Business View Caribbean | April 2019

29 BUSINESS VIEW CARIBBEAN APRIL 2019 AT A GLANCE HALF MOON RESORT WHAT: Family-owned, luxury beach resort WHERE: North coast near Montego Bay, Jamaica WEBSITE: / 65 years of operation, our family bought out most of the other shareholders and we now hold the majority of shares.” The resort location was once used as stevedoring operations for the sugar cane plantation on which Half Moon was built. Over time, through opportunity and entrepreneurialism, the owners bought adjacent land bringing the total property to 400 acres. The initial offering of 17 cottages and 30 rooms has also grown to include traditional hotel rooms, cottages, and villas. All development has been carefully designed, low-rise, low-density – suggestive of the quality, value, and aspirational elegance that Half Moon seeks to provide to guests and staff. The resort is now 210 keys, plus 32 villas that each operate as one key, though some are five, six, or seven bedrooms. Every villa has a pool, as well as a maid, cook, and butler. The majority of guests (80 percent) hail from the U.S. and Canada, while the balance come mostly from the Jamaican and Caribbean market, the U.K., and Europe. Steuart notes, “We have a staff of about 850 that work in a professional capacity and only a handful are not Jamaican. We are a big employer here. It’s very much a source of pride and joy for us, though my family is not of the island, we’ve certainly been a part of it for all of my 60 years.” Competition among resorts on the popular north shore of Jamaica is strong, but Steuart attests that Half Moon has a distinct advantage. “We are a European Plan hotel, not all-inclusive. We run the other way from that business model because it is someone else’s and not what we try to do. We are an elegant, aspirational, casual, sincere, authentic Jamaican resort. I like to tell people that we tickle the emotional quotient and we scratch the itch of the intellectual curiosity of our travelers. We are not a food court on the beach. I view the Half Moon and its position in the industry as this: Jamaica is our host country and we are a roadside inn. A very fine roadside inn – a whole beach resort – but we also provide memories, and accommodations where people can visit and learn about the culture, the geopolitical significance of the Caribbean, and the history and beauty of Jamaica. Above all, it’s to help build bridges and expand the experiences of our travelers in a way that hopefully keeps them coming again and again. We do have a high return guest loyalty profile as a consequence.” The Half Moon experience isn’t scripted; it makes a point to hire those with spirit, and attitude, and character. When necessary, skills are taught. “We try to hire professionals who embody those characteristics,” says Steuart, “and we take care of them and give HALF MOON RESORT