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“Elegant Family Vacation”
Review of Half Moon

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Half Moon
Ranked #3 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Philadelphia, PA
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Elegant Family Vacation”
Reviewed 20 January 2006

We stayed at Half Moon January 6-14 with two young children, ages 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. We selected Half Moon because it appeared to be kid-friendly but not kid-dominated. We were not disappointed. This is a truly elegant place that caters to an international clientele but without any of the subtle (or not so subtle) anti-children snobbery you might find at similar resorts. My true rating would probably be more like a 4 1/2 rather than 5, but because the staff was so uniformly and overwhelmingly nice to our children, I'll settle on the 5.

As others have noted all rooms abut the beach, and we were upgraded into a larger suite that opened directly onto the Carribbean. Was the room dated? I guess a bit, but not in any way that impacted our vacation. Moreover, the room was HUGE and our kids had a blast just running around in the room (the hard tile floors get slippery though -- Ouch). We did rent a golf cart to move around the very large property, which was great fun and allowed us to explore virtually the entire resort. The new childrens' center is beautiful and the staff there is great -- once you've filled out the paperwork, your child (3 and up) can engage in the many activities there for anywhere from 15 minutes to all day. If you do not want to leave them you can also accompany your children as they play on the new equipment and in the pool (2 1/2 feet at its deepest). And babysitters are just $14 for the first 3 hours (that's right, total).

Issues were minor. As others noted yes, there was a lot of seaweed -- but there was also one major storm that dredged up the sea, so can't blame the resort. Water was clear prior to that. And yes, wear bug spray (particularly on your feet), the mosquitoes were not bad but the ants will get you -- but that's Mother Nature.

We did not have hot water when we first checked in (but it was corrected within an hour) and we lost TV for over 1 day, which would have been fine except it was on the one rainy day of our trip. We would have liked a bit more affirmative information at check-in about all of the resort's amenities -- e.g., we had to really track down information on the childrens' programs, golf, and moving around the property via bike or golf cart (appreciate discreet and unobtrusive service, but why hide your strengths?). Finally, I agree that food was good (and very good for kids) but not superlative, even though some of the prices were. But we knew about the prices going in.

Overall, what we were struck by was the genuine kindness of everyone we met, from our shuttle van driver to the front desk to the housekeepers (and fellow guests for that matter). Intelligent, friendly, and prompt -- much more so than some other Carribbean locations to which we've traveled.

Would we go back? Absolutely, and we plan to.

  • Stayed January 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
22 Thank HCNPhilly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
garden city, ny
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 January 2006

I wish we could give this place 5 stars, but it does fall short. However, there are many wonderful things about Half Moon that deserve a special consideration. Even the "standard" rooms are special. All rooms run along the beach in cottages of several sizes. Our cottage was comprised of 4 rooms (2 up, 2 down) with French door entrances facing the ocean, literally steps away from the sand and water. I have stayed at several 4/5 star resorts...This is a first for all rooms to be right on the beach (at a large, full amenity, well priced resort). The rooms were definately put a second smile on our faces (just getting away was first). Some reviews might state "older" rooms. I really could not tell how old ours was. It was large and had a great plush sofa and sitting area adjacent to our sleeping area, only separated by two large columns. A separate nice size bar area and a large double sink changing area, separate bathroom/shower and walk-in closet. Are there better rooms out there at other resorts, even on this premesis? Hibiscus suites here are brand new and modern and beautiful. But, the standard size is a bit smaller and not as charming. They are also on the water but not as many palm trees or landscape and so for me less than what I would prefer. The draw there is that they back the Hibiscus and main pool so it is an easy walk to both beach and pool (steps). This is good with children. I like the beach...Walking out in the AM, breakfast in front of the waves on my huge terrace. Perfect.
The food at Half Moon is adequete. Not horrible, but not 4 stars. I guess it depends on where you are from or how many good meals you've had. Coming from NYC, it is less than what I would expect. But many resorts are not known for their food. My egg white omelette was truly perfect served with a great basket of bread in the AM. But my lobster salad at lunch was tasteless (and made with mayo or something - thought it would be fresh on a salad). The burgers were alright and my grilled lobster was pretty good.
The hotel was booked while we were there, but it is never crowded. We had all three rooms next to us full and we never saw our neighbors for more than a minute outside the rooms. A alot of families and no one with out of control kids.
The beach is wonderful, yes there is seaweed (see next review), but the staff there works diligently to clean up (even though it may take a bit longer than one would like). The maintenance staff is working all day and security is working all day and night.
Jamaica time is the schedule most are on which means be patient - it is just the way things work there. Slow.....Sometimes more than one considers reasonable, but I don't think it gets better at any other Jamaica resort.
The Ritz Carlton is up the road. Grand Looking on the approach - sure. Big cement building without much charm - my personal take. Lackluster restaurants? We had a reservation in the "best one" at the Ritz and walked out - Food was actually ok, but soooo charmless and boring to sit in we could not take it. Half Moon restaurants are absolutely carribean, pretty, outdoors, and lit up at night with stars and lit trees...Spectacular to look at.
Get the Platinum Plan - this includes ALL FOOD, DRINKS (mini bar too), room service, activities (except massages and swimming with Dolphins and golf cart use). You will definately save money, if you like to do alot of one or all of the above.
Small imperfections..., I like better food, I like more service while I am lying on the beach (they always came when we asked but you have to find them!!) I like cotton bals and Q-Tips in the room as a bath amenity. But I am sure if I called I would have it.
All in all this was beautiful and wonderful and accomodating. Staff is lovely. Even if some rooms are older than others (saw a few) they were still in very good shape and spacious and well appointed. The review below says it was the most expensive vacation they ever took. This doesn't mean it is the most expensive resort out there (not inexpensive, just not a Four Seasons). You absolutely get your moneys worth here (and probably more).

