My TripAdvisor Review for Sun Palace Cancun, Mexico (2008).


























(View of the hotels in Cancun from the infinity pool at Sun Palace resort).

MY REVIEW OF SUN PALACE RESORT:
CLICK HERE for direct link to this review."This whole trip felt like a dream and the only proof I have that it happened is a great tan and pictures!

I took this much needed trip with my boyfriend. I am 21 and he is 22. I found the palace resort chain through a friend of my boyfriends who honeymooned at Aventura and recommended it. I choose Sun Palace because of its great reviews. I was also looking at Royal Cancun and Le Blanc but I am so glad I choose Sun Palace because not only is it cheaper, but about a month before the trip Sun Palace moved up on the Top 10 Cancun list on TA, and the other 2 resorts moved down due to bad reviews. I booked this trip back in February. Every day from mid-February to May 25th (the day we arrived) I was checking on trip advisor for any details about the trip. We love to travel and have just begun doing our yearly resort stays. Last year we went to Sandals Negril. We traveled to Sun Palace from May 25th-June 1st. Be prepared, because this is going to be long.

AIRPLANE: From JFK we flew Jet Blue. I am personally terrified of flying, but I enjoyed this flight so much I didn’t get nervous at all. They have satellite TV to watch, plus it was such an early morning flight I ended up sleeping through most of it, but the seats were so comfortable, and we paid a little more for the extra leg room, which was well worth it and only $10 bucks each way. I’d recommend the extra cost not only for the room, but because you are in the first few rows so you are off the plane first. However the return home was not as lovely. We ended up having an issue with the tire on the plane and our flight was canceled after being in the airport from 9am-8pm before they finally told us. JetBlue put us up in the Courtyard Marriot 5 minutes from the airport and gave us free dinner and breakfast buffet, as well as vouchers for food at the airport. When all was said and done, we ended up getting and extra day of vacation and free airfare tickets for a future vacation, so it wasn’t too terrible.

CANCUN AIRPORT: The airport was not a problem at all. We were one of the first people off our flight because we sat in the 2nd row. We ended up getting through immigration very quick because no one was there when we got there. By the time we made our way to baggage claim and looked back, the lines were forming so we lucked out on that one. After we got our bag, we made our way to customs. The line looked long but it went quick. After we got through the line one of the airport attendants asked to look through my purse for any food I may have, but I didn’t have any so it took a minute out of our time, at the most. Once out of customs the place is full of taxi drivers and people trying to get you to ride to your resort with them, we just told them who we were already booked with, and they didn’t bother us again. It was a bad first impression because we just wanted to get to the resort and we felt like we were being hounded. Once you get outside you will see hoards of people waiting for other people with signs and asking if you need a ride. It was a very uncomfortable setting but a porter saw us and asked where we were going, then took our bags to where we needed to be, which was much quieter. We tipped him a couple bucks.

RIDE TO RESORT: The ride is all of 15 minutes and it was comfortable. We were in an air conditioned van with maybe 3 other couples who were going to other resorts. Our resort was the first stop. We tipped the driver a 5 since it wasn’t a long ride.

CHECK IN: Once we got there I was handed a white carnation and the porter took our bags to the lobby. When we walked in the first thing we noticed was it was crowded. We arrived around noon and it must have been when people were checking out, because there was a line for the front desk, the area where guest services was all filled up and the seats in the lobby were packed too. Our initial impression was that we mad a bad choice in the resort, because we came here for a quiet relaxing vacation and the hotel is full. We later realized, when the resort quieted down, it was because we got here over Memorial Day weekend and a lot of people were probably leaving then because of the three day weekend. When we finally go up to the desk we were told our room wasn’t ready yet and he suggested we hang out in the lobby bar. So we went over there for about 15 minutes and had a drink, ate some chips with pico de gallo and guacamole (this stuff is amazing!) and popcorn, and then went back to see if it was ready. While we were waiting in line to check in, a guest services “shark” approached us. I remembered people talking about them in their reviews and expected to have to dodge him, but he went with the easier approach and asked us our age. Luckily, this was our saving grace. After we told him our age he made some dumb comment about how there are many other young couples around (he even pointed to another young couple in the lobby) and said how he thinks we will enjoy ourselves here. We could tell he was just making an excuse to move onto the next unfortunate older couple in line. While we were signing papers and getting our bracelets, someone came over with a glass of champagne for both of us. After we drank it we were given our room number and went upstairs.

