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HALFMOON HOTEL AND RESORT
Montego Bay, Jamaica
web: halfmoon.com
email: reservations@halfmoon.com

By Rosalind Friedman, Correspondent

Jamaica // This Caribbean island, discovered by Chris Columbus in 1494, is about the size of the State of Connecticut with a population equal to that of British Columbia. Its plummy weather allows bananas and coconuts to grow in profusion. Turquoise waters surrounded by gorgeous white sandy beaches abound, and the end of every day is punctuated by a romantic sunset. Jamaica was a Spanish colony for two and one half centuries, hence the place names like Ocho Rios, Rio Bueno, Negril and Montego Bay. The British chased the Spanish out and took over in 1655; today, it is a self-governing member of the British Commonwealth with Kingston as its capital.

Montego Bay // Home to the Donald Sangster International Airport and a safe harbor, where cruise ships dock to the delight of passengers looking for duty free gifts, this famed resort destination encompasses a sparkling 15 mile shoreline from Tryall in the West to Greenwood in the East. Five-star beachfront hotels, hillside villas, guesthouses, golf courses, and a thriving market town, are all scattered along these magical miles. The finer restaurants, here, will send a van to pick you up at your hotel and bring you back when your meal is over.

Half Moon, Golf, Tennis & Beach Club // This 46 year old paradise is a member of Elegant Resorts International. It is a world class resort, which not only has received the 1999 worlds best award from the readers of Travel and Leisure magazine, the AAA Four Diamond Award,

Floral profusion surrounds the entrance to Half Moon Golf, Tennis & Beach Club and was named by Conde Nast Traveller as one of the Top 50 Tropical Resorts, but was the first hotel in the Caribbean to be placed in the Green Hotel Hall of Fame, for its incredible efforts in conservation and environmental protection. It takes 700 workers to keep this 400 acre resort in shipshape.

Each and every one of its 44 rooms, 179 suites and 32 villas, inspired by the Queen Anne style, with elegant mahogany furniture covered in interesting fabrics, brightened by Jamaican paintings, four poster beds and vibrant carpets, are all decorated by Elizabeth Simonitsch, wife if the Managing Director, Heinz Simonitsch; no two are exactly alike.

Activities // Set amidst the lush landscape along the shores of Montego Bay, it has extraordinary facilities. For golf lovers, an 18 hole Robert Trent Jones, Sr. Golf Course and a David Leadbetter Golf Academy, 18 hole Putting Green and Driving Range are perfect. Four lit Squash courts and 13 tennis courts, nine of which are lit for night play, windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, glass bottom boat tours and swimming in several large pools, a lap pool and over 50 smaller pools provide a busy schedule. If you can pull yourself away from its two curved crescent beaches, Half Moon or Sunset, which beckon sensuously, you can indulge in massage, facials, aerobic dance, exercise and sauna all featured in the newly enlarged and updated Health and Fitness Spa. If that were not enough, there is a huge equestrian center with top facilities for horseback riding, and two international croquet courts. There are Manager¹s Cocktail Parties each week and a weekly Beach Barbecue on Sunset Beach.

Dining // Half Moon offers 6 restaurants on its property. The open-air Seagrape Terrace is the centerpiece of the resort. Set on a spacious flagstone patio across from the sea, it serves breakfast, (which includes a generous buffet), lunch and dinner. At night the tall green buttonwood trees which bedeck the area glow with tiny lights, competing with the moon and stars overhead. At one end is a gazebo where musicians entertain. The Italian restaurant Il Guardino uses a small outdoor area of the Seagrape, as well as an indoor air-conditioned baroque-style room. The Victorian-styled The Sugar Mill overlooks the Robert Trent Golf Course. It offers Gourmet Cuisine for lunch and Candle-lit dinners on the terrace. Royal Stocks is an English pub. Sakura, an authentic Japanese restaurant open for lunch and dinner. Bellfield 1794 is an open air restaurant serving unique Jamaican cuisine.

Places to See // (Throughout Jamaica) Climbing Dunn¹s River Falls in Ocho Rios, visiting plantations like the Rose Hall Great House , Greenwood Great House, or Belvedere to glimpse an historical 960 acre working plantation, where sugar cane is processed in the old-fashioned way, experiencing a Black River Safari, or traveling to Negril or Deep Sea Fishing can be arranged by your concierge.

