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IRHS November 2012 Wedding
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This is a review of:

Iberostar Rose Hall Suites All-Inclusive - Montego Bay Jamaica

Detailed Ratings
Accomodation Value:
5.0
Communication:
3.0
General Location:
5.0
Wedding Sites:
5.0
Wedding Value:
5.0
LolasMom71

By LolasMom71, · 1,383 Views · 8 Comments

Pros: Fantastic Weather, Friendly Staff, Great Food, Beautiful Private Ceremony
Cons: Nicole's Timing of Events was Off, Bonfire Was Not Worth It

Iberostar Rose Hall Suites Wedding Review

 

Be forewarned, I am nitpicky but I say it as it is. I don’t sugar coat it due to the blissfully happy occasion.

 

For some reason the font changes in this document and I don't know why. I was not changing the emphasis where you see the font change so please ignore that detail. Also, my email is listed at the end of the review. I had pics to attach to this review but am unable to attach them so please send me an email and I will resend you this review with the pics that are missing in here.

 

Wedding Date: November 16, 2012

 

Hotel

Awesome. That is not a word I use – but it was truly awesome.  Our group was 14 people. Everyone loved it. If I had any complaints to make….the rooms were pretty far but considering the amount of calories you consume there from the great food alone, the distance to the rooms wasn’t a big deal.  No welcome drink at check in. We arrived at 2:45 and rooms are available at 3 so we grabbed a bite at the buffet before getting our room.  The quality of the hotel has made all of our guests comment that they would definitely look into staying at other Iberostar resorts in the future. The hotel was fully booked all week so it was obviously very busy everywhere but it was not an inconvenience.  There were no line-ups except at guest services. I read in one of the reviews (actually maybe on tripadvisor.com) that the hotel sells day passes to cruise ship guests. The person was complaining about how packed it got at the pool and to get drinks. I asked Nicole about this and she says they do this only when the hotel is in low season and fairly empty. There are ATMS at the Beach hotel. There are security guards at the entrances to the different resorts so that you don’t visit a hotel you are not allowed to be at. E.G. You are a guest at the Grand – you can have access to the Suites and the Beach but if you are a guest of the Beach you cannot access the Suites or the Grand and if you are a guest of the Suites you can access the Beach hotel and restaurants and amenities but not the Grand. All resort guests can make use of the Spa though. 

 

Miranda Buffet

Okay, this buffet looks like a 5 star restaurant. For a buffet the food was great. There was always something you could eat. Our group likes good food and is used to five star dining but didn’t make it a priority booking a la carte because of the quality of the buffet.  Our whole group commented that this was the best buffet they had ever experienced.

 

The Staff in General

Friendly and helpful.  They are constantly trying to earn their tips which they deserve because they work hard. They are always smiling.

 

Hair Salon & Spa

Don’t have high hopes. Beforehand I enquired as to what make-up they use. The most brand-name product I saw was L’Oreal or Maybelline.  I was told Bobby Brown, Clinique, NARS, etc.  I didn’t see anything I recognized except for the mascara which I mentioned above.  I went in with the pic shown below and came out looking like Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie. The two other brides in the salon at the same time with me looked like they could be my sisters from LHOTP. My guests joked that no my hair looked more like someone from on the Waltons tv show. This is the most attractive pic I have of my hair so far.  I don’t have my pics yet from the photographer so I don’t have anything better to show you for my hair. Also, I don’t think I was given my 10% salon discount and the services I purchased were not on sale so I should have received it.

 

Email me if you want pics. I will show you what I requested and how much differently(?) it turned out.


Wedding Planner

You ask for something and she says yes, no problem but when you see what you get you are disappointed. I guess what she should say is that we will do our best to try to do this as pictured (supplying photos of what you want is always best) but we cannot guarantee it will turn out the same. That way you have realistic expectations.

 

My husband and father were arguing about who was going to tip her and unknowingly they both tipped her $100 before the wedding day to ensure good service and the service I got was okay at best. Certainly not worth a $200 tip. I had my wedding on the 5th day of my vacation. The last 2 days of my vacation she was incredibly difficult to get a hold of.  The hotel would not give me any answers as to where she was either as she was never in her office those last two days.  

 

Before the wedding she gave me an itemized bill which had an error. She charged me for 6 extra adults when there were only 4 extra adults and 2 small children. I spotted it right away and she corrected it. I had a 2 hour bonfire after the dinner and she charged me for only one hour. It comes with open bar but she charged me $72 for liquor for the 2nd hour which is way better in price than the $250 per hour bonfire fee so I wasn’t going to complain about that.

