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Moon Palace - Cancun Review - July 11, 2009

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Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort - Cancun, Mexico


Before I start, I want to say "Thank You" to all the previous brides of Moon Palace and all the people on this forum that helped me with questions I had, inspired me with items they created or did, and supported me through all the emotions that come with planning a wedding. I don't know how I would of ever accomplished everything without all of you.


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Wedding Date / Time - Saturday, July 11, 2009 / 2:00 p.m.

Wedding Coordinator - Baberthly Kelena Arroniz de Regil (Kelena), never saw the assistant

Wedding Package - Deluxe

Gazebo - Bugambilia

Cocktail Hour - Bugambilia Terrace 5:00 p.m.

Reception - 6:00 p.m. - was supposed to be at Bugambilia, got moved inside due to rain - I think it was in the Aqua Ballroom (not sure the name) right next to jewelry stores in the Nizuk Main Building


Thursday Night - Welcome HH at RoofTop Bar in the Grand Moon Section, then the group went down stairs to Carrebean for dinner - no reservations


Friday Night - Wedding Dinner at Arrecifies Resturant (on the terace) - Nizuk Section


Room Block Section - Nizuk

Rooms - 17

Total Room nights - 62 - we did not get credit for 7 nights for someone that is a member.

Guests staying at the resort - 33 adults / 1 child

Guests from off-site (Isla Mujeres) - 7 adults / 1 teenager

Our stay - July 5th - July 16th (11 days)

Most of our guests stay - July 9th - July 12 or 13


Photographer - David Pena (resort photographer)




Overall Experience - A+

I had the most amazing stay and wedding at Moon Palace. I stressed a lot about the wedding until I read and re-read reviews all stating the experience that Moon Palace is like a dream wedding. It truly was the most amazing wedding I could of ever imagined.


Both me and DH had been married before but I have known him for 20 years and we have dated for 5 plus. I wanted my two son's that are in college and who have thought of DH like a father since we started dating, to walk me down the aisle and give me away to this wonderful man I love.


Click the image to open in full size.


Our goals when deciding on a location:

- All inclusive

- A place that had good reviews of food & many options - Moon Palace has over 14 restaurants / places to eat, filtered water, I read they have some of the best resort food on several sites.

- A place with other good ammenities. - Palace Passport gave us $100 spa, unlimited tours to ruins, swim with dolphans, and other things.


Unexpected extras:

- mini bar and beer in each room

- the staff takes care of your every need - even room service (I don't think we waited over 15 minutes for anything - many times it was within 5 minutes)

- relaxed place that with no airs or snootyness (I know, made up word).

- OUR room location/view was amazing - We were in the Nizuk section close to and overlooking everything.


Click the image to open in full size.


Note: This is probably going to be a long review so it will have several posts.

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Trip to Mexico / Customs


Our trip went smooth. We left Austin, Texas at 8:05 a.m., connected in Houston, and arrived in Cancun at 2:05 p.m.


I hand carried my wedding dress and hung it in the Captains Coat Closet on each plane. I got a little attitude on the Austin - Houston flight but none on the Houston - Cancun flight. They were happy to store it for me.


VISA / Customs


The line for visitors VISA took us over an hour to get through. We arrived at the same time as several other planes that all let out to two long lines. Once we got through that line, it was pretty quick to pick up our bags and get through Customs. All total, it took us a couple hours to get in and out of the airport to our transfer.


We had three large suitcases of clothes/wedding stuff. Both DH and I had two carry-ons and the wedding dress.


I hand-delivered our OOT bags(30 bags) the week before so I didn't have all those added items. We had items for the ceremony, sand ceremony items, contents for about 3 additional OOT bags (in case we had extras show up we didn't expect (I had two extras), and a lot of extra meds, sunscreen, lotion, etc. for the week.


