First developed in 1954 as a winter getaway for 16 North American families, who built a collection of beachside cottages on a former sugar cane estate, Half Moon in Jamaica’s Montego Bay has grown into a landmark property in the Caribbean—one that’s hosted generations of royalty, celebrities, and loyal guests on its now 400 scenic acres. This month, the legendary (and still family-owned) spot introduced a new chapter in its storied history with the March 1 opening of Eclipse at Half Moon, a newly built luxury resort that offers its own dedicated accommodations, facilities, and amenities, as well as access to all that the property at large has to offer.
Managed by Salamander Hotels & Resorts (whose other properties include the noted Salamander Resort & Spa in Virginia’s horse- and wine-country), Half Moon recognized the need to upgrade its offerings. “Properties wear out, but memories and spirit endure,” says Guy Steuart III, chairman of the board at Half Moon. “What was designed for 35 acres could no longer sustain 400 acres and two miles of beach front, (so) our goal (was) to re-imagine hospitality in a way that is meaningful to our loyal guests, while capturing the curiosity of prospective guests.” Sheila Johnson, founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, adds that the timing for the addition was perfect, too. “For 2020, Jamaica had already landed on numerous ‘hot lists,’ and this new property will only further elevate its appeal to guests from all over the world (and) add to the Caribbean’s luxury landscape,” she notes.
As seen in these new images (two of which are being released first by Robb Report), Eclipse was designed by noted architecture and design firm Hart Howerton of New York and San Francisco in a breezy, Anglo-Caribbean aesthetic, with both Jamaican culture and the resort’s history reflected in details like vintage family photos and custom murals in the style of artist Michael Lester, whose work famously captured the spirit of Caribbean life.
Centered around a Great House, Eclipse is home to 57 rooms and suites, including spacious Ocean Rooms (each with reading nooks and furnished outdoor lounges), Great House Ocean Suites (with living and dining areas and up to two bedrooms) and Estate Homes (which feature private entrances, kitchens, outdoor living areas, and up to four bedrooms.) Shared spaces include an infinity pool, natural swimming cove, and seven bars and restaurants—among them the seafront Delmare for Italian-style seafood, Hayward’s for live-action chef stations, and Spice for toes-in-the-sand Jamaican BBQ. Eclipse guests also enjoy easy access to Fern Tree, A Salamander Spa, where dramatic overwater bungalows provide the setting for body treatments and yoga classes.
Eclipse joins two other existing options at Half Moon: Founders Cove, whose rooms and restaurants are located at the resort’s original site around Sunset Beach; and Rose Hall Villas, with 28 five-to-seven-bedroom villas featuring their own butler, housekeeper, and cook. Guests of all sections have access to all Half Moon restaurants and facilities, including the Robert Trent Jones, Sr.-designed Half Moon golf course, the Half Moon Equestrian Centre (offering riding, jumping and polo lessons), tennis and squash courts, the water sports hub, and the Anancy Children’s Village, which is inspired by Jamaican folklore. Eclipse at Half Moon rates start at $699 per night for Ocean Rooms and $3,500 per night for Estate Homes.