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“Half Moon -expensive but fabulous”
Review of Half Moon

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Half Moon
Ranked #3 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 20, 2008

Since I read hundreds of reviews before our trip to Half Moon, I wanted to weigh in with my own experience now that we (my husband and I) are back. First, the property is beautiful and the scenery is stunning. We stayed in a Junior Suite in the West Cottages, and were thrilled with the location, the decor, and most of all the view. We were seriously about 50 steps from the ocean. We had a great experience with all the staff members we met in our week there, and did not once experience anything but friendly, helpful people. Every single employee I would pass would look up from their work and greet me with a smile and a hello. There is plenty to do at Half Moon if you are looking to stay busy...dolphins to watch or swim with, horses to ride, the usual watersports, tennis, fitness center, pools, and a new spa. One caution...there are extra costs for almost everything you can do. I had a wonderful massage at the spa, but after govt. tax, automatically added gratuity, and actual cost, it was $160 for 50 minutes deep tissue! I Live in Boston, so I am used to high costs, but this seemed extreme. Half Moon is not for the faint of wallet. And beware of the meal plans-they are great, but don't cover all of the places you can eat, and only the platinum plan covers drinks. Just ask a lot of questions about what is and isn't covered before you choose to do a plan. We didn't, but we aren't huge eaters or drinkers. Also, the resort requires that you dress for dinner at most of the restaurants, which may or may not matter to you. Regarding food, we did not find it as bad as some reviewers have said, but it was certainly sub-par for the prices and the quality of resort.

Overall, Half Moon is beautiful and there is little to not like. The one thing that we found frustrating was that there is a major road just outside the gate of the property, and we could hear traffic all day long. Of course, this is not the fault of the property, but something you should know. There is construction going on within the property, but it was never invasive.

Finally, we went into Montego Bay one afternoon with a driver, and were disappointed in the pressure we felt from people to buy whatever they were selling. It really didn't feel safe or enjoyable to walk around, and at minimum it was very overwhelming if you aren't used to being pursued like that.

If you go...take lots of money, and enjoy a truly luxurious vacation.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank travelbettie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,876 - 1,882 of 2,165 reviews

Reviewed January 13, 2008

We loved our last visit to Half Moon. We go 2 or 3 times each year with our children ages 11 and 14.Each time we return we see the improvements that the Stuart family continues to make.The property is secure and we feel at home with the staff. The food is good in the main dining room but it is better at The Sugar Mill and at Akbar the Indian restaurant.It may take a little while,but no matter what the request, the staff can take care of it. Aram Zerunian is the GM and he cares that all of his guests are satisfied. The riding facility is well run by Trena and her staff and if you ride the Beach ride in the surf is a must. They have just opened a world class spa and having been to some wonderful spas, Half Moon's is worth the trip. There are great facilities for tennis including many lighted courts.If you have young children there is a drop off camp so you can have some time to yourself.The road to the airport was just widened and it is now only about a 5 minute ride to Half Moon.There is a Dolphin swim that is on property, everyone that does this is all grins for one hour. Book this early as it can fill up when the hotel is busy. It is a large facility and the beach never seems crowded even at the busiest time of the year which is Christmas.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled with family
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9  Thank neuro_bill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2008

I visited Half Moon in April 2007 as part of a wedding party. It was absolutely the perfect setting for a wedding! Many of the guests were upgraded two to three levels.

I stayed in a Superior Room and opted for the Platinum Plan. I highly recommend that you take advantage of this offer if available! It is so nice not to have to worry about how much you are spending.

FOOD: I ate at the Seagrape Terrace, Sugar Mill, Beach BBQ, and Akbar restaraunts and usually ordered room service for breakfast. My favorite was Akbar. They had wonderful Indian and Asian food! Get the spring rolls- they were divine! Breakfast at Seagrape and what you order from room service are basically the same thing. You will save time in the long run if you just order from room service when you wake up. Take a shower and by the time you get out and dress, room service will be there.

SERVICE: Don't expect fast service. They will get you what you need, but they are definitely on "Jamaica-time." Everything moves at a much slower pace. We booked Seagrape Terrace for a bridesmaid luncheon and were there for what seemed like ages!

Overall, I loved my time at Half Moon,. I would definitely go back!

  • Stayed: April 2007
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4  Thank gabbycat1077
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2008

This is a little belated review because I got married at Half Moon in May of 2007. This was a dream come true of a place! They made my wedding spectacular. My husband and I had planned just to go for a vacation and then decided to get married there only a month before our trip. The wedding planners made it happen with no issues!! It was just my husband and I, and no guests, so it wasn't a big task, but they still made us feel special! We didn't want to leave this place! We are making it a tradition to go back on our anniversaries. This year we are going and taking my mom and dad. I know they will fall in love with it too!!
Thanks Half Moon for such a special sanctuary!

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank aweaver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2008

I am a Fifth Year return customer! This will be my last year! Took the Family down for our annual trip. we expected great time and ended up with Rats in our Villa! NO refund offered whatosever, but an apology! This killed four good days of the vacation. We ended up leaving a few days early since the resort was fully commited and my children refused to sleep with Rats! I also found out that the poeple in the villa next to us had rats as well. We won't be back sorry to report.

