One of the best parts of this business is getting the opportunity to go visit the destinations/resorts that I sell, so that I can better understand which one(s) might be best for which client(s). It’s something I’ve been doing for a dozen years or so, several times per year, and it never gets old. But my most recent “familiarization” (FAM) trip, to Mexico, was extra special. I was able to bring along the newest member of the Annie’s Escapes team, and see it all through her eyes. Here is Christina’s report on our Palace Resorts FAM trip.
Picture Yourself at Palace Resorts
To better serve our clients, travel agents make the most of opportunities to visit desirable destinations and properties. This past weekend was one of those opportunities. Palace Resorts offered to host Ann and me for three days in Cancun to tour their exquisite portfolio of resorts. Despite some unfortunate hiccups with flight reservations due to the most recent New England winter storm, Ann and I were able to make our way to Mexico – for her umpteenth and my very first – hosted familiarization (FAM) tour.
Palace Resorts did not disappoint. Each property has its own allure, while still providing the consistent quality of amenities and service a guest can expect from the Palace brand. Whether you are planning a family getaway, a romantic retreat, an adventurous escape, or a destination wedding, there is a perfect Palace resort just waiting for you to purchase your plane ticket!
To help you determine which Palace Resort is right for you, we have taken the time to break down the distinguishing features at each property:
This sprawling resort makes the most of its acreage, only ten minutes from the Cancun International Airport. Moon Palace has three distinct sections: Sunrise, Nizuc, and Grand. Stunning, Palace brand caliber accommodations are available at all three.
Sunrise is a kids’ paradise while still providing the relaxation space for parents and couples. Stay here for easy access to the new Surfrider, Palace Resorts’ kids’ area – the Playroom, multiple restaurant options, a nightclub, miniature golf, the WIRED Teens Lounge, and the golf course. The 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature course is perfect for the golf enthusiast. In addition to the greens, you can also find the massive Awe Spa, Moon Palace Arena, and the upscale Italian and Mexican restaurants that both require reservations.
Ann and I stayed in the Nizuc section of Moon Palace. Nizuc offered peaceful paths along the beach, and beautifully landscaped grounds. In this section of Moon Palace, there is a water slide, outdoor pool, two swim-up bars, fitness center, outdoor stage for nightly entertainment, four bars, and five restaurants – to name a few of the perks! Our room had a balcony that overlooked the palms, manicured gardens, and the azure blue ocean. It had a well-stocked mini bar, liquor dispenser, and a bottle of wine to greet us; CHI® bath amenities, hair dryer, and flat iron; bathrobes and slippers; Lavazza™ coffee; double whirlpool tub; and more.
If you would like to take advantage of the 1,975 feet of beachfront property and ocean views by having your destination wedding here at Moon Palace, then you will love the gorgeous gazebos in Nizuc. Choose the open-air gazebo for your guests to embrace the Caribbean Coast with sight, scent, sound, and feel; or choose the gazebo enclosed with floor to ceiling glass that allows a completely air conditioned space for you and your guests to comfortably soak in the ocean front vista. Always pictured your feet in the sand for your ceremony? No problem. Nizuc has that option, too! Or if you’d rather wear those coveted Jimmy Choos, book the air-conditioned chapel and walk down a paved path past fountains and palms. Another unique trait that this resort offers to its brides is the horses on site – so you can reserve your romantic carriage ride off into the sunset if you wish!
Currently, the final section of Moon Palace, the Grand, is under construction. Part of the area is open for guests and Diamond Palace Members, and it is (amazingly) still quite tranquil despite the expansion that is underway. Once the work is complete, there will be a colossal water park with numerous slides and pool areas, rooms with swim up pools, and more. There will be ten restaurants and six bars in this section, nine outdoor pools (a couple of which are adults-only), five swim-up bars, bowling lanes, and a theater that seats 950 guests. The Grand section of Moon Palace truly will be “grand!”
Overall, Moon Palace is a perfect retreat for couples, families, and friends of all ages. Because of its size, you can craft the feel you want for your vacation. It has the peacefulness of being set apart from the hotel zone in Cancun, while still offering the activity and excitement for those who seek it. Also because of its size, you will have plenty of culinary options available – perfect for a longer stay. The amenities and staff for destination weddings are unparalleled, as well! Your wedding will be in the most capable hands so you can truly enjoy the biggest day of your life. One final key feature to mention: Moon Palace is known in the area for its concerts, which are held at the large convention center on site. So if you time it right, you can buy tickets for big names like Shakira!
Located in the heart of Playa del Carmen, Playacar Palace is a family-friendly 201-room resort that marvelously still maintains the feel of being adult-oriented. Whether you like the nightlife and shopping available just steps away in Playa del Carmen or prefer to stay put and soak up the Caribbean sun, Playacar Palace has it all. Right next to the resorts’ property are a number of restaurants, shops, and nightclubs, as well as the ferry port for trips to Cozumel. Even with all the perks of this resort’s location, the resort itself is beautiful, so there’s no need to leave! You will have plenty to enjoy between the beautiful beach, three on-site restaurants, four bars, an outdoor pool with a kids’ section, six spa treatment rooms, daily activities, and nightly entertainment.
Weddings here are gorgeous and can take place in a few areas to make the most of the views and resort amenities. For instance, you can have your ceremony with your feet in the sand or on the built-in beach platform (perfect for wearing heels!); cocktail hour can be set up under the palm trees; and your reception can overlook the entire resort, pool, and oceanfront from an upper terrace. There’s also a beautiful veranda in the midst of a landscaped garden inside of the resort for first look photos, pre- or post-wedding family photos, and more. If you’re hoping to have a idyllic, relaxing wedding on the beach but still would like your ring bearers and flower girls involved, then this resort is perfect for you – family-friendly while still exuding romance.
