Half Moon has long been on our bucket list – ten years ago we stayed at the Ritz next door and found ourselves wondering if we should have stayed at Half Moon instead. One reason for our return this year was so my husband could play golf again on the White Witch. Unfortunately, about a month before our trip we found out the White Witch had closed. This was a big disappointment. This trip was five nights at Half Moon and five nights at Jamaica Inn in Ocho Rios, another of our bucket list resorts. The surprise for us was that Half Moon exceeded our expectations and Jamaica Inn did not quite live up to them (check out our review on Jamaica Inn).
We stayed in the Hibiscus Suites which rate right up there with the nicest hotels rooms we have every stayed in. Particularly the huge bathroom and lovely patio overlooking the green lawn to the water beyond. We had requested to be in a quiet location and so we were quite a ways down from the main lobby area (past both the main pool and the adult lap pool) but we enjoyed the walk and the peaceful ambience. One important thing to note about this location is that the rooms really aren’t “beachfront” per se, as there is not one long stretch of beach here that you can walk out to, it is little rocky coves and there is an expanse of lawn between the rooms and the water. We spent most of our beach time on the main beach and if you really want to be located where you can walk out to one long stretch of beach, consider the West Cottages instead.
We did the all-inclusive plan and got a great summer sale rate. We found it to be well worth it. You still have to sign a bill for everything which is a bit of an inconvenience but it certainly gave us an idea regarding the prices, which are high (but not as high as the Jamaica Inn). We kept all our receipts to see if we made the right choice going AI and for five nights our food and beverage bill was more than $2,400 (and that did not include everything we drank out of the in-room mini-bar which is also included). Yes, we did drink and eat a bit more since we were on AI, but to give you an idea of the prices, the breakfast and lunch buffet (soft drinks or iced tea not included) is about $27 plus 25% tax and service charge so our lunch bill was regularly about $70 – 80 as was breakfast. Drinks, including glasses of wine, are around $10 – 11 each plus the 25%, beer is about $6 – 7, a diet coke $4. So, if you are going to have more than a few drinks a day, definitely consider the AI.
We found the food to be some of the best we have had in the Caribbean. Honestly did not have a bad meal and service was really attentive and efficient. Loved the lunch buffets – every day they would have a selection of soups and salads in addition to entrees, the soups and salads were real stand-outs as were the cookies! I don’t want to think about how many cookies I ate in five days – they would have two or three types of cookies every lunch along with lots of other desserts. We loved the ambience of the Sugar Mill Restaurant and the atmosphere of the Italian restaurant with its twinkly lights on the patio overlooking the sea was really romantic. The only criticism we have is that in the summer there is only one location for breakfast and lunch (the main restaurant) unless you want to take the shuttle to the shopping village which has an English Pub and Indian Restaurant (included in the AI). We didn’t want to leave the beach for that long. You can also have room service but we enjoyed the buffets so much we never did use it.
We really enjoyed hanging at the bar before and after dinner and chatting with other guests and the staff who suggested drinks to us and were just all around great guys. One of the complaints we have had about other beach resorts we have visited is that many of them don’t seem to have a good outdoor bar that stays open in the evening – the set-up of the main bar at Half Moon was ideal – it is part of the main building/open air lobby and restaurants but located right against the beach and the water and was open from 11 a.m. until late at night.
We enjoyed the sense of history throughout the Half Moon and featured in photos and mementos, it really is a Grand Dame (but laid-back) Jamaican Resort that has been kept updated and enhanced but has not lost its Caribbean charm. One of the top full-service resorts we have visited with facilities and amenities galore, we could have easily stayed much longer. We prefer adults-only AIs (some favorites include Galley Bay in Antigua and Sandals Emerald Bay in Great Exuma) so were a bit leery that the resort would be overrun by children – yes, this is a family resort and there were quite a few families but not quite as many children as we thought (it was 4th of July week, but perhaps they spent more time at the villas which had their own pools) and the resort is so spread out it was easy to find a peaceful location on the beach. Honestly, we have been more overrun by children at the Ritz or Four Seasons Resorts. The end result was a more romantic, couple-oriented resort than we expected and that’s one of the reasons Half Moon exceeded our expectations.
We would definitely return to Half Moon, but hopefully the White Witch will re-open so that next time my husband can play that spectacular course once again! That being said, he enjoyed the Half Moon golf course, which is a nice resort course but not up to the caliber of the White Witch.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
August 22, 2013
Dear Valued Guest,
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We sincerely appreciate your taking the time to pen your Half Moon experience on tripadvisor. We are delighted that we exceeded your expectations and thank you for confirming the Caribbean charm for which Half Moon is renowned. Recognizing our Sugar Mill and Il Giardino Restaurants as Romantic concurs with similar comments from many of our treasured guests. We are also happy that our all-inclusive options add value to our guests’ experience.
We look forward to welcoming you back home.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.