Jamaica. It’s my favorite island for so many reasons. I’m part Jamaican and it feels nice to come “‘home.” BUT, every time I go, it’s always about the people. Their warmth, kindness, killer sense of humor, and, yes, a little bit of attitude to keep it real. This trip was no different. Put that with beautiful weather, lush surroundings, good food, and some ‘essential-listening’ reggae? Done. This year I tried a different place. I had heard of Half Moon many times and all reports were great. Scratch that. Pretty fantastic, actually. Somehow I never made it. I always go through that mental back and forth of “easy resort. Ahhh.” vs. “shouldn’t we be doing something more rustic and authentic?” Then I factor in traveling with my husband (“beach is non-negotiable”), daughter (“activites!”) and this year my mom (“just put me somewhere warm and I’m happy”), and I figured let’s go easy and not stress. We all loved it.
The property is literally 10 minutes from the airport, but when you enter, it’s a different, hushed, beautiful world. I love a good entry — you need to set the right visual tone immediately — and the lobby’s sweeping, open-air views of the ocean are wonderful. I would call the decor “modern colonial.” Elegant wood furniture with soothing tropical (not crazy primary colors) patterns. Tasteful. Chic. Before I move on, I would say the one cloud over our experience was the reception staff’s handling of our check-in. The issue could have been handled better — and without us even knowing. Execution and consistency are so important in hospitality. Okay, moving on to the good! There are many different accommodations to choose from. Beach front cottages, single rooms, suites, split-level cottages, and private villas that are located further in on the property. (While biking, I craned my neck more than once to get a glimpse of the villas, which look amazing.) We chose a garden villa suite. Well, actually it was chosen for us as we made a late reservation and that’s what they had left for the Christmas week. When I say ‘late’ I mean August! It all worked out though. We were steps away from the beach, palm trees, and fresh coconut water every day. There are three pools, and two main beaches. I preferred the one further away from the main building as it was like a private beach with a great snack bar/bbq.
There are dedicated programs and facilities for tennis, horseback-riding, and a renown golf course. We tend to be slackers in this department, but I’m happy these amenities are here. Future aspirations? Maybe! Their yoga pavilion is wonderful. Actually, there are two. One at the Fern Tree Spa (great!), and one on the beach. Literally on stilts over the ocean. Special. I had, ‘Gabi,’ a german transplant as my teacher and she was a perfect mixture of no-nonsense/soulful/warm/fun. Very much like Jamaica itself.