When we first honeymooned in Ochos Rios, Jamaica, almost 18 years ago, I never thought we would be returning to one of the top Jamaica resorts, to be treated like royalty. But, that’s what happens when Half Moon Jamaica comes calling. It was just such an amazing experience, we had to offer this Half Moon Jamaica review, including its all-inclusive offerings.
During that first trip in the early 2000s, when we were youngsters, just barely out of college, we stayed at a very typical all-inclusive resort. Our trip focused on the 3 “Rs” – Red Stripe, reggae, and rum. This trip, though, was entirely different. It focused on relaxation and being treated, yes, like royalty. The rum was still there but I wanted something more. I also realized that there is no surprise that Half Moon resort is one of the top hotels in Montego Bay Jamaica.
Half Moon Jamaica- The Royal Treatment
We once stayed at a Sheraton near Universal Studios outside of Los Angeles. They had no rooms left (despite our reservation) and put us in the Presidential Suite. The manager admonished that if the President arrived, we would have to vacate the room for him. We sort of laughed. After all, if the President visits Los Angeles, he is not staying at the Sheraton near Universal Studios. I remembered this story as I researched the history of Half Moon Bay Jamaica. It has been the chosen hotel for celebrities and royalty for decades. After all, Half Moon Jamaica is one of the top Montego Bay resorts.
Here is a little history. A group of 16 families purchased 35 acres of beachfront, to create villas and homes for themselves, their families, and their friends. And, so Half Moon Bay was born. Three of the original families remain involved in the property.
From this start in the early 1950s, the villas and bungalows of Half Moon Jamaica have housed Kennedys, Bushes, and Windsors. And, the Hoffmans. Yes, we checked into one of the Prestige Ocean Suites, and I felt, well, pretty prestigious. Our housekeeper told us it’s the only room with a baby grand piano. That means most of the musical celebrities who’ve visited Half Moon Jamaica stayed in this room, including Lionel Richie, Jennifer Hudson, Billy Ocean, and the Gambler himself, Kenny Rogers. And, we were told, the Queen stayed in that room exactly. Yes, the Queen. So, yes staying at Half Moon Resort means feeling like royalty!
Check out this Great Houses of Jamaica Tour, which includes Rose Hall Montego Bay Jamaica, the home of the White Witch
Half Moon Resort Jamaica – The Rum
Okay, there is way more to Half Moon Jamaica than rum. But, the food and beverage on offer were top notch. From Chef Christopher Golding, the executive chef and the Jamaican genius behind Sugar Mill Restaurant, to our buddy Nicholas behind the bar, who made up some truly unique rum cocktails for us, we felt looked after for sure. Half Moon Bay Jamaica knows its cocktails.
On arrival at Half Moon resort, we immediately saw Cedar Bar, the centerpiece of Half Moon. We enjoyed lunch with jerk pulled pork tacos and pork sliders with pineapple coleslaw. Just beyond is a beach BBQ, where I was happy to find traditional spicy Jamaican meat patties, which could be enjoyed with toes in the sand and the water just beyond. Even at the buffet breakfast at Seagrape Terrace we enjoyed traditional Jamaican food, like ackee and salt fish, stewed chicken, saltfish rundown, and loads of other Jamaican dishes we’d never heard of before.
Learn about traditional Jamaican dishes, and What to Eat in Jamaica
But, the real treat came during our two evenings of fine dining at Sugar Mill Restaurant. Chef Chris is taking traditional Jamaican dishes and bringing them upscale. Our special tasting menu included treats like goat curry ravioli, a high-end shrimp Jamaican meat pie, and a contemporary take on chicken with rice and peas. Everything was well prepared and showed a high level of passion, which was clear the moment we met Chef Chris. My only complaint? I could have eaten a dozen of the goat curry ravioli!
Book one of the top Montego Bay tours – Including a visit to Appleton Rum Estate and YS Falls
Half Moon Bay Resort – Relaxation
Of course, relaxation is the name of the game at Half Moon. We enjoyed a lovely Fern Tree Signature Massage treatment. It was one of the best, and most unique, massages we had since our couples spa day in Bangkok, several years ago. The 90-minute treatment started with a cerasee foot wash, which, apparently, helps aid in detoxification. And, we even were treated (pun intended) to a rum body splash. So, even in the spa, the influence of Jamaican rum continues.
When we weren’t sipping Nicholas’s rum cocktails, or enjoying our spa treatment, we spent most of our time relaxing on our private terrace. Our terrace was only steps to the water, and while reading on the luxurious chaise lounge, I could hear the water lap the beach.
