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Tuesday,  June 18, 2024 10:02 PM 

Half Moon to continue shining brightly


Half Moon to continue shining brightly
Of Half Moon: Guy Steuart, chairman & Sandro Fabris, general manager
Blake Wolfe

Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.

When Montego Bay’s Half Moon emerges from its current transformation, it will set the stage for the storied property’s “next six decades,” according to Half Moon Chairman Guy Steuart.

Steuart was joined by General Manager Sandro Fabris on a recent trade mission to Toronto, updating Canada’s travel industry on the renowned resort property, located on the north shores of Jamaica just minutes from Sangster International Airport.

The property (which operates on a European plan) will celebrate its 65th anniversary in 2019 and to celebrate, Half Moon is completing an expansion plan which, among other developments, will add 57 new rooms across 20 acres of the 400-acre resort, with an anticipated November opening date.

“You have to stay current to remain on top of the trends,” Steuart said. “With this new development, we are re-establishing our identity for the next six decades.”

READ MORE: Half Moon Rising

Dubbed the East Cove, the new resort section will offer connecting rooms to appeal to a growing multigenerational travel market (Steuart said that approximately 32 per cent of Half Moon’s business is repeat clientele, many of whom bring along family members to experience the property), most of which will be contained within four separate buildings, featuring eight rooms each - four on the ground and an additional four on the second storey. According to Fabris, all of the new rooms will be ocean-facing, adding that only 17 rooms across the entire property do not feature ocean views.

The East Cove will also see the establishment of a Great House building, which will house guest services such as a concierge, front office and bar as well nine rooms on the second floor, including the property’s largest accommodation – a 3,000 square-foot two-bedroom suite.

Great House from Ocean.jpgAn artist's rendering of the new Great House seen from the beach

Four additional new estate houses will also be constructed, each featuring four rooms; Fabris said that each house can be booked in its entirety for families staying at Half Moon.

The use of works from local artists and decorators in the new rooms is a key priority, said Steuart, which brings a little bit of the destination directly to guests. “Jamaica is our host – we’re just a conduit to tell the story of the country,” he said. “We fully believe in bringing the local community into our resort.”

With rising sea levels causing beach erosion at the property, Steuart said that sustainability has become even more front-and-centre for Half Moon; the property’s entrance will now be moved to allow for a larger beachfront. Other initiatives include the elimination of styrofoam products from Half Moon and the eventual phasing out of plastic water bottles, while a former dolphin experience has been re-purposed as a swimming spot for guests.

“As a responsible enterprise, we need to be better stewards of the land,” he said.

READ MORE: JAPEX: properties provide updates on renos, new builds

The property features two overwater bungalows where activities such as yoga classes are held. Steuart said that while neighbouring resort Sandals Royal Caribbean has added several overwater suites in recent years, Half Moon is not rushing into such a development so as not to affect views of the ocean from the shore; an additional overwater podium may be in the works, however, to accommodate additional yoga classes, he said.

Additional dining concepts will also be introduced, including the buffet Great House restaurant which will place the kitchen in the middle of the establishment for guests to watch; Del Mar, offering Caribbean seafood specialties; and a health food restaurant to be located next to Half Moon’s Fern Tree Spa, catering to special diets such as vegan.

Three new bars will also be added, including the Spice beach bar, the Hayward Bar and Grill and the Lester Bar. Notably, Steuart explained that the latter two draw inspiration from Half Moon’s history with artists – musician Lance Hayward recorded a 1960 album at the property with famed reggae producer Chris Blackwell, while Half Moon is home to the largest private collection of works by painter Michael Lester.

Fabris told PAX that travel agents can expect to see a new incentive following the completion of the project.

Main Villa Exterior.jpgHalf Moon's Main Villa at dusk

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