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CONTRIBUTED - The lobby at Half Moon.

Half Moon closes for first time in 63 years

Luxury hotel undergoes extensive renovations

Janet Silvera, Hospitality Jamaica Coordinator

For the first time in 63 years, Half Moon will close its doors, while focusing on refreshing existing accommodations and guest facilities on the 400-acre resort.

The hotel, which became a trailblazer for the luxury-resort industry in the Caribbean after it was built as a winter escape in 1954, will remain closed for the month of September, reopening on October 4, General Manager, Sandro Fabris has confirmed.

The closure follows an announcement earlier this year that the resort would be undergoing extensive renovation as part of a $9.6 billion refurbishing exercise.

"The construction of the new accommodations and guest facilities is progressing nicely, and during this period we have been able to continue providing to our guests, the remarkable service that Half Moon is known for. We decided to close for the month of September to focus on refreshing existing accommodations at the resort and we are looking forward to welcoming guests on October 4, 2017," said Fabris.

This latest phase follows the 2015 refurbishment of the award-winning Sugar Mill Restaurant, the resort lobby, Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed golf course and the introduction of the popular Lester's Cafe.

Also recently completed was the centralised Back of House complex, which was scheduled to open in June, providing first-rate resources and modern facilities for Half Moon team members.

On completion of the entire project in October 2018, guests will have the option of 57 new rooms and suites, two additional restaurants, three new bars, an expanded beach front and adults-only pool.

A new lobby and entrance to the resort is also in the plans.

"The entire exercise is designed in such a way that guests are experiencing minimal to no disruption," said the hotel management.

In fact, the resort's board chairman, Guy Steuart III promised that that period of development will be an exciting time for Half Moon, which has been the chosen retreat for royalty, presidents and generations of loyal guests.

He noted that the investment demonstrates the ongoing commitment to the hotel's guests, Loyalty Club members, staff and the people of Jamaica.

Family-owned for more than 60 years, and independently managed, Half Moon has been a landmark of world-class hospitality," stated Steuart III.

"We now look forward to welcoming a new generation of guests as we embark on this journey that will extend the legacy - refreshing, repositioning and readying Half Moon for the next 60 years."

european plan hotel

The resort remains one of the only remaining European Plan hotels in the tourism capital, Montego Bay.

The expansive resort is situated on acres of tropical gardens and bordered by two miles of beach front.

On its 60th anniversary, then president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, Josef Forstmayr spoke glowingly of the resort, stating that it remained a beacon of distinction in the hotel industry.

"The resort with its high level of personalised service and varied, world-class amenities has become the standard by which many other luxury hotels in the Caribbean are judged," said Forstmayr.

Opposition leader at the time, and now prime minister, Andrew Holness lauded the resort's commitment to nation building, through its efforts to generate wide-scale employment, specifically targeting persons from local communities; as well as using the country's home-grown products in its array of delectable dishes.

The majority of the resort's employees have been sent on vacation for the month.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com 

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