Moon Palace Punta Cana is a not fully complete gem in Paradise!
I returned home to Los Angeles last evening at midnight after a grueling long flight due to the bad weather in the East Coast.
I am not a travel agent. I am not a Palace employee. I am not a time share member. I state this because I have no ulterior motives, do not get free tours, freebies, etc.
I own & run an International Logistics Company in Los Angeles for 20 years. I have traveled the world on business from Dubai to Hong Kong with many more countries in between. I have been to Hawaii and many islands in the Caribbean as well.
Once a year, I put together a group of similar companies such as my own from all corners of the world. This year will be my 14th such gathering. We are booked for March 22-26th at the Moon Palace in Punta Cana expecting 175 persons.
In the 14 years, I have held my networking conferences at Palace Resorts in Cancun four (4) times, Moon Palace (twice),
Aventura Palace, and Playacar Palace. This year will be my 5th with Palace at Punta Cana. In the other 9 years, we have been to Hawaii, Ixtapa, Nassau, Montego Bay, etc. The above is for background information only.
After reading the Trip Advisor reviews and this forum, I was becoming very agitated, worried, and just downright frightened at what my counterparts from all corners of the world would be experiencing this month.
So, Thursday I took a red-eye out of Los Angeles on a totally unplanned trip to see for myself if the hotel was a disaster, dangerous, ugly, etc resort. My trip was not planned. It was an emergency trip that I made due to all of these reviews.
Now, I am not able to comment on January/February experiences as I was not there to witness what people wrote. I do not discount people did experience an undesireabe hotel during this time.
BUT, I can write from my arrival Friday afternoon until my departure yesterday morning what I witnessed and experienced.
Upon arrival at the entrance to the hotel, I expected a horrific ugly tractor, machinery filled landscape. Instead I saw what will eventually be a golf course and viewed it as a sahara-desert like sandy huge area on both sides of the road leading from the gate to the hotel. Yes, there were workers and some machines, but the hotel did have covered canvas type covering on the fencing to block out the unfinished area. Being that I never exactly thought tthe mangroves leading down the Moon (Cancun) and Aventura (Cancun) to be anything special, the desert like sand at Moon (Punta Cana) was not ugly, just a simplistic pristine land area filled with very light colored sand.
When I entered the lobby, I expected to see a large lobby with lack of furniture, ambience, decor, etc.
I saw a beautiful marble based decor Lobby. Stunning in fact.
Full of furniture and very pretty plants such as bird of paradise blooming plants.
Check in was simple and fast. EVERY person at the check in desk was smiling, welcoming every single guest with warm words, and very professional.
I stayed in building 2. 2nd floor. I did not have an ocean view, but instead looked out on a flowing river that goes throughout the
resort. The water was flowing. It was not stagnant. It did not smell.
My room was gorgeous. The same as I have experience at all the other Palace Resorts I have stayed at. As a side note, my favorite is actually Playacar Palace.
My room was immaculate. Decor was done in classy neutral shades. My flat screen TV received at least 25 channels. Yes, they showed more channels I was not receiving, but I could watch ABC for news to ensure the world was still intact, ESPN for sports, even Lifetime TV was alive and working.............
My mini-bar was full. And who does not love those fifths of alcohol next to the filled refrigerater with cold beer, sodas, & water. My husband was with me. He drinks rum. Our full bottles of alcohol contained a dark rum. He called room service and within 15 minutes, they delivered a full bottle of white rum which is more to his taste.
Our mini-bar was re-filled every day. I drink Cranberry & Vodka. They brought me up a big bottle of Cranberry to go with the Vodka in the famous big bottle Palace mini-bar......
We also drink both white and red wine. Each evening we order ed appetizers and wine. The wine was of excellent quality, wines glasses were glistening clean, the appetizers EXACTLY what we ordered. We deliberately each day ordered something different. Salmon plates, shrimp cocktails, mini-burgers, chicken fingers, etc. All came to the room chilled or hot, exactly as they were supposed to be served.
I ordered breakfast in my room 1 morning only. Perfect. Eggs over easy, ham, toast, Coffee. Delivered within 25 minutes with butter, salt, pepper, cream, (even hot cream in a carafe for the coffee), the food was not cold, it was perfectly presented.
Every room service order we did was brought by a smiling, pleasant employee who set out everything with flair and asked if everything we ordered was right.
And within 10 minutes of delivery, a call from room service was made to us to ask if we received our order, and was everything to our satisfaction EVERY time, not SPORADIC.
Now back to the hotel room. Bed was the Palace Comfort Bed. Definately wonderful. Hot Tub in room worked perfectly. The double shower heads in the bathroom were an added luxury.
Shampoo/Conditioner/Body Lotion all Biosilk which is an excellent product. Plus sewing kits, toothpaste kits, bath bubbles, double sinks, hair dryer, iron, ironing board, soft robes, etc.
Turn down service was done faithfully every night. Fresh Towels every day. Maid service usually by noon every day cleaned the room.
I brought my lap top. Wireless connected immediately with a PERFECT, STRONG, connection. It never faltered or froze. I even deliberately left it on for hours at a time to test the system.
The set up of the room buildings remind me of a combo of Aventura and Moon (Cancun). Every building I could see was exterior finished. I did NOT hear jack hammering. Yes, I saw workers at times, but they were not intrusive, nor rude, just doing their jobs.
Landscaping was in fact pretty. Yes, the flowers, plants, palm trees are smaller than you might see in a resort opened for years. Heck, even when I plant at home my summer plants it takes a while for them to flourish and yes some of those even wilt and die. BUT the landscaping is there. It is pretty. It is not a barren wasteland.
The Beach - Amazing sandy soft beach. The beach sand area is huge. You can walk for miles. They do need more Palapa's on the beach and I understand they will be there shortly. I believe I counted around 30 of them. We just brought down pool loungers right to the waters edge and enjoyed the amazing multi-faceted azure blue colors of the sea with the small waves continuously coming in. HEAVEN. No Seaweed. Water was absolutely clear. And a waitress came down to serve us whatever we wanted the entire time.
Now let's get to this rough water everyone is talking about.
The waves are actually small and gentle. That is NOT the problem.
The issue is the extremely soft sand in the water. There are soft sand bars everywhere. You walk out 2 feet, find yourself on a sand bar, then take maybe another step and drop 6 inches off the sand bar and possibly can lose your footing. NOT a single rock anywhere. No undertow or rip tides. Now it is possible that if you swam way out to where the water turns a really beautiful dark blue, those situations may exist. I had fun just sitting down in the water and letting the gentle waves come over me. I walked out at least 20 feet into the sea, the waves were still gentle, but yes those sand bars can cause someone to lose their footing. I witnessed a person being pulled out by a lifeguard. She was drunk. She was in shallow water. She fell down, swallowed some sea water, and the life guards were right on her. She was not drowning or even in trouble. She was mortified after she had a lifeguard pulling her out and she just wanted to run from the beach area away from all the people who were now congregating to see what was going on.
The lifeguards are being overly cautious and extremely diligent in their job. That woman was not drowning. She was not in an undertow. The worst part was watching all the people gather around just like you see on a freeway when an accident occurs. I kept hearing people "guessing" what happened, quite a few who were not even staying at the Moon Palace, but just walking on the edge of the sea. The rumor mill really was flowing on that incident, but I witnessed the actual event, and spoke to her later on around the pool. She was really "three sheets to the wind" then, and had NO business being in any body of water.
Now, don't get me wrong. The water in the sea can be dangerous, but that can be anywhere in the world. But it is definately the sand bars causing the issues. Oh and water temperature was warm and really soothing.
The Pools are amazing. Each designed a little differently. Two of the larger ones with Pool Bars fully opened and functioning. Excellent drinks, the bartenders were friendly and ensuring the guests around them were all laughing and having fun!
