Dexton’s grilled cheese is in high demand.
It’s the third day of a six-night trip at the Rose Hall Villas at Jamaica’s Half Moon resort, and everyone in this party of 8 is obsessed with the perfectly-grilled, golden-brown, crispy sandwiches.
Dexton is our butler for the week at Laughing Gull, a marvelous seven-bedroom villa set amid the resort’s lush gardens just a short stroll from the sand.
But the grilled cheeses are just a bonus.
Dexton is there for every request big or small, from organizing a catamaran cruise around Montego Bay to putting together an early birthday celebration for a five-year-old, replete with streamers, spotlights and music.
And it’s Dexton, joined by Chef Tenisha and Housekeeper Maxine, that make this such a magical group experience.
This is the Rose Hall Villas, Jamaica’s top villa resort set at the legendary Half Moon, a mix of stunning five, six and seven bedroom villas, some on the ocean, some in lush gardens, all romantic and elegant, all named for maritime birds.
They’re designed in Half Moon’s timeless style, with black-and-white tile floors and grand staircases and sparkling pools.
The space is profound, everyone has their own room, their own wing in the resort.
And every villa is fully staffed with a group of all-stars; a butler, a chef and a housekeeper and a pool attendant, though you quickly realize their desires to make guests happy makes those titles seem a bit narrow.
And they’re not the nominal butlers you get at certain resorts in the Caribbean, separated by a phone call or a challenging request.
The Rose Hall butlers are at your villa from sundown to the end of dinner, ensuring that every moment, every meal is special.
For a party of eight with varying dietary needs, that means even on a Grill Night Tenisha is helping make the terrific escovitch snapper while Dexton is manning the grill; he’s also handling the array of multi-color spotlights that turn a simple Wednesday night into a full-fledged party.
The Chefs handle three meals a day and then some, with Tenisha serving up impressive breakfast spreads, comforting lunches and marvelous dinners to fit every guest’s need and appetite.
For our group, it was a mix of pescatarians and jerk lovers (and burgeoning grilled cheese aficionados), with every meal exquisitely manicured for every individual need.
And Maxine was a wonderful steward of the house, almost impossibly managing to do laundry for eight guests every day of the trip.
Kemar was there to ensure a pristine pool, find every manner of pool float, and provide regular smiles throughout the day.
And every one of these villas has a similarly structured team, whether you’re traveling families or a wedding party or a golfers’ getaway.
Now if these villa were set by themselves somewhere in the mountains, or on a slice of beach, they’d be spectacular.
But the key is they’re at Half Moon. And that’s rather significant.
That means access to all of the resort’s amenities across 400 acres, with just about everything for any group: a Robert Trent Jones, Sr-designed golf course; tennis; horseback riding (and pony rides for the kids); a shopping village; event space; squash; nightly mento concerts and the world-class Fern Tree Spa, among others.
It means access to the food and beverage and pools and delights at two other resorts, including the dazzling new Eclipse, Half Moon’s newest resort, and the legendary Sugar Mill restaurant.
And yes, that means you can spend all day at Eclipse’s stunning infinity pool, a place that’s exceptionally hard to leave.
But at the end of the day, it’s the people.
It’s Dexton and Tenisha and Maxine and Kemar, exemplars of the best of Jamaican hospitality.
There are few villa experiences in the Caribbean like a staffed villa in Jamaica, and there’s no Jamaican villa experience like the one at Half Moon.
And that means a group destination that’s rather hard to beat, either in Jamaica or anywhere else in the region.
And if that sounds like hyperbole, it isn’t.
It’s really that good, delivering an experience that’s memorable, one you can savor for months and years after the fact.
And isn’t that why we travel in the first place?
For more, visit Rose Hall Villas.