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Half Moon
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Reviewed November 21, 2013

I stayed at Half Moon for 3 nights for a destination wedding. The resort was beautiful and the staff was very attentive the entire time we were there. Shout out to Rennis, our waiter in the villa! Although, he and I were the only men in a house full of women (13 total), he kept his cool and was able to fulfill mostly all requests without incident or dissatisfaction. Our party of 14 enjoyed the in house breakfasts by the pool and the bar and coolers stayed fully stocked with drinks of all types, which was great! The facilities at Half Moon were also very impressive. We were able to participate in typical vacations activities such as golf, kayaking, and snorkeling which were lots of fun as well. Our travel agent, Cary Driscoll from Beach Bum Vacation was absolutely the best. With constant communication via email, Carey kept everyone in the loop, even as changes were being made the week before the trip. If you and your family or friends are looking to plan a beach vacation, consider Carey at Beach Bum Vacation. I had a great time and have no complaints! Five stars for Half Moon Jamaica. RESPECT YEA MON BLESS UP!

Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
11  Thank Brian D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HalfMoonARockResort, Manager at Half Moon, responded to this reviewResponded December 6, 2013

Dear Valued Guests,

We are thrilled that you had such an enjoyable experience with us. We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to share comments regarding your Half Moon, A RockResort stay. It was a pleasure serving the group and hosting the special wedding you attended. It is certainly rewarding to receive complimentary feedback on our resort facility and service. Thank you for recognizing the team in particular Rennis, we will be sure to shareyour comments with him.

We thank you for choosing Half Moon and sharing your review on tripadvisor; we look forward to the pleasure of welcoming you back “home” in the not too distant future.

Sincerely,

Shernette Crichton
Hotel Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2013

We booked the Half Moon on the basis that it was supposedly "the best resort in Jamaica". That may have been true once, and the resort still is very beautiful (based on Jamaican standards) but we really didn't enjoy or stay (or more accurately we enjoyed our stay despite the resort not because of it). Here's a run down of the good and the bad so you know what you're getting yourself into:

The Rooms and Resort
The gardens are beautiful and the rooms (we stayed in an Oceanfront Hibiscus Suite) we're large. The pool is pretty but small (the bar is tiny, if one group sits down the whole bar is taken). The beach is not the best, you're better off going to the Montego Bay strip and using the beaches there as the beach at the Half Moon is a bit rocky and murky.

Oh and if you book the Ocean front room don't expect a view of the ocean (unless you book on the top floor and walk up the stairs). They have planed a tall hedge in front of the rooms so you can't actually see the beach from the rooms......there went my expectations of sitting on the patio watching the waves).

The resort is also so large that unless you hire a golf buggy for $55 a day (or want to ride a pushbike everywhere) you can't get around. They have a shuttle bus that goes around every 25minutes but the people we saw waiting in the heat for it just looked miserable.

The Oleander Terrace was closed the entire time we were there as well.


The "Shopping Village"
We had high hopes for this. We were disappointed. We went to look around and saw a little pub (good food here and nice and casual), a restaurant and two open shops. The rest looked closed or empty (and the two shops were both tacky tourist stuff). Thank god we didn't wait for the shuttle bus.


The Wifi
Give up in the rooms (well in our room). It was non existent. The common areas were ok.


The Atmosphere
The most boring resort we have ever stayed (and we have stayed at a lot!). During the day there's heaps to do but once the sun goes down there is absolutely nothing to do. No music, the bar is quiet, the restaurant is dead. One night they had a piano singer for 10minutes and a little three man wandering band but as soon as that sun goes down expect nothing as that's what there is. I would have hoped for some music or entertainment but nope, it's a morgue.


The Games Room
As it was so boring at night we sought out the games room. There is a questionable pool table, a table tennis set, a broken air hockey table, a dart board with no darts and a chess table wit no pieces. It's also dark and quiet. We asked for something we could play music on and they gave us a clock radio (one of those hotel ones that has no volume).


The Staff and Their Rules
The dress code at this place will drive you a little nuts. The only place for a casual meal is the pub (which is a bus ride or golf cart ride away in the ghost town shopping village). Otherwise you will need to dress in proper shoes (no thongs, sandals or sneakers), collared shirts and at the minimum tailored shorts for me for dinner for guys and elegant for ladies. We found this out the hard way (although the dress code sign at breakfast stating no beachwear, thongs and a million other things should have tipped us off) when we went for dinner only to be turned away. I was fine but my partners leather sandals were apparently going to offend the 6 other people in the restaurant on the terrace. As we were getting very rudely turned away (by a guy who sprinted over and told us loudly "no thongs!!" - no good evening, no sorry nothing) a lady walked past us with rubber thongs and hot pink pants on.......but she was apparently fine.