 

Nicole did not like my schedule for the wedding day. She insisted that I give the photographer 2 hours for photos. I did not think that was necessary as there were only 14 people in our party and I was only hiring the photographer for 3 hours. I had hired Stacey Clarke to cover my ceremony, pics afterwards and for part of the dinner. My ceremony started at 4:30. Nicole insisted I don’t schedule dinner until 7 to accommodate pic taking. I did not think it was necessary but after she insisted we relented as Nicole knows best because she does this every day. Nicole insisted our dinner will NOT take more than 1.5 hours so to give us 30 min. to change after dinner and the bonfire would start at 9pm. Well she was wrong on each count. After the ceremony the pic taking was done by 6:30 so we sat at the bar for 30 min. killing time before the dinner. 30 minutes which could have been useful to have the photographer make use of at the dinner. Dinner took 2 hours so we were sitting at the table trying to wrap things up knowing our bonfire was already burning with no one there. We got to the bonfire at around 9:30 and the seating was very close to the boardwalk and the bonfire was beside the ocean. We had stands in front of us where our drinks could be placed if we wanted to dance but the sound system was having quite a bit of difficulty working. When it did work the music was very loud and it just didn’t make sense to me that we were SO far away from the fire. You couldn’t actually even see it with the stands in the way. I think it was set up this way for the fire dancer. He was late which wasn’t so good for our 2 & 5 year old nephews but at least we didn’t miss his performance due to us being in our rooms changing our outfits. His performance was okay but nothing truly spectacular. I’ve definitely seen much better. It took a long time to get his performance going because the dj/sound system the hotel provides was having major difficulties. His name was Brainstar. After the fire dance we lit off sky lanterns with Nicole’s help. After that we had about 15 minutes left of the two hour bonfire which didn’t make sense for us to drag our linen covered chairs around the bonfire for 15 minutes so some of us stood around the bonfire and some of us stood around the chairs for the last bit before they shut the music off at 11pm.

 

Bonfire Set Up

Email me and I'll send info because I need to attach pics to explain it and I can't attach them here.

 

Weather

Great. 30 deg C pretty much every day.  Only one day did it rain heavily and that was for 5 min. during dinner. It was partly cloudy for several days which made for the most beautiful photos. There was a breeze most days as well which we were all grateful for. Only one day was terribly humid with no breeze and that was the day it rained.

 

Pools & Ocean

Pool was warm but ocean was warmer. One of our guests stepped on a sea urchin. The pain was terrible. The lifeguards sweep for them every morning and throw them out deeper but they tend to get back in the swimming area once in a while. Not too much of a concern. There was a lot of debris floating in the ocean. Just loose grass mostly. It wasn’t too bothersome. The water didn’t seem dirty. The sand was decent for being Montego Bay. The odd rock or shell in the water that you might step on but otherwise smooth.  No need for water shoes. The sand on the beach was decent. Not amazing but I was forewarned not to expect that in Montego Bay. The pools were very busy. Lazy river was very busy as well.

 

Wedding Day

I remember reading that you should wear a button down blouse on your wedding day prior to putting on your dress so that you can change without affecting your hair or make-up.  There really isn’t much to comment on this day, believe it or not. Nicole comes to get you about 5 minutes before the ceremony is about to start and after she makes sure that the groom is already there. I saw from guest pics that she stayed throughout the ceremony. After the champagne toast we were rushed down to the waterfront with all of our guests to take pics and then separated to take lots of pics with just the photographer. Then we had time to kill before dinner and sat at the bar with our family and guests. We then had our dinner at Calabash which was quite good. We had one main server named Raymond who took great care of us. We ended up having a second server added later on. We received dessert from the menu plus the wedding cake. I was quite impressed with the cake. Afterward we changed and went to the bonfire on the beach which I spoke about above.  It was a nice day but I was glad it was over. Now I could enjoy my vacation instead of fretting about the wedding. My spouse is the best partner a woman can ever ask for. I’m truly grateful he came into my life. He definitely enhances my life in every aspect (except in the shopping dept!!). My wedding day was not the best day of my life because I would rather have eloped and not have had to have dealt with all the things that can and do go wrong, etc. But, to please my parents we married in front of family and friends and I feel very blessed that they made the time and spent the money to be part of this.  I’m so looking forward to our honeymoon which will be a cruise in the southern Caribbean in January. No fretting over anything for that trip!

