Located on two miles of the picturesque shores of Rose Hall, not far from the famous great house known for the legends of Annie Palmer, is Half Moon Jamaica, a resort that has offered over sixty years of premium hospitality service to both locals and foreigners.
But after so long being in existence, chairman of Half Moon Jamaica Guy Steuart III, having reminisced on the hotel’s legacy, started under the stewardship of his grandfather, decided it is one worth protecting, and so he embarked on ensuring the future of the world-renowned facility.
“Since opening our doors in 1954, Half Moon has been known for its warm Jamaican hospitality infused with superlative comfort and luxury, and now it is time for our legacy to be reborn,” Steuart is quoted in a release earlier this year. “It’s time to build anew and to continue to express ourselves in ways that are elegant in the 21st century.”
As a result, in March 2017 he announced that the hotel would undergo a transformation to the tune of US$75 million — to be unveiled this month, just in time for the 65th anniversary. Ground was broken in May of last year.
“This period of development will be an exciting time for Half Moon, which has been the chosen retreat for royalty, presidents and generations of loyal guests,” Steuart stated at that time.
“The resort is evolving so that the best of Half Moon will remain,” added General Manager Sandro Fabris, “and this constant evolution is the key to a luxury hospitality experience.”
The development to which the chairman referred is the addition of a great house comprising 57 new guestrooms and suites and new welcome lobby with private check-in; these following the 2015 refurbishment of the award-winning Sugar Mill Restauran, golf course and Lester’s Café. And to complete the transformation of the resort, an adults-only swimming pool, two restaurants, three bars and cafes are now included.
Fabris believes that the new additions, complemented by the property’s architecture and landscape, can only elevate the tourist experience and rekindle interest in the hotel.
On the outskirts of resort city Montego Bay and just seven miles from Sangster International Airport, Half Moon sits on 400 acres of beachfront property. Yet only 20 acres of the property have undergone renovation — to be called the “East Cove” — as part of the US$75-million master plan.
The resort still boasts another 153 hotel rooms and 10 original West Cottages which one hosted the Queen, Prince Rainer of Monaco and US President John F Kennedy — not all at the same time. And it remains a boon for those with an active lifestyle with facilities for watersport, tennis, golf, yoga, and equestrian, to name a few.
Still the hotel is adding new activities such as a music academy, dance studio and, possibly, a swimming academy. While announcing these at a press conference in Manahattan in March, Steuart disclosed that he had considered creating two over-water-bungalows.
“With all the new offerings coming on board, we are further enhancing one of the best characteristics of the villas — the private atmosphere of each individual villa within a neighbourhood, complemented by nearby resort experiences, which are offered by Half Moon,” Steuart noted in recent release which announced the renaming of its villas as Rose Hall Villas.
The existing 28 villas — available as four-,five-, six- and seven-bedroom accommodations — are an excellent choice for families and groups, with each featuring a living and dining room, outdoor living space and private pool, the travel news website states. Each villa comes with a butler, housekeeper and a cook.
Asserting that formality has been lost in the luxury sector Fabris explained that, “What people want is top-quality; it’s the little attentions that people remember.” With a 32 per cent repeat client rate, the general manager is hoping not only to wow clients with an unforgettable experience, but to have more coming back, even for the food.
As such Half Moon has revamped its menu, “reinventing Jamaican cusine” with dishes like breadfruit gnocchi in coconut milk, yam risotto, and oxtail ravioli in sweet potato dough.
“The transformation of Half Moon will refresh, reposition and ready the resort for the next 60-plus years and we are thrilled and we are thrilled to welcome future generations of guests as we extend our history,” Steuart said.
Half Moon will officially unveil its renovations this month.