We asked to see the night manager who was incredibly unhelpful and rude. His answer was that they don't enforce the dress code for women.....so girls you can wear your rubber thongs but boys be prepared to put on your dress shoes in a hot humid climate if you want to eat. He didn't offer us any alternatives, didn't see how sexist or ridiculous the policy was at a beachfront resort. He was just rude. In fact he was so rude we decided to get out of the resort the next day and have our meals in town (where we had a much better day at Biggs and Doctors Cove - will review those soon).

This leaves you with little option in terms of dining at the resort. The terrace is their most casual place to dine and if you don't have the right shoes you're left with only room service.........or catching the bus every 25 mins to the pub. I've never stayed at a beachfront resort anywhere in the world where you can't grab a meal in casual gear.

I get that movie stars and politicians have stayed at this resort and a standard is expected......but that was many, many years ago. Plus when there's 6 people in your restaurant, one in rubber thongs and hot pink pants, are you really going to turn away hungry guests because they have leather sandals on?


Extra Fees
They will hit you up for a $30 "resort fee" per day at the end of your stay. This wasn't mentioned on the website we booked through. Apparently it's to pay for things like the wifi and games room. Not surprisingly, we refused to pay it.


Now for the good stuff....the Dolphins!
This was an amazing experience. We did a private swim ($400 each) and it was just brilliant. They take photos and a video (not great quality and cost $140 but worth it for the memories) and you get to dance with them, swim with them, sing with them and even ride on them. The dolphins love it too (would be the same if you felt they didn't like it but they see to love playing with you). A great experience and the trainers are lovely.


So there's the long run down. Would I stay here again? Absolutely not. The boring atmosphere, rude staff, overly pretentious dress code and bad customer service that we experienced makes that an easy decision. If you have a family with small kids or you're elderly and want to be in bed early every night and you're happy to dress for dinner each night while you're on holiday then you could give it a go and you'd have a good time, or if you got one of the Royal Villas and had a big group of friends and your own music you'd have a ball (if they don't tell you to turn down the music!) but not as a couple.

Hope that's helpful to you all.

Room Tip: If you book the Ocean front suite get the top floor if you want to see the ocean as otherwise all you see is a hedge
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Flutterby12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HalfMoonARockResort, Manager at Half Moon, responded to this reviewResponded December 6, 2013

Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to share your candid feedback regarding your recent Half Moon, A RockResort experience. We sincerely regret that we did not exceed your expectations in some areas of your experience and are disappointed that you left feeling dissatisfied.

Half Moon is truly a first-class resort and we generally succeed in satisfying our most discerning clients; we continue to host a wide array of valued clients like yourselves and have received and continue to receive raving reviews. Notwithstanding, we take your review very seriously, as direct feedback from our customers, is a valuable tool which allows the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments to further refine aspects of our operation.

We sincerely regret the inconveniences you cited and apologise for the challenges encountered with your dining experience. We are pleased that despite the negative encounters, you enjoyed aspects of your experience.

While you have indicated that you are not likely to return to Half Moon, we hope you will reconsider this decision and give us an opportunity to provide you with an experience of a lifetime. Should you decide to visit us in the future, please feel free to contact me directly to assist with making the necessary arrangements.

Once again, thank you for visiting Half Moon and for your frank feedback.

Sincerely,

Shernette Crichton
Hotel Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2013

I stayed at Half Moon for the first time in May 2013 and inevitably found myself comparing it to Round Hill, where I have stayed many times. The two are chalk and cheese. Half Moon has great facilities and a larger range of accommodation but for me Round Hill wins hands down: smaller, better food, more personal service, frequented by a less rowdy crowd and generally classier.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
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2  Thank Christopher E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HalfMoonARockResort, Manager at Half Moon, responded to this reviewResponded December 6, 2013

Dear Valued Guest,

We thank you for taking the time to share your candid feedback regarding your recent Half Moon, A RockResort experience on tripadvisor. We sincerely regret that we did not exceed your expectations on your first visit with us.

Half Moon is truly a first-class resort; we generally succeed in satisfying our most discerning clients. We are a 400 acre property with Round Hill being a smaller property which we are realize is your preference. Notwithstanding, we do appreciate your comments as direct feedback from our customers, is a valuable tool which allows the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments to further refine aspects of our operation.

Again, thank you for your review; we trust you will give us another opportunity to serve you.

