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“Half Moon - Best and Worst of both worlds”
Review of Half Moon

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Half Moon
Ranked #2 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 7, 2009

This was our 3rd visit to Half Moon in the past decade.
We love the place - very sentimental to us as it was the site of our first vacation together and one of our anniversary trips.

We love the place -- but part of that appeal is the quirkiness that blends the best and worst aspects of old world charm, modern luxury and developing world service.

If you did not know, the place was founded by a dozen+ British families and still has a strong influence. from the white Roman columns that adorn the main building to the statues of lions on the lobbies to the photos of royalty visiting through the years.

The setting/location can't be beat -- just minutes from the MBJ airport ( you can see planes take off and approach, but don't hear much of it) you can leave the East Coast in the AM and have your toes in the sand for a late lunch. The newly remodeled airport should have sherpa guides to get you from your gate to the customs area -- easily a 15 minute walk!

The beach is a perfect half moon and just across the road is the golf course at the foothills of the mountains.

Accomodations are also thoroughly old world tropical -- remember the Ethan Allen British Classics plantation line. We have always stayed in the original section of the property - the West Cottages which are two story buildings with 4 - 6 or so units with either a balcony or terrace, 75% of which are steps to the beach. Some of the larger units set to the back or side of the buildings have private plunge pools.

We highly recommend anything oceanfront, the junior suites have a nice sitting area. The sound of the waves and steady breeze being waterfront can't be beat.

We booked on line -- free category upgrade for doing so -- and requested the same unit we had on our last visit. No such luck. Despite being sent to VIP reception, it took 15 minutes to figure out if our room was ready. It was, but not a ground floor ocean front unit as requested. It took another 15 minutes to find out if a GF showing empty was clean (all relevant mgrs were in a meeting -- in 5 minutes someone could walk there and open it and look) and it wasn't. We waited an HOUR for the room to be cleaned, despite assurances it would be ready soon. How it takes an hour to clean a hotel room is beyond me.

But we were not specific enough in our request. Despite our original request for GFOF, when we said we preferred GF to the 2nd floor originally assigned, we did not realize we had to reiterate the OF preference again.

After the hour-long wait we were taken to a GF, but not OF. Back to VIP reception. AFter another wait, we were sent to see another room. What do you know, GFOF and right next door to the unit we had on our last visit. Room assignments by trial and error! A great room, painful process. Best/Worst at its finest.

Many of the units have recently been remodeled. Hard to tell if ours had. Flat panel TV, nice sofa, but lumpy mattress and a bathroom out of a Holiday Inn (double vanity, but a $10.99 Kmart shower head aimed at my adams apple (I am only 5'9") and a cheesy fiberglass drop in tub that was only 3/4 normal length, which created a torrent of stray shower water onto the bathroom floor. No fan, just a screen-less window that opened to the service area behind the building where the staff comes and goes with a clear view into the shower! The beach towels in the closet were fairly plush and absorbant, but the bath linen were thin and bare to begin with and were not new. More B/W

Half Moon has various all-inclusive packages. Not the dreadful buffets you think (though they do have lunch and breakfast buffets which are stocked with tasty items, both with local and more traditional bents). Don't think twice, go on an AI plan. They run about $170 per person per day, but they include the in-room mini-bar, room service orders (coconut pancakes each AM for breakfast on the terrace -- quite perfect) and all you can drink, which was a significant bonanza when trying to block out Obama Derangement Syndrome that had been plaguing us for several months now. Plus, with the ala carte prices, we estimate the meals alone ran close to $200 pp daily. House wine is included, but who wants wine in the land of rum!

They also have variations of the AI plan for golfers or spa goers, but for the life of me, I cannot understand why they cannot figure out someway for one person in the room to be on the spa plan and one to be on the golf plan. All guests in the the same room have to be on the same plan. Fat lot of good that does for a rabid golfer and a spa addict couple! Our #1 complaint -- only because it is a long-lasting one, since our first visit in 2000!

