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Lisa's Iberostar Rose Hall Suites Review


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#1 NegrilLB

NegrilLB
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    Posted 27 April 2010 - 09:12 PM

    I know everyone says this, but I can’t believe it’s my turn to do a review. I really have to thank the other brides on this site for helping me get ideas and plan this wedding. We had an incredibly wonderful and fun wedding weekend, and our guests have been raving about it since we got back. It was really important to us that our guests have a good time, and I think both their expectations and ours were exceeded.

    Our wedding was somewhat unusual in that we had a pretty large group of 120, and also the majority of our guests are Jamaicans living in the US and Canada (and a few still living in JA). It was really amazing being in Jamaica with all of our family and friends. With such a large group and all that we had planned, there were bound to be a few glitches. I only mention them so that you can watch out for them, because really they were minor compared to the great time that we had. If you’ve chosen Iberostar Rose Hall as your wedding resort, you’ve made a great choice.

    Airline – A

    We had a direct flight from Atlanta to Montego Bay on Delta. The flight actually got in early, and when we were checking in and the baggage handler found out we were getting married he gave us free drink tickets. That was nice 


    Travel Agent – A

    We travel a lot and always just book everything on our own, so I wasn’t sure if we needed to use a travel agent. I got in contact with a few early on, but none of them were offering particularly good deals. Then one of the brides on this site mentioned Amy Pearson of Liberty Travel, and using her was one of the best decisions we made.

    First of all, her prices were excellent at $150 per person per night (double-occ), and she required only a $50 deposit. At the time, the hotel website was showing $207 per person per night. Also, when the prices dropped closer to the departure date, she automatically gave everyone the lower rate without us having to ask. She was also really easy to work with, and we were able to direct our guests to her when they had any travel questions.

    I would highly recommend using an agent if you have a group of more than 30. She was able to keep us up to date on who was booking, and I think it made it easier for the hotel to place people in rooms in the same wing.

    Resort – A+++

    We truly feel we could not have chosen a better resort for our wedding. All of our guests kept gushing about how much they loved it, and actually thanking us for having it there. The food, drinks, service, rooms, pool, beach…all are fantastic.
    http://dwdf.daisypath.com/hfwgm5.png


    118 Guests + Bride and Groom Attended

    #2 NegrilLB

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      Posted 27 April 2010 - 09:15 PM

      Room – A+

      Because we had so many people staying at the resort (about 100), we were upgraded to the Presidential Suite. It is absolutely gorgeous with a beautiful view. The word had spread about how nice it was, and several of our guests came over just to check it out. The terrace is huge, and it has a jetted tub on it  Even if you don’t get the Presidential Suite, all of the rooms there are really beautiful.

      View from the terrace
      Click the image to open in full size.

      Click the image to open in full size.

      Guest Check-In & Welcome – B

      We had too many guests to do an all-out OOT bag for everyone, so we just got monogrammed travel mugs and printed welcome letters for everyone. We really wanted them to be handed out when they checked in, but Nicole (the WC) didn’t trust the front desk to do it right (maybe from bad prior experiences), so they were delivered to their rooms after check-in instead. Most people got theirs, but there were a few who didn’t. The welcome letter had been tucked inside the packet with the info from the hotel, so some people didn’t see it. The mugs seem to have been popular though, so we’re glad we did it.

      We requested that everyone be put into wing 3, which is closest to the wedding site, and they did a great job of doing that. One thing you should let your guests know though is that if they arrive prior to 3pm, their room probably won’t be ready, even if your travel agent notifies the hotel of their arrival time. This was the case with most of our guests, but since we warned them ahead of time it didn’t seem to be a big deal.


      Welcome Cocktail Party – A

      We had our welcome cocktail party on the night that most people arrived (Thursday) on the lobby balcony from 8:30 to 10:30. We loved this location because it overlooks the pool, which is gorgeous at night. We brought our own DJ, and Nicole let us use the DJ equipment at no charge, which was really nice. The lobby bar is just inside from the balcony, so our guests were able to go inside for their drinks. They also had a bartender that came over and was taking our guests drink orders and bringing them their drinks, which we didn’t expect at all. So we were able to have a fabulous get-together with drinks and music for no charge. Can’t beat that :) Everyone seemed to have a great time and it gave people a chance to meet each other.