Mr. Mag

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled with family
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21  Thank mrnewyork34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2007

Just got back from 4 night stay. We thought service was very good. Not on top of you which we don't like and which may be why people used to "Ritz" type service sometimes complain. It is still a bit offseason so I can not say what service would be like at a busier time. People were extremely friendly. Food was good to very good. We booked a superior room which I believe is generally in the Oleander area (new and very nice but not all with ocean view) but were put in a West Cottage suite right on the water. Not sure if this was a one level or two level upgrade but it certainly colored our experience. Some could nit pick that it is somewhat dated and some doors and drawers did not work so well but it did not bother us. Rather be on the beach in a bigger dated room than have a garden view in a newer room. We have been to Caneel Bay and loved that hotel and also were upgraded to a room right on the beach, but this room was bigger and nicer. The beach is very nice and long. Lots of places to sit. Good life package is a great deal. Weather was not great as it was unusually windy and there were some annoying pockets of rain.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank jsfcbf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 11, 2007

We attended a wedding at Half Moon, and made a family vacation out of it. We stayed in the Royal Villas. Our trip and experience was a mixed bag, with great highlights and some lows. The resort is enormous, with vast beaches throughout. Each villa has two golf carts, to get from one end of the resort to the other end (where some of the wedding party were) takes about 15 minutes drive in the cart. The condition of the buildings varies from newly renovated to desperately in need of renovation. Our villa staff were pleasant, but sometimes slow. We had to remind the maid to empty our laundry hamper and wash the clothes, after it was filled for 3 days. We saw a cockroach in our bed room. Our villa pool was convenient but got lots of debris and bugs in it every day, but the pool cleaner was there daily. A piece of glass above the door to the pool patio fell down and shattered from strong wind, but honestly it was already cracked and should have been replaced long before (serious safety hazard). There are significant renovations throughout the grounds, including a new paved road to the royal villas passing the equestrian beach. The two commissaries have limited and mildly overpriced food; there is not much selection, so the villa cook only has a few items to work with. The West Cottages are right on the beach, and some are undergoing major renovations, which look very good.

The beaches were nice when the wind was not strong, but for half our stay, there were strong winds, resulting in warning flags along the beaches. During the calm days, the water was clear, and I saw decent sea life snorkeling along the beach, especially behind Oleander Terrace, which has artificial barriers off the shore. Definitely carry beach towels if you head out, since you may not find any clean ones later in the day. If you ask a staff member to find a clean beach towel, they usually can. There is some garbage on the beaches and grounds that you would think they would be a little more diligent about; I saw staff raking the beach sand, but leaving behind some large pieces of garbage. Some of the beaches are extremely rocky, plus there is some garbage underwater (bottles, bags, metal), so be careful where you step.

We ate at Royal Stocks (the pub) which was good, as well as Scotchies, which had great BBQ pork and chicken for ~$5 USD. The rest of the time we had the cook prepare simple meals at our Villa and ate with the wedding party. Sunrise beach was nice since it was more private, but has fewer amenities. Sunset beach is a bit more protected and it by the main lobby. There are plenty of beaches and pools throughout the resort, more than we even were able to use. I used the tennis courts, where the courts are free, but the cans of balls are $8 USD, as is a racquet rental. We did the Dolphin Lagoon, which was fun and educational. This resort is huge, with good activities, plenty of beaches and pools. We purchased a few souvenirs from the Straw Shop in the Arcade.

The West Cottages, Royal Court, Oleander Terrace and premium Royal Villas get my vote as the best rooms, since they are directly on the beach, with private pools. Royal Villas do not get room service. West Cottages have no full kitchens, just a mini bar, and no golf carts included. The condition of some of the pools, roads, buildings and facilities just looked "tired".

The Half Moon staff were also a mixed bag. People in the wedding were repeatedly offered "stuff" by certain staff members. Some staff make you feel like they are only working you for a tip, and they make it blatantly obvious; these few staff do not understand that a nice tip is to be earned with as little as a smile, and they downgrade the entire experience, this kind of staff behavior is improper; luckily most of the resort staff are not like that. Our Royal Villa staff were pleasant and friendly. Security guards were plentiful and generally attentive. One of the bar staff at the wedding event was extremely rude, other than that service was good, but definitely as a whole they could use some customer service training. The wedding event itself was fantastic, and well-organized. It was a fun trip and Half Moon is a nice place, with a bit more staff effort, completed building/road/beach renovations and attention to detail they could be a legit 4-star resort. Equally holding back Half Moon's potential are some physical amenities (worn-out, broken, not clean, unsafe) and some less than enthusiastic staff members.

The only way I would ever consider a return visit would be if I had a friends or family reunion, I might rent out a whole beach front villa, insist that the villa be recently renovated, and I would request the same villa staff we had this trip. More likely, I would look elsewhere in the Caribbean, unless Half Moon got a major makeover in the areas I pointed out.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled with family
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5  Thank puddlejump
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Half Moon

Address: Rose Hall, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint James Parish > Montego Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#3 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
#3 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#3 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: $246 - $1,042 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Half Moon 4.5*
Number of rooms: 180
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A destination in itself, set on 400 acres of manicured grounds with two miles of beachfront. We have 197 individually-appointed rooms and suites and 31 villas, most of which have views of the Caribbean Sea. All of our guests can enjoy the extensive facilities of this destination, which include the largest award-winning spa oasis in Jamaica, an 18-hole par-72 championship golf course, our own equestrian centre with 28 horses and the Sugar Mill, awarded as Jamaica's best restaurant. As a discerning traveller, you will enjoy the luxury of space and tranquility we have to offer. Imagine your first morning taking in the panoramic view of the horizon, and watching the sunrise having just concluded yoga meditation in our overwater bungalow. Then, cycle to the Seagrape Terrace for breakfast before beginning a day of whatever you want. Whether you choose to lounge on the beach, play a round tennis or golf, visit a local art gallery, or go horse riding along the beach, your days at Half Moon are yours to spend in any way you wish. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Half Moon, a Rock Hotel Montego Bay
Half Moon Jamaica
Half Moon Resort Jamaica
Half Moon Bay Jamaica

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