We are currently holidaying in Cancun, Mexico with the boys. Our second family holiday. After doing a fair bit of research and recommendations from friends, we are staying at The Moon Palace, which has plenty for the children to do.
We have been here for 8 days now and have another 4 ahead of us. There is no real routine as the boys tend to nap at different times daily despite us desperately trying to get them in some sort of pattern. We were hoping that similarly to Dubai last year, they would nap at around 2pm, allowing them to be refreshed and re-energised for the evenings, however it has been a bit hit and miss.
We arrived here at around 4pm after a pretty smooth plane journey with British Airways from London Gatwick. It helped that we had upgraded to Club World for our outbound flight, which gave the boys plenty of room and comfortable seats which reclined all the way back into a flat bed position. Rhys and I shared a seat but Maice had his own – they were honestly as good as gold. Maicen watched a couple of movies and snacked on his crisps before falling asleep for the second half of the journey! We just about woke him up when we landed. Rhys slept for the first couple of hours and the last hour of the journey and was awake for the rest. He happily played with his toys and walked back and forth between Kam and I, without bothering anyone. We were very lucky – let’s hope the journey back is just as good (it’s a night flight so fingers crossed).
Once we arrived at the airport I was expecting our private transfers to be awaiting our arrival. I had booked with Hoppa, a company which had generally good reviews. However, we spent around 15 minutes looking for them to finally found out that they were being operated by Best Day Travel, who were waiting at stand 42. When we got there, there was a queue of families building up and it took 45 minutes for us to finally get into a transfer vehicle. It took around 10 minutes to get to the hotel but the whole process was a bit of an unexpected shambles and it’s the last thing you want after such a long journey.
The resort is split into 3 hotels – Sunrise, Nizuc and the newly built (and currently still undergoing some construction work), The Grand. We had requested to stay at Sunrise, as advised by our friends, due to the fact that it had a lovely children’s pool, playroom and some nice restaurants. We feel that after experiencing The Grand and Sunrise ourselves, this was the right decision. The Grand has some amazing restaurants but is so big that we think it would be difficult to get around with the boys. Even at Sunrise we are occasionally using the golf carts to get from the lobby back to our room (which is in the building right at the end of the hotel) but can still do this journey relatively easily by walking.
OUR DAILY “ROUTINE”
7-8 am : Up and dressed and ready for breakfast. We go to either La Gondola or Bugambilias, both serve the same international breakfast. There are plenty of breads, pastries, fruits, cheeses, meats and pretty much anything you can think of. Rhys tends to have a bowl of porridge and some fruit, whereas Maice prefers a pain au chocolat. Both of the boys like picking at a bit of crispy bacon off our plates. There’s plenty to select from, even for fussy eaters
9am : Playing in the pool and cocktails for mummy and daddy (cocktails maybe at 10ish rather than 9am!). The boys love splashing over to the pool bar for a chocolate milkshake. As the day progresses the pool bar tends to get busier, although we stay closest to the children’s pool, which is much quieter than the activity pool.
12pm : Lunch. Again there is lots of choice with our favourites being the food van near the pool which does burgers and hot dogs etc. The chicken nuggets and chips are a hit with the boys. There are also fresh pizzas available from either the terrace at La Gondola or the poolside wood oven pizzas. Both restaurants mentioned earlier in the breakfast section also do buffets, although most of the food is pre cooked so doesn’t always taste very fresh. Palapa Fragata (seafood restaurant) has a nice buffet spread as well and is conveniently located just by the kid’s pool. We haven’t ventured to any of the other hotels for lunch as it would probably be quite inconvenient for us with both of the boys. Going back and forth on a coach with either two soggy little boys (and mummy and daddy) or going back to our room first to get changed is just too much of a faff for us.
1-5pm : Variable – Nap/ playroom/ teens lounge. This is the part of the day that we just can’t seem to plan. Either the boys sleep from 1pm until they’re ready to wake up (which has been 5pm some days!) or we just can’t get them down for a nap, which means that when we go for dinner, they are both little terrors. On and ideal day, we have taken them to the playroom at around 1pm for an hour or so and then gone back to the room for them to nap for a couple of hours. The playroom at Sunrise is fantastic and has lots for the boys to do including a little carousel, a soft play area, a games room and a movie theatre. It also has a lovely garden with a massive sandpit. It is clean and well maintained with very friendly and approachable staff, who interact well with the children. The teens lounge has an arcade so the boys like to jump from car to bike to “play” the games.
6pm : Get dressed for dinner. I tend to do my makeup whilst the boys are asleep (if they sleep that is), although even if they’re awake they let me get on with getting made up and dressed, which is a surprise. I guess it’s because they are a bit older now. Maicen lets me get on with it and Rhys is happy enough, as long as I give him a brush or two to play with.
7-8pm : Dinner. We have tried various restaurants but we have some clear favourites, which are mainly located in The Grand (see Restaurant section below). We have also heard good things about the Brazilian restaurant, Arrecifes, in Nizuc, which we hope to try out before we leave.
8.45pm : Daily entertainment show. There are some incredible shows. We have been to the Michael Jackson show – this was a great experience, the boys loved every minute of it. Especially Kam, who is a massive MJ fan. There has also been a Fire Show, which we would recommend seeing. Ensure you arrive early enough to get a seat though as it can get very busy.
