quiet room at Ziva,
be sure to request one far from the outdoor
entertainment. For clients who have "been
there, done that," check out the swim-up
accommodations-21 at Ziva and 20 at
Zilara-which have direct access to semiprivate pools.
Let gym nerds know that the fitness
facilities will get an upgrade in November
with the opening of a large, 2-story glass
enclosed fitness center with all new
equipment, available to guests of both resorts.
In a 3-night visit, I barely scratched
the surface of dining options, but was
impressed with the tasty food. I eat 80
percent vegetarian, and the chefs at Ziva's
Italian restaurant Di Roza and Zilara's
Caribbean-inspired, open-air HoriZons
both prepared delicious vegan meals for me,
not an easy task. Other recommendations:
It's worth waiting in line at Ziva's Barefoot
JerkZ beachfront shack for the yummy jerk
chicken. On the other end of the dining
spectrum, for clients who want the "wow"
factor, dinner at Zilara's Urban Heat private
room is worth a $35 upsell. Presented as a
live theater that unfolds with each gourmet
course, the meal ends with individual
chocolate "volcanoes" that erupt in a haze of
smoke before diners scoop out the delectable
filling. Speaking of desserts, we also sampled
divine handcrafted truffles made by the
resorts' new pastry chef and "chocologist"
Wouter Tjeertes, each paired with a different
spirit for a unique tasting experience.
Service From the Heart
Other attributes notwithstanding, the
biggest differentiator at Ziva and Zilara
is Playa Resorts' "service from the heart"
sensibility. "We want our staff to be natural
and authentic," says Concha. "It is our
connection to the people and soul of
Jamaica which makes us different from other
resorts on the island." In high season there
are nearly 1,000 staff members at the two
properties, and every one of them greets
guests with Playa's signature hand-over-heart
salutation and a genuine smile.
"The service from the heart focus is
evident from the moment you arrive," says
Cook. "The staff conveys the emotion that
they're very happy you're staying with them.
Many resorts strive for this "welcome home"
feeling but Ziva and Zilara have achieved it.
It's a credit to the management team, their
hiring process, and staff training."
Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall: playaresorts.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of August Recommend 2017
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