TORONTO – Coming in November 2018, Jamaica’s iconic Half Moon resort will unveil 20 acres of redeveloped property that will not only be “transformative” but also “re-establish” the brand in the Caribbean.
Speaking to media and travel agents at Toronto’s Spoke Club yesterday, Guy Steuart III, Chairman of Half Moon and grandson of one of the resort’s 17 original investors back in 1954, admitted that over the years “we’ve learned that we built too close to the beach.” With rising sea levels and the inevitability of beach erosion, the resort made the decision to scrape 20 acres of beachfront in order to set itself back 100 feet from the sea.
“This is a thoughtful development that’s well back from the beach,” said Steuart. “As a responsible enterprise, we want to be better stewards of the land.”
The transformation signifies Half Moon’s commitment to invest in the future of the resort – and the island – for generations to come. In 2015, Half Moon completed the first phase of its US$75 million Master Plan Renovation, which included the refurbishment of the award-winning Sugar Mill Restaurant, resort lobby, golf course and popular Lester’s Café. Now in Phase Two, in addition to a reimagined beachfront, the resort will also debut a new entry, a Great House with 57 accommodations, a natural swimming cove once used for swimming with dolphins, an adults-only swimming pool, two restaurants, three bars, a market café and a vegan café located at the Fern Tree Spa.
“The resort is evolving so that the best of Half Moon will remain, and this constant evolution is the key to a luxury hospitality experience,” said Sandro Fabris, General Manager. “Half Moon’s new additions along with its architecture, landscape and design will reward a sense of discovery that elevates the resort experience and enables guests to rediscover our intimate paradise and singular hospitality.”
First opened in 1954, the resort has grown linearly since then, “about two miles on the beach”, said Steuart, and now encompasses 400 acres of “casual elegance”. With so much land, he added that “it’s not a concentrated place to be” but rather spread out to ensure privacy and relaxation. “In fact, we can be 80% full and you won’t even know it, that’s how spread out we are,” he said.
And when asked whether Half Moon was impacted at all by last year’s hurricanes, Steuart said the weather only made its beaches better.
“Jamaica is open for business, and so is Half Moon,” he said. “We’ve been in business for 65 years, and I’m hoping for another six decades.”
Here’s what you need to know about Half Moon:
- The new ‘East Cove’ development encompasses just 5% of the overall property, which means its 153 rooms will remain operational.
- The 57 new guestrooms and suites include Prestige Ocean Rooms (contemporary rooms with private patio or balcony), Estate Ocean Rooms (the resort’s largest standard rooms with private outdoor living spaces), Estate Ocean Suites (situated in private Estate Houses and featuring suite-connecting capabilities for up to four bedrooms), and a Great House Ocean Suite (the resort’s signature and largest suite).
- Two new dining venues will debut in November: a three-meal restaurant that will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a fresh seafood restaurant
- Half Moon is an EP hotel (not all-inclusive) because “we believe you have to get out, meet the people and see Jamaica,” said Steuart.
- Half Moon opened in 1954 with 17 whitewashed cottages and 30 beachfront rooms. Ten of those original cottages remain today as the West Cottages, hosting such esteemed guests as HRH Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Rainier of Monaco, and U.S. President John F. Kennedy over the years.
- The resort has the largest collection of Michael Lester paintings in the world. Born in Poland in 1906, the acclaimed artist moved to Montego Bay in 1953.
- Activities run the gamut at Half Moon, from swimming with horses and water sports (scuba diving, sailing, windsurfing, water skiing and kayaking), to tennis (11 courts), golf (18-hole Robert Trent Jones Sr. course) and yoga/Pilates. There’s also a Spinning studio, an Equestrian Centre and the Fern Tree Spa.
- 32% of Half Moon’s guests are repeat clients.
- 6% of its guests come from Canada, a number Steuart wishes was higher. “With great connectivity from Canada to Jamaica, it’s very easy for Canadians to get there.”
- Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport is located just seven miles from Half Moon.
For more information, visit halfmoon.com.