Cozumel Palace is not for the beach bums, though there is a small stretch of manicured man-made beach (and you can always venture to the other side of the island for some of the most gorgeous beaches in Mexico!) This resort is more suited for the adventurer. The property has a pool specifically designed to teach scuba diving, an infinity pool that overlooks the ocean, and snorkeling gear for guests to experience the marine life off the dock of the property. An Aqua Safari Dive Shop is right on site, and you can book excursions to Cozumel’s Palancar Reef and El Cielo Starfish Bay. The resort is located only fifteen minutes from the Cozumel Airport and ten minutes from downtown and the ferry pier, so access to nightlife and excursions on the mainland of Mexico are easy to coordinate, as well. There are 201 rooms, 44 of which are considered “Concierge Level.” The “Concierge Level” is a feature of some of the Palace resorts, and they offer superior amenities such as L’Occitane® bath products, an aromatherapy diffuser, premium brand liquors, and more.
If you’ve always pictured a wedding at sunset, this Palace property is perfect. Sweeping ocean views that capture the sun setting in the west are yours for unforgettable photo opportunities. There is a beautiful gazebo and roof deck for your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. The roof deck is not handicapped-friendly, but the other wedding areas are accessible. The resort is also family-friendly to allow those little ones to attend your wedding. Families can also take advantage of the loft-style bedrooms that offer soaring two-story windows, a king-sized bed downstairs, and two queen beds up a flight of stairs within the room.
Located in the “hotel zone” of Cancun, Sun Palace is a small, pristine, adults-only option for the more budget-conscious traveler that still would like the experience of the brand-quality amenities that Palace Resorts offers its guests. The hotel is located at the edge of the “hotel zone” and is only 15 minutes from Cancun International Airport. Every room has an ocean view except for just a handful with lagoon views. There are four restaurants, three bars, three infinity pools, an indoor pool, and ten spa treatment rooms on-site. There are also daily activities – including paddle-board yoga! – and nightly entertainment. The resort can host weddings, as well, with a ceremony on the beach and a terrace for cocktail hour and the reception. And speaking of the beach, the beach Sun Palace sits on is gorgeous – it has electric blue waters and white “sugar” sand! So if you are looking for a beautiful beach on a budget, Sun Palace may be a perfect fit.
Just up the road from Sun Palace rests Beach Palace, a family-friendly, oceanfront property with something for everyone. One of the most unique features of this property is the 360-degree view from the Sky Terrace. If you are dreaming of a destination wedding in Cancun, then the Sky Terrace may be for you! The terrace can fit 500 guests and has unrivalled views of both the Lagoon and Ocean. Just below this terrace is an upper deck with a pool, bar, hot tub, and open area that can be rented for private events. As for the resort itself, there are four restaurants and four bars, a two-story “Playroom Kids Club,” kiddie pool, water slide, nine spa treatment rooms, and a convention center for events. The fitness center is top notch, as well, providing treadmills where you can watch your favorite Netflix shows! The pool area holds a massive entertainment system for events, outdoor movies, and even video games. So not only is Beach Palace perfect for a gorgeous destination wedding, but it can entertain kids of all ages!
Isla Mujeres Palace
The smallest of the Palace Resorts, Isla Mujeres Palace is an intimate retreat for couples and friends. You’ll arrive on the resort’s own “Islander” boat (and avoid the public ferry to the island). There is a dock where a resort staff member will meet you to help take your luggage to your room – does it get more beachy than that? The dock also has a covered area for private dinners or wedding photos. The beach is peaceful with hammocks and chairs at your disposal. There is an outdoor pool and swim-up bar, multiple non-motorized water sports available for your use, meeting facilities and event spaces, and a restaurant that frequently changes its menu. The chef even has her own herb garden for the freshest flavored dishes.
If you have a large enough guest list, you could potentially block all 62 rooms of the resort for your destination wedding. You could have the whole resort for your own private celebration!
Saving the paramount Palace Resort for last, the luxurious Le Blanc Spa and Resort is in a league of its own. It is a high-rise, gorgeous property on Cancun’s well-renowned beach. Even at near full capacity, the layout of the resort still felt spacious. When you arrive, you will be greeted with refreshments and a heated spa neck-pillow. Every room has butler and bell staff service – there is even an app you can download where you can request, for instance, your Jacuzzi to be run and waiting for your return from the beach. Also, every room has upgrades – the liquor dispenser, Smart TV & Apple TV, BVLGARI® bath products, garment steamer, Espresso coffee marker, and a complimentary beach bag. There are three pools (including two infinity pools and a lagoon-facing pool for the “sun-chasers”), two swim-up bars, an outdoor hot tub, event spaces, live music every night at the BlancLobby Bar and Lounge, five restaurants, and five bars. The French restaurant requires reservations for its extensive seven-course tasting dinner, something you won’t want to miss. If you hope to keep up your fitness regime, there is also a wide-ranging class schedule that includes spinning, yoga, Pilates, and TRX. The superlative spa facilities include nineteen treatment rooms, hydro tubs, steam rooms, and hydrotherapy services.
This resort is adults-only to preserve its serene atmosphere – so if you’re looking for an unforgettable, sophisticated, exclusive wedding day, consider Le Blanc for your destination wedding.
Palace Resorts delivers. Whether you are a family hoping for a relaxing retreat, a group of friends ready for adventure, or a couple booking their dream destination wedding or honeymoon, you will be able to find the perfect Palace resort that fits your wish list. As for me, I just will be hard-pressed to find a better FAM experience!