The sugar mill restaurant at the golf course is the best of the bunch. YOu are not limited on how many times you can eat at each venue, so go there half the nights for dinner. Order the King of the WEst INdies surf and turf at least once. Most tender filet and very tasty shrimp. Worth the 10 minute shuttle ride over. The Italian dinner-only in the main building is quite good. The Seagrape Terrace is huge and the main eatery with both indoor and outdoor seating (no one seems capable of generating a weather report at Half Moon - the inhouse TV channel showed PC and 81 day and night for 7 straight days. Several dozen diners went scrambling for cover one evening when a shower lasting most of the meal "miraculously" appeared) and is the only venue serving all 3 meals.

Room service is great option for breakfast, and worth doing at least once to see how the staff manage to balance the entire tray of goodies on their head! Last time we even saw someone riding a bike to our room with the full AM complement perfectly perched on his noggin! The room service menu is limited, but ignore it. They will pretty much bring you anything you want if you have see it on the Seagrape menu during your stay.

We did not bother going to the shopping village -- also a shuttle ride -- and the Asian/Indian restaurant or the British Pub (why anyone flies 1000 + miles to a luxury resort and then feasts on steak and kidney pie is beyond my comprehension) Also, it seemed like many of the storefronts were vacant.

The fitness center is quite good. Plenty of machines, never a wait and each cardio gizmo with its private TV screen with the full complement of DTV channels.

The new Fern Tree spa is out of this world. Huge, well designed and some very skilled massage therapists (we are in the hospitality and spa business, and we give the whole operation a thumbs up). Not to be missed are the ocean massage cabanas. Two cabanas, one at either end of a pier 15 feet out to sea, the two cabanas are spacious enough for a couples massage. All the doors and windows open -- very dramatic, though who the hell is looking at the ocean when they are face down in the head rest or lying on their back! No music, just the sound of the waves breaking the water lapping against the rocks and pylons beneath you. We could not believe the guests were not lined up two deep all day long. In typical Best/Worst fashion, on our 2nd trip to the cabana we had to suggest to the spa folks that it is better to have the therapists meet us at the cabanas ( instead of us going to the spa, changing into robes, walking to the cabanas and back again just to change back). Guess we needed to tell them to bring the receipt with them as well, because they did n't think to send their technicians so equipped, so we still had to go back to the spa. 3rd time was a charm, so we thought. We told them to meet us and bring the receipt, but we were not specific enough and did not tell them to bring a pen as well so that we can sign the receipt, so back to the spa afterward once more. 5 star experience with a touch of Keystone Cops.

In 3 trips to Half Moon, I have yet to golf at the two other courses just down the road. HM has an RTJ which is quite playable -- not water hazards but plenty of sand. The greens are challenging and all break towards the sea. Only $125 including the caddy fee -- one of the best resort golf values on the planet. And the caddies are a must -- ask for Cleveland - his cries of "Good shot, mon!" - keep any hacker motivated. A $20 tip is appropriate -- I think they don't see a dime of the caddie fee. Unfortunately, for my round, Cleveland was there, not engaged but was not assigned to me despite my request. In the spirit of "fairness" (see ODS referenced above) all caddies working each day get their turn to earn money before anyone gets a 2nd bite at the apple. Instead I got Jamaica's version of Fanny Sunnerson, who misread some greens badly and took/made at least a dozen calls on her cell phone.

No real nightlife which is fine. Happy hour Calypso Boys do some entertaining covers and the Sugar Mill has the same duo they have had for over a decade for serenades of your choice. One of the evening bands that plays in the Seagrape gazebo could do without -- the band was ok, but the vocalist would not merit the scorn of Simon Cowell. Stick with the instrumentals, please -- much more relaxing and not a soul ever dances.

The other adorable thing about Half Moon is we always see some characters there. With so many repeat and long term guests (many Euros come for 2 - 3 weeks and the time share units are very popular) there are no shortage of friendly folk to mix and mingle with (or to applaud you on your 5 year annivesary and to share the cake with). Mainly a couples destination - off all age ranges, but trending older. There is a kids club, maybe that is where the tikes were for we saw few of them about.

