When it comes to island paradise, where finer a destination than Jamaica? Featuring warm tropical breezes, clear blue water, white sand and reggae beats, there’s no better place to forget about your worries and relax than surrounded by the easy hospitality of the Jamaican people.
Booked into a sumptuous a suite, I found the décor a bit outdated; a tropical, colonial style, with large marble-floored bathrooms and island-themed art. On the upside, my patio opened up to a view of the nearby beach and I was within yards of the enormous swimming pool and Mangoes restaurant. The property caters to business travellers and families, and plenty of both were much in evidence throughout the property.
Spa culture in Jamaica is shaped by treatments that incorporate some of the best of Jamaica’s natural bounty, with coffee and sugar two of the most popular ingredients used in scrubs and massages. But Jamaican spas also draw on island inspired essential oil blends,fresh coconut, seaweed and native herbs like Jamaican basil. Yoga classes are offered at most spas with expert teachers providing quality instruction.
What's on offer?
The Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall (previously the Ritz-Carlton Resort in Rose Hall) has a full-service spa featuring a classic Jamaican-style experience, heightened by the expertise and sophistication that The Hyatt is known for. Upon entering the elegant reception area, just off the main lobby of the hotel, guests are guided to the spa lounge and provided with robes, slippers and offered a refreshing drink. Wet and dry saunas, a cold water plunge and luxurious showers are just a few of the amenities available in the spa lounge. The nearby fitness centre and salon are available to spa guests, and yoga classes are also offered daily, either outside on the beach or on one of the property's patio areas.
Before my spa visit, I made a quick trip down to the beach to get a little sun. Though crowded, there were plenty of loungers available near the water. I chose to forego the offers of help from the many beach attendants and just set my own lounger up, but noticed a nearby wedding party getting their towels fluffed and loungers carried to just the right spot.
Small catamaran rides and swimming are just two of the activities that seemed popular on the beach, with most guests choosing the sun bathing option rather than more active pursuits.
What were the treatments like?
Getting away from the crowds at the beach, I was happy to enter the quiet calm of the nearby spa, located in the main building of the hotel. I was booked to receive a Jamaican Coffee Body Scrub and, after being greeted, I was whisked away by a very friendly spa attendant, provided with robe, slippers and a locker key, and given a tour of the facilities. Old-world elegance is the overriding aesthetic of The Hyatt, and this carries through to the spa. The lounge area features several couches, a wide selection of current magazines and tea and lemon water.
I was just expecting a simple scrub with coffee and maybe a bath, as the menu description of the treatment was not very detailed. I was not fully prepared for the body extravaganza that followed. My very warm and gracious therapist, Andrea, first led me into the spa’s steam room to sit for about five minutes. Andrea then took me to the treatment room, where she applied the yummy smelling coffee/sugar scrub. I knew immediately I was in good hands, because Andrea had a firm but nurturing touch, and carefully applied the scrub to every part of my body. She then gently guided me into a waiting bathtub to soak and wash away the scrub. One of the best parts of this treatment was thefresh coconut she handed me to sip on while in the bath.
The combination of cold coconut water and the heat of the tub was perfect, but the massage she gave me after I got back on the treatment bed was even better. Using a lovely cream from Eminence, an organic skin care company from Hungary, she gave me a full-body massage. Often, with these multiple part treatments, the massage can feel a bit rushed but Andrea really made me feel like we had all the time in the world, thoroughly massaging many tight corners of my body that were still holding out even after the relaxing efforts of the treatment.
After my treatment I had lunch on the patio of Mangoes restaurant. The fish sandwich I ordered was so-so, but after remarking on how much I loved the coconut water during my treatment, I was brought another fresh one to enjoy.
Later that evening I enjoyed a five-course meal at the upscale White Witch restaurant overlooking the golf courses. Curried lobster, freshly-made ravioli and a decadent chocolate dessert were just a few of the highlights on the menu. A Jerk barbecue centre nearby adds to the variety of food options available.
Who would like it?
Honeymooners and brides-to-be: the Ritz offers full-service wedding planning, catering, etc.
Families: the Ritz has an incredible children’s programme, featuring games, activities and classes. Events include a pirate’s night, pajama party, wild card party and a movie night. A whole food menu has also been designed specifically for kids.
Golf fans: try 600 acres of rolling courses on for size. Apparently golfers flock to the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall Bay for golfing vacations. Golf widows will find the spa welcome compensation.