LoungeBuddy's Jamaican Retreat (Part 3)

Last February, we crafted an in-depth post detailing LoungeBuddy's first company retreat to Puerto Vallarta. A year later, our team has grown by leaps and bounds, and we've just returned from our second annual retreat all refreshed and ready to forge onward. With our memories from this year's trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica still fresh in mind, we'd like to take this opportunity to recount the time we spent at this beautiful sun-soaked island paradise.

This post is Part 3 of our full length feature. Click on the corresponding link for Part 1, Part 2, Part 4 and Part 5.

Hyatt Ziva: Culinary Delights

A week of unlimited, all-you-can-eat gourmet food was a very welcome change of scenery.

For breakfast, Calypzo and Choicez are among the several places that are open. Located at the center of the resort, Calypzo provides open air seating and features a specialty daiquiri bar. Traditional Jamaican dishes like ackee and saltfish, collaloo (a leafy green stew), and Johnny Cakes (fried, fluffy dumplings made of flour) are several of the breakfast entrees. There's also an omelet bar where you can customize your order. Other items include bacon, cereal, tropical fruits, and yogurt. If that's not enough to whet your appetite, be sure to ask for a menu.

Choicez is a popular buffet spot located on the ground floor of the Rose Hall Village. It's open for all three meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their selection is extensive, and there are three different "show cooking" stations where the food is cooked in front of you for all to see.

Outdoor patio seating at Choicez.

The most important meal of the day.

Throughout the day, pop up food carts introduce an element of surprise. One of these is a New York City hot dog cart. If you're from New York, be sure to grab a hot dog and let us know whether the flavor brings you into an Empire State of Mind.

NYC Hot Dogs - The Best Hot Dogs in Town.

There's also a fresh coconut cart. If you'd like, you can ask to have coconut liqueur poured directly into your coconut for that extra kick.

Taking a snapshot of the coconut cart.

This is how the photo turned out.

There's nothing more refreshing than fresh coconut juice.

Barefoot Jerkz, a small, traditional jerk shack located on the sand just seconds away from the Caribbean Sea, is a very popular option for lunch or a mid-afternoon snack. Jamaican jerk chicken and pork fresh from the barbecue grill awaits you, along with a seafood delight option.

Barefoot Jerkz on the right with seating area to enjoy your chicken.

Excellent location seconds away from the swimmable cove.

Waiting in line.

A couple more minutes, and the chicken will be ready.

To get started at Barefoot Jerkz, grab a folded up paper box from the counter. Then, open up the box, punch the bottom in, and the chef will provide you with a folded sheet to put in the box to ensure that the sauce does not leak out. When the chicken is ready, he'll chop it up, bones included, and place the contents into your box.

If you'd like, you can enjoy your chicken with sides like rice, plantains, and corn on the cob. To add some extra flavor to your chicken, dress it in scotch bonnet, BBQ, or jerk sauce.

Hyatt Ziva: Dinner Options

Dinner is the main event as far as dining at the resort is concerned. The dinner options are extensive, so much that we did not have the opportunity to try them all out despite eating something different every night. Most of the restaurants have pretty lenient dress codes, so there's no need to hit up Men's Wearhouse.

The first night, we visited Calypzo. At night, Calypzo transforms into a dimly lit blue-hued restaurant specializing in Caribbean cuisine, with an emphasis on seafood caught in the waters offshore. The cinnamon-infused bread rolls were very tasty. For the main entree, you'll have the opportunity to choose a type of seafood, a sauce to have it cooked in, and side dishes to accompany your main course. There's also a delicious seafood gumbo option that you can choose in lieu of the main entree.

Mood lighting is one of the highlights at Calypzo.

The next night, we met up at Petit Pariz, the French restaurant located on the ground floor of the main Ziva building. This upscale restaurant is the most exclusive restaurant on the property, and is typically only available for Zilara guests despite its location on Ziva grounds. Here, you'll have the opportunity to savor fine French cuisine, with dishes like escargots, steak frites, and filet mignon to satisfy your palate.

Scallops with little pieces of bacon on top.

Lobster medallions, dressed in a special sauce, were tender and delicious.

The main entree is ready to be served.

It's time for dessert!

On our third night, we visited Urban Heatz, which offers a menu of options inspired by major cities around the world, from London to Shanghai to Tokyo. This was probably the most dimly lit restaurant at the resort, and flashlights were provided to make it possible to read the menu without straining your eyesight. San Francisco was represented by a bread bowl filled with clams, mussels, and shrimp. Dinner comes with a free Latin dance performance.

Perusing the menu at Urban Heatz with a flashlight.

Di Roza, which we visited next, specializes in old-world Italian cuisine, and is located in the Rose Hall Village. One of their highlights is authentic pizzas made in traditional clay ovens. Before starting your meal, feel free to head over to the antipasto table to grab some lobster, cheese, and olives. Then, enjoy all your favorite familiar Italian dishes (pasta, lasagna, pizza) in an exquisite atmosphere. The food is very filling, so you might want to take it easy instead of ordering multiple entrees.

Horizonz, an outdoor covered patio located on the Zilara side of the resort, is transformed at night into a Jamaican restaurant. The menus are inspired by the colors of the Jamaican flag, with the background alternating between green and yellow. If you're looking for something really delicious, your best bets are the jerk salmon, jerk chicken, or pretty much anything cooked on the grill. Orders are taken family style, so you'll have the chance to try a little bit of everything.

Everyone is like a kid in a petting zoo thinking about their appetizer.

The table was completely covered, as we ended up ordering more food than we could finish.

On our last night at the resort, we headed down to Brazil, a Brazilian Steakhouse located under the main lobby on the ground floor. Like Petit Pariz, Brazil has an outdoor patio seating area that offers great poolside views. Here, you can enjoy endless skewers of succulently grilled meats, including pork, beef, chicken, filet mignon, and more.

Still hungry after dinner? No problem - it's Jamaica. Call up room service for some late night bacon cheeseburgers, tacos, or gluten free chicken nuggets.

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