Going through customs, I got a lot of questions about "wedding" stuff. I kept saying our bags had mostly clothes and "Only $100" worth of wedding stuff. You are allowed $300. I didn't think about it and have since found out, the medicines do not have to count toward your $300 allowed. I don't know if sunscreen and lotions count.


When they finally hit the button, we got the green light. YEAH!! So, no more worries!


Transfer - A+


WARNING - Make sure you know who your company is. There are guys standing in the airport trying to pull you aside and pull you to their company. Walk through that horde to the exterior of the airport to find all the pre-arranged transfer companies. I heard rumor of this on this forum and fortunately, knew to walk through and ignore the people trying to get you side-tracked.


Transfer Company - American Express. Our TA had transfer to/from the airport included with our stays. We had to wait for about 15 minutes for the van to arrive for the Moon Palace people. There were 6 in the van and they delivered us directly to the section we were staying at. Our only complaint - and we found out some do this later - is some of the transfer drivers will have beer, soft drinks, water for you to purchase at a minimum price. American Express doesn't allow their driver to do this. We purchased our first Cervesas and bottles water at the outside bar of the airport. They were pretty expensive cans of beer/water ($6 each / $3 for water).


The American Express staff at the airport arranged an appointment for us for the next morning with their rep located at the resort. That appointment went smoothly and they arranged our return to airport pickup time.


Moon Palace Resort - A+


Moon Palace is very close to the airport. It is huge. It consists of three sections of rooms, each with a lobby - Sunrise, Nizuk, and Grand Moon sections - and the Golf and Spa area of the resort. They are still building the Grand Moon section and there are already over 2000 rooms.


We loved the resort from the time we turned in. I don't think we or any of our guests had one complaint about the resort or the staff.


Check in


They meet you at the door with cool towels and bring you champagne and flowers while your in the line to check in. We did have to stand in a line for a while to check in but it wasn't the staffs fault. Some people in front of us were the cause.


Once you get your room number, you also need to check into the "Guest Services" and the "Honeymoon" desks - all in the lobby. You get your "Palace Passport" from Guest Services and wedding amenities from the Honeymoon desks.


Palace Passport - if you want to do any of the tours and know when you want them - pick this up on arrival and schedule them. We scheduled our first one upon arrival and the other two later in the week.


Honeymoon Desk - They give you Honeymoon tee shirts, arrange for champagne and welcome items to be in your room when you get there, and schedule a reservation for a Honeymoon candlelight dinner for you. They also tell you when the private honeymoon happy hour/photos are.


-our champagne was in our room waiting by the time we left this desk and went up

-the candlelight dinner was nice - Ours was at Arrecifies on the terrace. Good food but a little odd they had all these tables for two out there at the same time - all the people getting married that week. My only regret .... and I still think about it... they had little table tents that said "Mr. and Mrs Maldonado" and I wished I had grabbed it. That was the first time I saw our name like that!




We were in the Nizuk section. Nizuk is the section in the middle. Both me and DH said many time we were glad we were there. It was easy for us to get to either of the other two sections at any time. We were at Moon Palace for 11 days and we spent time in every section of the resort. The only part that is not within close walking distance is the Golf / Spa area.


One of my concerns was where our room was verses our guests. I didn't want the guests close to our room on wedding day. Our guest's rooms were on the opposite side of Nizuk with mostly ocean views. We felt our room was in the perfect location. It had an ocean view and overlooked all the pools of the Nizuk section. It was close to the lobby, the wedding office, and all the restaurants located in the main building. One photo from our room is posted above and here is another photo.


Click the image to open in full size.


We would open our curtains in the morning and it felt like we were on the beach.



Room Service


Room Service / Guest Services were great! We had everything we asked for in 15 minutes or less no matter the time. For special requests, you have to go through Guest Services (i.e. we asked for a bottle of Champagne to be brought up to the room prior to the wedding so us girls could have mimosas). It was there very quickly.