We have also used the bowling alley at The Grand after dinner. They don’t really make it clear enough but there can be some very busy nights, especially when they are showing basketball games etc on the big screens, so it is well worth making a booking in advance to avoid disappointment. We were asked to physically go there to make the booking, but I explained that this was difficult for us as we were staying at Sunrise, so they did take a telephone reservation. Your resort credit can be used to pay for this and you just have to pay the tax element, which isn’t very much. There is a bar here and they do bar food too. Children must be 4 years and above to actually bowl.
10pm : Bed. Back to the room and ready for bed. We have had a few tantrums at night but the boys have generally been good so we can’t complain.
We have dined at Momo (Sunrise), where we had a teppanyaki table and Jade (The Grand), both of which serve Oriental cuisine. Out of the two, we preferred the food at Jade. It is honestly amazing! We were happy to be guided by the waiter, as the whole menu looks so delicious that we didn’t know what to select. I would highly recommend the lobster tail, which comes with an assortment of grilled vegetables. The teriyaki chicken is yummy too.
The Steakhouse at Sunrise has a rustic feel and the food really is cooked to perfection, Kam was very impressed with the ribeye steak he had. The food came quickly and was of a very good standard. The waiters are lovely, which is the case at every restaurant at Moon Palace. They do a standard children’s menu which is available at almost all of the restaurants, which includes pasta and meatballs, pizza, chicken nuggets and fries amongst other options. We have dined at the JC Steakhouse at The Grand twice and have had two very different experiences.
This is a more “high end” restaurant which is booked by prior reservation only. It is always busy so don’t expect to get a table on the day you call to book, especially over the weekend, when you probably have to book a couple of days in advance. The first time we went, everything was great (we dined at around 8pm). The waiter took our order quickly and helped us with our selections from the menu. Kam went for the equivalent of a ribeye steak here too, which was a massive hit with him. I had the lamb chops – delicious! The food arrived hot and promptly, there were no issues, hence we booked to go back again.
This however was for a 9.15pm table (the earliest they had available) and it was almost as though we were at a different restaurant. After being seated (late), we didn’t order until almost 10pm. Our hot starters came…..cold. We had our main meal at around 10.45pm! The boys were obviously very tired. Maicen fell asleep so didn’t eat and Rhys was just dozing off before his meal came, which I made a point of ordering upon our arrival as it was already so late. The waiter really was running himself ragged. He couldn’t go back and forth quickly enough but obviously something was going wrong somewhere to cause such a massive delay. The whole night was a disappointment unfortunately.
The Italian restaurant, Travoli, at The Grand is fantastic. The food is fresh and there is a great selection of pizzas, pastas and salads to choose from. Rhys had penne pasta in a tomato sauce and Maicen had a margarita pizza (no surprises there) and they both ate well. I prefer here to La Gondola at Sunrise
Getting a high chair at any of the restaurants at Sunrise isn’t a problem at all, however, has always been a problem for us at The Grand. Despite booking the table and explaining that we would need a chair for Rhys, every time we have dined there, there is no high chair available and the waiters seem to be going from restaurant to restaurant to find one. It has even got to the point that we have had to feed Rhys in his pushchair, which isn’t ideal and is very frustrating for him. This really is something that the management need to look into.
- Ask for a microwave in the room if your children drink warm milk because room service can take up to an hour, which isn’t surprising given how massive the resort is.
- Bottle sterilisers are also available so ask if you need one.
- We ask for a couple of cartons of milk to be left in our fridge daily so that we don’t have to wait and can heat it up in the microwave as required.
- It gets very hot – the usual sun hats, protective swimwear and plenty of sun tan lotion are a must. We also took swimming shoes which prevented the boys feet from burning on the hot floor.
- There are plenty of waitresses around the sun loungers taking drinks orders but they can take a while so keep some water with you at all times for the children.
- Take an adapter if needed as they use 2 pin plugs. You can buy them from the gift store but expect to pay a premium price!
- Plan your time so that you get to experience as many of the restaurants as possible. Make reservations so you don’t miss out on some of the best ones as mentioned above
- Look at the entertainment board to see what is going on at each hotel to avoid seeing the same show twice, as the entertainment seems to rotate around the 3 hotels.
- Mosquito repellent and some Calamine lotion (or any cream/spray/lotion to relieve bites) is a must. We have both been bitten quite a lot, after we were wandering around outside The Grand looking for the children’s play area at night. The boys were thankfully ok but just bear this in mind as it’s really unpleasant.
- Travelling from hotel to hotel on a coach is a little bit difficult with two little boys, a changing bag, a pushchair and a buggy board. The coaches do come frequently enough (every 10 minutes or so) but the queues build up and you’ll be lucky if anyone gives you way, even with small children. There are plenty of golf carts passing by but they are apparently on a set route and aren’t supposed to be transferring guests from one hotel to another. A good tip won’t go amiss though, and will save you the hassle of waiting around and attempting the big coach steps, especially when the little ones are asleep.
I hope you’ve found this review useful and would love to hear your feedback!