 

Shanty Town

WC recommends it. When you are on the beach and if you walk over to the gazebos on the water (attached to the Beach hotel property), the other side of the pier is the Shanty Town. While standing on the pier the locals are calling you over and also indicating through hand motions that you can find pot there. We went with a group of 12. Once you get there a security guard does a head count. Not only does he write down how many people but also how many men, women and children. I think he is a resort security guard but I could be wrong. We wandered through but the shop keepers are pretty pushy but they are also desperate. The prices are good though. My husband told me afterwards that a guy almost got stabbed right in front of us and the guy with the 6 inch knife was pulled into the store where my Mom and I were in so he could hide as the police showed up. The shopkeepers lied to police to cover up what was happening and then after the cops left the shop keepers made the two guys involved in the potential knife fight take off.  I’m pretty observant but I did not see any of this go down.  They are openly smoking pot in the shanty town and I believe you can buy it there from them as well. They had a few dogs there too. Sweet dogs who mind their own business. Skinny and with cuts that flies were hanging out on. They really enjoyed affection. I was told that the dogs catch fish. Probably so they don’t starve to death. The shop keepers also were asking us for our shoes and if we had anything on us that we could give them. One guy in our group (rich business owner) gave them his shoes and walked back in his bare feet. He later went back and gave them most of his clothes in his suitcase. We were joking that they probably turned around and sold his shoes to the first tourist that would buy them. If you have any stuff at home (clothes/shoes) you don’t want you should consider donating them to these people. You can tell life is not easy for them.  I have some friends that work at the airport (Toronto, ON Canada) and if you notify the airline you are flying with, that you want to bring stuff with you to deliver to the impoverished, the airline may provide you with a letter to give to the person checking you in and weighing your suitcase to waive 20kgs(?) of your luggage weight. This was my experience several years ago.

 

Rooms

Excellent although a funny smell. You walk in and smell chemicals right away. Then you smelled cat pee when passing a certain spot.  The rooms are narrow so they can get as many rooms as possible with ocean view. My room and all of my guests were upgraded to oceanfront.  Beds were not the most comfortable.  Other guests’ rooms smelled of a tropical fragrance. Our room could have benefited from that. We tipped the maid $5 every day. The beverage guy delivers drinks for your bar fridge every other day. I didn’t tip him although I felt bad about that but he didn’t do anything extra and I only have so much money to throw around for tipping and we did tip quite a bit. The drinks in the bar fridge are coke, diet coke, orange and grape pop, 3 cans of beer, soda water, sprite and 2 bottles of water. No juice. I never ordered room service but I hear it was decent although ALWAYS late. Also, they do not deliver beverages. For our breakfast in bed they did deliver OJ and I believe they also delivered OJ with the champagne on the wedding day.  The room was supplied with body wash, shampoo, lotion, shoe shine sponge, shower cap. The lighting and ceiling fan are sensored. If you leave your room the lights and fan shut off after 5 or 10 minutes. My husband left the room and I went down for a nap and experienced this but as soon as you move around in the room it senses that someone is in there so the lights and fan get activated again. Also if you open the balcony door the fan shuts off or maybe the AC shuts off or maybe both. I can’t remember. TV sucks big time. Every channel showed old, old shows from the 80s and whatnot. There is a clothesline on the balcony as well.  There is also a coffee maker in the room, extra pillows, iron and ironing board.  Also a DVD player?!?

 

Tai Flora and other Decor

Do you need me to even go here???? They were a big part of the stress! Jodi-Ann Miller was AWAY?!? for over a month and no one told me that. Way overpriced. The cake/registry table free arrangement was pretty crappy.  The cake flowers were not what I requested. My bouquet was nice but not exactly as shown and for $185 it was NOT worth the $. Boutiniere for the groom and my dad and flower petals  for the aisle runner were purchased off ETSY. More than $100 cheaper.  Original bouquet I chose was from Tai Flora but then I arranged to have it made from a silk flower artist on ETSY. I hate what I received so I have it in the back of my closet. It will probably go to Goodwill or some charity bridal event.  It wasn’t cheap. Tai Flora seems to make up names for some of the flowers in their bouquets. One called “pine greens” when I google it is non-existant. I have over 100 pine trees on my property and trust me, what they called pine greens did NOT come from a pine tree. I asked for its proper name and I asked on a daily basis for over two weeks and did not get an answer until the day before leaving for the wedding. Then names they gave me were for their substitute for pine greens when they are not able to source pine greens. One when googled did not look like the “pine greens” on their site and the second was a name google did not recognize at all. Back to square one and the decision to just go with the flow. I get what I get.