Sincerely,

Shernette Crichton
Hotel Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2013

Dear Shanoya,
It has taken me longer than expected to write to you and thank you for everything you did to make the wedding of a lifetime that tops the charts.
Please share this e mail with Corporate Management, management as well as Cameon, Andrea, Paulette the florist and all the music vendors, ceremony and steel band and oh the AMAZING DJ and Saab Photographer.
More than 4 months have passed since Amanda and Kris' amazing wedding at Half Moon Jamaica and we are still on a high from the experience!
Our guests and family are still raving that this was the best wedding ever, the food was delicious, service outstanding and vendors perfect.
Planning a destination wedding can be quite challenging, however you Shanoya and Cameon Robinson were always available to calm my concerns.
When you were unavailable, my calls were taken by Andrea Smith to assure me all was in order in every area, be it the florist, the chef, the hotel, the dolphin adventure, the golf outing, rehearsal dinner as well as the breakfast the morning after the wedding.
My daughter wanted a destination wedding and we began by searching many websites and making many phone calls.
We finally came across your website, but more importantly the personal video overview of your property by Shanoya. I saw a sincere sales approach that touched my heart and made me feel very confident that Half Moon was the only destination wedding option for us. After reviewing several package options, we flew out to see the property in person and truly were treated like royalty. We checked into our rooms and were whisked away in a golf cart by Cameon personally to tour the property for ceremony, reception and cocktail hour options as well as the rehearsal dinner. We then met several DJ's, Photographers and Videographers. The Executive Chef then treated us to an amazing Menu tasting. After an amazing day, the sun set and i settled into my Hibiscus Suite room 22, which overlooked the ocean. The oceans waves and beautifully lit restaurant and lobby area fresh in my mind. The next morning, we walked the grounds and made more decisions and went home with a plan in mind.
That was October 7, 2012. We signed the contract and began our plans and were very excited thinking we would have about 25 guests. When our Save the Date went out we were very honored to see our invited group book and book and we had about 45 guests from many areas of the US.
Many of our guests made a vacation out of their trip and we were thrilled. The rooms were absolutely incredible, cottages and private pools and the weather just perfect!
I was settled in the same Hibiscus Suite room 22 that i was given on my first trip. We loved the golf carts to drive around the property.
The Half Moon baseball caps and personalized notes awaited our guests.
Day one we met Shanoya in person and she was a delight. We discussed the details of the wedding day, including rehearsal dinner and breakfast in depth. She did not miss a thing so the day would be perfect.
Shanoya took me to meet Paulette the talented florist. That was my vision that needed to be perfect and perfect it was, with the conch shells and petals lining the aisle on the sand with the most magical florals highlighting our ceremony.
Paulette made sure the rings we had sewn on the bride's bouquet (her dad's, my mom and dad's) were safe and adorned the bouquet as if they were all escorting her down the aisle with me.
At that point, i felt so comfortable we truly made the best decision to host the wedding at Half Moon.
Beginning our venue with a Party Rehearsal Dinner at The Sugar Mill, we were extremely pleased with the outstanding meal and service that Jamaica is so well known for. Both families and friends meeting and breaking bread together. My daughter and son in law overwhelmed by the 45 guests that traveled so far for them. What a night!
On the wedding day, the Salon was busy doing hair and makeup and serving us lunch and driving us wherever we needed to be as we got ready.
The officiant could have been a family member as his words were so touching there wasn't a dry eye in the area, including other hotel guests that watched nearby. He was amazing. The ceremony music was as if angels in Heaven were singing and the sun shone through the clouds to cement that belief for me.
Coctail Hour started the party at Il Giardino Patio with a Steel Drum band, delicious pass arounds as well as a fantastic bar with Pina Coladas! (Amanda's grandmother's favorite drink) Jamaican music started this dancing group even at the Coctail Hour.
The reception was absolutely amazing! The room was just beautiful! We are from New York, food is very important to us and our family and friends that frequent many venues in New York could not stop raving about Half Moon's food and the amazing Wedding Cake.
The drinks kept coming and the party was amazing.
I am forever grateful for this experience.
Hats off to Half Moon's staff, especially Shanoya Watson and all of the vendors Half Moon highly recommended.
God Bless all of you and thank you again.
Warmest Regards,
Maryellen

Room Tip: I preferred the rooms near the main hotel lobby and the Carribbean. Hibiscus Suite was my favorite, we had guests all over the property and they were all thrilled with their rooms.
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank maryellen k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HalfMoonARockResort, Manager at Half Moon, responded to this reviewResponded November 20, 2013

Dear Valued Guests,

Thank you for choosing Half Moon, A RockResort for your daughter’s very special occasion. We are delighted that Shanoya our Master Wedding Planner and the team created an experience of a lifetime; making Amanda and Kris wedding day `absolutely amazing’. Your beautiful comments will certainly be shared with Shanoya and the rest of the team.

