In the early 1950s a group of American, British & Bermudian entrepreneurs spent their winter holidays on the cool, tropical shores of Jamaica’s idyllic North Coast. So enamored with the landscape, the climate and the people they decided to create a permanent winter escape for their families and friends to enjoy. Thus began Half Moon on February 27, 1954 after a group of 17 American, British and Bermudian businessmen purchased 35-acres of land on a crescent-shaped bay that was once the loading dock for Rose Hall’s sugar shipments. Among Half Moon’s original investors were: Donald Deskey designer of New York City’s famous Radio City Music Hall; Harvey Firestone, Jr. of the Firestone Tyre and Rubber company; Richard Reynolds of the Reynolds Metal Company and Jamaican bauxite company Reynolds Jamaica; oil and real estate entrepreneur Curtis Steuart; as well as Mrs. Laurence Armour of US meat packaging giant Armour Packing Company.
Borrowing from the bay’s beach for its name, the 17 investors opened Half Moon Hotel and Cottage Colony with 17 whitewashed cottages and 30 beachfront rooms. Ten of the original cottages remain today as the West Cottages, standing as a stately reminder of the relaxed and gentile living of its ancestry. These cottages as well as the many rooms and suites of Half Moon have been the home-away-fromhome for countless luminaries, including HRH Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip and Prince Charles; Prince Rainier of Monaco, Princess Caroline of Monaco and John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy. The Kennedys spent a month at the resort prior to John F. Kennedy’s inauguration as President of the United States and a copy of one of Mrs. Kennedy’s handwritten wills hangs in the main lobby of the hotel. Other celebrated visitors to the legendary resort include heads of government, celebrated athletes, celebrities and dignitaries. Today three of the original families, the Steuarts, the Pearces and William Weiss, Sr, ensure that Half Moon’s future will continue to shine as a landmark for world-class hospitality.