One of the pools without a pool bar was really neat. It had an infinity edge and people were just laying on blow up pool rafts basking in the water......I really liked that pool. In the middle of the pool, there was little concrete island tables with foliage in the middle for decoration and bar stools built all around. It was fun to just take a drink and go sit at them.
Speaking of waitresses, all were again smiling, friendly, and virtually guessing when you were ready for another drink. You barely could finish one and there she would be either just bringing you another one (without asking!) or seeing if you wanted something else. This was everywhere. All Pools, The Beach, The Bars, etc. Service was first class, exceptional, and downright wonderfully personal.
I personally love the Palace Pools that have the ledges where you can place your pool loungers in the water. They are definately in a few of the pools there!
They have plenty of lounge chairs, but they do not have any of the little tables you need with the chairs. They also should be arriving shortly. We just used plastic chairs to put our stuff on.
Wind - Yes, there were soft trade-winds. Nothing like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz being blown to Kansas. Just soft winds that felt great from the hot sun. And NO they did not blow all the time.
We ate dinner at the Marina Grill our 1st evening. I had the Salmon Sashimi type salad, Paella Soup, Rib Eye Steak. Rib Eye perfectly cooked medium rare, and my salad and soup were fantastic. My husband had the Coconut Shrimp Appetizer, Clam Chowder, and a Salmon entree. His was perfect too. Complimented by a great bottle of a Merlot from Argentina.
We also ate at the Mexican Restaurant. Again great food, wine, and the trio of Spanish guitar players gave an amazing ambience throughout the restaurant. They strolled from table to table, not bothering you if you appeared to be deep in conversation either................
The breakfast buffet was great. Omelet bar was really good, and so were all the ala carte items you could choose from. There is a bar in this restaurant, so enjoy your Bloody Mary's or Mimosa's right along with your breakfast. I found the breakfast buffet to be virtually the same as at any other Palace Resort.
Lunch - we ate at the outdoor grills. Perfect sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, etc, chips, salsa, guacamole, etc.
Neither of us got sick. And I did brush my teeth using water from the tap.
But I also know my past experience with my groups and friends, that drinking too much alcohol (especially fruity ones), eating too much, lazing in the hot sun, staying up past your normal bed time, adjusting to different time zones can absolutely cause self-generated digestive issues. And some people are more sensitive to different foods, spices, etc.
Not one sand flea bite. Not one bug bite. Zip, Zero. The hotel fumigates daily and in the evenings. I am not saying there are no bugs or fleas there, but that hotel is not infested. And again some people are more prone to bugs biting them, plus people who use any type of a perfume, perfumed lotion, etc could easily draw bugs to them. I know at home I get flies coming around me at my own pool when I am just sitting outside when wearing perfume or some flowerly lotion or fragrance.
I left my balcony doors open at night. Just one tiny fly made it in one day. He departed quickly.....................when he found out he was not welcome! NO RODENTS. NO BUGS.
The Food at the Palace Resorts is of high quality for an-all inclusive. Same as a cruise boat. You simply cannot expect to get the same food you would get if you went to a Morton's Steakhouse or an expensive elite restaurant at home.
I have stayed at 5 star hotels in Hawaii and the buffet breakfasts
were the same quality as Palace, except I did not have to pay $48.00 plus tax/tip to eat it!
I had the absolute displeasure of evesdropping on two ladies in the pool one afternoon. They were both time-share holders. They were in the pool with drinks in their hands actually plotting how to find ways to get a free week, a discount, etc. They were conniving on making things up so they could get something free.
One of them was lying on a plastic floatie. If I had been in possession of a safety pin, I swear I would have swam by her and popped her floatie! They disgusted me with their plotting, yet there they were looking totally relaxed with drinks in hand, etc.
I also had witnessed another wonderful guest from h---. She was rude at lunch to the cook making burgers, chicken, etc. She cut into line in front of 4 people, very loudly starting telling the chef she wanted a POLLO sandwich. She kept enunciating with word POLLO slower and louder by the minute. He was cooking the people before her's food and was not ignoring her. She them bumped my arm, asked me if I thought he was deaf or did not understand English. I simply looked at her and said, how about your just wait your turn and tell him you can a Chicken Sandwich........................He was not deaf, her saying POLLO was like running your fingernails on a chalkboard to everyone, including him around her...............
Then I got the great fortune to see her in action again at an outdoor pool bar. She forcefully was telling the bartender he absolutely HAD a bottle of red grapefruit vodka KEPT specially for him and she wanted a refill. He has no idea what she was talking about. He was nice and trying to appease her. She then said f--- it loudly, and walked away. Well, I happened to be behind her as she left and walked behind her as I was going to the other pool with the pool bar. Guess what? Her bottle of red grapefruit vodka was at THAT pool bar. She got her drink and then rudefully demanded ( Not nicely asked) the bartender to charge her IPOD. UNBELIEVABLE. And no apologies from her mouth to anyone, no pleases, no thank you's. Just rude demands and we all got to hear her amazing vocabulary of the F word often. And EVERY Palace worker was gracious and nice to her during her verbal abuse. ME? I would have put a laxative in her red grapefruit vodka and told her where to put her IPOD!
Now, my group is coming in on March 22nd. I do have many people unhappy about the lack of the casino and golf course. As a guest, I totally understand and agree that this is not too cool.
In face, I am now facing a few of our people CANCELLING on my group because of some of the horrific reviews.
I also agree with all those people who did endure some bad times in January and most of February. I do believe Palace took care of them with free weeks, discounts, etc. I also agree and know that even that is not necessarily enough when you have booked a vacation and expect all the amenities advertised.
But, I can say with absolute fact this hotel is not a disaster zone.
It does not have a raging bacterial disease running throughout the water system or food service.
The ocean will not grab you up and take you to Cuba without your will.
Ricky the Rat will not try to occupy your room. If so, then a double occupancy charge reduction should be in order.
The Convention Room area is fantastic.
The restaurants open are all excellent.
The bars are all great.
The pools are immaculate, all fun and uniquely different.
The service is unquestionably the best.
The staff are just like Disneyland. They serve as though they work on the "Happiest Place on Earth".........
And I should mention that my group did have our conference at the Paradisus last year. Fully completed resort........Beautiful as well. BUT, that 5 star resort had it's own set of problems, and unhappy guests. Those issues I will leave not-written, but I easily could have chosen to go back there. Or anywhere else for that matter.
I chose Moon Palace Punta Cana. I am looking forward now to my return on March 19th in preparation for my group.
I am glad that I took that really long transit of a trip this past weekend. I am no longer scared to death of having my guests poisoned, drowned, or being scarred for life by bug bites..........
I took lot's of photo's. I will be posting them shortly once I get them into my computer from my camera.
Do NOT cancel your trip if you are booked.
Do NOT feel like you will have to make your own fun and put up with sub-standard service, amenities.
You are welcome to contact me if you wish. I am happy to answer your questions.
And no, I did not meet Warren. I felt he had enough on his plate and I think he is doing a great job under all this duress.
But Warren, since I know you read these reports, I do know Sergio and Enrique well from my prior events in Cancun. I met Ramon, Ismael, & Margarita when I was there. And all I can say is that ALL of YOU at Palace Resorts are true professionals and great human beings..............
