Just a warning - this is a pretty long review (sorry), but hopefully it's useful info. I know it's all info I would have wanted for my first stay. For what it's worth, my wife and I love Sun Palace. We've stayed there numerous times and we always try to bring other couples with us to share the Sun Palace “experience”. I'm 46 and my wife is 40 we live in Vegas and travel often.
Sun Palace is located at the Southern End of the Hotel Zone, which means it's a short trip from the airport, or to Moon Palace, but you will need to take a cab or bus to the Center of the Hotel Zone if you want to experience a little more of what Cancun has to offer. Cab fare is usually around $12US to anywhere in the Hotel Zone. Also, many cab drivers will even offer up their phone number so you can call them anytime and they'll be your driver. Bus fare I believe is 8 pesos and there's a bus stop in front of the resort. The area is very clean and we have always felt safe. Everyone we've encountered in Cancun has always been very nice and helpful.
If this will be your first visit to Cancun, a quick airport note: If you have transportation provided, whether it's Sun Palace or another resort, do NOT talk to any of the people inside the terminal that come up to "help" you. They're independent drivers/tour operators. Just keep your head down until you get outside and look for your appropriate party.
A reminder that Sun is a small couples only property. No big clubs or bars. So if you're looking for nightlife or more of a "wild" time you'll definitely need to leave the property. However, it's the intimacy of the property that we love. The property is beautiful and the beach is gorgeous...even bluer than in the Caribbean Islands (it's the exact same color as Gatorade Glacier Freeze). Also, being at the south end of the Hotel Zone, the beach isn’t nearly as crowded as resorts located in the center of town. The staff is very attentive and will bend over backwards to assist you. Also, there are couples of every age at the property - from young couples and newlyweds to people our age and older couples.
Restaurants: A number of reviews have had disappointing comments regarding the restaurants. I believe this has to do with your expectations coming in. This is an all-inclusive resort...the food is not going be 5-star. And, if that's the way you look at it, I think you'll be surprised how good the food really is. The breakfast buffet is very good...mostly because they have two chef stations that will fix you whatever you want (within reason) - omelettes, eggs, tacos, tostadas, etc. The Steak buffet is the same way. The steak may not be USDA prime, but it's good, they have several different cuts and they'll give you as much as you want. The Italian restaurant, La Tratto, is a cut above the rest. It's is the one restaurant where you'll walk out going "wow, that was really good". Also, the Oriental Lounge has a fried banana dessert that is…awesome.
Since our last visit, the liquor at the bars has also been upgraded. They now carry many top shelf brands (Don Julio, Grey Goose, etc., etc.). A nice plus since I LOVE tequila and my wife and I like to drink…lol.
(On a side note, across the street from Sun Palace is an EXCELLENT restaurant called Navio’s (formerly J.C. Capitan). It's definitely a hidden gem. It's never crowded, it's inexpensive with excellent food and you can sit at one of their tables on their private dock and watch the sunset...it's a VERY beautiful setting. Best sunset in all of Cancun as far as I’m concerned. If you’re lucky you may even see their “pet” crocodile that makes appearances in the evening. It’s HUGE.)
Spa: The treatments offered at Sun Palace are on par with any typical resort. The downside, however, is that even though the treatments are great, the facility is very small. There are no separate mens and womens areas - just a small coed area with one sauna, one steam room, one jacuzzi and a few showers. There are no robes and swimsuits are required. So, if you're truly a "spa" person, you may be disappointed.
Rooms: As with all Palace Resorts, the rooms are great - spacious, a stocked mini-bar, a shower that could fit 6 and a full jacuzzi tub. All have balconies and 95% of the rooms face the ocean. Our preference is a room on the sixth floor. The room itself is a bit smaller but that's because the balconies are much larger with a full-sized day bed and no cover, roof or another balcony over your head. (If you do upgrade your room to the "concierge" level, definitely take advantage of the selection of therapeutic pillows and in-room aromatherapy.)
$1,500 Resort Credit and Palace "Membership" push: First, let me say that I am a Palace member...and love it. Can't speak highly enough. (In fact, on our most recent trip, one of the couples that went with us decided to join as well.) However, I know many people feel uncomfortable regarding, what can be described as a timeshare pitch...and I'm one of them. BUT, since I ended up becoming a member, I felt it was at least worth mentioning here.
Chances are you will be asked to attend a presentation to hear about what Palace has going on. They do NOT twist your arm so if you don't want to attend simply say no thank you and you won't be asked again...and, most importantly, you will not be treated as a second class guest if you say no. However, if you do have an interest, you only give up 90 minutes of your morning, you will get an incentive to attend (usually another $200 in spa credit or $150 (basic admission for two) to Coco Bongo night club) and you'll get a better understanding of Palace. The presentations are held at Moon Palace and if you attend you will also be provided r/t taxi fare (which saves you $60). We went to the presentation and just made a day of it; Had a spa treatment, hung out at the pool, tried the wave machine, took the Dolphin Interaction tour (very cool) and ate at Moon Palace’s Brazilian restaurant…awesome.
Regarding the $1,500 credit. My wife and I have never used our entire credit on any of our trips. Being all-inclusive you already get so much and, depending on your reservation type, you may already be getting a couple of tours as part of your stay. However, take advantage of everything you can. There are a number of tours that you can use your resort credit on, including; Tulum - our favorite Mayan tour. Isla Mujeres is a must, however, the tour takes most the day. If you don't like to be stuck "waiting", we recommend going to Isla Mujeres on your own. It's $15US round trip and there are two ferry terminals in the northern end of the hotel zone. By doing your own thing you don't have the transportation or buffet lunch...but you're on your schedule not someone elses. You can also do a Dolphin interaction combined with Wet 'n Wild or a "Submarine" combination snorkel tour.
If you love golf you'll blow through your resort credit in a heartbeat. The Moon Palace has a Jack Nicklaus designed course. On our last trip I decided to take an Intro To Golf school at the Nicklaus Golf Academy...well worth it! Especially since it was "free".
If you end up with resort credit left you can also use your credits on discounts on jewelry, photography (which is very popular), a romantic dinner, upgraded wines, upgraded rooms and up to $300 on spa treatments.
Staff: All I can say regarding the staff is that Palace Resorts does a great job of customer service...and Sun Palace raises the bar even higher. From Pablo Winkler (the GM) on down to the maintenance staff, everyone seems to "care", which is rare these days. (Special recognition to Estrella; pool/beach server and George; lounge bartender). Now obviously, incidents do happen and, as far as I'm concerned, it's not necessarily the actual "issue" that's the problem, but how it's resolved. As example, we had a complication with spa appointments that we set up at Moon Palace. I was initially very frustrated over the issue, however, the customer service staff made sure to resolve the situation immediately and even exceeded my expectations in doing so.
Regarding tipping...everyone differs, especially since Sun is an all-inclusive. You will get great service no matter what...HOWEVER, a little goes a long way and tips (as you can imagine) are greatly appreciated...but not expected or asked for. We even made a pool for one of the NFL games and had employees pick squares. My wife and I awarded $$$ for halftime and the end of the game. The staff loved it.
Well, I think that about covers it. The property is great. The people are wonderful. If you go off property, a night at Coco-Bongo and a sunset dinner at Navio’s is a must. We travel to Cancun often, so any questions…about Sun Palace, Palace Resorts, Cancun, nightlife…etc. etc., please ask.
Oh…(a quick PS) If you enjoy tequila or are thinking of buying some to take home – FYI, the prices on most tequilas (whether you’re shopping in Cancun or at the Duty-Free at the airport) are just as expensive (sometimes even more so) as in the U.S. The best “value” is Don Julio. Don Julio is approximately 50% less in price compared to the U.S. (A $60-$70 bottle of Anejo can be found for $35 at Duty Free). Also, 1921 Crema de Tequila is a Bailey’s type liqueur that is tequila blended with an almond crème. It tastes like candy and it is ALWAYS a home run at any party (you can sample it at the airport duty free). Highly recommend it!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- As the first couples' only resort in Cancun, Sun Palace is the perfect retreat from the every day stress. This oasis for couples lies along the coast overlooking the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Conveniently located at just 15 minutes from the airport, this property provides service and amenities of the highest level. We invite you to enjoy this old favorite in a whole new way. A stunning coast line serves as a dramatic backdrop for this recently renovated resort featuring 252 richly appointed guestrooms. Five restaurants and three bars cater to a full range of tastes and moods. Golf enthusiasts can play all year round at the nearby Moon Spa & Golf Club which houses the only Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course in Cancun. Expert hands deliver spa services to those who seek a serene and rejuvenating experience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sun Palace Hotel Cancun
- Cancun Sun Palace