I stayed at Half Moon while attending a business conference, so that sets the tone for a review from a different perspective than many guests would have. That said, I wish I’d stayed at the nearby Ritz Carlton instead.
The first villa room I was assigned was badly in need of attention. Located in villa 94, the room was upstairs on the back of the building, and the noise from the main road along the coast, behind the villa, was annoying. Entering the villas that back on the main road is awkward, as you must pass through the pool area to enter the villa, rather than the reverse, as in the resort’s other villas. After entering the room using an old-style metal key (not an electronic door lock as were on the other resort rooms), I found a room that was probably last renovated in the 80s. The furniture had been stained and varnished by someone who thought the hardware should be covered, too, leaving them permanently sticky. The reception on the old-style tube TV was fuzzy at best, and the bathroom tile was broken, stained, and clearly in need of replacing. When I returned to my room after a trip to the commissary, to find the air conditioning broken and no specific time estimate for a repair, I’d had enough and asked to be relocated to a room out of that building and was courteously accommodated.
My new room in a similar villa nearby, one on a side road and not backing on the main highway was in generally better condition. It was cleaner, had a small but serviceable HDTV (but no HD channels and still spotty reception), and was in a quiet location. The room still lacked in many items that I’d consider a prerequisite in a resort of this standing: there was no clock in the room, the lighting was very dim, and the high speed internet was accessible in the public area of the villa, but not in my room. There was no in-room coffee maker (you must trek all the way to the main building for coffee each morning – the villa staff don’t provide it), and if you need to plug in a phone, iPad, laptop, or other equipment, plan to crawl behind the dresser or nightstand to unplug a lamp. The single bathroom outlet is labeled “razors only,” so even though it appears to be one that could be used for electronic equipment, I didn’t want to chance it.
The bathroom was, quite simply, annoying, with its pint-sized “campstool toilet,” and shower that is so narrow that an average sized person will rub one elbow on the shower curtain, and another on the shower wall, while trying to shower. Hotels worldwide have installed curved shower rods to make the shower space wider, but Half Moon hasn’t done so yet. The faucets in the sinks lack a filter screen, so the water hits the basin and sprays everywhere, including the clothes you’re wearing, as you brush teeth, wash hands, draw water to drink, etc. The wall-mounted hair dryer is an economy motel product that produced the wind of barely a gentle breeze. The shower, sink and hairdryer issues are easy fixes that would be expected at a four-star hotel. The bath amenities are large, but nothing special.
Service was OK, but inconsistent. The bell staff are awesome and very accommodating. The front desk and villa staff are all very welcoming and want to ensure a nice stay. That said, the sheets of my room weren’t changed once during my five night stay. The bathroom glasses weren’t washed or replaced, the bath towels were left askew on the rod, just as I’d left them, while the same terry bathmat was left on the floor for the entire stay. I’m not sure what the room attendant actually did to clean and straighten the bathroom during my stay.
What was good about the resort? The setting is very attractive, the golf carts provided for the long trips from the villas to the main building are well kept and problem free, and the main building restaurant offers a very good breakfast buffet each morning. The shopping and restaurant area are very close, just outside a gate at the villa end of the resort, and include a commissary for supplies, a Thai/Indian restaurant with good food: an authentic English Pub with wide variety on its food and drink menus and TVs to catch the games; and various other shops.
My recommendations are these: consider staying in the main hotel rooms, and if you go with a group or otherwise prefer villas, be sure to stay away from the villas that back on the main highway. Know that the quality and upkeep of villa rooms varies from one building to another so if you’re not happy with your first room, request to be moved. If you need a powerful hairdryer, bring your own. If you have multiple electronic gadgets, bring a small plug strip or something similar. Engage your villa room attendant early to ask about her policy on changing sheets and towels (and be sure to tip as you go). Sign the golf cart usage form immediately so you can set out on your own to explore the resort. Finally, if you’re attending a business meeting and have the option to stay at the Ritz Carlton, save the hassle of inconsistent villa quality and the need to use a cart to get to the main building, and do so.
- 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