Moon Palace Casino Spa and Golf Resort
Again, after reading numerous bad reviews, we decided we would just go and make the best of it. Well, we were very pleasantly surprised. The hotel is yet one more diamond in the Palace resort chain and even though it wasn't finished we had a great 2 weeks. The hotel is huge, we heard there will be 1700 rooms when finished but that doesn't mean that you hear construction noise all the time. It's being finished in huge sections, similar to the Moon Palace in Cancun, so each building is almost a hotel unto itself. We had a gorgeous beach, fabulous views, an Italian, a Mexican, a sandwich/sushi shop, an ice cream parlour, numerous bars and the Marina Bar and Grill which was our favourite bar hangout. A few days before we left there was a theme buffet restaurant opened. The food was wonderful, varied and very fresh, served in the Palace style of "It's a pleasure, Senora!" Our room was exactly as depicted in the picture on the Moon Palace website with a lovely sunken double jacuzzi. The local staff is being trained by the Mexican Palace people who are there for a year of training. Every day we saw tons of work being done from massive landscaping plantings to new shops open in the lobby. The nightly entertainment was typical and just to stroll the "street" down the lobby was entertaining.
We had two large pools open on the beach, another almost ready to open and one interior pool open, with burgers, pizzas, tacos, etc. available as well as a bar.
For those who thought the resort was finished they did have a rude awakening but they must have had their heads buried in the sand not to realize that. We knew the casino and the golf course would not be ready but we managed to play 3 rounds of golf at nearby Roko Ki golf course; take lots of balls! Folks who wanted the casino nightlife were bussed to a nearly casino. We took advantage of the Safari tour and added on the Zipline adventure which is well worth the money and is very safe yet tons of fun. You do 10 zipline runs.
We plan on returning to this resort in a couple of years to golf at the Jack Nicklaus designed course currently under construction.
A year from being ready
Even at their discounted rates this is not a value. I agree that you create your own vacation experience and we had a great time. But almost none of the amenities were ready, so you are not getting your money's worth by any stretch of the imagination. The construction work is shoddy. Concrete walkway surfaces are turning to dust, tile work is cut roughly and there are many punchlist items in each room such as unfinished paint, smeared grout, caulk on surfaces, etc.
The casino is not open, nor is the spa, the gym or the golf course. There is only one TV channel. There is only one lobby computer and it works intermittently. The pool and beach do not have enough furniture so you must reserve early. Several pools have no furniture. Five restaurants are open, but the food quality varies significantly. The beach has been cleared, but is not being cleaned on a daily basis. There are wild dogs on the beach and a woman was bitten while we were there. Want a towel? Be prepared for a tour pitch. Every time you get a towel.
The staff is excellent and very friendly. They make all the difference.
The Moon Palace is massive. If you want an intimate experience, this is not your hotel.
Had A Great Time!
I don't even know how to begin to write this review. I have read the other bad reviews and understand people's frustrations but also want to provide some hope to future travellers!
We visited Moon Palace from January 20th - February 3rd. It was a girls trip that I had planned - there were six of us. We wanted to go to a "super all inclusive" luxurious resort. Let me say that I have been known to want the best on vacation and be a bit of a "hard marker" and we did pay more for this vacation than I ever have before because I wanted the best of the best so my expectations were high. It wasn't until after I booked Moon Palace that I researched Trip Advisor and learned the pitfalls of booking a resort within the first year of opening. I then spent the month before we left researching as much as I could about the current condition of the resort so when we arrived we knew what we were getting into - that helped.
We flew direct with Sky Service and surprisingly the flight was AMAZING and ON TIME!!! They served a good meal, the service was good, the movies were great and they provided complimentary rum punch prior to our arrival - very nice touch! Well done Sky Service (compared to last year's flight to Jamaica!)
When we arrived at the Punta Cana airport our airport transfer was waiting for us and we left immediately. Very nice.
We arrived at the hotel and check in was smooth and quick. I received a lovely carnation. We immediately went to the lobby bar and started our vacation with a Dirty Monkey!
