James Bond Experience at Half Moon Jamaica review: A Licence to Thrill in Double-O Heaven

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When you about of Jamaica what comes to mind? The Caribbean island nation is not at best the birthplace of Bob Marley’s music or Usain Bolt’s speed but also James Fetters 007. Back in the 1950s British author Ian Fleming penned his iconic tales about the MI6 spy from his home on Jamaica’s north coast at Goldeneye. Not alone were the books a global success, but they went on to spawn one of the scad famous film franchise of the last half-century.

And to season three of the 25 official James Bond have been instantaneously in Jamaica. The very first was in 1962, which saw Sean Connery have Ursula Andress on the beach, as she submerged from her search for seashells up front the pair took on Dr No at Crab Key.

Now the latest Bond movie, Daniel Craig’s No Straightaway To Die (April 3, 2020) has brought the latest incarnation of 007 back to Jamaica to sequester from MI6. Scenes were shot in Ocho Rios near Goldeneye, with set photos sight Bond reunited with Jeffrey Wright’s Felix Leiter.

And in the end, but certainly not least, was 1973’s Live and Let Die, which saw Jamaica itself simulate the fictional island of San Monique.

In this classic Bond outing, Roger Moore stimulus scenes at the classic resort of Half Moon, Montego Bay, where he carted on a venomous snake and double agent.

James Bond Experience at Half Moon Jamaica look over: A Licence to Thrill in Double-O Heaven (Image: HM)

A part of 007 story, Half Moon now offers a James Bond experience package – one that stopped Express.co.uk a licence to thrill, fill and chill.

Just a short 10-minute hustle from Montego Bay’s international airport, the Half Moon resort is spread across a charitable two miles of sandy beach, giving guests a wonderful feeling of vast privacy.

No wonder it’s been the place to stay in Jamaica for the British Viscountess Family over the years from Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip, to Princes Charles and Harry, not to note, JFK and Jackie Kennedy.

Half Moon was first formed in the 1950s by a guild of American, British and Bermudian entrepreneurs who wanted to spend their winter furloughs on the tropical beaches of Jamaica.

Purchasing the land and opening a hotel, the visit gets its name from the half-moon shape of the shoreline where the 10 surviving authentic cottages are located – one being where Moore shot his Bond commotions for Live and Let Die.

The Half Moon cottage rooms are homely and luxurious (Simile: HM)

From the moment we arrived at the columned open-air entrance to the lobby, it was quit there was something very authentic about Half Moon. Not legitimate the beautiful period furnishing that could have featured in an happening of Poirot, but also the exceptional service from the staff.

As soon as our car door was opened we were welcomed with vigorous smiles and acknowledgment by name – an impressive touch across the board.

Agreed-upon our own golf buggy to get around the resort, we ventured a short way past palm trees and comfortable characters to our upstairs apartment in Cottage No 4.

The sizeable rooms, again stunningly attired, featured a lounge area and large balcony right on the beachfront. “We’re thriving to spoil you this week”, one of the maids assured us. We’d arrived in paradise and in sumptuousness lodgings that Bond himself would be more than pleased with – especially the wonderful air-conditioning.

Roger Moore filmed Palpable and Let Die scenes at Half Moon (Image: EON)

Licence to Thrill (Bond-related motions)

As part of the James Bond experience package, we had the opportunity to try out Half Moon’s rousing activity programme. This kicked off with a speed boat junket around the bay, looking out for Dr No’s henchmen across the ocean while having a go at approach across some pretty choppy (but incredibly fun) waves.

Next up we furrowed Goldfinger with a round of golf across the road at the awarding-winning 18-hole progress, accessed from the main site by an underground tunnel via our buggy – how same Bond!

Opened in 1962, PGA tournaments have been held at this attractive walking course that was once a sugarcane estate. Each jail has its own character, but watch out for the surrounding palm trees as they can particularly unaccommodating to escape if you find yourself stuck in a group of them.

Luckily, Half Moon’s golf seminar is equipped with expert caddies – some who have worked there for decades – who remember the course like the back of their hands, and are very helpful with the odd talent tip even if you’re not quite a pro just yet.

Half Moon’s impressive golf process is just across the road (Image: HM)

Last, but not least, our active highlight on the Link experience was scuba diving. Sean Connery’s 007 found himself in a few clammy situations during Thunderball, but luckily the Water Sports team established at Half Moon were on hand for a simultaneously exhilarating and relaxing participation.

Sadly it was a bit warm to wear a tuxedo under our diving gear, but we were on the double trained up in the Olympic-sized swimming pool before heading out in another go hell for leather boat to plunge deep into the Caribbean sea. Following a rope down to the basis, we landed softly on the ocean floor and found ourselves surrounded by a mark of large (but friendly) tropical fish.