We tried many things off the room service menu. Everything we tried was great. A couple nights, we had sandwiches and fries brought up middle of the night..... What is it about fries in the middle of the night -?!?! I thought they were the best fries ever... HA!! The guacamole was amazing everywhere you were on the resort whether it was room service or a pool restaurant. We also had the lime soup with the guacamole on wedding day... ALL very good.


We put the request for breakfast cards on the door for mornings we did tours - always correct and usually earlier than requested.


Getting around Moon Palace


We could walk to almost everything within minutes being in Nizuk. It took about 5 or so minutes to get to either of the other sections. If you didn't want to walk, there are golf carts and a shuttle that will take you places around the resort.


Nightly Shows


There are shows every night of the week either by the pools in Nizuk or outside the main building in the Sunrise section. We saw quite a few of them. Our favorites were the Michael Jackson show (weekly) and the Mayan show. The Mayan show was our absolute favorite. It was one that didn't use professional dancers. They were actually Mayans and stated the dances and show they presented had been handed down from father to child for over 1000 years. If this how is there the week you go, make sure and seen this one.


Click the image to open in full size.




We checked out the gym in Nizuk and the Sunrise main building. We liked the Sunrise gym better, It had a little more room and a great view from the machines.

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Palace Passport - B


With each room booking of 3 nights or longer, you received a Palace Passport. It gives you unlimited tours to assorted Mayan ruins and a few other things.


palaceresort.com - Palace Passport


We only used the tour part of this. We went to Chichen Itza, Tulum, and Isla Mujeres. This part of the review is a little mixed. On every tour, we fully enjoyed the sites, adn we had great tour guides (one talked way to much on the bus - HA!! - I was ready to throw something at him - but he made up for that with his knowledge of the location) - The buses were pretty roomy and comfortable, except one bus didn't have as much leg room for my 6'5" son and it left him stiff the next day.


There were a few things that brought this review down. On the ruin tours, they didn't provide any drinks and you would have to buy water for $2 at rest stops. The included lunch but didn't feed you till 2-4 p.m. when you left the resort between 7:30 - 8:00 in the morning. They would stop at rest stops, that were little shopping villages, in the morning on the way to the ruins. This was aggravating because they didn't warn you about the little shopping villages and because of the stop, you would arrive to the ruins during the hottest part of the day.


The ruins were great and the tour guides were mostly Mayan decent and were very passionate and knowledgeable.


Click the image to open in full size.


Click the image to open in full size.


One rumor we heard before and were glad to find out it wasn't true was that the resort used these tours as a way to sell you memberships in timeshares - This WAS NOT true.


I heard from a guests that used the Buy one/Get one Swim with Dolphins was good.


SPA - A+


All I can say about it is AMAZING experience. Both me and DH received the 100 minutes of holistic spa treatment as part of our package. This was a body scrub, massage, and facial. This was not a couple thing. There is a men entrance and a women entrance.


We also received $100 toward spa with our room booking. I used this to upgrade the facial part of min holistic spa treatment.


Moon Palace recommends you get to your spa appointment one hour before your appointment to experience their water area which is a combination of sauna, steam, cool water pools, whirlpools, and just relaxation.


Every part of everything was great! DH and I both fully enjoyed every moment. They really know how to pamper you.


Next comes all the Wedding Stuff

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I only have had one regret and I am continually reminded about it. That one regret is I wished I would found a set of photographers to spend from Thursday - Saturday with us. Many other Moon Palace brides did this and have amazing photos of the entire event. Even now, I haven't had a chance to collect CDs from all the guests taking photos and I don't have good photos of the different events.


If photos of the entire event are important to you, push your budget, if possible, to bring in photographers with you.


Thursday night - July 9

Roof Top Bar - Carribean Restaurant


The majority of our guests arrived on Thursday. Originally, We decided to do only a happy hour on Thursday at the Roof Top Bar in the Grand Moon Section. We had gone up there a couple times earlier in the week and saw there was a restaurant below the bar.


After checking out the menu at the resaurant, we decided we would have everyone meet at the Roof Top Bar then take our chances without a reservation and try to eat at Carribean.


Everyone met at the Bar at 6:30. After a couple cocktails and sushi roll appetizers, some of the guys went down to Carribean to see if they could seat our party of 27. The staff at Carribean did an outstanding job. They set up two large tables right next to each other. About 6 - 8 wait staff took care of the tables.


Friday - July 10

Arrecifes (brazilian) Restaurant - On the Terrace


6:30 p.m. - We had reservations for up to 40.


Click the image to open in full size.


Click the image to open in full size.


We used the dinner reservation that was included with our wedding for this event. This was partial buffet (salad and some sides) with meat and other sides brought out to us.


Us and all our guests really enjoyed this night of the event. Again, the wait staff took care of our every need. The presentation with the meat is also very fun and enjoyable. This was a fun, relaxed, and great evening.


We ended up cutting our dinner a little short and went over to the Sunrise section at 9:00 to see the Pirate Show.


Ceremony Day


Salon Services - A++


Hair / Makeup - Done by Doris in the Nizuk Salon


I arrived at the Salon for my two hour appointment at 10:00. It took her just under two hour.


Makeup - I brought many items that Sephora helped me put together. Because I was getting married at 2:00, Doris said she wanted the makeup to look very natural in sunlight. She used about half of my items and some of hers. My makeup turned out wonderful. It was so good, one of my girlfriends started crying when she saw me (hehe!! THAT'S PRETTY GOOD!)


Hair - My biggest concern. I have EXTREMELY curly hair and I have horror stories about what hair people have done to it. I brought in two photos of updos. I wanted the front of one and something similar to the back of the other.


I wanted the back similar to this one. Click the image to open in full size.


Doris started in with the hair spray, curling iron, and bobbie pins -- all 90 plus of them (ha! my DH had to count them the next morning because it took us so long to fish them out of my hair). All I can say, I have never had a hairstyle that was that beautiful before. I wanted to bring her back with me. The best part was it lasted all day, through the rain, and even a jump in the pool with the wedding party and it still looked great.


Click the image to open in full size.


Flowers - C-


Flowers were my biggest disappointment! They were fresh with no visible flaws but just the wrong colors. This was one of the only things I didn't bring photos of so it was partially my fault. I just didn't figure they could get this wrong.


For my bouquet, I requested bright orange gerberas and bright orange lilies with a touch of greenery and turquoise colored ribbon. I requested a single orange lilly for DH and single orange gerberas for my two sons. The guys bouts turned out with the exception of them putting a bright dark blue ribbon on DHs. My bouquet didn't turn out very good at all. They used off white lilies instead of orange and the bright blue ribbon really threw it off for photos.


The alter flowers were also wrong. They were supposed to be mostly white with a touch of bright orange. They put in one correctly colored gerbera with several coral colored carnations that, again, really throw off the photos. Some photos that I would of really liked, I will never use because the flowers are so not right.


On a positive note, since we were at the resort for an additional 5 days, we had them bring the arrangements to the room after the reception. The flowers were so fresh, they lasted the rest of the time and they looked great in the room.

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Congrats Tina!!! So glad everything was wonderful for you guys, your pics are beautiful and your review was very detailed!! I am sure you just helped out a lot of future Moon Palace brides :)

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Thanks for posting this, Tina!

We leave now in exactly one week and I am getting sooo NERVOUS!!! Here's hoping our wedding comes out as nice as yours did. cheesy.gif

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Wedding (Cont)


Carriage Ride - A


This was one of the things I wanted the most and it was a surprise for most of the guests. I let my son's decide who would ride with me and my youngest (Carson) went with me.


I didn't know this, but a huge storm had gone through while I was in the salon. It was good I didn't know. The sky was blue when I went in but when I came out it was cloudy. All I could think about was I wanted the carriage ride.


Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.


It was magical for me and the guests. Most didn't know about it and I heard a few tears were shed when they saw us coming. Another thing I heard was just the sound of the horse along with the Mariachi band was great. It just worked well.


The only suggestion I have is to make sure you know where the carriage is picking you up verses where the wedding is. We could see our gazebo from the door of our room. There were trees in between so it wasn't that clear. I didn't worry about coming out of the room but I made them move the carriage some because I didn't want guests to see me getting into it.


Cermony - Priest - A+


Symbolic ceremony - You could not tell it wasn't the actual ceremony. We were able to re-write our vows to what we wanted and add the sand ceremony words we wanted. We never met the priest before the ceremony and he was gone immediatly after. We never even found out his name. I would love to recommend him though because he was very funny and he said our words clearly and with no hesitation.


Sand Ceremony - We had a very specific sand ceremony joining us, my sons into our family, and all our circles of friends and family. The priest also did an excellent job here. Our guests heard him very clearly and we heard many comments/compliments about this part of our ceremony.


Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.


End of ceremony / Mariachi Band


We heard many great things about the Mariachi Band. They put on a good show before the ceremony for our guess and then followed us out afterwards. Going with them was one the best decisions we made. We felt we were in Mexico and it was the beach. We also loved all the photos with the at the end of the ceremony.


Click the image to open in full size.


Photography - A+


Potographer - David Pena


We had seen photos that he had taken of other weddings at Moon Palace. We started requesting him to be our photographer several months before. He was confirmed a few weeks before.


I had been collecting a sampling of photos of things I liked and I printed several pages of samples for him to take. He used his artistic side to take shots with his own twist. We were very happy with the results.


You can see a large sampling of his shots in the "Our Wedding Day Slideshow" link in my siggy. I have used quite a few for this review too.


Click the image to open in full size.

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Wedding Services / Wedding Coordinator- A


Kelena - Our Wedding Coordinator


When I first started dealing with Kelena, it was hard to get email response and I was getting a little frustrated. A couple weeks into the process, she told me she would call me. She called when she said and we talked over an hour. She answered 80-90% of my questions in the one phone call and even covered things I hadn't thought about. At that point, I relaxed a lot because she proved she was on top of things. Email responses never improved but we talked a couple times on the phone and that always resolved my questions Toward, the end, I would just ask her to call me if it was something that needed addressing before I got there.


On-site meeting


3 hours - we scheduled this the day after we arrived. Every detail of the wedding was covered and re-confirmed during this meeting. Kelena took us over the gazebo and we made final decisions about ceremony details


We gave her sand ceremony items, fans, guestbook frame for the reception. She tended to those items from then on out.


Something we didn't think of - Kelena offered it and it was great for our guests.


We had eight guests coming in from off-site the day of the wedding. They would be there all day and were paying $84/per person for the day. Kelena said she would check to see if they could get a comp room for the day. She did get a room right beside the gazebo. This gave our guests their own spot to store personal items, to shower, change, nap etc.


Day of Wedding


Everything that was discussed was executed as planned.


Kelena showed up 30 minutes before the wedding with my bouquet and the carriage. She had already given the boys their bouts.


As mentioned earlier, my bouquet was wrong but I didn't say anything because "what can you do 20 minutes before the wedding". I just brushed it off.


Kelena stayed with our party the rest of the day / evening. The only time we didn't see her was from about 3:00 - 5:00


Our schedule:


2:00 Wedding / Photos

Downtime in between / Meet at Nizuk Lobby Bar

5:00 Cocktail Hour

6:00 Reception


A little before 5:00, she came and got everyone from the lobby bar. At 6:00, she moved everyone from the cocktail area (gazebo) to the reception area (ballroom).


Wedding Office


We had a few questions the days before the wedding. The office staff could always answer or get an answer four our questions.


Three days after the wedding, we picked up our photos and album. Everything was just as discussed.

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