We were married at the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort in Cancun, Mexico on August 1, 2009. Let me start by saying the place is BEAUTIFUL!!!! The resort is gorgeous, there is plenty (and I mean PLENTY) to do, and the people are friendly. We had a small group - 15 on the resort and 2 coming with guest passes. We opted for the old free package and just added on services. Below is my review:
Airport - A
Arriving to the Cancun airport was a breeze! We flew US Air and did not have any problems (Thank goodness!) Once we arrived, we got off the plane and received our lovely "swine flu" survey. Not a big deal at all, but just a head's up that they still do this. We got our luggage to find that something exploded in someone's luggage and whatever it was got all over ours. Luckily it didn't make it through to our clothing - Thank you Samsonite! We were in and out of the airport in literally less than a 1/2 hour. This was true for all of our guests with the exception of my brother who flew in on Friday. It took him over 2 hours. Just proves that it all depends on what flights arrive at what time.
Transfers - A
Our transfers were included with our reservations. The company was Traffic Tours. They were wonderful! It is especially nice that the Moon Palace is only about 15 minutes from the airport. A short ride in AC was much appreciated!
Hotel - A++++
Check in went smoothly. No one in our group had any issues. All reservations were as they should have been.
We stayed in the Moon Grand section of the resort. The rooms are absolutely amazing! Comfy bed, double jacuzzi, his & her sinks, beautiful shower, in room mini bar...you get the point! I would HIGHLY recommend anyone to stay there. The only "warning" is that the Moon Grand side is much quieter than Nizuc and Sunrise. It is mostly members and only 1/2 completed. For us, the smaller crowds were a huge plus.
We didn't see many of the shows. When we didn't have an excursion or wedding activity, our days were typically like this:
1. Wake up
2. Put on bathing suits and cover ups
3. Eat breakfast
4. Swim in the pools until 6-7 with lunch somewhere in there. I recommend Los Tacos at the Moon Grand side. Their tacos were DELICIOUS and they were never busy!
5. Get ready for dinner
6. Eat dinner
7. Hang out around the bars
Salon - A
I opted to only have my hair done at MP. I had nails done right before I left, and decided to do my own makeup. Dolores was my stylist and I can not say enough nice things about her. I showed pictures of what I was thinking and she did a fantastic job. It stayed regardless of wind and heat. Looking back I probably would have had her do my makeup, but it all worked out.
Horse and Carriage -A
I wanted this to be a surprise for my guests, but when we were together one day one went by and they all immediately went "ARE YOU DOING THAT?" So, I said yes. They all still thought it was pretty neat but it took the "wow" away from the entrance a bit.
Gazebo (A) - Bugambilias. I actually requested Tucan, but I am glad we got Bugambilias as it made for a nice ride in the carriage from the Grand side!
JOP (B-) - We had the civil marriage. I don't think our JOP was very fluent in English, but then again we are in Mexico! The ceremony took awhile. This wasn't because it was long, but more so because he spoke slowly. He might have just been trying to speak clearly for the DVD though.
Sand Ceremony (D) - This is probably the one thing I am not happy about and each time I see a picture or this section of the DVD I find myself thinking "grrrr". For my sand ceremony we used the sand from Mexico. I had a container that we filled the bottom with sand from the beach. The guests were suppose to put a seashell (I provided ) as they entered the gazebo. The container was then to be brought up front, and we were to pour our sand over top of the seashells to "join" our guests during the ceremony. I was pretty excited about the idea because it would be something cute to display at our AHR as well as in our house. However, when I arrived to the gazebo for the ceremony, our glass jar was filled with the sand we put in, and NO SEASHELLS! SO we ended up pouring the beach sand on top of beach sand which I think looks strange. I put this request in writing and mentioned it to my WC during our welcome meeting. The entire ceremony I was trying to figure out where my darn seashells were! My question was answered when I made my way to cocktail hour. They were spread out over the tables and buffet. This looked cute, but was not what I wanted.
Based upon previous MP brides recommendations, I requested David Pena. We did end up getting him, but just a FYI he usually now only does larger packages due to frequent requests for him. We did not get a large photo package so we kind of lucked out. One thing that slightly bothers me about the MP picture packages is that there are no packages where you don't have to buy an album. I really only wanted the CD as we are digital people. I want to take my MP pictures and merge them with our AHR pictures to make a coffee table album. I was told that if I didn't want an album, I would be able to purchase a CD with 12-24 pictures on it and that would never be enough! So, we decided to just go with the smallest photo package and add on the CD. The CD had over 250 pictures on it so we are happy with that. I have carried the album around to show people some pictures here. In the end, we are happy with how the pictures turned out! I'm having a difficult time deciding which one to blow up and have framed!!
