Wow, where do I begin? We had the BEST time, it was everything we wanted! A trip of a lifetime. We went from Sept 1 – 11, 2008.
First lets talk expectations. We were going on our honeymoon, and wanted all inclusive luxury. We wanted to eat and drink till our hearts content, and sit on the beach or by the pool and relax. We were going for 11 days, so we were fine with doing some activities, but the main activity we wanted was relaxation after the stress of our wedding.
We found out about Half Moon through friends who hooked us up with our travel agent. The fabulous thing about Jamaica from Baltimore is that its only a 3.5 hour flight! We splurged and upgraded to first class ( I think it was $150 extra per person which really wasn’t bad). We flew Jamaica air and they serve a meal! Not only to first class, but everyone! Ok you’re probably thinking I’m crazy for being so excited about airplane food, but you know how domestic flights are these days. You’re lucky to even get a tiny bag of peanuts! So we land at Montego Bay, and Half Moon had a little kiosk in the airport (all the resorts there do). We were immediately taken to the resort in an air conditioned van (by ourselves). The resort is only 10 minutes away from the airport! Another plus.
The accommodations. The lobby is an open air lobby, and it was stately and kind of like old british colony style. The resort isn’t a highrise or normal hotel building. Its made of all these little buildings, or cottages. There is a variety to choose from, based on how much you want to spend. We stayed in the hibiscus suites which I believe are the best (newest), and not far from the main lobby where the bar and restaurants are. They were these individual houses that had 4 suites to a house. Each one had a terrace that came out onto a small area of grass, and then the ocean was only a few steps away from that. It was HEAVEN. The suites were large with a big bathroom w/ 2 sinks, a shower and tub, the bedroom area, and then a living area (with mini bar that is always stocked if you do the all inclusive). They had a welcome bottle of champagne for us and a beautiful welcome flower for the room. We loved being practically right on the beach, and were also close to everything else that the resort had to offer. Some people complain about the size of the resort, but if you stay in the hibiscus suites you’re right near everything. We did rent bikes though because we enjoyed riding all around the resort for a little exercise and the great views. The resort is very impressive – they have all different types of accommodations, but remember if you stay in the villas you will be far away from the main lobby. The grounds are amazing. Everything is so lush and tropical….just like paradise. A hurricane had come through the week before we were there, and we heard from everyone that the grounds staff cleaned everything right up – there were always guys picking up palm tree leaves or pulling out tress that came down. They really took pride in the appearance of the place.
The food and drink. Food was very important to us! My husband and I had both been to all inclusives in Mexico and we thought the food was terrible. Half Moon has amazing food. The restaurants we ate at were Seagrape Terrace, The Italian restaurant Il Gardino, and the Thai /Indian restaurant (and although they were far away in the shopping center, we never had to wait long to get a ride over there). The SugarMill Restaurant was CLOSED when we were there for renovations, and we were so sad cause our travel agent said it was the best. Now, granted, it would’ve been great to have had more choices. I think they have some extra places to eat open during peak season, but I’m not sure. Despite the limited choices, everything we ate was fabulous. We did room service for breakfast almost every morning, and ate it out on our terrace as we watched the ocean waves. The Jamaican coffee is amazing! They did have a lovely breakfast buffet every morning too, which we did a few times. For lunch we did Seagrape everyday, which was always good. Salads, sandwiches….it hit the spot. Seagrape was also great for dinner and the Italian was great too! Yes, Italian in Jamaica can be good! The only thing is…..service was a bit slow. It seemed like every meal was kind of dragged out because it took awhile to get the food. That got on my nerves after awhile, and so for lunch we started just ordering the food to go and then taking it over to the pool so we wouldn’t miss a minute of sun/pool time. The best things we had were: Chilean Sea Bass at the Italian restaurant, and a filet with shrimp entree at Seagrape. After 11 days of eating at the same places we got a little tired of it….but that is to be expected. We could’ve ventured into town but were too lazy. The Thai/Indian restaurant wasn’t that great. And it was a little creepy because nobody was ever in there. But overall, the food was delicious! The drinks were all amazing! If you get the all inclusive, all top shelf alcohol is included. We drank the best rums, the best vodkas….we had so many fruity drinks you couldn’t believe it! The best is this pina colada where they do a splash of dark rum on top of it. So good! And one of the bartenders made a great mojito with brown sugar. Our fav bartender was Harry. He was at the pool bar and would bring us over drinks without even being asked! He was wonderful and a pleasure to talk to. Another fav drink was a Vodka Ting - Ting is Jamaican grapefruit soda. Delicious! And my husband loved the Red Stripe Light….yes Light! Can’t get it in America. They went down so easy you could drink like 6 of them in one sitting! And yes, we did!
Beach/Pool. Believe it or not, we spent most of our type at the pool. The beach was fine….very lovely, plenty of chairs, palm trees for shade…..but because the hurricanes were going on all around us (but never hit us!) the ocean water had a lot of seaweed in it. It was fine enough to swim in, but I just didn’t feel like it. The pool was great AND it has a swim up bar! So that sold me. We spent almost everyday just chilling at the pool. They also have a lap pool, and two hot tubs, although I thought it was too hot for a hot tub! At the beach, they did have a variety of non-motorized water sports. We did go kayaking one day, but you have to do it when the water is calm.
