I’m trying to decide on a luxury resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica for December 19-26 for my vacation with my husband and two daughters ages 3 and 6. I am choosing between Half Moon Club and The Ritz-Carlton. Rates are lower at the Ritz but it offers a lesser beach and has a single pool for 430 rooms. Half Moon is pricier but offers a great beach and has several pools. I’ve heard that the rooms at Half Moon are a bit “funky” and since it’s not the Ritz I’m not sure how the service will compare. Have you been to either? Any thoughts?
Also, do you think all-inclusive meal/activity plans that are in addition to room charges are worthwhile or a rip-off?
Thanks for your help.
I’ve been losing sleep over this decision.
This will be an expensive trip.
Answered by The Penny Pincher
Planning a big family vacation can be stressful. Here are a few tips that should help you out. Both of your chosen hotels are high quality and I am confident that you will enjoy your experience at either one. I would not be too concerned about the lack of pools and beach area, the staff of the Ritz-Carlton would take good care of you.
What I would do is call the General Manager (GM) of each hotel and explain that you are considering both properties. When you call the GM offices you will most likely speak to an executive assistant. What you want to seek from them is added value for your stay.
For example, try to negotiate an upgrade; a suite would be nice to have with your two daughters. Try to see if you can get an upgrade to the club floor at the Ritz-Carlton. (The club floor will provide access to breakfast, sodas, water, and other food related items—which will save you a lot of money). The Ritz-Carlton also offers a kids’ program run by qualified staff members. With respect to the HALF MOON MONTEGO BAY, it appears that they charge an additional fee and limit the number of children per room.
Overall, I think that if you can negotiate with the Ritz-Carlton, for a suite and club floor access you will find better value with the Ritz-Carlton. You will find many tips and methods for getting upgrades in my book, The Penny Pincher’s Passport to Luxury Travel. Also remember to always sell your loyalty and the probability of your repeat business.
Regarding all inclusive resorts, I generally am not a fan of all-inclusive programs, with the exception of very high quality hotels or resorts. For example, I stayed at the Grand Lido in Negril Jamaica and thought that it was a good deal. They provided access to five restaurants ranging from causal to a fine French restaurant, 24-hour room service and more.
Good luck and enjoy your trip.