When thinking of eco honeymoon destinations, Jamaica may not immediately jump to mind, but with its fantastic climate and rich history, we took to the skies and arrived in Montego Bay after 9 long hours.
On arrival on to this Caribbean island, the humidity immediately hit our pale British skin, but once armed with factor 30, sunhat and ‘dirty banana’ (it’s always ‘cocktail o’clock) we were set to explore.
The first half of our journey was spent on the west side of the island, in close vicinity to the famous Blue Mountains where we indulged in freshly ground coffee, an array of tropical fruits and experienced the delight of rafting through the mountains with our very own ‘captain’. On board our raft we were brought fresh flowers from the locals as well as sampling the delight of the ‘floating bar’ – the entrepreneurial spirit is most definitely high in Jamaica.
After several wonderful days we travelled back over to Montego Bay, a short drive (10mins) from the airport to stay at the beautiful Half Moon hotel. On arrival into the open reception with its marbled floor, we were handed a delightful ‘rum punch’ and guided to the lounge overlooking the tiffany blue sea and white sand stretching as far as the eye can see, before being picked up by an electric powered golf cart and taken to our ‘Hibiscus Suite’, with its own private beach.
The Half Moon sits on a huge estate, split between suites and larger self catered villas, complete with cook and butler (a haven to the rich and famous, boasting guests such as David Bowie, Whitney Housten and the British Royal Family). Green Globe Accredited, it was the first hotel to be inducted into the Caribbean Hotel Association’s Green Hotel Hall of Fame, catering for those who have a high regard for the environment in which they stay.
The resort is perfect for those who want to relax but also keep in shape while on vacation – it hosts its very own spa, pool with swim up bar, 50m pool, tennis courts, gym and many water sports on site, as well as a Dolphin Lagoon. With a choice of three restaurants on site including one gourmet restaurant a short shuttle bus away, a half board package is well worth indulging in.
Looking at eco honeymoon credentials we took to the Fern Tree Spa to sample the delights of locally sourced products used in their signature treatments; herbs grown on site as well as a splash of Jamaican rum were used in our two hour massage inside an idyllic wooden hut (think Maldives) perched over the sea.
We were particularly impressed with the resort’s commitment to purchasing food from local providers – almost 90 percent, meaning little importing is needed. They also boast a 20 acre conservation area, supporting wildlife.
Going above and beyond the basic towel reuse policies that some hotels try to boast as their ‘eco credentials’, the Half Moon has a real commitment towards the environment with community outreach projects such as beach clean ups, supporting local craftsmen through their onsite upholstery store and even supplying local funeral homes with shredded paper to use to stuff coffins (recycling comes in all shapes and sizes!)
The one thing that we would love to see the Half Moon pioneer the way in is solar energy – it is something that they are looking in to at the moment, but we really do hope that the abundance of natural resource can be used to power this magnificent resort, and perhaps some of the local community in the near future.
We ended our trip with two nights in the Ritz-Carlton, a stone’s throw down the beach from the Half Moon. Indulging in the all-inclusive package we sampled their very own jerk chicken centre and were treated to their secret recipe to bring back to England. Since touching down back in the UK, we have celebrated our love for this Caribbean island with many a Jamaican themed night – we’re slowly running out of jerk marinade and rum… looks like we’ll have to head back over to stock up soon!
For more information and to book your stay at Half Moon, visit http://halfmoon.rockresorts.com/