Half Moon Resort in Jamaica has played host to Jackie O., Prince Harry, and now the Evans boys. Though the villas offer a butler, a housekeeper and a cook (all just for you) this piece of paradise is not too fancy for a busy family.
This grand old tropical outpost has been hosting the swell and fabulous since 1957. Half Moon’s storied past includes Jackie O. penning her will from one of the ocean front cottages. A long line of British royalty have rested their heads at Half Moon, the latest being the super hot Prince Harry. His stay was documented in every gossip magazine from LA to London.
This resort offers more than a “fly and flop” experience, they have golf, tennis, horseback riding (in to the ocean), water sports and more. Here is everything you need to know.
Rooms, Cottages and Villas
Half Moon has a wide variety of accommodations. We stayed in a private villa, did I mention it was the VERY SAME villa that Prince Harry stayed in? Yes, I slept in Prince Harry’s bed. Sort of.
These villas come with the very best amenity. A full staff. You get your very own butler, housekeeper and cook. As I was planning this trip many readers asked “What does a butler do?” According to my research, whatever you need. The very capable Rines was with us from early morning until we tucked in for the night. He made activity arrangements for us, called the doctor when one of the boys was sick, made my pina coladas and served our meals. Speaking of the doctor, he made a house call, with the antibiotics he anticipated we would need (I diagnosed an ear infection, I was right) and within 20 minutes we were done. Now that is luxury.
The villas also come with a cook who stays in a separate room attached to the villa. Girzel cooked for us all week and we were so in love with her food that the boys didn’t want to go out to dinner. One night we went to the award winning “Sugar Mill” restaurant, #2 in the Caribbean, and the boys said “Girzel’s food is better”. They were right, I have never had jerk chicken that tasted so good. She also made us traditional Jamaican fare such as rundown, festival, ackee and callaloo. I have the recipes, I will never compare. She also made every other meal and even grilled cheese if the boys needed a snack.
The villa experience is perfect for a large family or for a group. The rooms can even be locked off. The interiors did not blow me away, they were basic and comfortable, but not luxurious. The beauty of this is that you don’t mind kids rolling around in wet swimsuits. I have several friends who return to the villas year after year because they can fit more than one family and they are just so easy.
We had an ocean front villa (did I mention that Prince Harry stayed there?) the private pool and view were breathtaking.
When we toured the cottages I fell in love with the interiors, they are also closer to the beach. I think you can’t go wrong with either choice. Also, a butler trumps any couch.
I’m not sure there is anything more majestic than riding in to the ocean on horseback. Half Moon has a stunning equestrian centre where you can take lessons. Even if you’ve never ridden before, the staff can put you on horseback and have you gliding in to the ocean looking like a supermodel with no effort. Really.
Tennis and Golf
The tennis center has 14 lit courts and a staff of really skilled pros. I have taken a lot of tennis lessons, even from Tracy Austin, and rank their professional staff in the top 10. Also, there is nothing that relaxes you more on the court than a soothing Jamaican accent telling you that the ball you missed was “just unlucky”.
My husband is a scratch golfer and has been playing since he was 9. To say he is golf obsessed would be to understate it. He took a lesson with the head pro, I have no photos, um, I was “working”. He swears it changed his life. I don’t know what the advice was, I don’t play golf. But I’m thinking that I should have a section of the site dedicated to golf course reviews and put my husband on the payroll. Which means he gets exposure.
Half Moon has four of their own dolphins, all born in captivity, that the children visit daily from kids’ camp. I know this is controversial. I have also seen “Blackfish”. I will say that the boys loved it and the dolphins are well cared for. Having done dolphin encounters at big resorts that are basically picture selling operations, this experience was much more enjoyable. The boys were able to spend time with the dolphins in a quiet setting and no one hustled me for cash on the way out. Yes, I’m talking to you Atlantis.
Anancy Children’s Camp
The kids camp is actually a large complex of super cute little bungalows. They do crafts, games and all sorts of activities. My kids are not usually big kids’ camp fans. Keaton asked to go back every day, he is 8. Wilson at 11 was less impressed but went along with his little brother since the option was to sit by the pool while mom reviewed the cocktail menu.
Coming soon to the cocktail blog is the recipe for the Yellow Bird. It was added to the cocktail menu, having last appeared there in the 1950’s. I’m a sucker for a classic cocktail, especially one you can enjoy at the table IN the pool.
Fern Tree Spa
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’m about to prove it.
Half Moon Resort sits on 400 acres near Montego Bay. Villas come with two golf carts to get around the property. Kids are not allowed to drive, we were told this every time we got caught. Keaton is a very good driver.
In addition to all of the leisure activities, there are stores, a medical facility and multiple restaurants on property. The boys rode bikes all over the resort and their favorite spot was the life sized chess game.
The real reason we travel is not to see amazing places (though that doesn’t suck). But rather to spend time together. With a staff meeting your every need, quality time is easy to come by. We pulled our pool chairs under the palm trees every night and watched the sun go down. My favorite travel memories are always these, unhurried time to just be.
If you are interested in visiting Half Moon Resort Jamaica, check their website. Obviously the villas are the most expensive, but if more than one family stays and you consider the reduced food cost, you can justify it. I am really skilled at justifying travel costs, trust me on this. Currently they are running an Ultimate Summer Getaway special with rates starting at $459. Compared the cost of our villa over Christmas week at $45k for the week, that’s a steal.
We were the guests of Half Moon for review and talent purposes. They used our family for their marketing video, so we worked for food, literally. Keaton does the voice over and if there were marketing video awards, this one would totally win.