 

I ordered taffeta chair sashes in fuchsia and orange for $1 each from tableclothsfactory.com.  Best wedding decision I made!  I got more bang for my buck adding colour/décor to the wedding through this than I did with the flowers, that is for sure. Nicole and her helpers did a fantastic job tying them up as well. I requested orange & pink on each chair with the colours overlapping. I was really happy with how they did it.

 

Cake/Registry Table Flower Arrangement (I specifically said no baby’s breath in my arrangements – they didn’t listen). This pic makes the arrangement look great. It wasn’t.

 

The original bridal bouquet I wanted (with “Pine Greens”) (page 28 of Wedding Bouquet Document PDF)

 

The bridal bouquet I received from ETSY – my best friend figured out what was wrong with it compared to the one I wanted. The one shown from Tai Flora is put together in sort of a diamond shape. The one I received  was in a round shape. Anyone want a free bouquet?

 

The bridal bouquet I ended up ordering from Tai Flora for $185

 

The bridal bouquet I received from Tai Flora

 

The dinner table centrepieces $55 each plus 10” cylinder vases with floating candles $10 each

 

 

Huppa with crystal curtain and a few orchids tied thereon; flower petals; orange & pink chair sashes

 

 

 

2nd photo showing chair sashes

 

Flowers on the Cake & Cake Design

This is what I asked for: (Dots on the cake like the first pic)

 

(Flowers on the cake like this)

 

This is what I received:

 

 

Excursions

We took a champagne sunset cruise on a catamaran. I believe our boat was named Dreamer. They had a jazz musician onboard. I really didn’t want to go on this cruise because I thought it was a booze cruise and I’ve outgrown those types of trips. It was $75 each and they supplied champagne upon boarding and then rum drinks and coffee plus several appetizers. I didn’t have anything so I can’t rate it. The cruise was really nice. Nothing like the booze cruise I thought it was going to be. I don’t think it was worth $75 per person though.

 

We also took the Rose Hall witch tour. I can’t remember exactly what it was called. It was fun but also VERY HOT in the mansion. It was very, very busy on the tour so you could tell they certainly were making good $ off these tours. We took the evening tour. It was 2 hours long.

 

Shopping

The Shoppes of Rose Hall is an upscale shopping area .The shuttle is free and runs once an hour.  The plaza is about 10 minutes away. Expensive jewellery stores and tons of t-shirts but nothing outstanding. My husband left his sunglasses at home so they had a store very comparable to Sunglass Hut and he picked up new Maui Jims there. Not really any deals but not over-priced either. Also, if you buy something in one store and find it again in another store and enquire about the price you will notice that the pricing is the same throughout the plaza. I found some of the best deals in the upscale gift shop on the Rose Hall witch tour!  Hotel souvenir pricing is more expensive but not much difference.

 

Stacey Clarke Photography

My husband and I were blown away. Definately the best vendor we used! Very artistic style. When you contact her she gets back to you ASAP which also is nice. During our ceremony I didn't even see Stacey or her partner. She is very distinct in telling you what she wants from you and how she wants you to pose but she knows what she is talking about because when you see your pics you will be in awe. She captures all of the unexpected moments. She makes good use of her time with respect to outdoor lighting and different settings. I really wanted to get a videographer but I wasn't happy with the quality of the videographers available that would have suited my needs and after the fact I am glad I did not hire one because Stacey provides you with a slide show of the best pics to one song and that is so well done you don't need a videographer because the slideshow which is available online says it all. She is worth every penny.

 

DigiPix

I got them to take pics at our welcome dinner/rehearsal dinner.  The poses were cheesy but the pics turned out pretty good. The pics are pretty expensive if you want to buy more than the 12 free pics. Each 5x7 is $15. You can get 10 pics on a disc for $95 (with none printed).  We chose 15 pics in total and asked if we could get all 15 on disc (not printed) for $100. They refused to budge. Their prices are what they are.  We ended up getting the 15 pics on disc and paid for just 2 of the 15. So we didn’t get any printed and therefore they credited us with one pic on top of the free 12. Hopefully you understand that. If you don’t please email me and I’ll try to explain this better.

 

Honeymooner T-Shirt – Nice and soft. Navy, only offered in extra-large. Old style crappy round neckline. Boxy fit. Says nothing on it other than Iberostar. It is stretchy though and doesn't shrink too much.

 

Fruit Platter – Wide selection of fruit. Most are out of season so tasteless. The best fruit on the plate were the black grapes.  The black grapes never showed up at the buffet though. They were very fragrant and made the room smell nice. They didn’t supply any cutlery, extra plates, napkins or anything and the plate doesn’t fit in the fridge so if you don’t eat it right away it gets thrown out.