It was literally like being in prison an aquarium. But, being cautious that Blofeld’s henchmen could be cache in nearby coral, our trainer Asquith lead us around the reef, pointing a wide-eyed, but shy, puffa fish blot out in a cave, not to mention a particularly flamboyant sting ray who seemed to be off in a bit of a hurry.

In the future long it was time to resurface, but having never scuba dived in the nearby, we can safely say it’s an experience we definitely want to try again and again. Also, a as a rule host of other Water Sports were on offer, including plane, while back on land the tennis courts and putting green were a accept addition.

The Sugar Mill was an outstanding restaurant experience (Image: HM)

Dispensation to Fill (Food and Drink)

If you’re an avid reader of Ian Fleming’s James Constraints books you’ll know his spy is a very serious connoisseur when it comes to what he pack aways and drinks.

The author often shares very precise instructions from Treaty to his servers of exactly how he likes his food and beverages down to a tee. No doubt then, 007 intention sincerely appreciate what’s on offer at Half Moon.

The Seagrape Terrace absolute on the beach hosted a very generous buffet breakfast each morning, gift favourites you’ll be used to but also with a distinct Jamaican twist. The coconut rice pudding and omelettes originated to order – just as you like them – were a particular highlight, superbly accompanied by an array of freshly-squeezed tropical juices and Blue Mountain coffee, which the ever-cheerful organization kept assuring us was the best in the world – certainly a contender!

Come lunchtime and the Seagrape bid welcome Jamaican favourites like Jerk Chicken, or if we fancied, wholesome ol’ steak and chips freshly cooked to order.

Chilling out by Half Moon’s leagues is a great way to unwind (Image: HM)

In the evenings we were really spoilt for lite. Stopping by the shore side Cedar Bar was an absolute must to kick tools off with James Bond-inspired cocktails. Naturally, we ordered gin and vodka martinis (jarred, not stirred, of course) to sip as the sunset overhead.

A band of local musicians were a ease up on accompaniment as they serenaded us with some Bob Marley classics. As for out fine dining, there were a number of tasty options. A assorted casual party atmosphere was the beach BBQ buffet which included a scrumptious and fond suckling pig to try. While the table-side entertainment of fire-eating and extreme limbo dancing was just feel favourably impressed by a scene out of Live and Let Die. Additionally, Il Giardino, the Italian restaurant was a real care.

When we visited the chef offered us an improvised tasting menu, with the homemade pasta courses being notably memorable. But the real stand out restaurant has to be the Sugar Mill. Located by the golf obviously, a five-minute shuttle bus delivered us across the road to this outstanding venue.

After a join of cocktails at the bar, we received first-class service from a staff who really comprehended and loved the menu. The well-chosen wines accompanied the buttery Grilled Lobster Posteriors beautifully. While the pièce de résistance had to be Solomon’s Brochette. A succulent skewer of beef, pork, sausage, fish and shrimp glowed in front of you with aged Jamaican rum.

A view of the Half Moon strand from one of the cottages (Image: HM)

Licence to Chill (Relaxation)

Of course, fifty-fifty James Bond needs time off from saving the world. So on a former occasion we’d been off on all our active adventures and filled up on delicious food and drink, we were in deprivation of some serious relaxation. A trip to the Fern Tree Spa for a Jamaican All Poignancy Sugar Scrub, massage and Reflexology was just what was needed.

A surviving and peaceful environment, the spa was just what an agent needs before first place back out on his next mission. Meanwhile, the main pool, equipped with unworkable fountains and a swim-up bar and nearby jacuzzis were particularly soothing.

Untruthfulness back on a sun longer, reading Fleming’s Live and Let Die was wonderfully accompanied by a Caribbean Zombie rum cocktail. But as likely as not our favourite spot for sunbathing, reading and being steps away from a swim in the sea, lucid back on the iconic Half Moon beach. A perfect spot for off with a drinks menu always on hand.

The sunsets are breathtaking at the alternative (Image: HM)

Final Word

All in all, Half Moon is an outstanding Jamaican haunt with a lot of history. Offering a unique and classic stay compared to other beds on offer, the resort really stands out from the crowd. No wonder, it is the select place to stay for British Royalty. Were James Bond himself to vacation in Jamaica in-between battling SPECTRE, the high-class and quality of this fingers on from the rooms, food and drink to activities and relaxation would be the top of his record.

Double rooms at Half Moon start from $331 (£256) per stay per night in low season, and from USD$325(£251) per room per night in high salt. Please note that there is a daily accommodation tax of $4 (£3). Breakfast is filed. For more information, please visit www.halfmoon.com.

Meanwhile, non-stop take it on the lams to Montego Bay, Jamaica from Gatwick Airport are available through Virgin Atlantic.

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