      View from lobby balcony at night
      Click the image to open in full size.
      http://dwdf.daisypath.com/hfwgm5.png


      118 Guests + Bride and Groom Attended

      #3 NegrilLB

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        Posted 27 April 2010 - 09:16 PM

        Rehearsal Dinner – B

        We had our rehearsal dinner at the Gourmet restaurant (Calabash). The d©cor in the restaurant is beautiful and they have a nice bar area.

        They told us the most they could reserve the area for was 50 people, so we reserved for the wedding party, their dates, and our parents (15 people), and in the Welcome letter we told everyone else to sign up with the concierge if they wanted to come. There were a few people who didn’t put their name on the list but came anyway, which caused a little confusion at the door, but they ended up just adding a few more seats to accommodate everyone.

        The only reason I gave it a B instead of an A is that the service was somewhat slow, and it was 2.5 hours from the start until we got dessert. We really liked the food and atmosphere though, and we think that was the best place for us to have it.

        Click the image to open in full size.

        Salon – B

        I did my hair trial on the day that we arrived. I didn’t have a picture so I was only able to give a description, and she did exactly what I wanted. She did a great job on the wedding day also.

        Hair Trial

        Click the image to open in full size.

        I got a French manicure on the day of the wedding. If you’re planning to go for a French, I would recommend getting it done before you get there if at all possible. The white part looked really shaky. She was nice about re-doing the ones that looked really bad, but I eventually realized that was as good as it was going to get and gave up, lol. If you are getting a solid color though, you should have no problems.

        I asked for natural-looking make-up and she did a good job. I’m not big on make-up and I don’t think she did anything one of my friends couldn’t have done, so I probably could have saved myself the $70. But if you want to have a professional do it, they do a good job.
        http://dwdf.daisypath.com/hfwgm5.png


        118 Guests + Bride and Groom Attended

        #4 NegrilLB

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          Posted 27 April 2010 - 09:18 PM

          Ceremony – A

          As we were planning the wedding, the only thing I thought would throw everything off is if it rained. April is not one of the rainy months in Jamaica, and also they had been going through a severe drought for the past 3 months, so I pretty much decided I wasn’t going to stress myself out about it. I refused to even check the weather before we got there because the forecast always says afternoon thunderstorms every day, even though it is usually just a passing shower. Well…

          On the morning of the wedding, I woke up and saw storm clouds. I hoped that it was just a passing tropical rain shower, but I later found out that it was expected to storm all day. I was devastated because I had seen the area they use in case of rain and I hated it, but I never really thought of a good Plan B. I asked Nicole if we could use the lobby staircase area, but she said they had never used it for a group larger than 20, and we wouldn’t all fit. After I suggested putting the altar on the landing, she said she would see what she could do, and later came back and said yes  This was a life-saver, because even though I had imagined a beach wedding, the new location turned out to be absolutely gorgeous! Walking down the stairs and seeing my fianc© on the landing, with all the guests sitting below was just beautiful. Because we were on a raised platform, it felt like it was just the 2 of us there, which made us less nervous even though everyone could still see us. A lot of our guests came up to us after and said they actually thought it was nicer than having it on the beach. I don’t even think the pictures do it justice, but here are a few…


          Click the image to open in full size.

          Click the image to open in full size.

          Click the image to open in full size.

          Click the image to open in full size.


          We had the violinist playing before and during the ceremony, and he was great. I was worried about the sound not being full enough since it’s just one violinist, but he had musical accompaniment and good speakers, so it sounded beautiful. It was well-worth the $300.

          The minister who did the ceremony was really nice and did a great job. Nicole sent us the vows ahead of time and we thought they were perfect, so we didn’t change a thing.
          http://dwdf.daisypath.com/hfwgm5.png


          118 Guests + Bride and Groom Attended

          #5 NegrilLB

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            Posted 27 April 2010 - 09:22 PM

            Cocktail Hour – A+

            We had cocktail hour at the Blue Moon Music room following the ceremony. We were out taking pictures and missed the whole thing, but from what everyone told us, it was a blast. Several people told us it was the best cocktail hour they had ever been to. We had the reggae band Irie Connection playing, and I think they pretty much made the party. Everyone was out on the dance floor, and they were having so much fun it was hard for my parents to get everyone to leave and go to the reception. Some people thought that it WAS the reception, haha. We had appetizer menu B ($12 per person), and Nicole let us add mini Jamaican patties to the menu at no charge. With most of the guests being Jamaican, we had to have that  We also did open bar, which was $8 per person.

