One of four properties managed by Palace Resorts in Cancun, the all-inclusive Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort is the star of the pack when its comes to resort offerings. Here, on this massive property, families will find 2,400 guestrooms located in three separate sections each with its own lobby (Moon Grand, Sunrise and Nizuc); seven pools; 14 restaurants; six tennis courts; two basketball courts; two fitness centers; a FlowRider wave simulator; a 9-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course; a Dolphin Discovery encounter; a spa…. Did someone say, “I’m bored”? Impossible—it’s just not uttered here.
Best part? The property keeps improving and expanding. Earlier this year, in fact, Moon Palace received a $55 million facelift that included guestroom and restaurant improvements; a new lounge area for teens and a new kids’ club; upgrades made to its meeting spaces; a new nightclub, Noir; and a 37,000-sq.-ft. natural saltwater aquarium that is home to eight adorable dolphins (after spending some time with these animals, we absolutely fell in love).
“Interacting and swimming with them [dolphins] is probably on the top of most families’ vacation to-do lists. Moon Palace makes it convenient and affordable for families to make those dreams come true,” says Frank Corzo, v.p. of U.S. field sales for Palace Resorts.
The dolphin facility is directly on property; actually it sits out in the water allowing the dolphins to swim in a natural environment and is accessible via the pier. Guests with resort credit can use it toward the cost (starting at $129 pp).
According to Corzo, “At Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort, the family that plays together stays together.” Wise words because it’s all about fun and games—from its FlowRider machine to its Connection Zone Kids’ Club—for the whole family at Moon Palace, but don’t forget to tell your clients to pack a good pair of walking shoes—we weren’t fiddling with words when we used the word massive to describe the resort.
From the room accommodations to activities happening around the resort, families in search of valuable time together will definitely find it here.
“Families soon find themselves bonding over taking turns on the FlowRider,” says Corzo. “Kids have just as much fun watching their parents take their turn as mom and dad do watching their children impressively stand on the board for the first time.”
Aside from the simulated surfing machine, which looks a bit intimidating, Moon Palace has added 49 new Family Connections Luxury Suites to its Sunrise building. These new suites accommodate up to six guests in two connecting rooms and include amenities for kids like child-size robes and slippers, L’Oreal kids bath products, and milk and cookies in the mini-bar.
Family bonding is all well and good, but mom and dad do need some alone time, and for those quiet moments, they can take advantage of the nanny service that comes complimentary as part of a Family Connections Luxury Suites booking—that is, if the grandparents weren’t able to make the trip. The Cancun Nanny Service provides a qualified, certified, and bilingual nanny to care for up to two children between the ages of 2-17 for up to three hours a day, anytime from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. Extended hours are available at an additional cost. The rate for the Family Connections Luxury Suite, during low season is $415 pp, and $53 per child between the ages of 4-17. Toddlers and infants (ages 0-3) are free.
“These services are personalized, meaning children are receiving personal attention, not grouped with other children, and parents can choose which activities the childcare specialist does and does not do with the kids,” adds Corzo.
So while the kids are with the nanny, mom and dad can shimmy the night away at Noir; dad can take in a round of golf while mom books a treatment at the spa; or both can stare lovingly into each other’s eyes over a romantic dinner.
If your clients want to skip the nanny service and the added amenities that come with booking a Connections suite, look into the Family Deluxe guestroom category with a king-size bed in one room and two double beds in the connecting room. All-inclusive rates are $281 pp, which does not include the nanny or kiddie concierge services. Children between the ages of 4-17 are $53 pp, and toddlers and infants are free.
Let’s circle back to those dolphins. Aside from its pools and kids’ clubs, the resort’s Dolphin Discovery is where families can really bond as they frolic and learn about the eight dolphins in the natural aquarium. We were really impressed with the trainers, members of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association, who shared facts about the mammals with us such as dolphins shed the entire outer layer of their skin every two hours. For 40 minutes, with a 15-minute orientation, the dolphins performed different interactive tricks and even had some down time for us to pet them as they leisurely swam past.
The attraction, which is offered five times a day for about 10 to 15 guests, comes in three varieties: Dolphin Encounter, Royal Swim and Ultimate Dolphin Swim. We were lucky enough to get a bit of all three types of experiences. Our favorite was the dolphin push where the dolphins swim underneath and push you forward by your feet using their beak.
The plus is that families that stay five to eight nights automatically receive $1,500 in resort credits, which can be used toward the dolphin encounter, room upgrades or a spa treatment. Guests staying longer can receive up to $2,500 in resort credits; a 3-night stay receives up to $500 resort credits and a 4-night stay up to $750.
let’s get ‘wired’ up
Let’s face it—when it comes to taking a family vacation, the kids have to be entertained. Well, no worries at Moon Palace. Part of that $55 million renovation project was introducing the Wired Teens Lounge.
The space oozes with a teenage vibe: arcade machines, consoles with the latest video games, air hockey tables, and to satisfy that sweet tooth a variety of ice cream, cakes and pastries; unlimited pizza and sandwiches and all this while a DJ spins live music in front of a glowing kaleidoscope wall of popping colors. “With Wired, we created a space where this very important age group can find all the activities and offerings that will keep them entertained for hours on end,” Corzo says.
For the younger tykes, Moon Palace has its Connection Zone Kids’ Club, ages 4-12, offering a slew of outdoor and indoor activities like tennis lessons, mini-golf, Spanish classes, beach soccer, piñata-making classes, camping on the beach, baking classes, movie and game nights, treasure hunts, sea turtle release (during season) and tree planting. And no matter where the kids are during the day, parents can keep tabs on them with walkie-talkies.
christmas in cancun
If your clients want to escape the winter chill and head down to Cancun over the holidays, from Dec. 20 through Jan. 6, 2014, they will receive complimentary tickets to Cirque Dreams Holidaze—a high-flying holiday show in classic Cirque Dreams form. And families who plan accordingly can even catch a concert by a Grammy-award winning artist on property, which is included in the price of their stay. Moon Palace has hosted some big names (Shakira, Enrique Iglesias and Usher) and guests staying over concert dates receive complimentary tickets to the performance. Coming soon: Ricky Martin, Dec. 28.
Starting rates at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort are $171 pp, per night.
WHAT TRAVEL AGENTS ARE SAYING…
Marilyn Ross, with Journeys Unlimited, based in Jackson, TN, says that although the beach at Moon Palace isn’t the best, the resort has some “great pools, restaurants and is the spot for golfers.”
“The selling point of the Palace Resorts,” she points out, “is the resort credit that is included for use at the spa, tours, swimming with the dolphins and room upgrades.”