The rooms are absolutely beautiful. Amazing. We have stayed at some great five star resorts and this room was as nice as it comes. The beds are amazingly comfortable - a nice change from the rock hard beds in Mexico. Cut in on our suntanning time though cuz all the girls had such great sleeps everyone was sleeping in everyday! There are beautiful plasma TV's on the wall but they did not work while we were except for the last two days when we got three channels. I love to watch the news before bed so I thought I'd really miss it but I didn't at all. The rooms are as others have described - jacuzzi in the middle of the room, mini bar, liquor dispenser, robes and slippers provided. The bathroom has double sinks and a separate make up vanity, separate room for the toilet and a beautiful, huge shower with double heads. Nice shampoo, conditioner and lotion is provided but we had a problem getting it replenished through our two week stay. Two of the other girls had problems getting their towels replaced as well. Otherwise housekeeping did a great job. The table tops for both the dining table in the room and the cocktail table on the deck had not arrived through customs yet.
The pools will be absolutely stunning when they are all open. There were two pools open when we were there. One between the Marina Grill (seafood restaurant) and the beach which has a swim up bar and a rectangular one back further - again with its own bar. The lack of lounge chairs was definitely a problem. Again, we were told they were tied up in customs. A few days into our stay 35 more chairs arrived. Many made their way down to the beach and never came back. You did have to get up early to reserve a spot. But, like anywhere else, many chairs sat vacant for most of the day with just towels on them. If people wouldn't reserve chairs when they aren't going to use them there would probably be enough to go around. There were six more pools that were close to being opened while we were there - three that were very close. Once they have the swim up bars and snack bars open in these areas and they get more chairs I'm sure they will open these and the areas will be really lovely. With only 265 rooms open though it will really seem like no one is there if they are spread out amongst all those pools!
We only sat on the beach one day (bugs love me and I always worry about sand fleas - one of the girls I was with and a few other people I saw had TERRIBLE bites that swelled up and were very itchy - I'll post a picture) so I don't know for sure but it looked very frustrating to get a chair down there. I was told that one of the Lifeguards makes a living on the side reserving chairs for people so, sure enough, one morning I watched him and before anyone else was even down on the beach he had gone around and reserved almost all of the chairs. So, if you weren't paying the Lifeguard then your likelihood of getting a chair was very slim. (Not sure whether Moon Palace knows about this - I hope I didn't just ruin his livelihood!)
The beach is absolutely beautiful. One of the most amazing beaches I've seen but it is dangerous. I've read that Moon Palace plans to have non-motorized water activities. I'm really not sure how. The beach was red flagged every day that we were there and I suspect that will be the condition on a consistent basis. One day we were there, five people had to be pulled out of the water, including a lifeguard. He and another guest were taken to hospital and the guest had to stay overnight and then resume treatment upon his arrival home as he had water on his lungs.
The service throughout the resort was absolutely amazing. The staff are wonderul and try to please you at every turn. They don't speak English very well so it is helpful if you can attempt some very basic, rudimentary Spanish - it is their country after all! Having travelled a lot in Spanish speaking countries I was surprised at their lack of English though because most staff at the resorts I've been to have had to have a fairly good command of the English language. Even when we visited Puerto Plata we didn't experience the level of difficulty communicating with the staff that we did here.
The Food - well, what can I say, I'm a hard marker. I didn't think that the food was up to Palace Resorts standards. I'm sure that this will improve over time. Many items on the menu weren't available when we were there. Many items were good to okay but didn't knock my socks off. Having said that, one of the girls I was with tried lots of different dishes and loved everything. She thought she had died and gone to heaven. The Chicken Cordon Bleu in the American Cafetto was the best meal I had. The Pork Scallops and the Beef Scallops in the Italian were also excellent. I started to call any fish on the menu "mystery fish" because no matter what you ordered you didn't know what you were going to get. One day grouper was a light, flaky white fish and the next it was steak like. While we were there the only buffet was at the Marina Grill and only for breakfast and lunch. Dinners were all a la carte. The breakfast buffet was good. I loved the bacon and scrambled eggs but there were lots of choices. Sausages aren't really sausages - one day I think it was pepperoni so I stopped trying them. There is a made to order egg station and lots of fresh fruit, yogurts, cereals, pastries etc. The lunch buffet changed daily and always had something that we could find to eat. They make the most amazing Clubhouse there though. You have to go over to the pizza station and ask them to make it but it is REALLY good. You can also order this or a burger etc. down at the pool and the girls will bring it to you. (Track down Jalissa down by the pool. She's so sweet and will provide you excellent service throughout your trip!) Room Service was also absolutely amazing. We ordered bottles of wine (yes, you can get BOTTLES - what other resort does that??) shrimp cocktails, salmon plates and fruit plates every afternoon and had appies and wine on our deck before dinner. The food was delicious and the service was even better - very quick! Pizza at the Pizetto was very good and the Sushi (right now being served from the sandwich shop) was to die for!!