ROOM: I have read on trip advisor that if you don’t like your room just ask them to change it. I knew this going there and I figured if we had a problem it would be solved for us immediately. We got to our room (room 232) before our bellboy. I’m not sure why they let us up there and didn’t let him take us there. But anyway, we got there and took a look around. I was very upset with the view because from our balcony on the 2nd floor, was of the activity pool which was loud! The music was blasting and people were screaming and laughing and even with the door shut you could hear it all. The view of the ocean was better if you were on the balcony looking over the activity pool, but from the room you can only see a little water over the building next to our room. Then, if you look over the balcony to the right all you see is a construction site and the road. I wasn’t happy with it, knowing we paid just as much as everyone else and we figured we would ask for another room. So I spoke to the front desk and was told there were no rooms available But during the week I noticed the resort wasn’t that full, on top of the fact that we saw many rooms above the quiet pools that looked as if no one was using them all week. I was very upset about that, considering so many people had said that they were accommodated with an “It’s my pleasure” but it seemed like they hustled me away with a “no”. The room had all the same amenities as everyone else and the Jacuzzi was wonderful, but remember to use moderation with the bubbles. I remember reading the warning on TA, but when I put some in and it didn’t look like enough so I put more, and once the jets turned on there were bubbles everywhere. We had no problem with the showers. The water fluctuates a little, but we live in an apartment in NYC and this is a typical thing when it comes to having hundreds of showers and toilets in one building. The bed is VERY hard and it does end up taking a toll on you by the end of the week. The pillows are very soft and feel great but it can still be hard to get comfortable. The sheets and comforters are so comfortable. I would suggest sleeping on one of the comforters and using the other one as a blanket to soften the bed a little. There is also an extra pillow in the closet for you but when we ripped open the bag the pillow smelled like it was damp with sea water. So we didn’t use it. The TV was great, but there weren’t many channels. They got a couple HBO channels, FOX, and some Spanish channels. There are also two Palace Resort channels, one about the resort and one about the spa, and a tour channel which constantly replays info about the tours you can choose. Those were fun to watch for maybe five minutes.

RESORT: The grounds are beautiful. This isn’t so much a resort as it is a hotel, because of how small it is. But the beds next to the pool are so comfortable, and the lounge chairs on the beach and at the pool are great too. Everything is easy to find because they have signs telling you where to go. The only thing I didn’t like was how crowded and crazy the activity pool was. We wanted to go there one day to have lunch at the snack bar next to it, but we couldn’t even stay too long because we could barely hear the ocean over all the music. The indoor pool, which is really outside but under the cover of the building, was chilly and we only went in it the day before we left because it was pouring rain outside. I’m glad they had that pool as an option. My boyfriend used the gym almost every day and he said it was great. They had a little bit of everything for everyone. Luckily it was on our floor so he didn’t have far to go to get there. The spa always smelled so nice, but we never had a treatment there.

POOLS: The activity pool we went in maybe for 10 minutes and the water was lukewarm and we didn’t even bother with the swim up bar since there were waiters coming around the side of the pools taking your drink order. The two quieter pools are where we spent out time. Those pools were warm and it was so nice to hang onto the edge and watch the ocean or look down the strip at all the other hotels. The one thing I didn’t like about the pools is how messy they were. People are so disgusting and they leave their cups IN the water. One evening I was swimming in the smallest pool and knocked into a plastic cup, so I picked it up and put it on the side for someone to take, and then went back to swimming and ended up knocking into 2 other cups. I thought it was so gross and I don’t understand how hard it is for someone to just put there cups somewhere where the waiter/waitress can reach them. One night while we were having dinner I saw (in the activity pool of course) a line of used cups across the edge. The pool guy from the hotel had to walk out on the thin ledge of the pool and collect them all because he couldn’t swim in to get it in his clothes and he couldn’t use the skimmer.

