Lifestyle

Half Moon's Lunar Eclipse

Sunday, August 04, 2019

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“We're not stuck in history. We respect and honour it but are moving forward” was the emphatic statement made by Guy Steuart III, chair of the iconic Half Moon Hotel. As if to underscore his words Monday's intimate reception held at the Fern Tree Spa included past managing directors and senior executives who had played significant roles in the property's development.

Moving forward means that the 65-year-old Half Moon will now be managed by the Sheila Johnson-helmed Salamander Hotels & Resorts. It's a huge get! Johnson's list of accomplishments would raise the brows of even those wont to feign indifference. She's, for starters, the only African-American woman to wholly own a Forbes five-star resort; she's the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and is, too, a partner in Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

Salamander specialises in independent luxury, and owns and manages the Forbes five-star Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, VA, and Innisbrook Resort in Tampa. The company also operates the new Hotel Bennett in Charleston, SC; the Henderson, a grand beach resort in Destin, Florida; and the recently renovated Hammock Beach Resort, near St Augustine, Florida. Eschew all thoughts of a mere feather in the cap. Johnson knows our country and has lived in Kingston. A concert violinist, she worked alongside Olive Lewin and the Jamaica Youth Orchestra for almost month. A chance vacation at the Half Moon Resort with good friend Della Britton Baeza, president of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and her family sealed the deal. “It [the Half Moon ] left an indelible impression on me,” she shared. “Walking through the front entranceway felt like coming home... to a grand estate.”

“This is my third act,” she continued. “Act I was a concert violinist; Act II running a cable company called BET; and now my third, the hospitality industry. It has been my most creative and passionate...I am honoured and humbled to be given this opportunity, and I never fail in anything,” she assured those gathered. Flanked by her high-powered cabal of execs, the first Forbes listed African-American female billionaire, we reckon, has no plans to start now.

Other highlights of the evening included the introduction of three students of the Edna Manley College whose art will adorn the walls of the haute property, as well as vegan fare from the Ital Café courtesy of Dr Aris Latham. There was, too, the opportunity of a sneak peek at the East Cove wing.

Guests took full advantage of the opportunity to press flesh with hosts Johnson and Steuart III as they enjoyed the sumptuous fare that ranged from vegan to seafood and roast suckling pig. Cheeseboard and sweet treats, a top-shelf bar and the nuanced delivery of folk singer Della Manley ensured a memorable evening.


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