Cocktail hour (A)
We qualified for the included cocktail hour. This was nice. It was held in the Bugambilias terrace. I didn't eat any of the apps, but I didn't hear any complaints. We first thought we were going to rent the iPod sound system. However, we were only going to use it for the cocktail hour and they charge 2 hours minimum. Instead, I called my Mom who was still in the states and she brought our own iPod docking station we use when we play volleyball! I would suggest doing this if you have a smaller group. Everyone heard the music and it saved $$$. If you don't own a docking station, look into buying one! I think the rental was $220 and we own a nice one that costs less. Plus it's yours to keep! We listened to music in the room while we got ready for dinner, ate room service, etc. for the rest of the trip.
Wedding Dinner (A-)
We are having a formal AHR on August 28th so we opted to not have a private reception. We had our wedding dinner at Arrecifies in Nizuc. They had a table set up in the back for us. It is buffet salad, and the a Brazilian steakhouse for dinner where they come to the table with meat on skewers and serve it. We had one problem while we were at the restaurant. A few of our guests were served chicken that wasn't cooked. And when I say wasn't cooked, it was pretty much raw. I have no idea how they thought it was cooked when they put it down!! This was at the other end of the table so I didn't find out until later in the dinner. Our guests pretty much handled it by telling them. They apologized and brought over cooked chicken. However, they left the plate of uncooked chicken on the table all the way until we left! Ick! I would have gotten someone to take it away ASAP, but I guess they were OK with it??
Because we are having an AHR, I wasn't really stressing on the cake there. In fact, I said I didn't even need one. We had the old "free" wedding package, and I was told (many times) that a cake was included. I even mentioned the cake thing at our welcome meeting and said that we didn't want to upgrade at all. At the meeting I asked which was included and she showed me the heart cake. I asked to switch to a round and got the OK. We got the chocolate and it was delicious and HUGE! Much bigger than necessary.*See cake comment at the end of review for the B+*
After dinner we went down to the Nizuc show and walked around the vendors for a little. A few friends purchased some things and we headed back to Grand. We both got changed out of our wedding gear. I brought a "Bride" tanktop that I purchased at David's Bridal so I put that on with shorts. We hung out at the roof top bar above Caribbean with everyone for the rest of the night.
On-Site Coordinator (B-)
Our WC was Margarita. I had difficulties first contacting here the month prior to the wedding. I was getting frustrated so I called my Miami contact, Marlyn (who was FABULOUS) and she sent her an e-mail saying she needed to contact me. 2 hours later..BOOM an e-mail from Margarita. I forwarded her the questions which I previously sent (and were never answered) and she got back to me. Once we established communication, I always received an e-mail with answers 1-2 days after I sent it.
We had our meeting the day we arrived. US Air canceled our original flight...ugh... so we arrived, quickly ate, and went RIGHT to our meeting. While I was there, I felt like things went well. Looking back, we didn't get much information. I guess I should have been more persistent and asked for detailed explanations of the ceremony, pictures, etc. I would suggest asking for a detailed walk-through of the ceremony since this is pretty much your rehearsal. We had a few "huh?" moments during the day because we were not told what to expect. Nothing extremely major though.
On our wedding day there were 9...yes...9 weddings. Our WC was split between 3 of them. It didn't at all make our day any less special, but this could possibly be another reason why things weren't detailed. Margarita arrived 15 minutes late to my room, stayed for the ceremony, left 3 minutes into cocktail hour, and then I didn't see her again until dinner was just about finished. It was my understanding that she would be with us the majority of the day. She did apologize. I know it's not her fault for being over-booked, but then again it doesn't change the fact that she wasn't there very much.
Overall, I decided B- for the following reasons:
1. Trouble establishing contact, but once established I got answers
2. Late of detail during meeting which I didn't realize was lack of detail until it was actually happening
3. Cake misunderstanding that was eventually resolved
4. Lack of presence the day of the wedding
The flowers were nice. I went with the Tropical flowers mixed with Gerbers for my bouquet. Gerbers are the focal point of the reception, but I decided to go with some tropical since we were in Mexico!
The boutonnieres were Gerbers. Pink for my now hubby and orange for the fathers.
Corsage - I asked about 50 times (alright, I exaggerated...but for real over 5) if they were guaranteed for the wrist as this is what I wanted. I was told EACH time that they were for the wrist unless otherwise requested. Wedding day comes andddd they were pin on?!?!?! These were more of a last minute add-on, but was prior to the wedding day and confirmed. During pictures my now husband whispered - for the wrist huh! It gave us a little laugh. This is the reason for the A-.
We really could have spent the entire time at the hotel and not been bored. There is so much to see and do. We spent the majority of the time at the Grand section, but did make it over to Sunrise and Nizuc for breakfast and dinners. We also spent a day in the Sunrise pool which was fun.
Spa - One word...AMAZING! We had a $100 credit and I purchased a 50 minute massage. I wish I would have upgraded to the 80 as it would have been worth the money. I scheduled for after the wedding to relieve any wedding day "stress" and it was fabulous! I went about 40 minutes early and used the steam room and the whirlpool. I wish I would have went in a full hour like allowed.
Swimming with the Dolphins - For our package, swimming with the dolphins was buy-one-get-one. This is something I've always wanted to do and is offered at many resorts. Cost-wise the BOGO deal is a good one so we decided to do it. This is held at Wet and Wild which is owned by palace resorts. The water park was just OK. We don't have kids so if the dolphins weren't there we probably wouldn't have went. However, the swimming with the dolphins was EXCELLENT! I would really recommend it if you haven't done it before! It was such a neat feeling to be in the water with them, pet them, and take part in the tricks. We decided to buy a CD with 8 pictures so that we could reprint them at home.
Cancun Palace - We decided to go to Cancun Palace to check out a resort on the main strip. It was a good time and I would recommend checking out either Sun Palace (I believe adults only), Cancun Palace, or Beach Palace while you are there. These are the hotels included in the free transportation. The ocean water is a beautiful crystal blue and it will pretty much be the only beach time you will have since the MP isn't extremely beach friendly. I am more of a pool person because salt burns my eyes so quickly, so I was completely fine with a beach day trip. I am glad we took the time to do it though. Much different environment than the MP since it is more of a condensed high-rise compared to MP beautiful spread out grounds. *If you are planning on taking the free transportation, listen when they say get there a head of time. We saw many people show up 5 minutes before and become frustrated that the bus was full. The bus was nice, air conditioned, free and in my opinion worth arriving early for. The only problem was one day when the ticket person arrived late. The bus stop was packed and when she said "who was first" everyone ran over. In the end we all got transportation.
Lobster Cruise - We took this our last night there. It was a bit of a car ride, but was nice. The shuttle picks you up at MP and drives you to the marina. You then board a boat that takes you out in the middle of the water. Once you arrive, you eat a surf and turf dinner down in the lower section of the boat. The music was a little cheesy, but the food was excellent!
I decided to go down to request a print out of charges a day before check out because we weren't planning on any additional ones and I am glad I did so. They took the time and went through each charge one-by-one. I also pointed out which ones had a credit so that everything would be ready to go for the following day. I personally think that there is nothing worse than a bad check out!! Anyhow, after asking about the cake throughout the entire process I found a charge for $85. I called Margarita who said that a cake is not included in the free package, and I shared that I asked about this many times and I would not have had it (as I previously stated) if it wasn't included and that I wanted to charge removed. When I went to check out, the charge had not been removed. The person helping us check out called her and she then removed it. I am happy it was removed, but it was a bit of a hassle going back and forth with phone calls after discussing the cake many times.
Suggestions for Future Brides
1. Make lists for wedding day preparations. I always make lists, so why I didn't do this for the big day I will never know! Right before I walked out the door I looked in the mirror and everything looked OK. I got on the carriage and realized I forgot to put on my garter!!!! At that point it was too late to go back. Luckily my mom had a blue chapstick! I stuck in in the top of my dress (haha) for my something borrowed/something blue in place of the garter! I will wear it for my AHR!
2. Keep occupied the day of. I got nervous about timing and moved up my hair appointment by 1 hour. I really didn't need to do this and ended up with an hour of "what do I do now" time.
3. Tell your bank your going out of the country! I put my mail on hold, arranged for my cats to be taken care of, cleaned the house, caught up on laundry, but forgot to do this! We went to an ATM there and our bank thought someone stole our identity and put a hold on our account!!! Luckily good old MP includes free calls to the states, but it took forever for it to be straightened out!!!
4. Remember that the MP is a pro at doing weddings. Although I had the mix-up with the sand ceremony which upset(s) me, in the big scheme of things it's not the end of the world. I would much rather have happy guests and an amazing experience than 10 pictures with seashells added to sand. When everyone returns home they commented on how lovely the hotel was, not that they forgot my shells!
Overall I am extremely happy with our decision to have the wedding at Moon Palace. I would most definitely recommend this hotel to anyone. I am a "once I've seen it I'm done" type of person and I would go back in a heartbeat. The only major disappointment was the sand ceremony, but we made due with guests placing the shells on top of all the sand during cocktail hour. I figured I will have professional pictures of this at the AHR. For any future MP brides - you will have a wonderful time at a beautiful resort! Enjoy every moment because it is over before you know it!!!!!