A villa at Jamaica’s Half Moon // © 2018 Half Moon
Feature image (above): The property is undergoing a $75 million renovation. // © 2018 Half Moon
Well-heeled vacationers have been coming to Half Moon, an iconic Jamaican property in Montego Bay, for close to 65 years — including guests such as John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy; members of the British Royal Family; and, in more recent times, rapper and businessman 50 Cent and his mother. And to celebrate its 65th anniversary, the resort is undergoing a $75 million renovation and renewal effort, expected to be complete in November 2018.
“There is a wonderful line in Lampedusa’s ‘The Leopard’ that says, ‘Everything must change so that everything can stay the same,” said Sandro Fabris, general manager of Half Moon. “This is what we hope to achieve with the transformation: Guests will have new accommodations, restaurants, bars and an expanded beachfront to enjoy, but the experience will seamlessly reflect the same ethos and tradition of the Half Moon legacy.”
Half Moon is an extensive 400-acre property, with a Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed championship golf course, award-winning Fern Tree Spa, an equestrian center and the celebrated Sugar Mill Restaurant. Accommodations at Half Moon run the gamut from guestrooms in the main building to standalone villas.
The renovation effort will focus on a new entry and Great House (resort lobby), an expanded beachfront with a natural swimming cove, an adults-only swimming pool, two restaurants, a market cafe, three bars and a vegan cafe located at the spa. The renovation also includes 57 new guestrooms and suites, including Prestige Ocean Rooms, Estate Ocean Rooms, Estate Ocean Suites and a Great House Ocean Suite.
“We anticipate that multigenerational families will especially love the flexible accommodations that can be interconnected, and that groups will enjoy more rooms that are in a similar category,” Fabris said. “There will also be more pedestrian access, meandering walking paths and beautiful firefly lighting that will enhance the experience guests have with the lush Jamaican landscape around them.”
The renovation will take care to preserve Half Moon’s Anglo-Caribbean ambiance while adding contemporary accents and showcasing art from local Jamaican painters and artisans.
“We have begun to meet and speak with travel professionals about the transformation, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Fabris said. “Most travel professionals are at least familiar with Half Moon, and we’ve found that they are excited to hear about what’s new.”
The two new dining venues are as yet unnamed. One will be a three-meal venue that combines a spacious layout with intimate dining areas. The second restaurant will offer seafood in a setting featuring local artwork. There will be several new bars, including a beachside bar and grill serving traditional Jamaican specialties.
“In the months to come, Half Moon will be offering preferential rates to agents who would like to experience Half Moon for themselves,” Fabris said. “The resort will be offering training and fam trips leading up to and after the transformation.”
Agents can stay in the loop by reaching out to sales department leads, Sharon Logan, director of sales for Half Moon (firstname.lastname@example.org); and Arlien Dyer, assistant director of sales for Half Moon (email@example.com).
“We are embarking on this journey to renew our legacy and extend our heritage — refreshing, repositioning and readying Half Moon for the next 60 years,” Fabris said. “We believe that the transformation will appeal to our current target market and those who have been coming to Half Moon for decades, as well as attract a new generation of guests, whether that be younger couples or families.”