BEACH: The waves are nuts! We were expecting waves, but not of that proportion. We ended up going in a couple of times and got thrown around a lot, and the current is very strong. We were in for maybe 3 minutes and realized we had drifted from one end of the resort to another. Luckily my boyfriend used to be a lifeguard so he swam us back, but it can be scary when you think you can handle it and you realize how tough the water really is. There are some rocks when you enter the water, so be careful. The worst part was the seaweed. One day there wasn’t any and the next day it was everywhere. I mean, it can’t be helped, but it was kind of gross getting back to the room and taking our bathing suits off and finding seaweed stuck to us, or in the pockets of my boyfriends swim shorts. As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of swimming in the ocean. We also got hit with the outskirts of two tropical storms on the last days, so the waves and seaweed were worse from that. There is also a waitress who comes around and takes drink and food orders on the beach. It was a nice touch. Be careful of the rocks in the ocean over in front of where the activity pool is. There are two or three large rocks right where the waves brake and it can be dangerous if you get swept into them. So just be alert when swimming that over near the activity pool side there are hidden rocks in the ocean.

ROOM SERVICE: We ate room service for lunch the first couple of days. There isn’t much of a variety but the food was very good. The fries are amazing (think McDonalds), the cheeseburger was surprisingly good and the club sandwiches are good as well. We did order the chips, pico de gallo, and guacamole, even though it wasn’t on the menu. If you want breakfast from room service you need to fill out a card that hangs on the door, and put it outside the door before 3am so they will bring it to you in the morning. Any other meal you can just call room service and they will deliver. We did the breakfast room service on the last day and I would have rather gone downstairs to eat because the food there had more of a variety.

FOOD:
Breakfast- Amazing! Probably the best out of the three. They have a breakfast buffet set up in El Alamo. There are scrambled eggs, omelets they make for you, assorted fruits, bacon strips, ham cubes with coconut, cherries, and raisins (amazing). I loved the hash browns and platanos. I can taste them all now. I also loved the fact that they make you waffles, pancakes and French toast. My favorite part about breakfast was the ice cream station. I don’t eat ice cream much, but on vacation I have it at every meal! Their ice cream tasted amazing. Better than ice cream here.

Lunch-For lunch there was the snack bar over by the activity pool where there is a buffet and the same exact buffet is over in El Alamo. They both have the same things to eat. Basically they will make you chicken, steak, salmon, fish fillets, or cheese/hamburgers. They also have sushi and sushi rolls, French fries, and a mix of fruits and veggies and cakes and cookies, and all sorts of other things. My favorite of them all was the station where the lady made the taquitos. Those are amazing. Try the Mexican trio for lunch or dinner at El Alamo. The quesadilla wasn’t that great because instead of putting a tortilla on top of the other, they fold the one over and it doesn’t taste as good. It was more like a soft taco. Don’t forget the ice cream station and the popsicle station next to it. They are great!

