Welcome to Jamaica My Way’s first mini-series!
What was supposed to be a 2-day review of the Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica has turned into something MUCH larger than life and there’s no way I could put it all into one post. Some of you in our Facebook group suggested breaking this up into a series so I’m taking your advice. And away we go!
What can I say about Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay? Apparently, WAAAAY too much. This is not as much a review as it is a transformation of my soul. I know that sounds weird coming from me but read on.
If you’ve followed Jamaica My Way for any length of time you’d know that luxury resort reviews aren’t a “thing” on this blog, mainly because I try to appeal to the average traveler looking for affordable yet quality accommodations in Jamaica. Although, now that I’ve experienced Half Moon I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I completely understand how people who have wallets lined with gold would travel this way – the luxury way.
Last month I was hired by a luxury travel magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, to write an article. The resort they wanted me to cover was Half Moon in Montego Bay. Since I’m not the type of person to afford a luxury resort, OF COURSE I wanted to see how the other half lives and get paid to enjoy it on someone else’s dime. The negotiation with the magazine started out as one day access to the resort to take a tour, eat a meal or two, then write about it. After a couple of days, I received another email from Forbes asking if I’d be willing to spend a night at the resort. Ummm, did they really ask that question? And do writers ever say NO to such questions?
I arrived at Half Moon on a Thursday afternoon. I knew exactly where it was because the entrance is right off the main highway just outside of Montego Bay and I’ve passed it a million times over the years. Coming from Montego Bay, it is roughly ten minutes east of the airport and the main entry gate is at the first set of traffic lights after Holiday Inn Montego Bay. The resort is on the left side of the highway and the Half Moon golf course is on the right side.
Driving through the gate was like driving into another world….a world I’m not accustomed to in Jamaica. I’m a “localite” and have no idea how to conduct myself in any other way. Nevertheless, I parked my car, took a walk toward the open-air, ocean view lobby and found the front desk. Once I told them my name a stiff rum punch magically appeared in my hand, several front desk agents attended to my check-in and within minutes the general manager, Sandro Fabris, was at my side introducing himself.
Mr Fabris was not what I expected. He’s a tall, distinguished European man with a smile that wholeheartedly says WELCOME! I was expecting a more formal feeling from him but instead he was an exceptionally warm human being and I could tell that his hospitality was not fake. He’s really like this. More on him later.
I marveled a little at the lobby area. It’s gorgeous! It is covered but open to the outside on both ends, with the beach and the sea exposed at the far end. For someone who’s not used to this, the feeling was quite majestic.
After checking in, a bellman accompanied me back to my car and I decided to let him take the wheel and drive me to where my room was. This is where things started to feel ridiculous. Walking from my car to the front of my “cottage” as they called it, I was blown away by what I saw. I mean, I’m just one girl. This was so EXTRA for just one simple girl! Yes, the entire building shown below was my cottage.
Before we entered my cottage, the bellman pointed out that this large pool we were standing in front of was all mine. It is a semi private pool to be shared with the cottage next door but he advised me there were no guests next door so yes, it was all mine. Next, we entered the double French doors to my abode and I nearly fell over. I’m guessing the bellman hasn’t seen many people react the way I did to this kind of accommodation. I was giddy and simply couldn’t stop laughing and giggling at how beautiful my room was. Remember, Jamaica My Way is lucky if it features affordable rooms with air conditioning!
The main living area was wall to wall windows, so many in fact, that the housekeeper would come in each evening and spend time closing all the curtains for me. The living room was bright, airy, comfy, and simply too much for just me. I can only sit on one couch or chair at a time!
Walking through the living area we then entered the bedroom which was like heaven on earth. The enormous king size bed was beautifully decorated with towel art and fresh flowers so pretty that I didn’t want to disturb it. In fact, when housekeeping came later that evening to turn my bed down I made her move the entire decoration arrangement to one side of the bed just so that it didn’t have to be disassembled. I was sad to see that on the second day, the arrangement was indeed gone.
Off my bedroom was the next piece of ridiculousness….my bathroom. It was huge and featured double sinks, a large Jacuzzi tub, yet another beautiful towel / flower arrangement, and a large tiled stand-up shower trimmed with glass blocks. I couldn’t wait to take a shower for no reason and brush my teeth in both sinks! The alcove where the toilet was even had its own air conditioning unit and a telephone on the wall which, funny enough, I actually used during my stay. The phone rang once while I was sitting on the throne so I answered it!
On the side of the Jacuzzi tub was a great selection of toiletries. Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shower gel and Aloe gel, all in full size (not travel size) bottles and all branded with the resort spa name – Fern Tree. And as I suspected, if you use or remove them they are all replaced the next day so I currently have a lot of full size shower products on hand.
After my complete walk-through, the bellman left me to settle in. It wasn’t long before another staff member, Lynvall, showed up at my door with a champagne bucket, two glasses, and a beautiful plate of hors d’oeuvres. This also made me laugh because again, I’m just one girl! It made me wonder if I could have brought a guest with me and in hindsight, I sure wish I had! It would have been amazing to share this with someone…literally anyone! So I asked Lynvall if he wanted to stay and share a glass of champagne with me but of course he politely declined. He asked if there was anything else I needed before he left me so I told him I would love him forever if he could rustle me up a good, strong cup of Blue Mountain coffee from the café I saw out in the lobby. He was more than happy to oblige, and off he went.
While Lynvall was fetching my coffee I inspected the room in a little more detail. Here are a few things I noticed:
- The mini alcohol and snack bar had a price list beside all the flask-size bottles of liquor. $20.00 USD per bottle. That’s right, I said flask size. **GULP** Even though my stay was complimentary I didn’t dare crack one of those bottles open, just in case!
- I found a special gift left for me on the settee in the bedroom with some Jamaican gift items inside, including my favorite….Appleton rum! I never did have to dip into all the half-flasks I keep in the door panels of my car.
- The green wooden crocodile in front of the window in the living area. I never figured out what he was for besides decoration and I didn’t sit on him for fear that he would crumble under me. But I did end up using him as a charging station for my two cell phones.
Since my entire Half Moon experience would surely keep you up well into the night and half of tomorrow, I will conclude this post, having summarized my room. I’m guessing you’ve seen enough to make you either sick with envy or sad that you’re not there.
Stay tuned for Part Two: My first evening on the resort (it was very romantic 😉 ).
Read PART TWO here.
Read PART THREE here.