We truly love Half Moon, for all its quirks. We will be back, again and again.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank CVilleTravelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 14, 2009

The resort was great overall. Not at the elite level of some other places around the world in this price category, but does well enough to make you consider coming back. We travelled with our two young children (3.5 and 1.5) and managed to make it through without a single complaint from them, or even a mention of going back home. That is success for any parent on vacation. Some details on the mostly good, and some of the not as good.

The Room

Upgraded to one of the Royals Suites on the beach, with bedroom and separate sitting area. Room decor nicely done. View gorgeous. After first couple days, ate breakfast on our patio each morning staring out to sea. Only issue for kids, is that at this part of the resort, although the beach is just a few yards from the room, it is a drop down a 4 foot wall of rocks. So put a leash on the toddler.

Only minor complaints here were the lack of flat screen tvs, had to rent dvd player if you wanted one, cd player was the alarm clock in bedroom, and the outlet (hairdryer) didnt work in the bathroom.

The Beach

Best beach for swimming/snorkeling/water sports is the main beach by the lobby and SeaGrape restaurant. Others more rocky/shallow. We had amazing weather for most of the trip, so even young kids like ours enjoyed the water. Crystal clear water as calm as a backyard pool. (last couple days water was rougher, but still fine for anyone over 5 or 6.) Didnt get a chance myself, but the snorkeling looked like it would be great a little further out, maybe 20 yards from shore. Plenty of people took advantage of the canoes, paddle boats, snorkeling equipment, and floating deviced handed out at the beach. (for a tip of course)

Tips

You will hand them out frequently. Seems you cant go 10 feet without someone doing some sort of tip-inducing service for you. But after you get used to it, it is no big deal. Just come prepared with alot of small bills.

Staff

Mostly kind and courteous, with a few exceptions.

Food

Pretty mixed depending on which meal, and where you got it. Overall, the options were limited however.

Breakfast - the buffet at Seagrape was great, with more variety and options than you will probably need. For us, it didnt really work, as our young children really only wanted cheerios. So the better option as mentioned above, was to order room service. One continental breakfast was enough for all 4 of us, and cost only $17 in total versus buffet at $25 per adult. And managing small children much easier at room.

Lunch - Seagrape the main option, but we found that ordering takeout from Oleander (if your room is out that way) was the better option for us. Serve simple, but good sandwiches, and again we could manage our children better at the room/patio overlooking the ocean. BLT and grilled ham and cheese excellent.

Dinner - thought room service food was borderline awful. So out to the restaurants, which were very good. Both the SeaGrape (which finally served some Jerk Chicken as one of the specials) and Il Giordana were very good, and the service excellent. Did not go to the India/Thai place, as we went to that area earlier in the day and it creeped us out. Secluded and mostly empty. As we saw it, there was no reason to ever venture that far from the rest of the resort.

BBQ dinner held near a beach a short cart ride away from main resort area every Monday (?) and Friday. We chose to go Friday, since someone told us there would be a magic show the kids would love. I would say the BBQ was a bit above average, with plenty of food, and a welcome change given the limited options at the resort. (Food also had more of a native Jamaican flair to it than the other options) The magic show, which had sort of a voodoo vibe to it scared the bejesus out of my two young children. So cant tell you how that was, as we had to leave before the nightmares took hold.

Swimming with Dolphins

Had never done this before, and as it was Mom's dream to do this, we did it. (Except her being pregnant meant she couldnt actually do it. Apparently dolphins dig pregnant ladies a little too much) Mixed experience. 3.5 year old too scared of big fish (sorry ,mammal) with big teath to get in the water. The other could have done without it, but a bit braver. We were the only ones there. The guy who actually took us in the water was great, friendly. the guy who escorted us there, was one that kind of rubbed us the wrong way.

Kids Center

Was great. Plenty of activities set up every day. Kiddie pool. Much to keep them busy. Ours were a bit too young to leave alone with the staff, but we still made it part of our daily ritual to get them there to play with some of the other kids or just use the facilities.

Would add more and contact if you want to know more, but this is getting kinda long already. Hope it was helpful.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled with family
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10  Thank DarkandStormys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2008

nice ressort, nice food,

BUT
services are fake and poor :
despite the fact that we announced our honeymoon trip, only a paper sheet of "congratulation". We mentioned the 2nd day of our trip, that we are surprised, considering such a resort, we were expecting more kindness... Despite this remark, nothing, behind the "smiling appearence". Note that we were not in the need of a cheap champagne... but only the intention... which did not come.
Dissapointing.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank alevce
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2008

My husband and I were looking for a place that would feel like a different experience, while still offering all the rest and relaxation elements (sun, beach, tennis, snorkeling, great accommodations. ) We (actually I ) did a lot of research, but nothing seemed exciting. Then a friend told us about the great time they had at Half Moon and we booked our trip that day.

We were semi-freaking because it was still hurricane season and the weather forecast was for thundershowers every day. We needn't have worried - the first few days were humid - with brief afternoon showers - but mornings and midday were beautiful.

Coming from Seattle - we booked our lfight via Miami - and it was pretty painless - 6 hrs to Miami plus an hour 30 mins or so from there.. Once in MoBay HM has a small 'storefront' at the MoBay airport where you can connect with a ride to the resort, grab some water, change clothes, if you want.

Our reservation was for a deluxe suite - but we were upgraded to a cottage. We generally stay in 4 or 5 star hotels. While HM isn't the most modern (could use updates with flat screen TV, updated HVAC), There were a couple wierd things - e.g. the robes are hardly worth the effort - but overall we were pleased with the cottage, great view, proximity to nice sandy beach.

IMO the shops were lame - i went prepared to do some fairly serious shopping - but didn't find anything of interest - not even the typical resort ware - so would recommend you bring what you need..

Mealwise, we opted for the modified american meal plan, which includes breakfast (we generally did the buffet - make sure to try the smoked marlin!) and dinner at any of the resorts restaurants. Drinks are extra. My husband does not drink much, so this worked well for us. There is also a platinum plan if you want the all-inclusive. Dinner reservations are required - I set up most of them the day we arrived. Our favorties - in order: Sugar Mill (great setting - try the boston jerk or coconut grouper and the flambe desserts are great!), Seagrape (convenient, greek salad is unbelievable, shrimp stuffed steak is very good), Akhbar (great Indian/Thai ). The italian restaurant was a disappointment - the caprese, the veal marsala and the pumpkin creme brulee were all part of one of the worst meals i've had in a long time. For my husbands birthday, I arranged for a private dinner on the gazebo (they use the Seagrape menu) Laytoya in the concierge's office did a perfect job of arranging the details. One last note - the espresso is beyond amazing!

On fridays there is a beach bbq - kind of like a jamacian luau. it's casual, some great food. The bbq pork is phenomenal, the grilled crab is definitely worth trying, and - of course - the jerk chicken shouldn't be missed.

The bar outside the seagrape is a nice spot for after dinner drinks. my husband smoked some nice cuban cigars from the onsite cigar store and we enjoyed some of the aged appleton rum - especially the 21 year old stuff. it's really fantastic!

Snorkeling off the beach is good in the mornings - try to get out around 8 or 9 - while all is calm. Out by the buoy is active - not as colorful as some places - say hawaii - but still good. Snorkeling equipment is free - along with the floats (try to grab early as they sometimes run out).

for the most part we stayed within the resort - taking the shuttle as needed. one notable exception was the zipline tour (on high recommendation we selected zipline adventures instead of canopy tours). The ride is about an hour or so out of mobay - and it is a real education to see life outside the resort. roads are really rough - and the poverty is eye-opening. it will give you a different perspective of the typical lifestyle of many of the folks who work at the resorts. The zipline tour itself is 5 separate lines and it was a unique experience that we're still talking about!

