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Sun, sand and warm water is all we wanted when we decided to plan a family vacation this summer. We also wanted the ease of an all-inclusive resort because of the freedom that it would give our kids, and us, for that matter! After doing some major research, we decided on The Grand at Moon Palace in Cancun. If your like me, you like to know exactly what you’re getting when you book a vacation. I decided to share my experience in hopes that it might be helpful to someone else!
There are 3 hotels located at the Moon Place Resort in Cancun; The Grand, Nizuc and Sunrise. The Grand is the newest of the 3, having been completed early in 2017. While staying at The Grand, one can move freely to all 3 hotels, which includes restaurants, pools, stores and other activities. When staying at Nizuc or Sunrise, one can move between the two freely, but can only enter The Grand with the purchase of a day pass.
When booking our vacation, we received a $1500 in Resort Credit that we could use to purchase additional items. Resort Credit can be used at the spa, for upgraded bottles of wine at dinner, on specific items in the hotel store, and more. I believe it can also be used to purchase a day pass to The Grand, if you are not staying there. When using the Resort Credit, a 16% fee is charged to the room for the amount that is used.
The resort is only 15 minutes from the Cancun airport, which is nice. We booked our airport transfer through USA Transfers because we didn’t book our vacation through the hotel directly, and the transfer was not included the way we booked. If we had booked through the resort directly, the airport transfer would have been included. We were happy with the instructions and service that we received though USA Transfers and would recommend them to anyone to needs this service.
You may be wondering what The Grand has to offer that the other hotels on the property don’t since it can only be accessed if are staying there. So here’s the run down:
- Bowling Alley – There is a bowling alley located on the ground level of the lobby. It does cost to play, but Resort Credit can be used.
- Bikes – Bikes can be checked out for 2-hour periods and you can bike from one end of the 3 resorts to the other.
- Kids Room Key – One of the most convenient things, in my opinion, is the wrist band key. We all received wrist bands upon arrival, however the kids wristbands were programmed to be their room key. I wish we could have had a wristband key too!
- The Playroom – While ‘The Playroom’ sounds like it’s for young kids, it has things to do for kids of all ages. It’s located at the Water Park at The Grand and has a ropes course, bumper cars, glow-in-the-dark miniature golf, climbing structure, mirror maze, video games and a toddler play area. If your children are at least 9 years old, parents can sign their kids in while they go do some adulting. They are open until 10pm daily.
- Water Park – When we were there, they were still working on building the Water Park. The lazy river was open, along with 4 slides. We knew that we were taking the chance that it would not be open when we visiting. Once finished the Water Park will have a wave pool, roughly 12 slides and a Flow Rider. (Note that there is currently a Flow Rider at the Sunrise.)
Our room at The Grand was huge! It was equipped with a bar with a 4-liquor dispenser, a fridge with beers and sodas, and snack in the drawer. There was also an espresso machine! The bathroom was large enough for the 4 of us to share. The beds are double-beds, which I was worried would be too small, since I usually sleep in a king, but we split up the sleeping arrangement that made the most sense and it worked great. The beds were really comfortable which also helped!
Past the beds in the room, there were a few stairs which led to a table and chairs and large hot tub. Yes, the hot tub was in the middle of the room! But we all had fun in our bathing suits hanging out in it after a long day in the sun. Next to the tub was the balcony, complete with a lounge bed!
They also provided robes which were taken full advantage of!
Food and Room Service
All of the food that we ate, whether it was at the pool, restaurant or room service was delicious! However, if you’re really hungry, don’t go to one of the main restaurants at a popular meal time. The wait at breakfast or dinner will be no less than 30 – 45 minutes. It is better to plan ahead, and ensure you leave time for the wait. It is possible to make reservations at most of the restaurants, but while we are on vacation, we really don’t plan that far in advance!
My only suggestion is that if you are eating at one of the outside restaurant, make sure the food is cook-to-order. I did get sick one night from food that had been sitting out to long.
The room service was great, and it’s included in the price of the all-inclusive. As a matter of fact, one night my husband and I went out for a romantic dinner and the boys stayed in and had room service. They ordered room service at least 4 times while we were there!
Room service may also take some time to deliver as well. The first night we ordered room service, it literally took 2 hours to get it delivered! After that, the room service was delivered in about 30 minutes or so, which is about standard.
Our Favorite Things To Do
Pool Time –
While we visited most of the pools at all 3 resorts, we narrowed it down to 2 that we liked the best and continued to visit those. Our favorite is at The Grand. It’s a long and rectangular infinity pool with a swim-up bar and volleyball net. The kids had fun getting virgin strawberry daiquiris from the bar, and mom and dad enjoyed their drinks too! My favorite view, by far, was from this pool!
We also purchased Waverunner ball at one of the stores at the resort. It was fun throwing and skimming the ball across the water. We hit a few people in our ventures, but most of the time they were happy to jump in and play with us! We purchased the ball at the resort for $15, but you can buy them on Amazon for $8!
Our other favorite pool is at Nizuc. Mostly because it has a slide and a great outdoor Mexican food restaurant right next to it! The other great thing about the pools is that everyone is friendly. There were groups that joined to play volleyball. Everyone is just there to have a good time. Our youngest son made friends with some boys from Scotland and they played together for hours.
The Moon Palace also does a great job of providing entertainment while at the pool. There is always music playing in the background and various activities happening during the day. You can participate in water aerobics, volleyball, and water hamster ball to name a few. The activity coordinators also walk around the pool trying to get participants for beach games as well, like volleyball and soccer, but it was just too hot to participate in anything that wasn’t in the water!
Kayaking / Stand Up Paddle Boarding / Sailing
One of the things that we love to is water sports. Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle boarding and Sailing are all included in the price of the all-inclusive. We actually did these a few times during our stay. We didn’t sail however, because you had to attend a 1-hour class on how to do it, and it didn’t work with our schedule, but next time we will definitely try it out!
There is a Flow Rider at Sunrise and will soon be one at the Water Park at The Grand, as well. It is also included in the all-inclusive price. My husband and younger son tried the Flow Rider for the first time on this trip. I think that they would have liked to do it more than once, but we never made it back to Sunrise after the first visit, as it’s on the other side of the property.
Guests are able to spend up to $500 in Resort Credit at the spa, so we wanted to take full advantage of that! All 3 of the boys had their very first pedicure. They didn’t totally hate it, either! As a matter of fact, my younger son painted his toes purple, and asked to get a manicure next time!
I also took the opportunity to get a massage while we were there. The ambiance and options in the spa were amazing! There is a quiet waiting area, where I could lay and relax while I waited for my treatment. There is also a hydrotherapy pool to sit and relax in before or after the scheduled treatment. In addition, when completely done, there are showers stocked with shampoo, conditioner, and razors to get cleaned up. Next time I plan to schedule a few treatments and take full advantage of all the offerings of the spa!
The Playroom and Wired
There are many areas for kids to have fun the The Moon Palace. There is a Wired Lounge for teens at both Nizuc and The Grand. The Wired Lounge is equipped with air hockey tables, video games, computers with access to Minecraft and other computer games, and an ice cream bar. One morning the kids went Wired while we were waiting for our table at breakfast and as I came to pick them up, my older son was ordering ice cream! You have to love the freedoms of vacation!
The Playroom is located only at The Grand, and I mentioned earlier in this article, has fun for all ages! With a ropes course, bumper cars, glow-in-the-dark miniature golf, climbing structure, mirror maze, video games and a toddler play area, it a great way to stay cool inside and entertain the kids!
There were also nightly shows in the Theater at The Grand. We only had the opportunity to attend one of the shows, which was a magic show. It would have been nice to see some of the other things they had to offer, but it just didn’t work into our schedule.
What We Didn’t Like
Time Share Pitch
Upon arrival, we checked in and was promptly turned over to a staff member that would tell us all about the resort. We thought she would give us the run down on where everything was, how to access it, and what excursions we could go on. She did all of those things, but then offered to ‘help pay’ for an excursion if we would spend a few hours with them the next morning showing up the property.
They never mentioned ‘time share’ but that’s what it was. I thought that it was a little distasteful to sneak it in. And when we had only been there less than a 1/2 hour.
When visiting The Moon Palace website, it advertises the Water Park as an activity that visitors can participate in. As mentioned earlier in this post, there were only a few slides and the lazy river open. We discovered this through our research prior to booking our visit. However, if we hadn’t known that and expected it to be open when we got there, we would have been extremely disappointed. I wish that The Moon Palace would have that disclaimer posted clearly on their website until the park opens completely.
There are areas specifically dedicated for Diamond Club members, where ‘regular’ visitors cannot hang out. This goes back to the timeshare piece again, as I am certain that these areas are reserved for their timeshare holders. I really didn’t appreciate having to check if I could use a lounge chair or not. It is also frustrating to be asked to leave a certain area.
We could not snorkel at the resort. The water was not clear enough and the ocean water flags were red most of the time we were there, which means we couldn’t even swim in the ocean. Since snorkeling was a ‘must-do’ activity on our list, we took a day excursion through Aventuras Mayas to snorkel in 3 different locations. It was a great experience with caves and zip lines! You can read about our snorkeling tour by clicking here.
I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the airport was when we checked in for our departure. There were many duty-free stores to make last minute purchases and places to eat. We didn’t have enough time to shop, but I would have liked to, as the pricing was good. My suggestion would be to take extra carry-on luggage just for the items to purchase at the airport, like alcohol and souvenirs.
Will We Go Back???
Without a doubt, we will be going back! We are already trying to figure out when we will return! Our trip was 5 nights / 6 days, and we certainly wish it was longer. Around Day 4 we started feeling like we were getting the hang of the resort, and the kids were starting to get comfortable. They were able to move freely from the hotel room, to The Playroom, to various pools and Wired all on their own.
Next time, it would be great to go with another family as well. Especially if we plan to stay for a longer visit, it’s great for the kids (and the parents) to have some interaction with others.
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