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I did it!
Johnny Jet Riding the Flow Rider at Cancun’s Moon Palace

Hola! If you’re following me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter, then you know I just returned from Cancun, Mexico, where I attended the TBEX conference. I landed after a short three hour, 35-minute flight from New York. It was my first time to Mexico in years and one of the reasons why is that after the gang shootings and beheadings, I didn’t really have a strong desire to go. But as soon as I landed, it dawned on me how much I missed this place. Most Mexicans are really warm – especially the people you meet right outside of immigration, since they are all trying to get your business! But honestly, most Mexicans are extremely friendly. The only ones that aren’t necessarily (in my experience) are the immigration officers so here’s a tip: Make sure you complete the entire immigration form (including the back side) so you don’t get pulled out of line to finish.

Cancun Airport
Cancun Airport

Taxi to Hotel
I ran into a few friends on the plane who were heading to the conference as well. Some had prepaid the shuttle service, which was $12.50. When I called to book, they said it would take 45 minutes to get to the hotel and that if I wanted to hire a car service, it would be $70. That didn’t seem right since Google Maps said the hotel was close to the airport so I stuck with my gut and didn’t book a car. It was a smart move because I ran into friends and we all shared a taxi. I asked three different companies about prices and they all quoted me $14 USD for a Super Shuttle or $56 USD for taxi. You can pay in US dollars. Taxis are a rip since it really is only a 12-minute ride to the hotel but when you share your transportation with three people, it’s obviously a better deal and you don’t have to wait. BTW: Our driver was very nice and spoke little English. He also had a pacifier on his keychain and told us that he doesn’t have any little kids. Random, I know.

One of the many building of Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort
One of the many building of Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort

Moon Palace
The host hotel for this year’s conference was Moon Palace in Cancun. It’s a solid four-star, all-inclusive resort. I didn’t have to pay for my accommodations since my beautiful wife was speaking and her room was covered, but for those that did have to pay, prices were all over the place. One of my colleagues paid $199 a night, which is a great deal considering all meals and alcohol are included. That includes the mini bar in the rooms, which come with four bottles of booze. Dangerous, I know. But I was surprised I didn’t see that many ridiculously drunk people … except at the Expedia party, where everyone let loose and had a great time. I did see some incredible deals for the resort on my deals page, which is powered mostly by TravelZoo.com.

Los Caporales Mexican Restaurant in Moon Palace's - Nizuc Building
Los Caporales Mexican Restaurant in Moon Palace’s – Nizuc Building

Moon Palace Food
Moon Palace in Cancun is huge. I have no idea how many square miles it is but I do know it’s divided into three sections: Moon Grand, Sunrise and Nizuc and has a total of 2,457 rooms. Natalie and I were in the Sunrise building, which is a good quarter-mile walk from the Nizuc side. We visited the Nizuc building to go to Los Caporales Mexican Restaurant for dinner one night. The restaurant was great; don’t miss the homemade guacamole, which is made tableside. The whole resort has 19 restaurants and I found the food to be good. Not great (except for some dishes at Los Caporales). But there was an enormous selection so no matter if you are a vegetarian or not, there’s something for you. NOTE: Because it’s an all-inclusive resort, you have to wear a wristband, which scratched me once in a while and cost $75 to replace if you lose it! Can you say rip-off?

Ice Cream Shop at Moon Palace
Ice Cream Shop at Moon Palace

Moon Palace Ice Cream
The best and worst part about Moon Palace is that everything is included. You aren’t even supposed to tip but we did since we heard the hotel workers don’t make a lot of money (but you wouldn’t know it since they all seemed happy). I was able to keep my portions down but what really killed me was the ice cream shop that also made homemade crepes and cones. Some of their ice creams (coconut, caramel and chocolate) were really good. So were the fruit pops (my fave were watermelon, pineapple and chocolate). Don’t get the coconut. But this café always seemed to be open so no matter when I walked by, I got sucked in. Even if it was for one of their chocolates. The hardest part is that everything was included so there wasn’t a charge. Ugh! Now I’m home eating salads, yogurt and granola trying to minimize my waistband so I can fit into my bathing suit.

My Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort room
My Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort room

The Rooms
All the rooms were nice, clean and have marble floors. Our room had a king size bed with the perfect duvet for me – light and cool cotton. The free WiFi inside the hotel worked great (though not at the conference center) and the bathroom came equipped with a hair straightener, which of course means nothing to me but my wife said is a big deal for women. The main feature of the room is the huge, double whirlpool tub in the middle of the bedroom. Strange place for the tub but great if you’re traveling with your significant other. The only thing we didn’t like about it is that the water smelled a bit like sulphur. And be careful not to put too much bubble bath in like we did, because when the jets went on, we almost lost each other in there. Our room looked like an Ibiza dance floor at 5am. I did love the fact they offered free phone calls to landlines (not cell phones) to the U.S. and Canada. One thing that could be annoying is that you can hear hallway traffic and there always seemed to be people working. Most rooms had hammocks on their balconies but for some sad reason, ours did not. They offer 24/7 room service and everything is, yes, included.

Sunrise Pool at Moon Palace Cancun
Sunrise Pool at Moon Palace Cancun

Pools
I have no idea how many pools are on the property but there was one super long one outside my balcony that I saw only one person use the whole time I was there. Everyone seemed to like hanging out at the main pool. My favorite was the Flow Rider, which I had tried before on the Oasis of the Seas cruise ship. It’s a lot of fun since you can try and surf (or boogie board, which is kind of lame in my opinion). After three hard falls, I finally got up on my feet. The trick is to have someone hold your board while you get on. Good to know: Cancun 10-day weather forecast.

Moon Palace Cancun Mexico TBEX Sept 2014-062Beach
The biggest disappointment of the resort is that it’s built right on the beach (650 feet of beaches) but the water looked terrible and I didn’t see one person in the water or even on the beach. It’s a shame since the beach in front of Club Med Cancun (down the road) I remember was beautiful. Maybe the hurricanes changed it all?

Moon Palace Arena
Moon Palace Arena

Other Amenities
The hotel also has a spa, which is a little too big for me. There are 39 treatment rooms and I’ve never seen so many men in a relaxing room before. They also give everyone tickets so they know who you are. It was well run but felt a bit like a factory to me.

There are a lot of other activities I didn’t see or take part in, including the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, the Wired Teen Lounge, NOIR nightclub, a fully equipped gymnasium and new kids’ club dubbed “The Playroom”. I did spend a fair amount of time in the Moon Palace Arena where the conference was held. It’s a great space for a conference but it had a funky smell, the air conditioning was way too cold and the WiFi didn’t work most of the time. But they have hosted world-renowned artists there, such as Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, Usher and Ricky Martin.

Though not everyone in the group liked the hotel I really enjoyed it. I think Moon Palace is an easy vacation for Americans to make and yes, it’s safe. You won’t necessarily get a true feeling for Mexico unless you leave the resort but if you’re just looking for a safe, all-inclusive family vacation that will be fun for you and the kids, this resort is a good option. I also encountered many honeymooners here so if you’re just looking for sun, sand and poolside relaxation with a margarita, again, it’s a good option.

The highlight of my trip was seeing my beautiful wife (@NatalieDiScala) speak on a panel about Pinterest with one of Pinterest’s first employees. They both rocked it!

Moon Palace's Hotel Taxi
Moon Palace’s Hotel Taxi

Good to know: For the hotel to arrange a taxi to the airport it costs $35 and takes 12 minutes. You don’t need to leave super early if you have carry-on luggage, have pre-printed your boarding pass and have elite status or a first class ticket.