Shopping // Montego Bay: Duty free shopping is available for watches perfume, porcelain, crystal and jewelry at City Center and the Holiday Village and Bay Plaza on the waterfront. There is a central Crafts Market on Harbor Street where bargaining is expected.

Half Moon Hotel Shopping Arcade // located adjacent to the main entrance of the hotel, it offers a variety of craft shops, duty free items, designer clothing, jewelry & leather goods, a pharmacy and flower boutique. Do not go home without a piece of Jamaican wood sculpture.

Half Moon Shopping Village // built in 1995, located on hotel property and set on beautifully landscaped gardens; a shuttle service departing from the hotel¹s main lobby every 15 minutes, operating from 7am-11pm, will take you to a collection of trendy boutiques and restaurants, Norma Webster¹s beauty salon, an art gallery, Conference Facilities, and the Bob Marley Experience in the Entertainment Center.

Conference Facilities // Half Moon has recently expanded its conference facilities with the addition of the Cornwall Room, a 12,000 sq.ft. Building, located in Half Moon¹s Shopping village, bringing its total meeting space to more than 26,000 sq. ft. Decorated in a stately combination of blue and gold, this facility has the latest audiovisual equipment and moveable stage with a trained staff at the ready to handle all details. Secretarial Services, faxes, supervised activities for children, catering services, theme parties and special events are available. Sales Dept. Ph. 1-800-339-9728 or 1-876-953-2953 fax: 1-876-953-3244

Health Facility // The Mobray Hope Diagnostic Center, in the Shopping Village, encompasses Dental and Medical issues and even houses a new medical unit for Dialysis; open to patients six days a week, it can accommodate up to six people a day. It boasts a resident medical staff, in-house dietitian, special kitchen facility providing dietary meals, and the most familiar and efficient equipment in use. (Contact Paulette Lewis at 800-408-6031 or 876-953-8830)

Entry Regulations // Canadian and US. citizens entering Jamaica need a valid passport or an original, certified copy of US birth certificate plus a picture ID such as a driver¹s license and a return ticket. All other visitors must carry a valid passport. All visitors must pay a JA$1,0000 ($14) departure fax on leaving the country.

Marriage Licenses // Visitors can obtain a special license after a 24 hour period on the island. You must produce your passport and two witnesses. If either party has been divorced or widowed, necessary documents must be produced to vouch for their current status. Young people under 21 years of age must produce written consent from a parent, signed by a notary public. Call Mr. Percival Thompson at the Civil Registrar of Marriages at 37, Market Street, Montego Bay. 952-3782

Driving Licenses // Holders of most foreign driving licenses are entitled to drive in Jamaica for 12 months from their date of arrival, provided the license is valid for all of that period. For a longer stay, a Jamaican license must be obtained. No person under 17 years may drive a car or motorcycle. Remember! Jamaicans drive on the left side of the road.

By Rosalind Friedman, Correspondent

Arriving at the airport in Jamaica, serenading, colorfully-costumed musicians are a warm and happy welcoming committee. On the brief ride to the Half Moon, the happy taxi driver regales us with stories of his island. The sun is warm and the breezes gentle, as we enter the open elegant lobby of the Half Moon, guarded by large white stone lions.

It is difficult to choose between staying at one of the villas with private pool and live-in-chef, or a villa across from one of the two silky sandy beach fronts. The service is impeccable and always friendly. In short it is a paradise!

DESTINATION SNAPSHOT

LOCATION: ROSE HALL, Montego Bay, Jamaica
ROOMS: 398
CLOSEST MAJOR AIRPORT: SANGSTER INT'L AIRPORT
RESTAURANTS: 6 (+7 BARS)
ACTIVITIES: 51 Swimming pools, Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designed championship golf course, water-skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, paddle boat, kayaking, sailing, glass-bottom boat, deep-sea fishing, 13 lit tennis courts, 4 squash courts, table tennis, cycling, equestrian center


WEBSITE:
halfmoon.com

EMAIL:
reservations@halfmoon.com
PHONE:
1.888.830.5974 (US)
0.800.051.3893 (UK)