Dinner- We tried El Alamo the first night and we loved it. The tortilla soup was good, I had the 3 cheese chicken and it was great and my boyfriend had the pork which was great too. We also went back another night and I had the fajitas. They were great! One night we tried the Italian and didn’t like it at all. I had the seafood risotto and he had the mahi-mahi, but the sauce on the mahi-mahi didn’t taste good at all and the fish had no flavor. My risotto was okay but the shrimp and prawn was way too mushy (like it was really overcooked), I usually have to chew shrimp and prawn a little, but this stuff was like mashed potatoes, and the calamari was too rubbery. So we decided not to return there. The oriental lounge was lovely, we went one night at sunset and it was very romantic, but VERY windy so ladies don’t wear a dress that is going to pull a Marilyn Monroe on you (trust me!). It was pretty embarrassing to have to hold my skirt down the whole time. The sushi was good, the rolls were good and the fried spring rolls were excellent. The steak place is hard to find because it is usually a buffet that is outdoors by El Alamo or can be indoors at El Alamo. It moves locations frequently. The night we went, it was outside by the quiet pools in front of the El Alamo place. The food there was amazing. The steak was great! It had some fat around the edges but when you cut it off it was really good. They even give you A1 sauce. I loved the mashed potatoes and the cream of asparagus soup.

DRINKS: I loved the pina coladas and Miami vices when I was at the pool or beach, but at dinner I stuck to Cosmos and martinis. The peach martini is good, but I loved the French martinis. We had to tell them how to make it, but once we did they kept bringing me more. My boyfriend said the margaritas were good, although we had to ask for top shelf when we went to the bars, but they always gave it to us. We also didn’t realize, until we asked, that they will deliver drinks to you for room service.

OUTSIDE THE RESORT: We took the bus (well worth it) to Kukulcan Plaza, which is down past Cancun Palace. Our underwater camera broke in the middle of the trip so we went down there to buy a new one. The whole place is beautiful and very quiet for a mall. I’m not sure how these places stay in business considering it is so quiet there. I saw maybe 30 people the whole time we were there, and the mall is at least a block long. The gift stores are cheap and we racked up on souvenirs for very cheap. The camera shop was a Kodak shop and they had everything we needed. Just remember, the exchange rate is about $10 for every 100 pesos, so if something says 290 on the ticket, it really means its $29.

CANCUN PALACE: We decided to do a trip to Cancun Palace for their hibachi dinner. We love hibachi at home and have had a hard time traveling outside the US to a resort and finding the same experiences there. But this place nailed it! Not only was the food amazing but they even had fried ice cream, and it was better than at home! We got there early and were seated at the bar. Our bartender Caesar made the night even more fun. While we were waiting he kept bringing us appetizers like soup and sushi rolls, kept suggesting new drinks to try and made conversation with us so we wouldn’t get bored. He was the only person through the entire trip we actually felt was worthy of a tip, so we gave him $20. He even kept sending drinks to our table after we left the bar. He was the sweetest guy and made that night very memorable for us. Try the Saketinis, and the Watermelon martinis. They were the best drinks I’ve ever tasted. The resort there is much bigger than SP, and the pool is huge, but there is only one pool for activities, parents and kids. So I can imagine it would get busy there. The beach was small but the ocean was beautiful and made up for it. We were told that in order to make reservations for the hibachi restaurant, we had to go over to the resort in the morning and make them in person and then come back later that night. It was a pain in the butt. So on the last day, with the storm going on, I called over to CP and asked to make the reservation and they made it for me. I’m not sure if that was because of the weather, or if it was normally okay to do. If you do have to go there to make reservations, I would recommend using the bus to get back and forth. Its about $1 per person each way and even though they drive kind of crazy, it is easy. Just get on, tell the driver where you want to stop, and if you doubt he will remember then there are red buttons along the poles above where you sit, so you can let him know you want the next stop. Or just tell him to stop. Very simple. Don’t waste $24 bucks on a round trip cab ride. We even took the bus back late at night after dinner, when we were not at coherent as we were before dinner, and we had no problems at all.