Helpful?
23 Thank msmiss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 January 2006

Just came back from Half Moon (Jan 8-15, 2006) where I vacationed with my husband and 3 year old son. Overall, we've had a wonderful time. This resort was the most expensive we've ever stayed at and my expectations were quite high. Did Half Moon meet my expenctations? Well, almost.

We stayed at the Royal Suite. The room was very large. We had a very spacious living room, bedroom and very large bathroom (with separate his and hers area). This room worked great for us as our son slept in the living room (the hotel provided a bed for him) and we had a separate bedroom to ourselves. Our bedroom had TV, balcony and the bathroom. So, we would often order room service for dinner and eat it on the balcony while our son slept in the living room. GREAT! The bad thing about this room (or any room other than Hibiscus rooms, which were recently renovated) is that its very old. I don't think its been updated since 1970s. Also, if you are a TV lover, they have every channel imaginable (HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, Disney Channel, etc)

The good:
1. The property is HUGE (400 acres). Because of that, it rarely gets crowded. The beach, the pools, the restaurants were empty. So, we never had to go to the beach at 7 am to get a good spot or come to the restaurant early to avoid crowds. I loved the privacy that we had. Most of the rooms (except for some villas) are on the water.
2. The food and drinks were very good (although my husband got a pretty bad food posioning at the Sugar Mill restaurant). We ate at the Seagrape Terrace (main restaurant) most of time. The Sugar Mill is also very good (a little more formal). We also used room service a lot.

The bad:
1. My main disappointment was the beach. The water was full of seaweed and it was quite dirty. I love the ocean but I could not swim there.
2. Service at the Seagrape Terrace was not the greatest (as I mentioned before, my expectations were quite high)
3. Our room needed major face lift.
4. Spa services were not the best. Again, for the price that they charge, it could've been better.

Finally, a word of advice:
Take lots of singles with you. Tips are welcome and highly appreciated (you'll need about $40 or $50 for a week).
A bug spray is a MUST.
Get an all-iclusive plan. The food is VERY expensive.

Have a wonderful vacation!!

Stayed January 2006
Helpful?
20 Thank lkis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 11 January 2006

A hotel of great luxury, splendid property...
Perfect and discrete service.
Massages of great quality in the spa.
The beach is sublime. Exellent for snorkeling!
All is perfect!
I recommend it for honeymooners!!
I will go back there without hesitations...

  • Stayed August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hopkinton, MA
Level Contributor
28 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 January 2006

I chose the Half Moon Resort based on the enticing reviews I read while exploring the Trip Advisor website. Recently visited Jan 5-9th, 2006. We opted for the Platinum Plan and selected a Deluxe Room, which happend to be at the furthermost end of the Resort. Once we determined the distance to the Lobby and main Restaurants, we decided to rent a golf cart for the duration. It was great! Park your golf cart in front of your Villa, charge cart in the evening and head out to breakfast in the a.m. then dress for dinner in the evening; repeat (my husband looked like a yachtsman, waving to all who passed.) We dined at the Sea Terrace, daily, also dined at the Sugar Mill and Italian Rest. We especially loved the Italian Restaurant. They have 28 horses at the Equestrian Center. Our guide, Ralph, took exceptional care in keeping us safe and was extremely knowledgeable about the Resort's plant life and history. Swimming while holding onto the horse's mane was a euphoric experience.....one that we will never forget. We also swam with the dolphins, dorsal-fin style, etc., creating more memorable moments. Our time at the Half-Moon was magical, making friends with the staff was easy and we look forward to seeing them next year. 400 Acres of sheer fun and beauty - getting to explore with our golf-cart wheels. Breathtaking views. Our next visit, we may opt for the Hibiscus Suite for a different kind of experience. The beach is amazing too! It's true that because the resort is so large, it's the perfect romantic destination for couples. Many times, we felt like we felt like we were on our own private Island.