We’re happy your stay and the special occasion were all you anticipated and we thank you for sharing your experience so expressively on TripAdvisor. We certainly look forward to the pleasure of welcoming the happy couple back ‘home’ on their first Anniversary and many more. We extend our best wishes for many years of togetherness.

Sincerely,


Shernette Crichton
Hotel Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 18, 2013

Best service we've experienced in the Caribbean. Before arriving, my questions were answered the same day both via phone & email. Shernette Crichton, Manager & Jackie Gordon, Reservations Mgr could not be more accommodating. They cared, were professional & wanted to ensure our family had a perfect trip. The entire staff truly impressed us & we've been to many luxury resorts…a few that really stood out (Carol, concierge; Brent, bartender; Stephen, waiter; Keith, landscaping/coconuts!; and Alicia at the front desk.
The resort is older, but you can get more modern accommodations on the west side. Has lots of charm, is quiet & very relaxing. No elevators, tons of privacy & many larger accommodations come with a pool in addition to being steps from the beach.
I am a huge neat freak/germ phobe & can't tell you how CLEAN this resort is inside & outside. At many 5star resorts, our child has black feet from dirt by the end of the day- not here. Housekeeping is constantly at work.
Safety: we felt safe & this was a huge concern for us
Transportation/Location: is very expensive & it doesn't even take 15min to get there…few miles from airport & a straight shot off the main road. With that said, stay on the west side or you will be very close to the main road (there is a wall but you can hear traffic/sirens).
Beach: not the best beach. Montego Bay has manmade beaches- very narrow, not white sand & a bit rocky. Water is beautiful, but if you're looking for pure white sand I believe its in Negril, though I haven't been along w/ other islands known for most beautiful beaches like Turks & Anguilla.
Activities/entertainment: If beach isn't the single most important thing to you, you're in luck. There is so much to do across the 400 acres that you could never get bored here. You can relax & do nothing or be as active as you want. Amazing how much is offered- dolphins, tennis, golf, many pools, horses, water sports, etc
Children: Top destination for children. The village & playground w/ kiddie pool are amazing. If you want your child to go to 'camp" there (they don't call it that), the prices are beyond reasonable & the schedule is better than you can imagine. Blown away & I am very particular. Plus, so much more.
Food: Good. Sugar Mill & the Italian restaurants were the best. No different than most comparable resorts in the Caribbean - food could be better. Breakfast buffet offered a lot, but very expensive.
Price: It adds up quickly, just as it does at any luxury resort. This one actually had some offerings to include drinks that were more cost effect than many like it. Also, 15% gratuity was added to every check & some do 18-20%. There are some costs that were not comparable though. Add 25% to your room cost at night (10% tax & 15% service fee), then $4/night for another room tax & finally $30/night resort fee. Dinners too were very expensive - even without alcohol expect to pay at least $150 for a couple.
Big surprises: very stingy w/ water. Have never been to a luxury resort where you were limited to 2 bottles of spring water/day brought in by the mini bar attendant. Even the big suites do not have washers/dryers. NO DVD players in rooms & have to rent for $15/day. Most 4star hotels have at least one in the room. A/C units are mounted at the top of the walls (not central) & easily controlled w/ remotes, but not a quiet as central. Lots of mosquitos so bring your bug repellant & do not leave your doors/windows open ever.

Room Tip: Stay on west side of resort- more modern & further away from the main road. Staying near water sports & Sea grape restaurant are very convenient for breakfast &/or water sports, but the west side is closer to other things.
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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1  Thank VirginiaChicken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HalfMoonARockResort, Manager at Half Moon, responded to this reviewResponded November 20, 2013

Dear Valued Guests,

We are thrilled you had such an enjoyable experience with us. We sincerely appreciate your taking the time to share comments regarding your recent Half Moon, A RockResort stay. It was a pleasure serving you as our treasured guests; receiving such detail feedback on our resort facility and service is rewarding. Rest assure we take your review very seriously, as direct feedback from our customers, is a valuable tool which allows the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments to further refine aspects of our operation.

Thank you for recognizing the team we will certainly share your compliments with them in particular, Shernette, Jackie, Carol, Brent, Stephen, Keith, and Alicia. Our staff members are truly the ones that learn the idiosyncrasies of our clients and make each visit special.

Thank you for choosing Half Moon and for so expressively detailing your recent experience on tripadvisor. We look forward to the pleasure of welcoming you back “home” in the not too distant future.

Sincerely,

Shernette Crichton
Hotel Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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