on May 8, 2012
What can you say about a multi-star, well-staffed, friendly all inclusive resort that hasn't already been said? The resort is well-appointed and it seems there isn't much to complain about. There are; however, *observations* that may be of assistance to other travellers that I will share.1. The Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort is located near the Cancun International Airport (about a 10-15 minute drive). Accordingly, it is neither *in* Cancun nor on the Mayan Riviera (though is sometimes said to be a Mayan Riviera resort). In other words, it's kind of in the middle of nowhere. There are many options for leaving the resort (day trips, excursions, taxiis etc) but walking down the beach will not get you to a shopping area or anything interesting.2. There are currently 3 main parts to the hotel: the Sunrise Section, the Nizuc Section and the Moon Grand. My family of four (including 2 children age 5.5 and almost 3), was assigned to the Nizuc Section. Before we travelled, I attempted to do a bit of research to determine which section was "best" and it would seem that there are mixed reviews all around on the topic. Some reviewers said the Nizuc was quieter, others claimed the Sunrise was the more serene of the two. The comments regarding food quality were just as equivocal. For what it's worth, I'll add to that confusion: my experience was that the buffet restaurants at Sunrise were better than the Manglar restaurant at Nizuc; but the Nizuc pool area was quieter than the Sunrise section. None of the sections appeared to be "crazy party areas". The Sunrise section is decidedly more "kid-friendly", since that's where the kid slides and kiddie pool are located.3. Every restaurant was kid friendly and my children were welcome even in the two "reservation only" restaurants (Bambu and La Trattoria). Note that the kids menu is unchanging, the same items show up at all restaurants be it the Italian restaurant, the Asian restaurant or Mexican fare. I was very disappointed by this fact, but in the end, perhaps its for the best since my 2 year old lived on pizza the whole week anyways.4. The true test of service standard and staff competence comes when there is a problem. Our first hotel room was located just off the Nizuc lobby (which includes a bar area). The noise level was nothing less than obnoxious. For hours we listened to a terrible lounge act sing; for several hours after that we listened to people partying. The next morning when we tried to change rooms we were denied. Apparently there was not a single room available for us in a quieter location of the resort. And yet the hotel was clearly not at capacity. We tried back the second day and the staff was relatively efficient in finding a new location. It was in the same building; however, and while the noise level was more tolerable, it was still pretty noisy. For this reason, I have to say that I found the hotel to be pretty disappointing in understanding our needs and helping to ensure that we were happy with our room arrangement.5. The rooms were very nice. The only bathtub in the room is the giant jacuzzi tub that you can see in photos of the resort. It makes bathing a toddler a little bit challenging. It also takes up quite a lot of real estate in the room. To me this is a design flaw. The downsides far outweigh the excitement of the giant jacuzzi. Other room amenities were very nice - the t.v., shower area, and well-stocked mini-bar. Room service is available; however we did not use it.6. The nice restaurants, requiring dress-code and same-day reservations are well worth the effort. The food is far and above the quality of the other restaurants and the atmosphere is luxe. I highly recommend both Bambu and La Trattoria. Other food on the resort can be described as adequate, but nothing overly special. I'm a foodie and I found the food to be a little disappointing.7. The beach and ocean are a tremendous disappointment. The beach is riddled with sea weed..constantly...the staff make constant effort to clear it away using tractors and rakes (which in itself is an issue in my mind) but they never fully succeed. The water is not very welcoming and was red-flagged due to an undertow each day we were there. This is not a beach resort, to say the least. Some areas of the beach that the resort publishes on its website are VIP areas which regular patrons do not have access to.All in all, my review of the Moon Palace is meant to be quite positive. As stated in the outset, there is really nothing to complain about. The bar and restaurant staff were competent and friendly. The front desk staff less so, but this was a minor point. We had a very enjoyable vacation and I would consider a repeat vacation to the resort.
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