Helpful?
20 Thank ColdUpHereHopkinton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Massachusetts
Level Contributor
83 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 January 2006

Our family rented one of the 7 bedroom villas and loved it! The rooms were spacious, the bathrooms were clean, the living areas (dining room and living room) were comfortable and nicely furnished, the pool was lovely and well kept, and the gardens were gorgeous! Our staff (three of the most competent, knowledgable, friendly, and welcoming hotel employees we've ever met!) seemed to possess ESP b/c they managed to foresee our every need! (Kudos to Paula for her delicious and nutritious meals, to Evanston for giving us information on local matters and for preparing beautiful table settings, and to Joy for her amazing ironing and cleaning skills!) We had two golf carts for transportation and enjoyed zipping around the rather extensive property of the resort. We went horseback riding, swam with the dolphins, ate dinner on the beach, ate one dinner at the hotel's restaurant, and played three rounds of golf on the Half Moon course. (Kudos there, too, to Milton and Washburn, our caddies, who had the patience of saints...) While I have no idea what the hotel's rooms look like, I can offer enthusiastic praise for the villas. If 7 bedrooms are too many, there are several smaller versions available. Well worth the privacy, attention, and peace. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed February 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank laprof
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bethesda, MD
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2006

My husband, and my two daughters -- ages 1 and 3 -- stayed at Half Moon for a long week at the beginning of December. Here are my two cents:
Our accomodations were superb -- our room was so fabulous, I don't even want to disclose which one it was fearing it will not be available next time we book our trip. We moved twice before we arrived in our final and most lovely suite. It was at the far end of the resort and provided us with our own private beach.

We ordered room service for breakfast and lunch every day and ate on our terrace overlooking our little beach -- marvelous!

We had a babysitter -- provided by the resort -- come every evening to watch our girls after we fed them at the Seagrape Terrace -- Back to that in a moment. Our babysitter -- Sandra -- was very good -- kind, gentle and energetic. I hope to see her next time.

I took one look at the "kiddie" menu the first night and was not impressed -- all fried food and no veggies. I custom ordered their dinner every night after that and the staff was happy to oblige -- simple requests like grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli. A small band of three men was there on the terrace every evening (early) playing music and singing. They were very kind to migrate their playlist to kid-friendly songs at the hour we were there with the kids. They played songs like Old MacDonald, etc... Very nice and the kids loved to dance on the raised gazebo right there in the center of the terrace.

The food on the regular menu(s) is typical resort food -- mediocre and expensive -- no big surprise. The Sugarmill restaurant was the best bet, although my best meal the whole week, surprisingly, was the last night at the Seagrape -- just a simple grilled snapper -- delicious! Breakfast and lunch were better meals than dinners in general. The "Italian" restaurant was the stinker.

The resort was under some renovation -- the children's center and parts of the grounds -- so I don't think it was in the best shape, but they are working on it.

The resort has nice stables -- the kids had pony rides and we visited almost every day just to pet the horses and ponies.

We rented a golf cart for the week, and this is a MUST. We all had fun riding around day and night from one end of the resort to the other -- made rainy days fun.

Satff was very friendly and warm. Houskeeping staff was particularly attentive and made sure they fit into OUR schedules.

I have one major complaint -- there is no food available during the day! There are plenty of drinks to go around all day long, but nary a morsel of food to go along with it. If you want food, you have to go to a restaurant or go to your room and order room service. I loved having a nice cold Red Stripe on the beach in the afternoon, but would have loved a little something to eat along with it. I can understand that the management does not want to encourage rodents and other critters to feast on leftovers on the beach, but I believe this resort has to work something out. I heard other guests ask bartenders the same question over and over -- "Do you have a snack menu?"

Overall, we had a wonderful time at Half Moon and we will return next year. I should also mention that we arrived right before the "high" season started so we could take advantage of reduced rates and still had perfect weather and the resort was quite quiet -- LOVED IT!

  • Stayed December 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank martineber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Half Moon

Property: Half Moon
Address: Rose Hall, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint James Parish > Montego Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#3 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#3 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#3 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#4 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Half Moon 5*
Number of rooms: 1
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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