ISLA MUJERES PALACE: Beautiful grounds. It reminded me a lot of Jamaica because of the calm water. They have Yucatan hammocks you can lay around in and relax. They were the most comfortable hammocks I’ve ever laid in. They also sell them at the airport and if I didn’t live in an apartment I’d buy one in a second for my backyard. IMP was definitely the type of place you go to relax. We saw more staff there than actual guests. We felt like the whole time there we were the only ones around. It was very nice. We just stayed in the hammock and took a nap. Every fifteen minutes or so, the waiter would come back with a new drink and would take the old one, even when we were sleeping. It was a great place. There is also an area of the ocean sectioned off by the dock where they have a couple nurse sharks swimming around. Guests are free to go in and swim with them when the guy who runs it is there to supervise. It is free but he asks for tips, seeing as this is the only way he makes his money. We missed out on it because of the dolphin swim and were very upset.

SERVICE: The service is great. However, here is where I have to disagree with some people. I did not witness any stellar service at SP that I didn’t get at Sandals last year. When we went over to CP and IMP it seemed like everyone was more eager to please you there then at SP. They wanted to know where you were from and make conversation, but at SP I feel like the bartenders just gave you drinks and ignored you. At the lobby bar one night, this guy was so drunk and tipping them all sorts of money, so when we went up for our drinks the bartender didn’t even say anything more to us than “what can I get you?”, and then went back to the other guy trying to get more money from him. Also, at dinner, they watch from the other end of the room waiting for you to get up to see if you will give them something. It felt very uncomfortable. I had to carry my plates from the buffet to the table (people said they carry them for you, but no one did the entire time we were there), and basically all the waiter did was bring me coffee and drinks, so why am I tipping for that when its included? If they were going to bring me my food and offer to get me more, then no problem, I’ll tip, but I’m not going to tip for service I expect from a resort I paid about $3000 for. I did want to tip the lady on the beach but I had left my money in the room that day and we didn’t go back after that. At the other two palace resorts we went to, someone was constantly waiting to help you. “Let me carry your plates, drinks…etc”, everything was “it’s a pleasure”. I didn’t feel we got that at SP. I guess, all in all, tipping is at your own digression, but don’t feel pressured into tipping because others are doing it. We only tipped when we really felt someone was going out of their way to help us. However, on the excursions we tipped a lot because the tour guides made all of their money that way.

EXCURSIONS:
-We LOVED the Jungle Tour. Its like $66 USD per person and each couple get to take their own speed boat and drive it behind the tour guide through the channel and out into the ocean and then they stop in the middle of the ocean anchor and tie the boats together and then everyone jumps into the ocean and snorkels. It was an amazing experience. The marina is right across the street so once you are done you just cross the street and are back at your resort.
-We also did the Dolphin swim at Isla Mujeres. What an amazing experience. We had the buy 1 get 1 free dolphin swim deal. Word of warning, the Dolphin Discovery at Isla is run down and terrible! The boat ride there is fun because the staff on the boat makes it fun, and the Isla Mujeres Palace is so quiet and relaxing to be at, but once we got to the dolphin place I wished we had gone to Wet n’ wild instead. The place smelled so bad, there were no seats on the toilet, the dolphins looked so unhappy and they had cuts and scars all over them. We paid about $129 to get in (with the 2 for 1 deal) and then they wouldn’t let you bring your waterproof camera into the water with the dolphins (they would rather you buy the pictures they take so they can make money), so we ended up paying another $81 for the pictures they took and the video. We weren’t happy about that, but what can you do? I’m sure it’s the same way at Wet n’ wild. Also, on the ferry ride, be careful because at the end of the excursions everyone from the boat meets up at IMP and gets back on the boat and then they take you about 20 minutes away to a marina where there is a flea market (a ploy to get people to spend more money). You spend about an hour there. We had read on a TA review to skip this, so we arranged for a taxi to take us from IMP to the marina right before the boat left so we could have an extra hour and a half at IMP (this is how we fit in the nap on the hammock). It was worth the $4 taxi ride and the front desk at IMP sets it up for you. I urge anyone who doesn’t want to be stuck in the heat being hounded to buy things, to just stay behind and enjoy your exchange privileges. Also, this is a good time to catch the shark guy, seeing as he waits till the boats leave before he leaves, so grab him before they boats leave so you can swim with the sharks. We were sorry we missed him.
-The final excursion we did was Xcaret. We paid about $238 for the two of us for the day, and it was considered the plus package, which included snorkeling gear, life vests, towels, lockets, a buffet meal, and 2 water bottles per person. I guess it was worth it but now looking back, the entire trip was so long and it was so hot out we probably would have never done it knowing all of that. It took us about an hour and a half to get there from Cancun by bus. Then we spent the entire day there. They had very little places to go that were air conditioned. The limestone caves you could swim through were worth it, but by the time we finished that and swam around in the ocean area for a couple of hours, we were ready to go and still had half the day to kill. We ended up wandering around, having lunch (we ate at La Laguna and the buffet was GREAT), and sitting for two hours waiting for everyone at the big arena where the night show goes on. We wished we had the option to leave earlier. The night show was fun but we were so exhausted from the day we were ready to leave and slept the whole bus ride home.



