We just returned from the Half Moon Resort in Jamaica. The bottom line: it is the best resort we've been to in our twenty years visiting the Caribbean. The staff is friendly and helpful and by that I mean everyone from the front desk staff to the operator to the room service folks to the beach attendants to the wait staff to the housekeepers to the landscapers who will stop what they're doing to ask you if you want them to pick and open a coconut. Even when the resort was at capacity, it is large enough that it never seemed crowded. And almost unbelievably everything remained clean. The answer to any question is never no. No need to wake up at the crack of dawn to save a chair on the beach or by the pool here. The food is excellent. Folks will tell you that the Sugar Mill is the best restaurant on the property. We preferred Il Giordano but every meal was good, including the buffets which can be pretty scary at some resorts. Although everything about Half Moon is first class there is no snootiness. The dress code is enforced but putting on a shirt other than a t shirt and pants for dinner didn't seem unreasonable to me. I would say it is elegant in a laid back way. If you're looking for a place with loud music playing over loudspeakers and contests this isn't the place for you. The beaches are lively but naturally so. The pool areas are serene. It is the only place in the Caribbean we've been to where families with young children, families with teenagers and college age kids, and adults without children all seem to be having an equally good time. You can spend your days on the beach or run yourself ragged or do some of both. We -- two adults, a sixteen year old and a thirteen year old -- enjoyed diving, snorkling, horseback riding, sailing, a banana boat ride and swimming with dolphins, all without leaving the Resort and all with courteous and expert staff committed to our fun and safety. We had bicycles but you don't really need them. They're just fun for a change. The rooms are spacious and clean. The wi fi is lightening fast. The included transfers to and from the airport were perfect.
The only nit I would pick (like the difference between a 99 and a 100) is that the daily resort fee is annoying in context. I'd prefer that the Resort just increase the cost of the rooms by $27 instead of adding the fee. Also, the weight room air conditioning wasn't working well when we visited and the elliptical trainers could be updated. That's really all I can find to complain about.
We had a perfect week and we'll be back. We have been to the Iberostar and Fairmont in Playa Del Carmen, the Westin in St. John, Belize, the Dominican Republic, and St. Barth. No place else holds a candle to the Half Moon in terms of overall excellence across the board. Our only regret is that it took us so long to find it.