Overall - HM was everything we were hoping for - and we would go back in a heartbeat! Enjoy!!!!

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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12  Thank kb_tennis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2008

After six nights in Ocho Rios, we booked a brief four nights at the Half Moon in Montego Bay. I wish we could have stayed much longer. Everything was freshly painted. Rooms in our suite were spacious and clean with new furniture. I especially liked the big bathroom with plenty of sheves for storing personal items. Fresh flowers were delivered as we unpacked. "Lovely flowers for a lovely lady," the young man smiled. Swimming on the beach is confined to one area, but there are long stretches for walking and privacy. The food was excellent and so was service. Bartenders were gracious, friendly and efficient. Beer was cold. Pina coladas were delicious. We met the manager Aram Zaronian and he, too, was kind and very gracious to us. We really enjoyed this resort and all its amenities. The new Ferntree spa is just beautiful. A massage was included in our package and it can only be described as blissful. We also received a fresh fruit and cheese platter from Amoy in customer relations. I noticed a lot of families there with small children who are made welcome. Not an exciting nightlife in this slow part of the season, but an overall wonderful experience. Highly recommend.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Tohido
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2008

My family and I have been taking annual vacations to Half Moon for years. Since there are 12 of us traveling together, we always rent a seven-room villa that is right across from the ocean. The villas have somewhat of a victorian decor and heavy mahogany furniture. Each bedroom has it's own bathroom w bidet...Some of the rooms have jacuzzi tubs and separate showers while others just had the standard shower/tub. The rooms do have ac and most have television. There is a 2-story great room that does not have ac, but the doors are most always open, allowing a nice breeze. You also get your own swimming pool with the villa. I think they aret 6-7 feet deep. Two golf carts also come with your villa which make it a lot faster to get to the main hotel/spa/etc. There are also plenty of bicycles available. One fun thing is to go crab hunting in the evening. I have traveled extensively around the world, but I have never seen crabs as big as I have seen at HM. My younger cousins loved chasing them, and the staff shows you how to safely handle them. Expect hermit crabs in the pool and geckos in the great room...All part of the Jamaican experience.

The staff at halfmoon are world class. With the villa, you get a butler, cook and someone to clean. We always request Glenmore and Venita, who have become wonderful friends. The staff bend over backwards to accomodate you, whether you are having a pool party or prefer to have a lobster fest on your private beach. Our villa was always immaculate...a big job with 4 younger children!

Halfmoon also has a nice shopping area within the resort with nice jewelry, t-shirts, Bob Marley stuff and a few others. At the main hotel, there is a decent bar and good restaurant for al fresco dining. The Seagrape Terrace is always a hit and most of the time has musicians.

There truly is something for people of all ages at halfmoon. It makes for a very romantic get away or a fun family vacation. If you prefer to go off the resort, the concierge can arrange everything for you. We have done bamboo rafts down the Martha Brae river, but most of the time, prefer to stay on the property because we have all we need.

The resort hosts big barbecues and other events each night and the staff are excellent about informing you. Scuba diving off of the resort is great for amateurs, but for experienced divers, it is nothing special. We hardly saw any fish on any of our trips. There is a great padi center for those who want to learn or a refresher.

The beach infront of the main hotel is, you guessed it, shaped like a half moon. It never feels too crowded. There is a water trampoline and swimming barriers. We always take our snorkeling equipment, but I am quite sure that they rent it as well. HM also has smaller villas on the half moon beach which I believe are just meant for couples. They look decent, but don't have nearly as much privacy as the larger family villas.

As far as transportation goes, we always arrange through HM to be picked up at the airport and transferred directly to our villa. Check-in has always been seamless.

I highly recommend this resort to families and couples. While some repeat visits to other resorts have been disappointing, Half Moon has been on the ball each time, with even more improvements.

  • Stayed: June 2005, traveled with family
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5  Thank Sarah M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2008

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!

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
8  Thank ecg24
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:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#2 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#3 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#3 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: $287 - $1,293 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Half Moon 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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