So, as for the state of the resort. Yes, everywhere you look things aren't finished. The walls needs painting, there's no mirrors in the public bathrooms, there are gaping cracks in the walls, floors etc. Did it ruin our vacation? No. Should they work on completing the main buildings and areas that people are in first - absolutely. Once they get this done, the ongoing construction should not be that much of a problem for guests. There are approximately eight buildings that run up from the beach to the lobby area. Between each building is a courtyard area. Each section has it's own pool. As you go further down the beach towards the Barcelo the buildings are less and less complete. These areas are far away and boarded off so you wouldn't even know they were there unless you went for a walk. The resort needs to concentrate though on completing the areas where guests are so that construction noise and workers aren't infiltrating their holiday.
I did want to comment on some things said in the previous review. After the day on the beach where five people had to be pulled out, the resort did get on board with obtaining life saving equipment. They put up signs warning of the dangers and the lifeguards received ropes, boards, doughnuts etc. We saw them delivered. It is unacceptable that they didn't have these things in place on day one - the liability issues would have been huge! In fact, when pulling people out they had to cut down the volleyball net to use to try and drag the people in because they had no equipment! But, they have some now. Also, I met with Jorge and I believe he is a representative from RCI. He was able to access my RCI account online as I was meeting with him and my weeks were credited as promised.
So, the bottom line - is this resort perfect now - no, but it will be (and then I won't be able to afford to take my family there!) We got a good deal through RCI that reduced the all inclusive fee to half. Given the state of the resort, Palace Resorts then gave us a free week for every week we booked to be used within the next two years and RCI credited us our weeks back. Given that, we felt we were treated very well. Had we have paid as much as we did for this vacation and arrived to what we did would I have felt I got my money's worth - no. Having said that, I believe that those that are travelling in March and April and beyond will find things in a much better state and have much more amenities available to them.
We had a great time. The resort is beautiful and the weather was great. It really all depends what is important to you on a vacation. We were looking for an oppulent room (we got it), relaxing by a beautiful pool in the sunshine (we got it), great drinks (definitely got those) and great food (not exactly great but there was food and as much of it as you wanted). If you want lots of activities, a nightlife, a casino, a gym, a golf course etc. then this place isn't for you - right now. We knew those things weren't going to be available so we didn't get upset when we arrived and they weren't there. When I compare this resort to others that I've stayed at that were completed, this one was still better than many others.
I'm sure there are other things that I'll later remember that I should have included. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Shouldn't have opened yet
My husband and I stayed fromJan. 21-28. We were not expecting everything up and running as soft opening indicates. However, due to the reputation of The Moon Palace Resorts, we did expect alot better than we got.
Good: The staff were friendly but in need of more training. The in-room fridge was well stocked, as well as the wet bar with any liquor you requested. The room was spacious, comfortable, and we really liked the roomy double shower. The food was good enough for even my very picky husband. Didn't go to the Italian restaurant or sandwich bar. The pizza place, Mexican and Seafood were very good. The poolside breakfast and lunch was also was good with variety. Just don't have the burger or hot dog unless you like almost raw, even when requested well cooked. I got my hair braided and nails done for free which I was happy with the outcome. We took advantage of the free massage which we enjoyed. Service at the poolside was very good. We also really enjoyed the Animal Adventure Park and snorkeling excursion. Paid extra for the sea lion and shark/sting ray encounters and was worth it to us. The beach was beautiful. Need to use common sense as some people who ignored the red flag ended up having to be rescured when caught in a strong undertow.