Activities. As you can tell thus far, we were really lazy and didn’t want to do that much. So we picked two activities. We did the ATV tour, which was only about 15 minutes from Half Moon. That was a lot of fun, even for the non-adventurous. We saw a Jamaican village with school children, and had an incredible view from the top of Mt Zion. We also did the Appleton Rum Tour. That is on the south coast of the country, so it took about 2.5 hours to get there. We had our own private driver and van, so it was nice. But, the roads were all back roads, not a highway, and it was alittle bumpy. But we got to see the REAL Jamaica. The rum tour was great and we got our own private tour there, and got to taste all the rums. A lot of the tours are done through this company called Glamour Tours – our driver was Lance, he is the best! We didn’t do Dunns River because we heard from many people that it was really touristy and almost like an amusement park type of thing. Maybe we’ll do that next time.
Back at the resort, we went to the fitness center a few times. They had a great mini golf course too, which was fun. They had nice tennis courts but it was too hot. We biked around a lot, cause around 5pm when the sun was going down, it was really so beautiful. The Half Moon shopping center isn’t much to talk about….it was pretty deserted. Actually we got all our souvenirs at this big blue and yellow building that was on the highway about a mile up from the resort. It looks like something out of Ocean City Maryland.
The Fern Tree Spa at Half Moon was great! It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but it’s a huge complex inside! There is a special pool with a waterfall, AND a soaking pool right outside the locker rooms that was warm and fabulous! If you get a treatment, you can use the pools all day long. One day we did a couples massage, and another time we did a mani/pedi. I loved the massage, but the mani/pedi was kind of annoying cause they bumped our time by a few hours due to a wedding party being there. But whatever, it was fine. It was a really nice facility.
On Friday night that we were there they had a beach BBQ that was really awesome. It was an outdoor buffet and they had live entertainment. They also had a managers cocktail party on Monday with fun appetizers and drinks and you could meet the managers.
Half Moon Staff. I cannot express to you how kind, warm and welcoming the people of Jamaica are. I was blown away by how nice everyone was. They really say “Yea, mon!” and “No worries, mon!” like all the time! The great thing about going when we did was that the resort only had about 100 people staying there. So everyone was really great to us – everyone really wanted to go out of their way for us and help us. I felt like first class royalty! Cedric and Harry were our favorite bartenders, and Patrian at the front desk was fabulous! We did tip, because even though we were on the all inclusive its still important to take care of the people taking care of you. These people work hard! They are classy, all the way!
Complaints. Ok, while I look back on our honeymoon with nothing but fondness, I am going to be fair and tell you a couple of things that I didn’t like. When we got to our room, I went to use the hairdryer and it started smoking and sparking. They did come immediately and give me another hairdryer, but the sparking one was still on the wall, and I’m pretty sure the next person that stays there is gonna have the same thing happen! Plus my husband thought that the room needed a flat screen tv, and maybe a better radio. If its 5 star, it just needs a slight upgrade to really be 5 star. Another thing was, on our last day there, the lobby and our room didn’t have water for about 7 hours. It was really bad….and I needed to take a shower. Luckily I was having the mani/pedi done at the spa so I took a shower there (and they are awesome, big, wonderful showers) but still, I was annoyed. None of the bathrooms would flush, etc. But, there was a problem with the lines and what can you do? Another complaint is that they really don’t have anywhere to get quick fast food. Like, if I don’t feel like sitting down for a big lunch and dinner and I just wanted a quick sandwich, that wasn’t possible. And they didn’t serve food at the bar. It just got on my nerves after awhile with the slow service to go and sit down for a big meal. I just wish there would’ve been another faster option. Plus believe it or not, after 11 days of eating, I was kind of tired of the big meal thing and just wanted something quick. Also, I wish there would’ve been more food options, but we were told that when the resort is in peak time (Nov to Apr) there are more places open. One other thing, and this isn’t a complaint for me but I just want you to know: the resort is very expensive. If you decide to go and you are NOT on the all inclusive platinum plan (that includes all meals and alcohol) you are going to drop a lot of money on food and drink. A lot of the negative reviews on here have to do with the prices, but listen, if you aren’t gonna do the platinum then don’t go! The prices are probably double or triple what you’d expect to pay for food. So the platinum plan really pays off! Plus you are on vacation, why would you want to be worried about what you have to pay for? Just live it up! But if you do get the platinum plan, make sure the waitors and bartenders always get the receipts with your name and room number on them. Someone stole my last name and room number and bought an expensive bottle of wine and charged it to our room! Luckily the front desk was really understanding, but still!
One more warning: The mositos were horrid. I went home with about 15 bites. Take deep woods OFF with you! Especially at night, before you go for drinks and dinner, put it on!
If you are looking to be constantly entertained, constantly have activities and have a crazy busy vacation, I don’t know if Half Moon is for you. It is on the quiet side. On our honeymoon, we literally wanted to do nothing except relax, and eat and drink wonderful food and be surrounded by paradise. And Half Moon was perfect for what we wanted! We are definitely going back to Jamaica. The people were fabulous! And thank you Half Moon for a wonderful vacation!
And if any of our great british friends are reading this: Hi!
- 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