My husband and I went on vacation in Montego Bay, Jamaica in 2000 (pre-kids) and have been dying to get back ever since. We still talk about that trip regularly. Jamaica is unforgettable with its gorgeous beaches and friendly locals. Of course now we’re parents, so we were looking for a place that was family-friendly and fortunately one of my best friends is a travel agent, so I hit her up for some suggestions and at the top of her list was the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa.
We stayed there for a few days before we transferred to Negril to check out another part of the island, and we had an amazing time at the Hilton. This resort has all the beauty and charm we love about Jamaica, and it’s perfect for families traveling with children. The resort is only about 15 minutes from the airport, a quick ride you’ll appreciate when traveling with kids.
Read on for more pictures of our stay and some tips for planning your visit!
Video Tour + View From Our Room
The entire property is really gorgeous so no matter what room you stay in I think you’re going to have a great view. We requested an ocean view and Hilton delivered!
Check out this view from our room! Gorgeous! We had a nice view of the ocean with palm trees and the golf course located on the side of the resort.
The balcony was a favorite spot to start our day. View the video below to get a tour of our room. There was plenty of space for our family of four to be comfortable throughout our stay.
Probably the main reason we love the Caribbean is that beautiful blue water. The beach at the Hilton Rose Hall is beautiful and we had a blast on the shore.
There’s plenty of beach space at this resort, and it’s more long and narrow than it is deep. Because it’s not a very deep beach the chairs are kind of close together. You can see by this picture that most of them are empty so it never felt crowded.
This is just one portion of the beach. From where I was standing to take this photo, behind me is another long stretch of beach with more lounge chairs.
It rained off and on while we were there (typical island weather, we’ve found) which churned up the water a bit, but living on the Northeast coast of the US and being used to the Jersey Shore, these waves were no biggie. We played in the surf, and walked out just a little farther to calmer waters.
See those floating rafts out there? We swam out there and climbed up to lounge in the sun. The kids jumped off over and over again. So much fun for all of us!
There are tons of photo opps on this resort. Isn’t the view gorgeous?
What I liked about the beach as a parent is that it was big enough for us to find comfortable places to set up camp with all of our stuff, but it wasn’t so sprawling that we had to trek to beach chairs in the morning. Everything is pretty close together without feeling crowded. I felt comfortable letting the kids walk up to the restaurants to get a drink because I could keep an eye on them right from the beach.
The Water Park and Pool
As much as we LOVE the beach, I think we probably spent more time at the water park area at this resort because it was just so much fun and very family-friendly.
There’s one huge pool centrally located on the property. The view here is incredible with the ocean backdrop. We saw some aquasize classes taking place and lots of families having fun in the water. We honestly didn’t spend too much time here because my kids were more interested in the water park. I did take about 100 pictures of it because that view is just insane!
The water park at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa is definitely one of the most kid-friendly I’ve ever seen. My son is 7 and many times he can’t quite stand at the pools we go to, and he was able to stand in almost every area of the pool here. There’s a zero-entry portion that’s perfect for the littlest of kids.
Above you’ll see one of our favorite attractions: the swim-up pool bar! All of your drinks are included and you can bet my kids took FULL advantage of this. They have a great kids’ menu of fancy drinks, and for adults, they can make anything you’d like. The Bob Marley was one of my favorites! Be sure to ask for the daily special.
The water park also includes two different water slides. One is a slide you ride down on an inner tube and one is a series of shorter slides that each end in a small pool. We went on these a million times! They’re both so much fun and at the end, they land in the main pool which is only about 3 feet deep, so the kids were able to ride these safely, too.
Finally, the water park also has a lazy river. Grab yourself a yummy drink, hop on a tube, and round and round you go. It’s so relaxing and so much fun! Sometimes at a water park like this the kids are having all the fun and I’m just watching, but this one was so much fun for the entire family. My husband and I had a blast!
In addition to the water park there are a lot of other land activities to enjoy, like ping pong, shuffle board, and more. Sign out everything you need to play at the Activities Center and then game on!
