By Guy Britton MONTEGO BAY — We had questions. Was it Zilara and Ziva or Ziva and Zilara? And which one was which? Apparently others have the same questions, so on a recent trip to Jamaica we made a reservation at the new Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Jamaica all inclusive properties to see what all the fuss was about. After all, these are just new rooms at a remodeled Ritz Carton, right? Wrong! What they did at this property is nothing short of extraordinary. What they managed to pull off was maintaining the best parts of the former Ritz Carlton property and creating two new hotels on either side. Joined but unique, separate and quite simply beautiful. There is a special type of service here. It’s world-renowned Hyatt service blended with Caribbean-styled, Jamaican-infused hospitality and the results are notable. The staff is well managed and very attentive. At the center of the property, an icon was preserved. Some bars have souls; this one has a soul, a history and a bright future. There are 16 restaurants, three specialty lounges and a rooftop Moroccan Bar. Ok so what’s the difference? The Zilara is an adults-only hotel with 234 suites including 32 swim-up suites. There is the adults-only pool, beach and hot tubs. Guests at Zilara can use facilities at both properties. The Ziva has 386 suites with 25 swim-up suites and accommodates guests of all ages. The Ziva has nightly entertainment, a swim up bar, a rooftop bar, sports bar and shopping. Set off on a quiet corner of the beach is the Zen Spa. Treatment rooms right on the beach with water views. One of the more notable features at the Zilara are the rooms themselves. There is superb use of lighting, space and flow throughout the room. The space is functional yet luxurious. The light woods, cool fabrics and functional designs portray a Scandinavian purpose with Caribbean influence The Ziva and Zillara are great wedding venues and have a conference center with over 18,000 square feet of meeting space. A short distance to the Montego Bay Convention Center and 1o minutes to the Montego Bay Airport make the property a perfect convention and meeting facility. So we had our questions and now we had our answers — and we learned a trick on how to tell them apart –Ziva is the bigger one with the smaller name and Zilara is the smaller one with the larger name. All you really need to remember, though, is that is one of Jamaica’s finest resort properties.
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