How does one of the grand dames of Caribbean hotels celebrate a special anniversary?
Half Moon, a RockResort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, is marking its Diamond Jubilee anniversary this year in fashion fitting a queen: It is giving three lucky guests a $10,000 diamond on three specific days if they are the first to check in that morning.
Two of the diamonds have already been presented. “The first, in February, was to a gentleman traveling solo to Jamaica on business. He was delighted and said he would give it to his wife,” said Aram Zerunian, general manager.
All guests, however, benefit from the hotel’s 60th anniversary celebrations with promotions, packages and events.
For example, the three-night 1954 package, valid through Dec. 19, is priced at $1,954 and includes accommodations, all dining and premium drinks, transfers and two massage treatments at Fern Tree Spa.
What sets Half Moon apart, other than its age, from the hundreds of luxury resorts in the Caribbean?
“There are no more hotels like this being built," Zerunian said. "Our architecture is not compressed. We are on 400 acres, a property so large we offer complimentary bike tours and horse and carriage rides."
“Our tallest building is no more than two stories. We have beachfront cottages, superior rooms and suites, 31 villas from three to seven bedrooms each, 54 pools, an equestrian center and the largest spa in the Caribbean that incorporates modern techniques with Jamaica’s ancient healing remedies,” he said.
(This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the resort’s 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed golf course, one of the first in the Caribbean.)
Half Moon guests expect nothing but the best, “and we give that to them,” Zerunian said.
Close to half of all guests are returnees. One guest recently visited for the 99th time.
“It is not the hotel that brings them back," Zerunian said. "It is our staff. Jamaicans are so committed to their heritage and to incorporating that into all service levels. Our longest-serving employee has been here since 1957 and he is one of the first people that our returning guests ask about and seek out."
Agents, too, are staunch supporters. More than 45% of bookings come through agents, and up to 250 agents visit the resort each year on fam trips.
“It’s all about service and standards, and Half Moon will never forget that,” Zerunian said.