The mere mention of Jamaica is enough to elicit myriad expectations, from the food (jerk everything), the music (reggae of course), the colour scheme (red, gold and green of the Rastafarian flag). With all this in the forefront of my mind on my first trip to the island, my arrival at the Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall could not have come as more of a surprise! Cue the towering ceilings, majestic roman pillars and swathes of cascading drapes. If it wasn’t for the cool crisp champagne that was swiftly brought to me and thankfully eased me out of my stupor, I may still be standing there gormlessly.
The love child of Mallorcan artist Jose Deudero, Rose Halls grandeur reflects an impressive blend of neoclassical and modern interiors, which in real terms means classical roman frescoes are creatively set alongside minimalist modern furniture and delicate ironwork details. The pool area is so crisp and cool with rattan day beds, it wouldn’t look out of place in the swanky side of Ibiza. It goes without saying Rose Hall is a happy marriage of cultures with the ultimate aim of providing unrivalled luxury for its guests.
I find the ‘All inclusive’ moniker puts me on high alert when it comes to catering. As if in some nostalgic self-punishing way I am aching to revisit the decades old pain of disappointing, lukewarm, chip heavy buffets of my childhood holidays. However, I am glad to say this was no such occurrence. Rose Hall has an impressive offering that includes four a la carte restaurants, consisting of Japanese, gourmet, steakhouse and Italian, all featuring exquisitely curated menus, subtly themed dining spaces and friendly attentive staff to navigate you through.
It is important to note given the size of the complex and the high demand you must book in your reservations in advance through either the concierge or of course your ever obliging butler. My personal recommendation would to be to organise when you first check in, so then you can put all your attention to relaxing, but I am starting to get a sneaking suspicion my preferred holiday sloth mode may not be everyone’s approach! My inner fussy child did in fact spy a lunchtime buffet and headed towards it gleefully. Not only was it an open air restaurant overlooking the beach with just the right amount of fine dining touches (beautiful glass wear and crisp white table clothes), the amount of fresh seafood available was mind boggling. Don’t even get me started on the seven types of butter in the endless breakfast spread, my first thoughts were ‘wow this is unnecessary’ however by the end of my week stay it seemed perfectly justified and I was wondering how I could best incorporate such practices in my every day home life.
I think it is safe to say that Rose Hall has ruined me, not only did I become far too accustomed to such a high level service, my all inclusive resort preconceptions have been shattered, for once all inclusive is the right choice for foodies.
An extensive cocktail list that was playfully inventive as well as paying homage to all the old classics, here’s looking at you pina coladas, not to mention the dedicated gin bar on the lobby balcony, you are sure to find your favourite tipple.
It is easy to see why Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall is fast becoming the favourite haunt of the rich and famous. Without doubt it has brought the ill-fated all inclusive resort very much into the 21st century, proving that not only is the premise alive and kicking, but when it is done with class and style in mind, it offers the most relaxing and stylish way to enjoying the winter sun.