Jamaica – Home for the Holidays

Written by Tom Thrun.

Ever since living in Jamaica back in the 60’s when my father ran the Sans Souci Hotel in Ocho Rios, Jamaica has always felt like home.

Today the Island is known for its many spectacular all inclusive resorts. But for a real Jamaican experience you might want to try one of a handful of remaining “original” Caribbean resorts. The kind of property that exudes that old Jamaican elegance from years gone by. The Grand Dam of these resorts is Half Moon Resort located in the Rose Hall section of Montego Bay.

This past Thanksgiving Joy and I along with my brothers returned for another visit to this luxurious home away from home. Founded in 1954 by several wealthy American families as well as British and Jamaican businessmen. Everyone from Queen Elizabeth to John F. Kennedy to Late Prince Rainier have been guest of the hotel. Jackie “O” wrote her will on Half Moon stationary and the Beatles dined at the hotel’s Sugar Mill restaurant. Today resort guest include honeymooners, families, couples, singles, the famous and not so famous.

The property is immense and is spread out over 400 acres comprised of 34 villas, 163 suites and 52 rooms overlooking the best Beach in Mo’Bay. You can spend a week or more at the resort and still not experience all it has to offer. It even has its own nature preserve, dolphin lagoon and exclusive shopping village.

Dining options abound. Besides the legendary Sugar Mill restaurant you can enjoy Jamaican specialties at the Seagrape by the ocean or savor Italian cuisine at Il Giardino. You can even have authentic fish and chips and a pint at the Royal Stocks English Pub.

Half Moon also features a wide range of sports and activities. The famed Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed championship golf course has been revamped and is now home to the David Leadbetter golf academy. Tennis players will be in heaven at the Half Moon tennis center with 13 courts with lighting for evening play. The resort’s stables provide horse back riding in the mountains or on the beach. Facilities also include a complete water sports and dive center, sailing and deep sea fishing excursions. Its all here.

Half Moon is as diverse and wonderful as Jamaica itself.

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