Back in 1954, 17 businessmen, mostly American and with a few British, Canadians and Bermudians, fell in love with Jamaica and were compelled to invest in the country and her people. Titans in the business world, with household names such as Firestone, Armour and Reynolds, they were habitués of the fashionable Sunset Lodge in Montego Bay. Harold DeLisser, son of the lodge’s owner, persuaded the vacationers to build their own cottage colony seven miles down the shore where their friends and family could leisurely spend their winters. Borrowing from the bay’s crescent-shaped beach for its name, Half Moon would begin a journey spanning decades and generations. The original vision of the founders of creating an oasis where relaxed gentility is the order of the day is brighter than ever, not easy to accomplish when you consider the resort’s tremendous growth. Half Moon continues to prosper, winning awards and accolades yearly for its service and environmental efforts. Today, with the active presence of three of the original families – the Steuarts, the resort’s majority shareholders, together with the successors of Howard Pearce and William Weiss Sr. – Half Moon’s future is assuredly guaranteed, as is its role as a landmark of world-class hospitality.
As it does today, the resort attracted many luminaries of the day, including Paul Newman, Debbie Reynolds, Joan Crawford and her husband Alfred Steel (CEO of Pepsi-Cola), Clark Gable and HRH Princess Margaret. Other notable past guests include Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, HRH Prince Philip and HRH The Prince of Wales; Prince Rainier of Monaco; former United States President John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy; and George H. W. Bush when he was Vice President.
In 2011 Half Moon joined the RockResorts collection of luxury hotels and residences, becoming Half Moon, A RockResort.
Over the decades, the British Royal family has chosen Half Moon as their abode of choice in order to experience the warm, welcoming Jamaican hospitality for which the hotel is renowned. This was no different for Prince Henry of Wales (also known as Prince Harry) who stepped out of the spotlight of his first official Royal Tour, to mark her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, to enjoy a private retreat at Half Moon.
During his stay, the Prince relaxed in a five-bedroom oceanfront Royal Villa and enjoyed traditional Jamaican fare including Jerked Smoked Chicken Breast and Ackee and Saltfish with Green Bananas and Steamed Callaloo, prepared by the Villa staff.
Interestingly, the Windsor family has made the Royal Villas at Half Moon, their home away from home each time they visit Jamaica. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh stayed in the Royal villas when they visited in 2002 and His Royal Highness, Prince Charles has been a regular visitor, returning again in 2008 with Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall.