cancun palace resortCancun Palace Resort ($318 – $523) all-inclusive with its 560 rooms and suites is located half an hour from the Cancun airport on one of the most beautiful turquoise beaches in the Caribbean, near Cancun’s most important shopping and party centers. The hotel smells of fresh flowers, and the decor is modern and chic. Cancun Palace is one of the chain of 9 Palace Resorts in the Yucatan. As a guest at one you can enjoy the services of all the Palace properties (sorry, Aventura Palace and Le Blanc are adults only and not included). The public bus runs 24 hours with quick trips to downtown shopping, or a night out in world class Cancun nightclubs for less than a buck.

Relax at one of the Palace Cancun pool bars with your favorite pick-me-up, then dine from an extensive selection of Mexican and international dishes at the Palace’s 4 restaurants. If you’re feeling energetic, all the non-motorized water sports are included in your package, the 36-hole mini-golf is fun for adults and kids alike, and, you can play tennis into the night at one of the lighted tennis courts. Work off the extra buffet calories spinning in the gym, and join in the water aerobics classes.

cancun palaceThe Infinity pool is large and heated, with 2 swim-up bars and a spectacular view of the ocean. Even when the hotel is crowded, you will have no trouble finding a lounger near the pool. Sun umbrellas are available to VIP guests. Enjoy room service and have a private breakfast on your balcony. A wedding coordinator is onsite to plan every little detail of your “once-in-a-lifetime”. Make free unlimited calls to the US, Canada and Mexico. The kids will love the Kids’ Club with its trampoline, big foamy blocks, and an air-hockey table. The Kids’ Club pool is not heated. Cancun Palace has a conference center for meetings large or small.

Guests complain about a lack of nightlife at the hotel even though shows and activities are conducted every night at the theater or the lobby bar (“anything can happen” show, a Michael Jackson impersonator, and others). The lobby bar, which has a band, frequently hosts children’s shows in the evening, which leaves adults to twiddle their thumbs. The pools have their “fire shows”.

The Concierge Level upgrade at $150 per night is located on a higher floor with better ocean views comes with aromatherapy every morning, and petit fours every evening. You can not upgrade to Concierge Level if you have children with you. As with most hotels in Mexico (and Mexican homes) there is no carpeting, and construction is of hard materials (cement, marble, etc.) which means NO soundproofing. The Premier room upgrade at $105 per night gives you a free manicure, pedicure and 20-mins. Back massage, a pillow menu, aromatherapy service, and $1500 to spend on tours and spa treatments. The family deluxe suite upgrade at $100 per night comes with 2 connected rooms with two double beds, 2 baths, and 2 jacuzzis. The beds are soft and comfy, pillows fluffy, and the showers are big and sexy. Use the vacation dollars to upgrade to the next level and get a better view of the ocean and property. Upgrades also come with two 30 minute massages, and room service from the restaurants instead of just a room service menu. Some guest prefer Lagoon view rooms for the afternoon sun and sunsets, after mornings on the beach and at the pool.

Moon Palace has a golf course, but, the Riviera Course is much tougher because the back nine is narrower and affected by the sea breezes. You will need lots of “balls”, and they are expensive at the course – $20 for a sleeve of Pro V’s. Cancun golf at Hilton’s Pok Ta Pok is considered the best by many duffers.

Activities include zip line, rent ATV’s, the jungle tour (small, motorized boats and snorkeling on the reef), parasailing at Waterworld, Swim with Dolphins at Wet and Wild, and more. Many attractions in Cancun don’t allow personal cameras, so you have to take advantage of some type of video/photos program at ridiculous prices. You can use “credit dollars” for the Memories Photos program ($630) at the hotel for some fine family pics.

El Mercado is the main buffet with a popular breakfast selection. It is connected to Leonardo’s so you can sit in either. Reservations for the Teppanyaki tables are made here after 11:30AM. Leonardo’s, with a tasty salmon and a good rack of lamb, offers an Italian menu for dinner only, no reservations required. Miyako is (Asian) cuisine requiring reservations for the Teppanyaki tables. Order sushi as at appetizer. The Hibachi chefs do their show with corny jokes, knife tricks, etc, while preparing your meal. Frida’s with a Mexican flare serves up paella, and grilled pizza (which is what the kids care about). Lunch is buffet, dinner is à la carte. The Steak restaurant lets you dine outside. Order your favorite cuts – ribeye, strip, etc,. Although, the Steak restaurant offers patio dining, the cuts in the Asian restaurant are considered superior. The Asian restaurant also serves beef skewers, chicken, egg rolls etc. the Hibachi tables never fail to delight the guests.

After a lovely champagne check-in has softened you up (you’re also tired from the flight), you’ll be handed over to a professional arm-twister … uh, “vacation planner” to sign you up for the “VIP tour” (TimeShare, always TimeShare). If you’re not responding to your “planner”, you’ll be handed over to a manager? (much like you experience when buying a car). And, much like a car dealer, the longer you hold out the better deal you’ll get. But remember, you’ll be bone tired. Cancun Palace will offer lots of credit dollars ($1500 for example) to be used on room upgrades, tours, massages, manicures/pedicures at the spa ($300), photos, haircuts, transport for your flight out (limo@$230), wedding planning, etc. Your planners will be happy to arrange the details of Cancun tours to chic, artsy Playa del Carmen, or the Mayan ruins at Tulum and Chichen Itza, etc. You’ll find that $1500 doesn’t go far in Cancun.

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