One of the advantages of living & working in paradise is we end up at some of Cancun’s top all-inclusive luxury resorts very often getting to blur the lines between being a local & tourist. Our home is located just 20 minutes from Moon Palace Cancun and we have so many great memories here as we’ve been in & out of the hotel on a regular basis over the years. Once our daughter Isla was born we slipped right into seeing Moon through a different lens focusing now on our experiences as a family getting to test out all of the kid friendly amenities. Since Moon Palace renovated and reopened the new Grand section of their resort, The Grand operates mainly as it’s own property and is worth an entire post on its own. So starting with the original part of the hotel, here’s a look at everything Moon Palace Cancun’s Nizuc & Sunrise sections offer vacationers with kids to comfortably vacation in paradise…
Moon Palace Cancun is located in Cancun although it’s not in the actual Hotel Zone. It sits just south of the Hotel Zone off the major roadway leading to the entire Mayan Riviera and is only about a 20 minute drive from the airport.
- Kids Club
There are Playrooms located in both the Sunrise and Nizuc sections of the resort. Both are open to kids of all ages however only kids 4 and up can stay in the Playroom without a guardian. I’ve always enjoyed taking my daughter to kids clubs at different hotels long before she turned 4 so she could play with other kids and often in the middle of the hottest part of the day for a break from the hot sun.The Playrooms have different areas such as a dollhouse, indoor soft play space with climbers and slides, baby area, a mini kitchen, creative arts space and video game area. We’ve spent time in the Nizuc Playroom spread out over several visits to Moon Palace. She’s really enjoyed the dress up runway fashion room, playing in the indoor playground and doing crafts. On a rainy day or even insanely hot day it’s nice to know there’s an indoor spot you can head to with the kids to keep them entertained and busy. When you check in with the Playroom they always have a prepared activities schedule for the week with locations where things will take place. We once did a little sundae making activity which was fun. The hours of the kids clubs can vary but is usually as follows…Nizuc Playroom (10am-10pm), Sunrise Playroom (8am-10pm) & the Teen Lounge in the Sunrise lobby (9am-10pm).
There are pools located in both the Nizuc and Sunrise sections of the resort with waterslides. The pools are amongst the largest lagoon style pools in all of Mexico winding around most of the main area in front of the two lobbies right to the beach so it’s usually easy enough to get a spot directly in front of one of the sections of the pool. Around all of the pools you’ll find lots of loungers and a few spots for shades.
There is also a great kids pool & water play area in the Sunrise section complete with slides. My daughter has never really liked those big buckets that tips over dumping a huge amount of water over the slides so she’s always just enjoyed playing on the mini water slides and splash areas. The FlowRider surf simulator is also located in the Sunrise section and is a ton of fun! It allows 2 people to try their hand at stationary surfing at a time. There is often a bit of a line but usually they take down your name and room number so you can hang out in the area to wait for your turn.
Canexican Insider TIP:
*Be sure to bring a life jacket or puddle jumper style wearable flotation device for your child if they’re still not comfortable swimming on their own. The hotel doesn’t provide any so it’s a good reminder to one to bring with you.
Moon Palace is known for it’s great food. The food quality is amazing regardless if eating at one of their buffets, sit down restaurants or ordering from room service. The restaurants and buffets all always offer some kid friendly specific items like chicken fingers, pizza, spaghetti and hamburgers as well as ice cream and candy treats for dessert. My daughter has never had a problem finding something she liked. All restaurant menus are available through the TV in your room and room service can be conveniently ordered through the Palace app. Some of her favourite items include grilled skinless boneless chicken breasts fresh off the grill in the buffet, the spaghetti and meatballs from room service and a “limondada con agua mineral” (Mexican style lemonade with a lime base and sparkling mineral water) from any of the poolside bars.
The rooms are a nice size and all come with an in room jacuzzi. The jacuzzi is nice so your little one can have a bath at the end of the day or even on super hot days it’s nice to cool off in the room in the jacuzzi if your little one can’t take too much sun or heat throughout the entire day especially with a baby. Each room comes with a mini bar style fridge. For older kids you can ask the staff to fill it with their favourite items like chocolate milk, orange juice and apple juice. If your little one is still drinking a lot of milk it’s nice to know you can ask for a carton of milk to keep in your room.
Canexican Insider TIP:
*Bring bubble bath! The hotel often provides a tiny bottle of bubble bath but we find that small bottle is never enough. We like to get into our bathing suits for a fun out of control bubble bath party at least once a stay so we usually bring our own bubble bath to ensure we don’t run out.
Although all beaches in Mexico are public, I consider Moon Palace’s beach to be private because there aren’t really any public beach access points nearby. I actually feel thats a huge plus just because I tend to love to be away from crowds when I’m soaking up some beach time and feel there are some safety points worth noting for families because it means no pesky beach vendors strolling the beach. Moon Palace Cancun sort of sits by itself surrounded by mangrove with only the Royalton Riviera Cancun as a nearby neighbour. Now the beach itself at Moon Palace is beautiful. The sand is quite soft & pretty which is perfect for building sandcastles or playing beach volleyball or soccer on it and most of the beachfront is fairly wide. A little fun fact is the white sand found on our beaches throughout the entire area never gets hot so you don’t need to worry about little ones running barefoot across the beach.
The oceanfront along the beach is what turns some people off from the hotel. Since the water is quite still in front of the resort it tends to be a little darker in colour lacking the postcard worthy lustre the Cancun hotel zone’s beaches offer and other parts in the area such as Tulum. In recent years Moon Palace’s beachfront has been known to get hit pretty bad by periods of sargassum (a type of brown seaweed) depending on the season. It isn’t anything that can be stopped as the entire Caribbean has been fighting the problem on and off over the last few years depending on the time of year, temperature and a few other suspected variables. Moon Palace does have tractors to comb the beach and employees raking it up to stay on top of it. I’ve seen the beaches here absolutely filled with seaweed but then I’ve also seen them breathtakingly clean. The beach tends to be quiet as the vast majority of hotel guests prefer the pool but I still love Moon’s beach to sit out there by myself on a hammock to watch the sunrise or for a nice evening stroll after dinner.
Canexican Insider TIPS:
*Catch a sunrise! If you’ve never been to Cancun before you may not know that Cancun and the entire Riviera Maya are east coast facing. What that means is the sun will set on the opposite side of the beach in behind the hotel buildings but our sunrises are gorgeous so set your alarm clock at least one day to get up at the crack of dawn to watch one of our breathtaking Cancun sunrises!
*Moon Palace guests are able to check in with the front desk to see about availability for complimentary use of Moon’s sister resort Beach Palace. Palace offers a free shuttle for guests between properties and visiting Beach Palace in the hotel zone is a great way to get a nice beach fix in so you can have the best of both worlds.
- Getting Around the Resort
Not too long ago Moon Palace introduced a great golf cart shuttle system to get around their super big property. They still have their lobby to lobby coach buses but I’ve personally never been a huge fan of those. I much prefer hopping on an open-air golf cart wizzing around the inside of the resort with a view. The golf cart shuttles now have designated stops all over each section with clearly marked golf cart routes so you know exactly which one to get on. I just find them super convenient with a little one not to mention tons of fun.
- Nanny Services
Moon Palace has always used the company Cancun Nanny Service for hotel guests who wish to hire a sitter to watch their child on property at the resort. There is usually a set minimum number of hours to take their services as well as needing to pay a transportation fee to get them to the hotel. I have used resort nanny services for my daughter since she was just 1.
You’re able to give the nanny some direction and boundaries if you have any specifics on what you’d like them to eat (including any food restrictions) and where you’re comfortable with them going during that time (stay in the room, go to the kids club, pool, beach, lobby etc.). We used to always have an extra room key made to give the sitter so she could come and go with our daughter back to the room to take a nap. When she was very small I also preferred they order room service to the room instead of going to the buffet because the idea of trusting the nanny with the task of trying to get my then rambunctious little toddler food in a busy buffet restaurant without her running off or getting into something scared me.
- Entertainment & Activities
Moon Palace hosts a different live show each evening in their indoor and outdoor theatre areas ranging from Michael Jackson to a fire show or magic shows. A schedule is available from the front desk so you can check out what is planned for each night.