TIPS:
-Don’t bring tooth brushes, toothpaste, mouth wash, lotion, or shampoo/conditioner. They supply you with it. Ladies, the shampoo, conditioner and lotion is Biosilk. They give you a medium size travel bottle of shampoo and a small one of the conditioner, and one medium one of lotion and if you run out, they sell them in the gift shop. It’s good because you won’t have to bring a bunch of shampoo from home. They even give you one of those cheap razors for shaving, but I didn’t see shaving cream.
-Also, remember to use the buttons in the room for maid service. One morning we forgot to turn ours on RED (for no service) and she knocked and came in so quickly and we were still in bed, naked no less. So that was a little weird but it was our fault. A couple of times we left the room and accidentally left it on RED to come back and realized we missed the turn down service. But it was okay. If the red light is on they will usually call up and ask if we need service, or we can call down to them when we want it.
-The safe is big, it fit two of our laptops, three cameras, two wallets, all of our electrical cords and my jewelry. You set the number combination to the safe so no one knows it but you guys.
-Not only do you get free wireless internet but you also get free unlimited called to the USA, Mexico and Canada. So we were able to call home often and check in. That was a great thing to have.
-Be very careful when opening the door to your balcony. The mirrors fog up pretty fast and the floor becomes very slippery, so make use of the slippers they give you so you don’t slip on the floor.
-There are signs saying you can take the slippers home at no charge, but don’t take the robes because they charge you. However, when I got home I saw a random $16 charge from the hotel and I am assuming that they charged me for taking the slippers. I’m not even going to argue why they charged me because its only $16 bucks, but I’m not sure what else it would be for, except that my boyfriend accidentally got ketchup on the sleeve of his robe and then the next day they took it to wash and brought us a new one so maybe they charged us for the robe because he stained it. I’m not really sure, but it was sneaky of them not to mention it and just take the money out of my card. I wouldn’t have argued paying it and I probably would have asked to keep it in that case.
-There are boogie boards by the lifeguard’s station. You can just go over there and take as many as you’d like. Someone told us you have to buy it at the gift shop, but that was a lie. They are free to use, but there aren’t many so make sure you get them early.
-There is a bench in the walk in shower. The shower head moves so you can point it at the bench and sit there and enjoy the shower. It was very comfortable and relaxing. The shower head also has different settings if you want more of a water massage.
-Towel station is a pain. My advice is to bring your own towels from the room because by 5pm the towel station closes but the pool and beach don’t close until 8pm. So you have no where to drop the towels off. Just take the towels back to your room and exchange them for new ones in the morning. But make sure you get the two towel cards back when you leave because you need them in order to check out.
-If you have any questions, let me know! I’d be happy to answer them. Enjoy your vacation!"




























Hanging out in the Yucatan Hammock (notice the white powder sand on the ground).




























Swimming through the cenotes in Xcaret Park.






















Swimming with the dolphins in Isla Mujeres.


Kira Solomon

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