This building is also where you’ll find the towel hut. At check in you’ll be given a towel voucher for each member of your family. Redeem them for towels here, and then trade your used towels in for clean ones. If you are short a towel, you’ll be charged for it. Twice when we went back to our seats to gather up our things we were short a towel. We just explained that to the attendants and they gave us an extra towel. I don’t love this policy, but I can see how people just take these towels home so this is how they try to combat that. Bottom line: try to keep an eye on your towels but no need to freak out if one sprouts legs and walks off.
My kids love animals and one of our favorite parts of traveling to a new place is seeing new wildlife. Of course at the beach we found crabs! My kids are fearless and picked up crabs and lizards. This crab in the lower right corner was actually in the pool one night and we scooped him out. He was HUGE. I’ve never seen a crab that big. A very cool find!
Traveling to new places is the best education you can give your kids. One of the security guards came to chat with us about this crab and about life on the island. The people in Jamaica are so friendly and so passionate about their home. Be sure to take some time to chat with the employees. They have so much to share about Jamaica.
Where to Eat
This is part of the trip I wish I would have planned a little better, so my advice is to take some time to scope out the restaurants before you get there. There are several on-site but a couple require reservations and a nicer dress code – Luna Di Mare and Three Palms. If you’d like to check them out, plan ahead.
We are more of a wing-it family, so we ended up at the same places over and over again. The food was amazing, but had I had my act together a bit more before we left I’d have made plans to dine at at least one of the reservation-only restaurants for a change of pace.
The resort is an all-inclusive, so all of your food and drinks are included. However, tipping is permitted here so you should carry a bit of cash. I don’t feel comfortable not tipping at a bar or restaurant. To be honest, this can add up, but overall I think the resort is so reasonably priced that when you consider all of your meals are included, it didn’t feel like a huge added expense. Just keep this in mind when you’re budgeting for your trip and be prepared with some 5s and 1s. It’s not always easy to get change.
The entire resort is so gorgeous. The decor is just WOW. This huge spiral staircase takes you from the lobby upstairs to the lower level where our favorite restaurant is located. Fresh is a buffet-style restaurant that’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus late-night snacking until 2am!
Each night is a different dinner theme so while we dined there often, we always enjoyed something new on the menu. The dress is casual and no reservations are required. What that means is if you have starving kids at pretty much any time of day, you can feed them immediately. Any parent knows what a lifesaver that is!
Check out that dessert spread! Each night there is a different array of bite-sized desserts to enjoy. And bite-size means you can try like four of them. I’m pretty sure that’s how it works, especially after you’ve spent all day running around on the beach.
The food selection is perfect for families too. If you have kids that only want cereal and juice for breakfast, consider it done. If you want a custom-made omelet, you can get that too. There’s definitely something for everyone at Fresh so you might find yourself there just as much as we did!
The Seaside Grille was great for breakfast and lunch, too. Be sure to check it out with its beautiful view of the ocean.
The gem of the resort is this little coffee hut. It’s located just off the beach and they serve all kinds of specialty coffee drinks and juices, plus an ocassional cookie or muffin treat. We loved stopping here for an afternoon pick-me-up or a coffee to walk the beach with in the mornings.
You can see there’s some table seating here, and it’s right next to all of the lounge chairs on the far beach so the kids hopped over and grabbed drinks for us while we laid on beach chairs waiting for them to come back. See how we got the kids to get excited about waiting on us? Brilliant, isn’t it?
I can’t say enough about how much we loved the employees here. We ran into this sweet lady who served us breakfast at the Seaside Grill one day and she stopped to give my daughter a hug and said she will miss seeing us around the resort and hopes we come back soon. That makes two of us!
Overall we absolutely loved this resort. It’s perfect for families with kids of all ages with lots of kid-friendly water and land activities and dining options. We’ve found airfare to Jamaica to be pretty reasonably priced with several airliner options out of major airports so that makes this island appealing for a vacation, too. The people are SO happy to have you there. “Welcome home!” is what everyone said to us the minute we landed in the airport.
This resort in particular was very welcoming. I also think it’s very reasonably priced for an all-inclusive. I should mention that there are water sports and a spa available to guest for additional fees. We found plenty to stay busy with without checking those out, but if that’s important to you you can learn more on the website. As they say in Jamaica, we hope to ‘soon come back’!
You can get more info on The Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa on their website. Let me know if you have any questions about our stay by leaving a comment or tweet me here. Hope to see you in paradise soon, mon!