And, even after 60 years, Half Moon Jamaica continues to welcome families and groups who return to the property year after year. It is their home away from home, and their place to relax too. We met one couple, Faith and Tyler. Not only did they wed at Half Moon Jamaica about 10 years ago, but they’ve returned 8 of the last 10 years to holiday at Half Moon. They were simply lovely. And, it was great to see them interact with Nicholas, Chef Chris, and the other staff. It seemed like one big happy family for sure! It really says a lot about a luxury property when repeat guests come year after year. I can understand why.
Overall there was something truly special about Half Moon, and I can completely understand why it is one of the top Montego Bay Jamaica resorts. Yes, part of it might be that we were sleeping in the same room as the Queen! But, even though we only stayed 3 nights, and didn’t even get to explore the entire resort, or check out the Half Moon golf course, our brief experience at one of the Half Moon villas was something special.
Check out other Fun Honeymoon Ideas here
Half Moon Jamaica in 2019
When we visited, the resort was undergoing some improvements and expansion. It in no way affected our experience. The property is so big that all of the improvements were occurring well away from most of the guest rooms. After all the property is set on almost 400 acres along two miles of beachfront.
In 2019, Half Moon is expected to open this new expansion, which will include new rooms, an expanded beachfront, and a natural swimming cove. There also will be an adults-only swimming pool, which is nice. But, we never felt overrun by children during our stay when experiencing the beach or our semi-private pool. There will also be two new restaurants and a vegan-focused cafe located at Fern Spa. We hope to return once the renovations are complete.
Montego Bay Map
This Montego Bay Jamaica map, shows the location of some of the Montego Bay beaches, along with where Half Moon hotel is located, and the distance from the Montego Bay Airport. I’ve also included some of the top Montego Bay attractions. One of our favorite things to do in Montego Bay was to learn all about the White Witch of Rose Hall Jamaica, which is not far away from Half Moon Hotel Jamaica.
Planning your Montego Bay holidays? Check out our tips for the top Montego Bay activities.
FAQs – Half Moon Reviews
- Where is Half Moon Bay? Half Moon Jamaica is located on Half Moon Bay, in Montego Bay. Being one of the top hotels in Montego Bay most people know where the hotel is located, on the north side of the island, east of the airport. But, when googling Half Moon, there are actually TWO Half Moons in Jamaica. “Half Moon Beach” is not the same. Half Moon Beach is located more west of the airport, closer to Negril, Jamaica. I was, at least once, confused while researching our trip to Montego Bay. This should also not be confused with Half Moon Bay Beach, which is located in California. Just to be safe, refer to this hotel as Half Moon Montego Bay and you should be golden!
- Are there Half Moon Jamaica All Inclusive Rates? Half Moon Resort Jamaica does have an all-inclusive rate, as well as half board. The Half Moon Bay Jamaica All Inclusive Rate is a pretty good value if you tend to eat and drink a lot during your holiday.
- What is the Montego Bay weather like? Montego Bay is hot and tropical almost all year. Be sure to bring sunscreen and mosquito repellent, which is needed in all tropical climates.
- When is the best time to visit Jamaica? Caribbean travels need to be planned around the hurricane season, which runs from June into early November. The best time to go to Jamaica is in November and December, after the hurricane season, when the weather is just lovely. We visited in April, and there were a few showers, but most of the time it was sunny and warm.
- How far is Half Moon Jamaica from the Montego Bay Airport? Half Moon Bay Resort is only a 10-minute drive from the airport.
- How do you get to Half Moon Bay Jamaica from the Montego Bay Airport? Half Moon offers a welcome lounge just outside of Customs. Their concierge team can help arrange transfer to the resort.
We were hosted by Half Moon Bay Resort, but, as always, our views are our own. Check out Tripadvisor Montego Bay reviews of Half Moon Resort. Prestige Ocean Rooms start at $700 a night. Half Board, Full Board, and All-Inclusive options are available (take advantage of the all-inclusive). Our Fern Tree Spa Signature treatment is $245 per person. Get the best prices for rooms and suites at Half Moon on Booking.com.
Check out Half Moon Jamaica Reviews on TripAdvisor
Pin It! Half Moon Jamaica Review – Hotels Montego Bay Jamaica
When traveling to Jamaica, use the Montego Bay airport lounge to make travel a breeze! Check out our review of the Priority Pass Lounge program, and consider using it during your travels to Jamaica.
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new Food and Drink Destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together over the last 20 years, they have traveled to over 70 countries. Amber is the author of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna.