HYATT ZILARA IS NOT A BEACH HOTEL.
I cannot stress this enough. If you’re going to Jamaica for their beautiful beaches, blue water, and white sand, do NOT STAY AT THE HYATT ZIVA OR ZILARA!!!
Located just 10 minutes from MBJ airport, the ride was easy and fun and check-in was a breeze. The Zilara lobby is open-air so we walked right up, through the well decorated white lobby and were handed our room keys. Since we carried on, we grabbed our own luggage and headed up to room 4303. When we walked in, the room was not what we booked– an oceanfront double– and it was DIRTY!!! The bed hadn’t been made, trash cans were full and all the towels were wet and on the floor. We immediately called down to the lobby and they said, “Oh well you went to the wrong room.” We went to the room we were told to go to and what was written on our key!!!
We went back to the lobby and were given new keys and told to wait, as our new room was still being cleaned. Never were we ever told sorry. We left our luggage with the bellman with the promise he’d deliver our bags to our new room and then headed to lunch. An hour later we returned, and our bags were still sitting in the lobby. Lovely. We finally got to our new room, which was supposed to be an oceanfront room, only to find it overlooked the fence line to another resort.
When I questioned Vishal downstairs, he said “OHHH well we upgraded you to the new building. I hope that’s ok, otherwise we’re happy to take you to the old one.” Later we would see that building and realize just how much of a dump it is!!
The Zilara facilities are great– nice pools, great restaurants, and the hotel is beautifully decorated and very contemporary.
Don’t miss the Parisian restaurant (make sure to pack long pants and real shoes for men) and also the Italian restaurant for their pizzas!
The jerk chicken was good, but not even close to the best in Jamaica, and they had absolutely no local flavor at this hotel. The bar didn’t have Ting and you could barely get your hands on a meat patty. So many other hotels in Jamaica offer more local feel and flavor with a much better beach!!
The true disappointment was some of the service. One night we were getting dressed to leave for dinner (around 5:45pm) when our turndown service rang the bell. We weren’t dressed yet but told them we would be out in about 15 minutes. When we arrived back to our room around 11pm, they never showed. We called down to the front desk just to let them know this service never happened, but that we were going to bed and didn’t need it now. Fifteen minutes later, two angry Jamaican housekeeping ladies rang the doorbell and banged on the door twice. My husband answered the door where they said, “excuse me, you said you were DEPRIVED of service? We’re here to unmake your bed for you.” When he said we were already in bed, “well then what did you NEED?? You said you didn’t get your service, so here we are.” He ended up saying thank you and good night and we could hear them mouthing off about us down the hallway. He later said he’d never felt so threatened by hotel staff.
Another instance, we were having breakfast at Horizons and we orders our breakfast and sat to enjoy our mimosas. About 40 minutes later we still had not received our food, even though everyone around us had. We asked to see a manager and the lady said she was the supervisor. We explained the situation and she proceeded to argue with us that we were there after the other tables. WRONG! Finally after about 5 minutes of arguing with her, she rolled her eyes and walked off. I’m sorry, but someone (oh hey Hyatt!!!) needs to train these employees to be kind to those helping to fund their paycheck!!
The beach was hardly swimable, had mountains of seaweed that the crew had to clean every morning and just smelled. Also, thanks to all the rocks, it was a bit sheltered, but still rough and cloudy water. Not a nice Jamaica beach by any means– in fact, looked more like the Texas Gulf Coast.
The “old rooms” on the Ziva side were rundown and sad. The hallways looked like an old Vegas hotel, with years of paint caked on the walls. After a detour through those halls, I was suddenly thrilled for my barbed-wire fence view.
If you want to only sit by the pool and eat American style food, stay at the Hyatt Zilara/Ziva. Otherwise, pick another– any other– property in Jamaica.