There’s a fun outdoor mini golf course located between the Nizuc & Sunrise lobbies. There is absolutely no shade on the 18 hole course so plan to go earlier morning or late afternoon when the sun is a little lower and not nearly as hot.
You can borrow bicycles at no cost to use to explore the resort grounds. You can find them right by the mini golf course. They don’t have any bikes with training wheels or infant seats which has held us back from using them yet as a family but now that our daughter can ride a 2 wheel bike without training wheels it’s on our list for our next visit!
The Palace entertainment staff also put together a busy weekly schedule of activities usually suited for guests of all ages. Often there are beach volleyball games scheduled, foam parties, other poolside games and soccer. Ask for the activities schedule when you check in or you can usually find a large board by the pool.
- For the Parents
Moon Palace has a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus signature golf course right on the property which is easily accessible by a designated golf cart from the lobby. It’s a great feature as only a small handful of resorts in the area have a course actually right on the premises.
There are also a few spa options for adults in the Sunrise & Nizuc sections as well as a spa located at the golf course. Most guests receive resort credits which can be used towards spa services.
Moon guests have access to 2 different adults only night clubs & bars throughout the hotel. Skybar is on the upper level inside the Sunrise lobby (open 5pm-12:30am) and Noir is also in Sunrise (open Tuesday, Thursdays & Saturdays 10:30pm-3am).
Canexican Insider Tip
*Take a golf cart over to the golf course with your kids just to take a peek. You get in a fun long golf cart ride and there’s a chance you can spot a crocodile on the course or in some of the surrounding small mangrove areas while the cart winds along the pathways. These crocs can be quite dangerous so it wouldn’t be recommended to go looking for them on foot but fun to see from a safe distance on a golf cart.
Additional Tips & Extras Worth Noting
- I do recommend you bring your own car seat for the ride to and from the airport. Mexico does not have any car seat laws but in my opinion that doesn’t mean it’s ok to just hold your little one or chance a 20 minute car ride on a busy fast moving highway. I’ve witnessed several crashes between tourist transport vehicles and it’s made me cringe at the thought of kids being onboard. For specific tips regarding travel options for car seats for infants, toddlers and older kids please read my post Getting Around Mexico with Kids
- Bring your own reusable straws (our favourites are from Klean Kanteen because they are stainless steal, easy to clean and come with a removable flexible silicone bent tip
- Between June-October is nesting season for sea turtles in and around Cancun. Moon Palace has a great program to help protect these baby turtles by collecting all of the eggs laid by Green Turtles & Loggerhead Turtle (the most common sea turtles in the area) along Moon Palace’s beach. They rebury them in a secure area marked with the number of eggs and estimated hatching date. When it’s time staff dig up all of the hatched turtles and ask guests to assist them to release the turtles. It’s a great family activity the kids can help with! .
- Get a daypass to The Grand! The Grand is an absolutely fabulous resort option right on the property. They do require Moon Palace guests staying in Nizuc or Sunrise to purchase a daypass or I believe you can use resort credits but in my opinion it’s worth it to experience The Grand even just for one day. My full post on Moon Palace Cancun-The Grand is coming soon!
- If you take a private shuttle or taxi to the hotel and feel for a quick little coffee pick me up or need anything you may already know you’ve forgotten like toothpaste, Tylenol or sunscreen…there is a Starbucks and a 7-Eleven convenience store located about half way between the airport and Moon Palace on the side of the highway you’ll be travelling if you don’t want to get price gouged at the resort’s stores. You can ask the driver to make a quick stop for you as it’s on the way.
- Which currency should you bring for tips? I often get asked which currency people should bring on holiday with them to have cash on hand to tip. Everyone seems to have an opinion on this and here are my thoughts. If you’re American and have American dollars on hand already then sure bring U.S. dollars. If you’re Canadian or from England for example and need to make a special trip to the bank anyway I’d suggest to ask for Mexican pesos. Tipping in a local currency often saves employees from having to exchange the money where they may end up losing money in someone else’s designated exchange rate and is just more convenient for them to be able to spend even right away on their way home from work.
For more Cancun travel inspiration check out the following posts: