Written By: Geoff Millar, Ultimate All Inclusive Vacations
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Palace Resorts used to be one of the major players in the All-Inclusive world as was the family who owned them. At a point, a few years ago, Hard Rock Resorts approached them about a partnership. The two brothers in the family that owned Palace Resorts did not totally agree with each other on the Hardrock partnership so they decided to split the resorts and one of the brothers took the resorts he settled on and went into a partnership with Hardrock and the other brother continued with his resorts as the Palace Resorts. Palace resorts has been slowly adding resorts to their portfolio. They now have 10 resorts in Mexico, and 1 resort in Jamaica. They include the Palace Resort and the Leblanc Resorts. Leblanc is Palace resorts very upscale all-inclusive resort. These resorts are AAA 5 Diamond rated. Le Blanc resorts have upscale service including butler service and high-end amenities.
Palace resorts were the first resorts to implement the resort credit with each booking. The client can receive up to $2,500 in Resort credits that can be used for everything from off-site tours, golf, and Spa treatments. Look at the Palace Resorts website to see the terms and conditions. One of the terms that needs to be pointed out is that guests will be charged a 16% tax for any resort credit amount used.
The resort they own in Jamaica is the Moon Palace Jamaica in Ocho Rios. This resort was originally the Marriott Renaissance, it then became part of the Sunset Resort chain, and is now part of the Palace Resort family. It is located steps from downtown Ocho Rios in more of a city environment. One benefit is it is within walking distance of the shopping and nightlife of Ocho Rios. It has a beautiful beach and waterpark. It is oceanfront and has a view of the cruise ships that dock in Ocho Rios. It would not be a resort I would send clients who are looking for a more remote jungle location.
It is made up of two room towers and the common public area in-between. Rooms consist of garden view, ocean view, and oceanfront. Remember from earlier articles that there is a difference between ocean view and ocean front. Ocean view means that you can see the ocean from some part of your room. Ocean front means that when you walk out on your balcony your main view is going to be the ocean. A lot of clients get confused or don’t know that when they say ocean view they really want ocean front. I had an ocean view room at a resort where the main view was the building next door but if I turned to my right and looked down the side of the building I could see the ocean. The resort has 5 restaurants and 4 main bars including a swim-up. There is also a nightclub called Noir. Just make sure you qualify your clients and that they have no problem being in more of a city environment.
Taking everything into consideration I would rate this resort a high 3.5 star to low 4 star resort.
Moving on to Mexico, Palace Resorts has resorts located in Cancun, Riviera Maya, Play Del Carmen, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, and Los Cabos.
We will start with Los Cabos. In Los Cabos Palace has its newest resort the La Blanc Los Cabos. This is beautiful 5 star resort will open in 2018. It will be located in the San Jose Del Cabo area, a wonderful town, about 20 miles north of Cabo San Lucas. It will add to the list of wonderful resorts opening or already opened in the area. San Jose is a newer resort area for the Los Cabos region. It tends to be a little quieter than Cabo San Lucas with great shopping and upscale restaurants. It is closer to the airport than Cabo San Lucas.
We will now move to the Cancun area where Palace Resorts got its start. In Cancun Palace Resorts has 3 beautiful resorts, the Family All-inclusive Beach Palace, the Adult only Sun Palace and the upscale Le Blanc Spa Resort. All the resorts are located on the main beach of Cancun These resorts, as most resorts in Cancun, tend to be more high-rise resort hotels than traditional resorts spread out over some acreage. As I have said in other articles, Cancun, to me, is more like the Miami Beach of Mexico. While there are some great family resorts in Cancun, the main draw of Cancun tends to be the beach, the shopping and the nightlife.
Let’s look at the Le Blanc Resort first. Remember I said that Cancun to me is the Miami Beach of Mexico. Le Blanc fits this description perfectly. Le Blanc Resort in Spanish means, The White Resort. The décor of the resort is made up of various shades of white, very South Beach Miami. This is a very nice upscale adult only all-inclusive resort. It sits on a great stretch of beach and is the closest Palace Resort to the main nightlife and shopping area of Cancun.