Cancun Airport
Cancun Airport
Entrance to Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Sunrise Building
Entrance to Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Sunrise Building
Welcome towels and flowers at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Sunrise Building
Welcome towels and flowers at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Sunrise Building
Welcome towels and Food and bar at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Sunrise Building Check-In
Welcome towels and Food and bar at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Sunrise Building Check-In
Lobby of Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Sunrise Building
Lobby of Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Sunrise Building
One of the many building of Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort
One of the many building of Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort
Hammocks on balconies of Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort rooms
Hammocks on balconies of Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort rooms
My Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort room
My Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort room
My Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort bed
My Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort bed
My Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort TV
My Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort TV
My Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Shower
My Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Shower
My Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Bathroom
My Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Bathroom
Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort bathroom comes with hair straightners
Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort bathroom comes with hair straightners
Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Mini Bar (no extra charge)
Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Mini Bar (no extra charge)
Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Mini Bar (no extra charge)
Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Mini Bar (no extra charge)
View from my Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort room (3545)
View from my Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort room (3545)
Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort has sandpaper strips on steps so people don't slip (smart!)
Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort has sandpaper strips on steps so people don't slip (smart!)
Bugambilias Restaurant Moon Palace
Bugambilias Restaurant Moon Palace
Bugambilias Restaurant Moon Palace
Bugambilias Restaurant Moon Palace
Bugambilias Restaurant Moon Palace
Bugambilias Restaurant Moon Palace
Friendliest chef at Bugambilias Restaurant in Moon Palace
Friendliest chef at Bugambilias Restaurant in Moon Palace
Beef at Bugambilias Restaurant in Moon Palace
Beef at Bugambilias Restaurant in Moon Palace
Bugambilias Restaurant Moon Palace
Bugambilias Restaurant Moon Palace
Tacos from Bugambilias Restaurant Moon Palace
Tacos from Bugambilias Restaurant Moon Palace
Dessert from Bugambilias Restaurant Moon Palace
Dessert from Bugambilias Restaurant Moon Palace
They make pizzas at  Moon Palace
They make pizzas at Moon Palace
Ice Cream Shop at Moon Palace
Ice Cream Shop at Moon Palace
Ice Cream Shop at Moon Palace
Ice Cream Shop at Moon Palace
Ice Cream Shop at Moon Palace
Ice Cream Shop at Moon Palace
No Going Topless at Moon Palace
No Going Topless at Moon Palace
Sunrise Pool at Moon Palace Cancun
Sunrise Pool at Moon Palace Cancun
Sunrise Pool at Moon Palace Cancun
Sunrise Pool at Moon Palace Cancun
Sunrise Pool at Moon Palace Cancun
Sunrise Pool at Moon Palace Cancun
Jessica from Expedia
Jessica from Expedia
Flow Rider at Moon Palace Cancun
Flow Rider at Moon Palace Cancun
I did it!
I did it!
Pool Bar at Moon Palace Cancun
Pool Bar at Moon Palace Cancun
Sunset at Moon Palace Cancun
Sunset at Moon Palace Cancun
Palapa Fragata Restaurant at Moon Palace Cancun
Palapa Fragata Restaurant at Moon Palace Cancun
Moon Palace Arena
Moon Palace Arena
Inside Moon Palace Arena
Inside Moon Palace Arena
My Wife excited to speak at TBEX
My Wife excited to speak at TBEX
Opening Session at TBEX Cancun
Opening Session at TBEX Cancun
Expedia's TBEX Cancun Party
Expedia's TBEX Cancun Party
Expedia's TBEX Cancun Party
Expedia's TBEX Cancun Party
Moon Palace Cancun at Night
Moon Palace Cancun at Night
#TravelSkills TBEX and Gogo Twitter Chat
#TravelSkills TBEX and Gogo Twitter Chat
Moon Palace Cancun Gift Shop
Moon Palace Cancun Gift Shop
Moon Palace Cancun Spa
Moon Palace Cancun Spa
Moon Palace Cancun Spa Locker
Moon Palace Cancun Spa Locker
Los Caporales Mexican Restaurant in Moon Palace's - Nizuc Building
Los Caporales Mexican Restaurant in Moon Palace's - Nizuc Building
Tacos from Los Caporales Mexican Restaurant in Moon Palace's - Nizuc Building
Tacos from Los Caporales Mexican Restaurant in Moon Palace's - Nizuc Building
You need an exit ticket to leave Moon Palace
You need an exit ticket to leave Moon Palace
Moon Palace's Hotel Taxi
Moon Palace's Hotel Taxi
Me and my wife leaving Cancun
Me and my wife leaving Cancun

 

 

Johnny Jet

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2 Comments On "Moon Palace in Cancun for TBEX 2014"
  1. Kerwin|

    Great review @Johnny. You had a chance to see more of the resort than I did :-). I had a blast and my Wifi was fine. I was impressed that it worked even when I was walking outside in the grounds.
    Not sure what was the deal in the Arena though. I had to switch to TBEX’s wifi a few times.

  2. Eric Rabinowitz - Author|

    Johnny Jet, this is an excellent review of the Moon Palace Resort. I am a little surprised that the beach wasn’t up to higher standards, especially considering that the resort occupies a sizable stretch of oceanfront property.

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