Heavenly Half Moon Resort in Jamaica ... Can you get too much Bob Marley?
HALF MOON RESORT, JAMAICA - There are resorts. And there are RESORTS.
Half Moon, just outside Montego Bay, would have to be included in the latter, not only for the insane number of amenities and attractions but also for the sheer size of the place.
The resort was born in 1954 on a half moon crescent of sand east of Montego Bay in the Rose Hall district. A mere 35 acres it was. A baby. It has since grown to a full, Dolly Parton-esque 400 acres.
Attractions? How about a top-notch golf course (I’m playing in a couple hours), tennis courts, basketball courts, squash, a cricket and soccer field, a teen’s club, a huge children’s play area named after the famous Anancy books in Jamaica, six or seven bars (I forget), a fabulous spa run by a guy who spent part of his childhood in Goose Bay, Labrador and lived to tell the tale, a yoga centre, spa treatment rooms that are perched out on the water, a conference centre with a room that can fit 1,500 people, a lagoon with two dolphins, croquet, an equestrian centre for riding along the beach, a nature reserve, a hospital on the grounds and a whole bunch of stuff that I’m too lazy to write down right now.
The buildings are all done in up in regal white and there’s plenty of dark wood and lovely stone work and modern bathrooms and tv’s and all that. When I came into my room, they had folded a towel up to look like a swan and had sprinkled it with brilliant pink-red bougainvillea blossoms.
I had a brief lunch and a tasty mahi-mahi sandwich at the Seagrapes restaurant, right on the half moon-shaped beach. The water’s a touch murky right now but it’s fine for swimming and even a bit of body surfing Monday afternoon.
They had me try a little bit of everything, which added up to a lot, up at Sugar Mill restaurant, next to the golf course. It’s a beautiful spot with a patio that’s lit up by overhead lights hanging from gnarly, old trees with huge, droopy leaves on them. The constant, high-pitched pinging of the tree frogs took a minute to get used to but it was a great time, with some really cool Caribbean-fusion food; a jerk chicken spring roll, a fabulously tasty piece of snapper in a coconut-saffron sauce, fresh grilled lobster, deep and smoky crayfish bisque and a wonderful orange-banana bread pudding and mango cheesecake for dessert with Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee.
Gonna check out the place some more today and also head into MoBay for a little look-see and dinner. I suppose the size might be a detriment to some people. You need a golf cart to get from one end to the other. But it seems like a place that would be fabulous for families, as there truly is something for everyone. There also seems to be enough privacy that a high-falutin' movie couple could come and find some solitude.
The Queen came here a few years back. Prince Charles and Camilla used one of the villas not long ago, as well. Now, if they can only get Will and Kate....
11 BOB MARLEY SONGS AND COUNTING
I’m a big Bob Marley fan. I remember being in France in 1979 and doing a 2 a.m. conga line to “Exodus” with college kids from all over the world sang at a farmhouse/commune outside Nantes, and, no, I’m not at liberty to reveal any more details.
But as I listened to the speakers at the Sugar Mill Restaurant play his greatest hits album last night, this after landing at the airport and hearing another Bob Marley tune and then listening to some reggae music (and the great Montego Bay song made famous in the 60’s by Bobby Bloom) at the Seagrapes Bar before dinner, I wondered.
“Oh, no,” my waitress at the Sugar Mill told me. “He’s so inspirational and the music is so positive.”
I pressed her a little.
“Well, they had a duo playing here every night for a while. Now they’re down at the Seagrapes so we have the Bob Marley music at night. It’s only been two weeks.”
It’s interesting how Marley has come to symbolize an entire nation’s music, even though there are a lot of other great reggae singers and many, many more types of music made on this beautiful island. I mean, Gordon Lightfoot is huge but no Canadian musician garners as much of our country’s musical attention as Bob Marley seems to here.
Maybe the Beatles and England are comparable, but even then I don’t think so when there are the Rolling Stones and so many other popular singers.
Anyway, I gotta admit I fired up “Montego Bay” and “One Love” on my iPod when I was watching the sun go down at my unit Monday night. Why not? Music is a large part of many of our trips.
My son tells me he thought it was corny, but the first time he ventured to Barcelona he turned on his iPod and listened to "Holiday in Spain" by the Counting Crows. Whenever I’m in Hawaii I listen to slack key guitar and ukulele and even the odd bit of Don Ho, who I sang with on stage in Honolulu when I was 12. Okay, I was with a dozen other kids but I was up there.
He even asked all of us to give him a kiss on the cheek when we finished. I was, naturally, horrified. I seem to recall running as fast as I could to get back into the audience but the memory fades….