It is made up of regular Jr Suites and Suites. The views from the suites range from Lagoon view, the resort sits across the road from the inner lagoon making up the inside of the 7 that designates the Hotel zone of Cancun. The more expensive Jr. Suites and Suites are all Ocean view and Ocean front. Another point about the room that must be remembered is that none of the Jr. Suites have walkout balconies but have what they call Romeo and Juliet balconies which consist of a sliding glass door with a railing. You have to be in the suite level to get a walkout balcony.
Food at this resort is outstanding with 4 specialty restaurants ranging from French, Mexican, Asian, Italian and a fantastic buffet. The resort also contains 6 bars and loungers including a swim-up bar and beach bar. Butler service is provided at the resort but make sure you understand it is not private butler service. A butler will provide service to more than one client. The resort does also have a 19,000 sq. ft. Spa providing a variety of services including wellness instruction. This resort, in my opinion, is a 4.5 – 5 star adult only all-inclusive resort.
Let’s move down the beach to one of the more upscale family resorts in Cancun, the Beach Palace. The Beach Palace sits midway down the main beach area. It is a great family resort for those who may want the excitement of Cancun but also want to bring the family. This resort, as are most of the Cancun resorts, is more of a high-rise hotel resort. The décor is very nice with a Swedish wood feel to it.
Rooms have various views from Garden View, Lagoon View, and Ocean View. The Beach Palace also has family rooms which are basically 2 connecting rooms, one room with a king bed and one room with double beds and this room is set up for kids with an Xbox, special kids room service menu and a minibar set up for kids. This category only comes in Lagoon view.
The resort has 4 specialty restaurants and a fantastic buffet as well as 24 hr. room service. I found the food here to be very good with a wide variety. It sits on a very nice section of beach.
I do caution that the ocean on the main Cancun beach can sometime be a little rough, especially for small children and some adults. As far as activities for the kids. The Beach Palace has a great kids Club, ages 4-12, with supervised activities. I would rate this resort a solid 4 stars.
The last resort in Cancun we will look at is the great Sun Palace a great adult only all-inclusive resort on the main beach of Cancun. This resort is also more of a high-rise hotel resort. It is the Palace resort that is the farthest from the main area of shopping and nightlife in Cancun.
Rooms range from Resort view to Ocean Front. They also have Ocean Front Concierge Level suites. They are listed as Level Suites.
As far as dining, there is a wide variety to choose from. There are 4 specialty restaurants serving Steak, Italian, Mexican, Seafood, and a fantastic buffet. I found the dining here to be very good something for every appetite.
They have a Spa with a variety of services. Don’t forget, with Palace Resorts resort credit, your clients can use the credit for off-site tours. Clients also have exchange privileges with the other Palace Resorts except for the Le Blanc level. There is also transportation provided between the Cancun Resorts and the Moon Palace where you have access to the 2 golf courses on the property. I would rate this resort a solid 4 stars.
As we move down the coast we come to our next Palace resort, the well known Moon Palace. I have to start by stating that this is a very large, bordering on huge resort. With their new section, the Grand, billed as a separate resort they now have almost 5,000 rooms.
The Moon Palace has been Palace resorts flagship resort for a while. It has a ton of stuff to do at the resort from 2 golf courses, bicycles, flow-rider at the pool, rock climbing wall, roller-blading, beautiful pool areas, sailing, wind surfing, nightclub, a fantastic Spa with a wide variety of services, you also might see a crocodile, exchange privileges, including transportation, with the Palace Resorts in Cancun, excluding the Le Blanc, and with your resort credit to pay for it, a variety of off-site tours.
The Moon Palace has 2 separate sides, The Nizuc side, and the Sunrise side. Both sides are equal distance from the activities and the dining options. One thing you do need to know is the rooms on the Sunrise side have slightly larger patios and balconies. Rooms range from Garden View, Ocean View, and Ocean Front. They also have A category of Jr. Suite that is located on the golf course. These Golf Course Jr. Suites also come with your own private golf cart to get around the resort. I have stayed on the Nizuc side, the Sunrise side, and the Golf Course Jr. Suites. At my age, I really liked toe Golf Course Jr. Suites. I was able to experience the main resort but when I wanted to I could escape to the quiet of the Golf Course Jr. Suite.
Weddings are very popular at the Moon Palace. You can do everything from a simple wedding to a more complex wedding where the bride arrives at the wedding site in a horse drawn carriage. Moon Palace also does an excellent job with traditional Indian weddings.
The biggest negative, in my opinion, at the Moon Palace, is the beach. It is a long beach, good for walking but not very deep and the water is not quite as clear as other areas in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. I only say this because it would not be a resort I would recommend to clients if the beach was one of their major criteria.
Food is good at the moon Palace and they have, probably the largest number of restaurants. This is important because of the size of the resort. When I stayed there I never had a problem getting into any of the restaurants. They have over 12 dining options with everything from Italian, Mexican, American, Pan Asian, Steakhouse, and Seafood. There are also a number of bars, lounges, and nightclubs to keep you busy from dawn to late into the night. Palace resort is one of the few resort chains that bring in professional talent for their shows rather than just using the existing staff. A lot of their shows are very professionally done. Throughout the year they also bring in major stars in the music business for periodic shows.
This is a great active family resort with a ton of activities for all ages. I would rate it a solid 4 star family all-inclusive resort.
Right next to the Moon Place is their newest resort, the Grand at Moon Palace. This is actually a separate section of the Moon Palace that they are billing as a separate resort. This is the more upscale section, what you might call the concierge level. This section has over 1,300 rooms. This resort is made up of suites, Swim-up Suites, Family Suites, made up of 2 connecting rooms, one with 2 double beds and kid’s amenities and one with a king bed, and Jr. Suites.
Grand dining options include Mexican, Asian, International, Lebanese, Peruvian, and French along with 24 hour room service.
The beach at the Grand is much better than the beach at the Moon palace with complimentary water sports including, sailing, kayaks, wind surfing, and paddle boarding. The Grand is also opening a great water park for kids of all ages. They also have a fantastic kid’s club with all the technology and modern devices.
The guests at the Grand have exchange privileges with all the Palace resorts but guests from the Palace resorts have to purchase a day pass to partake of the Grand.
I would place the family all-inclusive resort close to the Le blanc in quality but catering to families. I would rate this resort 4.5-5 stars.
Moving further down the coast we come to the town of Playa Del Carmen home of the Playacar Palace. This resort sits at the south end of town next to the pier where you can catch the ferry to the island of Cozumel. It is also only a few steps from the popular 5th Ave. This is one of Palace Resorts older resorts but it does sit in a great location. Here your clients can have the best of both worlds, a very nice beach resort sitting in a town environment with its shopping and nightlife, and also steps to the ferry service to the Island of Cozumel where your clients have exchange privileges with the Cozumel Palace Resort.
This is a smaller Family All-Inclusive resort with 201 rooms and suites. Rooms range from, Resort view, partial ocean view, Ocean View and Ocean Front. Suites range from 1 bedroom suites and concierge level Suites or as they label them Level Suites.
As far as activities there is a full slate of water sports like sailing, kayaking. The resort has a great kid’s Club for kids 4 – 12. There is a Spa with a wide variety of services.
As far a dining there are a number of dining options such as Mexican, Pan Asian, and Italian as well as their International Buffet. There are 3 bars at the resort including a swim-up bar. There is also a show each evening.
This is a very nice resort that offers a beach location in a city environment offering you clients the best of both worlds. I would rate this resort a solid 3.5 stars.