            Irie Connection was only $460 but they were worth so much more than that. I asked my dad to give them $60 to play a little longer than an hour, and they were more than willing to do so. If you want to get in touch with them directly, this website has their contact info and you can listen to some of their songs: Click the image to open in full size.

            Click the image to open in full size.



            Nicole can book them, and I also talked to their manager Courtney Green directly to confirm, and also give them some guidance on the music we wanted. The artists we requested music from were Dennis Brown, Tarrus Riley, Freddie McGregor, Beres Hammond, Gregory Isaacs, Alton Ellis, Garnet Silk, Luciano, John Holt, Sanchez, Morgan Heritage, Buju Banton, and Jah Cure… for this band that was not a problem and from what I hear they really came though. I would highly recommend them if you’re looking for an authentic reggae band.

            Courtney Green’s e-mail address is: irieconnections@yahoo.com
            http://dwdf.daisypath.com/hfwgm5.png


            118 Guests + Bride and Groom Attended

            #6 NegrilLB

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              Posted 27 April 2010 - 09:24 PM

              Reception D©cor – A+

              I was stunned at how beautiful the reception turned out to be. We had it at the steakhouse, and during the day it looks so regular. But for the reception it looked gorgeous. We had 24-inch lanterns hanging from the ceiling, and I think this made a big difference in how the place looked. We had 12 lanterns on each terrace, with just the 3 bulb LED terminal inside. This was enough to make the lantern glow, but not really light up the place. We had the fan lights turned off and the column lights turned on…this with 4 candles on each table and the lanterns was just the right amount of lighting. We had color lanterns in dark purple, aqua, and dark pink. On the beach we had square paper lanterns on the picnic tables. Because we used a lot of candle-light and lanterns, the pictures with the flash don’t capture how beautiful it really looked, but I loved it!

              I was also amazed at how beautiful the table arrangements turned out. I researched Tai Flora, Grande Garden, and Flower Studio (who the hotel works with), and none of them could quote me a floral arrangement for less than $60 (that one was from Tai Flora). It also took forever to get any quotes from any of them. A friend recommended a local flower vendor (Godfrey Guy) that has worked with her family before, and from the moment I contacted him he was calling me constantly. A little too much actually, lol, but better that than having to chase him down all the time.

              We got tropical flower centerpieces from him for $2,500JA each, which is about $28 US. The votive candles and holders were expensive for him to get in Jamaica, so we brought our own that I got on Amazon.com for $40 (set of 72), and he set them out and lit them at no charge.

              Click the image to open in full size.


              Our table and my bouquet

              Click the image to open in full size.



              The downside to working with him was that he required us to send him the money by Western Union prior to the wedding, so he could use that money to purchase the flowers and vases he needed. That made me nervous, but since he’s doing my friend’s wedding in July and does business with her family all the time, I went ahead with it. It turned out there was nothing to worry about because he did a fantastic job, and it was even more beautiful than I expected. Nicole is well-acquainted with him now (I think he called her constantly too), so maybe something can be worked out with him through her.

              We brought down our own table runners, which I got for only $2.68 each:
              13.5x108 satin table runner Eggplant53645

              They hardly took up any space in my suitcase so they were well worth getting.

              We brought down table name holders, and we named all the tables with the names of Jamaican towns starting from St. Ann to Ocho Rios (A to O alphabetically). Several of the towns have significance in our families, such as where my dad’s family grew up, so that made it fun.
              http://dwdf.daisypath.com/hfwgm5.png


              118 Guests + Bride and Groom Attended

              #7 NegrilLB

              NegrilLB
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                Posted 27 April 2010 - 09:31 PM

                Outside Cake – F

                Oh boy, the cake. I was recommended to a local Montego Bay bakery called Heavenly Delicious Treats (Click the image to open in full size.

                And here is the cake that arrived:

                Click the image to open in full size.


                I think the pictures say it all, lol. Nicole saw it first, and came out to tell me she had some bad news about the cake. When I saw it, all I could do was laugh because it was so bad. Luckily the cake wasn’t all that important to us, and we still had the cake from the resort.

                Resort Cake – B-
                The resort’s standard cake isn’t the typical layered wedding cake, but after seeing the other cake we were glad to have it! It comes on a metal stand instead of being in layers. We got the Jamaican rum cake flavor and planned to serve it as the ‘groom’s cake’ along with the other cake. It tasted pretty decent, although I think most of our guests were either too full or too busy dancing to have any of it.

                Click the image to open in full size.


                Reception Dinner – B

                Normally with the group menu you get 2 entr©e choices out of the 3 (Chicken, Steak, Salmon), but I requested 1 Jamaican dish of Escovitch Fish in addition to the Chicken and Steak, so we had 3. We just had to get everyone’s entr©e choice ahead of time. She also replaced the side dish of baked potato with rice and peas, which was nice.

                The plates came with a silver charger, and they had a personalized menu card on it. That was a nice touch, and we didn't have to ask for it.

                Click the image to open in full size.


                The one issue we had with the reception was that the food took a really long time to be served to everyone. We were already done eating our desserts when some people still hadn’t gotten their entrees yet. Luckily this was mainly the case for our tables of friends only, who complain much less than our family would, and they at least had gotten to get food from the appetizer buffet.



                Reception Party – A
                Luckily the rain let up by the time of the reception, so we were still able to do our beach party! The dinner was still on the two terraces, but we wanted the dancing on the beach. They set up the dj and another bar out there, and it worked out great. Some of the older folks stayed on the terrace and talked, but our friends loved that the dancing was on the beach and they were all out there. They set up colored lights and it was the perfect amount of lighting.

                Click the image to open in full size.


                The reception is really supposed to end by 10:30, but Nicole said we could go until 11. People were still dancing at 11, so we talked to Nicole, and since the dinner went long she allowed us to go until 11:30.



                After Party – A
                Right after the reception, everyone went to the Mango Walk club on-site to party some more. I went in my full wedding dress because that would be my last chance to ever wear it, and I love it :) But once we got down there I realized that wasn’t a great idea because the place was super crowded and my dress was getting stepped on and dirty. Also I was exhausted…so my new husband and I went back to the room so I could change, but we never made it back down :) However from what I heard, the club was a great time and everyone stayed until it closed. So it was a great end to the weekend.


                Invoicing – A+
                When I met with Nicole the next morning to go over the bill, I was nervous that there would be charges on there that I didn’t expect, or that I wouldn’t even understand what was on the bill. That was not the case at all. The bill was very clear, and she didn’t charge for anything that we didn’t specifically discuss the cost of. She didn’t even charge us for having the bar open an extra hour at the reception. We paid the bill when we checked out, along with our room charges.


                Overall, my new husband and I are thrilled at how everything turned out, and we still can’t stop talking about it :)
                http://dwdf.daisypath.com/hfwgm5.png


                118 Guests + Bride and Groom Attended

                #8 wendyjd

                wendyjd
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                  Posted 27 April 2010 - 10:25 PM

                  Lisa, THANK YOU for the thorough review. Its good to see a review from IRHS. Everything looked beautiful (well, except the cake, my FI thought it looked like an ice cream cake that was left outside for a couple of hours), but the resort cake looked good. I really like that you had the wedding on the great staircase. Did you have random people walking thru? I hear that onlookers are common at DW.

                  Congrats on a wonderful wedding and for having a terrific outlook, not worrying about the weather and laughing at the cake, I envy you.

                  Congrats and thanks for the thorough review!! Its so reassuring.

                  #9 sorord1

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                    Posted 27 April 2010 - 10:37 PM

                    Congratulations on becoming a MRS! Good review, cant wait to see your pics!

                    #10 CdnBeatPrincess

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                      Posted 27 April 2010 - 10:45 PM

                      Great review & Congrats!!! At least you had your back-up cake, you were right "you can only laugh at a cake like that" :P




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