 

Breakfast in bed morning after wedding – Food was good. Arrived as ordered although 30 min late and the omelettes were almost cold. Also their idea of toast was just cutting off the crust of regular bread with no toasting at all?!?!?!?

 

Best Restaurant Experience – All guests agreed the tapenyaki restaurant (the Samurai) at the Beach Resort was their favourite.

 

Dinner Reservations – Before I had arrived I had a welcome dinner arranged for Tuesday at 6:30 at the Samurai. This was confirmed. After I arrive I learn that the reservation was changed to a rehearsal dinner at the Samurai restaurant on Thursday at 6:30. We all arrived on time on Thursday and were told it was always scheduled for 7pm. They also sat four other people at our table for the dinner. ?!?!?

 

Please send me an email if you want the pics,  have any questions at all  or would like to know the details of any of my vendors.  Sunsetbliss71@hotmail.com

 

Regards, Jaqui

8 Comments


thanks for the helpful review, I would love to see pics. I am considering this resort and am planing a site visit for jan or feb. Would you happen to know rates for a site visit?

 

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Send me a PM with your email address and I will send you the review incl. pics. I have no idea what the rates for a site visit would be. Nicole, the wedding co-ordinator, has nothing to do with bookings so you will have to book with the hotel directly. A site visit isn't really necessary as the resort is very impressive. You can also get pics of all of the locals where you may want to have the ceremony and past brides can give you their opinions on the different sites as well.

 

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Hi Jaqui,

Thanks for the review. I'm getting married at the Beach Resort Jan. 4th and now I'm wondering do I bother with the bonfire? We wanted it as our welcome night, we have 45 guests. We are having our rehearsal dinner at the Japeneses restaurant so that makes me happy. Did you or the WC make the reso?

Can you send me pics jbchomski@hotmail.com

 

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Hi Justine,

The WC made the reservation and she told us that the restaurant will only confirm the reservation one week in advance which sucked because I was having our welcome letter as well as other stationery printed out by Vista Print and I needed to do this more than one week in advance of the reservation. I ended up just printing the stuff with the date I hoped to get. The WC got back to me after I had already told Vista Print to go ahead and she told me that the date and time was okay only to find out when I got there that the reservation was now for Thurs. as a Rehearsal Dinner rather than Tues. as a Welcome Dinner as I requested. I then had to make sure all of my guests received this new information. Why they put four strangers at our table I don't know?!?!? We weren't going to be rude to them but it was weird.

Wow, I just realized your date!! You are getting married soon! Congratulations! I will send you the pics to your hotmail. I wish I could attach them here but it just doesn't work. Ugh!?!?!? Mind you, I never did the tutorial so I'm sure it is my own fault.

I can't tell you yes or no about the bonfire because maybe some brides had a great bonfire but from my own experience and all of the bonfires I saw over the whole week they were not impressive. I would double-check with Nicole about the chair situation to be closer to the fire. I was hoping for a Muskoka chair type set up circling the bonfire as we only had 14 people but with the chairs so far away (near the dj and not too far for the waitress bringing the drinks) it was just strange. I thought the bonfire would be something truly special and a good time for bonding because seriously, how many times do you get to go to the Caribbean and enjoy a personal bonfire on the beach like you would up at the cottage here in Canada. For us, the bonfire was to be our wedding reception. If you and your guests like to dance it would be good for that because the music is super loud and they provide you with stands to put your drinks on but for a laid back, bonding gab fest, that it is not. I highly recommend sending off sky lanterns though. The WC helps with that and it is pretty cool to have them all go up at once. If you do that though, the rules of Canadian Air Transport Security Authority allows you only to bring one lighter on board and it has to be a disposable lighter and on your person rather than checked. We had a small wedding so I had each of my immediate family members bring a lighter and I packed a 5 pack in my checked luggage figuring I'll play frazzled bride if I got caught. Anyway, enough of that... I'll send you the pics.

 

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Thanks so much for your honest review. It is definitely really helpful. It confirms my feelings to avoid Tai Flora as much as possible and validates doing skylanterns. I am worried about the bonfire though. We are contemplating doing a bonfire for our reception or on our welcome dinner night. I am afraid if we do it for the reception we will run into the same issue you did with dinner running too long. If you could email me photos of everything I would be so appreciative. My email is jonandlaurawight@gmail.com We are getting married March 23, 2013 at the Beach. Thanks again and congrats on being married!!

 

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Thank you Jaqui for the detailed review! My wedding is confirmed at IRHS for April 20th of 2014... still lots of time for planning ahead. I would love to see some pictures for inspiration! my email eva_mularczyk@hotmail.com

 

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