Bad: The smell of the paint and plaster all over the place. Only one computer to get on the internet if you didn't bring you're own. No TV signal, so we used the free long distance to catch up on the outside world as we felt alone. Not enough activities to keep me from becoming bored as I'm used to being active with pool sports such as water polo and volleyball. The pool which you could do laps in was small and not worth it. There were not enough lounge chairs. There was supposed to be a third pool open before we left but didn't. Check you're bill at least a day in advance as ours was wrong. We actually got triple billed for the excursion extras, although the staff was good about straigtening it out. The fridge in the room initially didn't work. We had a corner room and when we came in the window by the jacuzzi had no curtain and I could see someone and they could see us in our room. I found this a very disturbing lack of privacy, and they had a make-shift curtain with a broom handle and sheets made. Also make sure you check your transportation is set up a couple of days in advance, as we witnessed one extremely anxious person get told they had to pay for a taxi because they didn't have the voucher. The wake-up service was quite unreliable. The shopping was poor.
The place will actually be like a palace when finished. But for now SKIP IT.
Not worthy of 5 stars
For the life of me I can't understand how they can open under the name MOON Palace Casino, golf & Spa!!!! It isn't a palace, No Casino, No Golf, and the spa was out in the open with no privacy, although the massage therapists were very good. The condition of the hotel showed poor workmanship, spackle on paint, scuff marks all over, uneven tile, cheap decor, holes, wires hanging, nothing pretty here. There were even four inch spaces running along the tile and up the wall like there was an earthquake and the building separated. I didn't see one piece of artwork on the walls, hardly any color, very bland like an institution. The grounds were dry, barren in spots and no lush greenery and flowers, most of the palm trees were brown palms or no palms. I saw no sprinklers running the whole time I was there. There are large pools of stagnant water that the fountains don't work, there fore alot of bugs, and in one spot on the way to my room smelled funky!!!! The hallways looked like they needed a good mopping on the floor and elevators small and dirty. The gals that cleaned the rooms were very good and very and did an excellent job of cleaning the room. I liked the high thread count of sheets on the bed and the beds were very comfortable. Although I can't understand why you would put double beds in a luxury hotel. I don't know any couples that sleep in double beds, especially with sunburn you want some space for a comfortable night sleep. The bathroom was very spacious and had a great shower. one evening our air conditioner stopped working and lights kept going out. They were no screens on the patio door so we couldn't open them for air. The workmen left at 1:00 A.M., and the air did work. The next morning the whole hotel went out, no lights, no water, no air. they did restore it a short time later.
Only 2 pools were open out of nine when we got there, more opened as the week progressed. They were lovely, water alittle chilly because the sun did not have time to warm them since they were just filled. The beach and sand were beautiful even though the water was too rough for any swimming and certainly no water crafts. Forget about getting a lounge chair after 9:30, they all had towels on them with no people, someone was saving them , I heard that the towel boy was doing it for it's premier members.
Food and restaurants was ok nothing special. Not enough variety and we waited 2 hours one night to get our food. One night we ordered coconut shrimp and got 2 little shrimps each. The ice cream shop was the best. And the mexican place was good. I expected more than run of the mill from a 5 star resort. I thought that the service people would speak better english, but they tried very hard. I always left a generous tip, they are only trying to make a living. I would have definitely would have stayed somewhere else had I'd know the condition of this hotel!!!!! And there is nothing to do, no activities, and to difficult to go out and about on your own. I will not go back there are to many other nicer places to go in this world. Next year I go back to costa rica or playa del carmen!