Iberostar Grand Hotel, Montego Bay, Jamaica: The Food, Service and Activities

It would be hard not to enjoy yourself here.
It would be hard not to enjoy yourself here.

Settling in for a few days of relaxation is pretty easy, especially in beautiful surroundings, with drink service. The Iberostar Grand Hotel did not disappoint. Service throughout the property was friendly and for the most part, very good. Drink service around the pool could be a bit slow, but frankly, if you are in a huge hurry for the next Dirty Banana, you can always stroll on over to the bar yourself. I wasn’t in such a hurry.

I expected the food to be good, not great, and I was not disappointed. Frankly, I was treating this whole vacation much like a cruise, but

The swim up bar would be much more inviting if the water were warmer.
The swim up bar would be much more inviting if the water were warmer.

without actually boarding a ship. Breakfast at the resort is served at two different buffet restaurants, and includes made to order eggs and omelets, fresh fruit, pastries, meats, cheeses, cereals and more. It is delightful. Both buffet restaurants have regular coffee and cappuccinos available, as well as anything else you might enjoy. (Mimosa? Sure! Bloody Mary? No problem!).

Lunch is served at the buffet, or on the beach as a BBQ (complete with fresh coconut water). A word about the buffets: these are nicely presented, with small plated of food. There are no chafing dishes lingering for hours. Platters are refilled as needed, and there are some dishes made to order, like the crepes for breakfast, or pasta and burgers for lunch.

Although the buffet is also open for dinner, there are five a la carte restaurants as well, all at no additional charge. They do require reservations, which I made ahead of time by emailing the resort. We started at The Galleon, the Surf and Turf restaurant, which was the least exciting of them all. The food was only okay (lobster “bisque” was a sad, brown bowlful with no cream in sight), and service was subpar. Fortunately, the other two restaurants ended up much better. We tried Es Palau, the gourmet restaurant, the night the Jamaican restaurant was closed and it was very good. The service was excellent, and the food very good. Although the cheese souffle was a disappointment, the fried brie was delicious. Likewise, La Toscana, the Italian restaurant was also very good. pastas were nicely cooked, meats were cooked to temperature, and the porcini risotto was outrageously delicious.

What else is there to do besides eat? Well, if you must, the Star Friends activity crew has various pool games throughout the day, shows in the evening, and there are a bunch of tours you can take if you feel the need to leave the property. (I didn’t have that need.) The pools are stunningly beautiful, and the beach is wonderful. One major disappointment: The pools are not heated, and the jacuzzi is a “cold tub” not a hot tub, as one might expect. So, for this native Floridian, the pools were much too cold for me.

Overall, the whole experience was great, and I am looking forward to both a return trip to Iberostar, as well as trying some of the other great all-inclusive properties throughout the Caribbean.


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