We are now going to finish up with the two islands, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres to look at the Cozumel Palace Resort and the Isla Mujeres Palace Resort.
The first resort we will look at is the Cozumel Palace. As we know Cozumel is one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world. It is also a major cruise port. The island sits just off the coast of the Yucatan across from Playa Del Carmen, about a 30 minute ferry ride.
The resort is in a nice location but one thing to remember is that there is no beach on the resort. It is on the ocean but it sits on a sea wall with some steps into the ocean. The resort provides transportation to the nearest beach.
The resort, as well as the island of Cozumel is all about the water. The resort is a great family all-inclusive resort where you can scuba dive one of the many reefs in the area and you can also snorkel right off the dock at the resort. If one of your client’s main criteria is the beach, this may not be the best resort for them.
The Cozumel Palace has 169 Jr. Suites and Suites. From Ocean View Jr. Suites to Ocean Front Jr. Suites and Suites including concierge Jr. Suites that they advertise as Level Suites. As all Palace Resorts they have WIFI, and free calling to the U.S
Dining offers 4 Specialty restaurants with, Italian, Mexican, Pan Asian, a fantastic buffet as well as a poolside grill. Room Service is also included.
Activities include a great Spa, snorkeling from the pier, nightly shows. They do have a small kid’s Club for kits 4 – 12. Weddings are popular at this resort. We have found that the wedding dept. at Palace Resorts is very easy to work with. We have done a number of weddings at Palace Resorts with no problems.
This resort is a great resort for those into scuba diving, snorkeling and those who want to get away from it all. Not the best for people who are all about the beach. Very good for weddings. I would rate this resort 3.5 – 4 stars. Clients can fly directly into Cozumel or fly into Cancun and take a small flight to Cozumel or fly into Cancun go to Playa Del Carmen and take the ferry to Cozumel
Remember that Cozumel can get a little crowded when the cruise ships are in port.
The last resort we will look at is the small, more boutique Palace resort on the island of Isla Mujeres. Just off the coast of Cancun. This is a great adult only all-inclusive resort for those who want to get away from it all and relax. It is reached by the private Palace Resorts boat from the port in Cancun and takes about 30 minutes to get there. The boat runs from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM so, make sure you clients flights arrive in time to take the boat during the operation hours. It takes about 45-60 minutes to travel from the airport to Isla Mujeres. If you miss the boat you have take the public ferry to Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres is a smaller more relaxing island where people get around by using golf-carts.
This resort is a small resort with only 62 rooms. It sits on a smaller very calm beach area. This resort is more of a private romantic getaway resort and is ranked one of the top resorts on the island.
The accommodations consist of Resort View rooms, Ocean View rooms and Ocean Front rooms and their Concierge level rooms or as they call them Level rooms with concierge services and additional amenities. All rooms include free WIFI and free phone calls to the U.S.
As far as activities there is everything from paddle boarding, snorkeling, and the resort provides the snorkeling equipment. Just down the road is a water park with Ziplining, snorkeling, swim with dolphins and clients can use their Palace resort credits. Clients can also rent a golf cart and explore the island. Downtown has some great shopping and outdoor bars, perfect for people watching. Or, do nothing except relax in your hammock.
As far as dining the resort has 1 main restaurant the fantastic international Buffet. But you can eat all day at sack bar by the pool. There is a lobby bar and a bar by the pool for your favorite libation. The island also has a number of fantastic restaurants.
This resort is a great place for that romantic couple or couples and singles that just want to get away from it all. It would not be good for clients looking for a fairly active resort. RELAXATION is the word for this resort. I would rate it a 4 star boutique resort.
Well we have taken a look at the Palace Resorts. There is a Palace resort for everyone. The big things that makes them different is their generous resort credit, and I would say their entertainment as they use professional entertainment not just the staff putting on a show.
Their Le Blanc takes thing to a higher level and provides an upscale South Beach Miami vibe.
Next month we will look at a different resort chain. Until then safe travels and good selling.