CHEF/HOTEL PROFILE . . .
THE GRAND AT MOON PALACE CANCUN
by Bonnie Carroll
While attending the 17th Annual Riviera Maya Jazz Festival at Quintana Roo I was blessed to escape to paradise at The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun where all the conveniences of home were served up with a chic fusion of elegant design and state-of-the-art technology. This first class elegant resort boasts 1,316 lavish rooms with a bevy of posh suite options, and each suite offers double whirlpool tubs, 24-hour room service, world-class spirits, and unlimited local and long distance calls to the continental U.S., a complimentary arrival bottle of wine, and aromatherapy and nightly turn down service. My suite had a beautiful patio overlooking the pool.
The elegance and detail for comfort at The Grand are initially stunning, but are easily adjusted to. The suites have everything in place including a full liquor cabinet, beverages, espresso maker, and snacks at your disposal. The twenty-four hour room service is ideal if you wish to dine in bed or get an early start either to play golf or depart for the airport on your departure date, and the food is gourmet outstanding.
Restaurants vary from extremely charming Asian, Lebanese, French, Italian, Brazilian to casual pool area dining and a smart little creperie. The International buffet is huge and includes everything imaginable to eat. I especially loved selecting my own salmon to be grilled to order and very healthy salads and sides to enjoy with it. Every meal at the buffet was overflowing with a variety of selections to savor.
My two favorite restaurants were Habibi, an exotic Lebanese restaurant where authentic and delicious Lebanese dishes were prepared by Amairani Flores Olivares, a talented female chef, and Jesus Alain Jienez Valencia the general manager was both helpful and charming. From melt in your mouth lamb shawarma, varieties of hummus, tabbouleh, fried or raw kibbeth, lamb fetteh, makanek flaming sausage, cheese sambousek and everything in between the dinner was sensational. The Pinot brought by the sommelier paired perfectly with the entire presentation and they also offered Arak an anise digestive on the menu. As I was leaving, I noticed some guests nearby smoking elaborate hookah pipes, and was told they were smoking fruit flavored tobacco. According to the staff the hotel is owned by a family of Lebanese decent and thus this fantastic restaurant was included in its design.
Jade, the Asian restaurant which was a blend of Japanese, Chinese and Thai flavors was my next favorite dinner spot, where Saki Martini's were flowing, and a variety of luscious sashimi mariawase, sushi, pork belly wafu BBQ, chicken mushroom yuzu soup and Jade rolls with hot sake totally took me away. The service at Jade was also exceptional and the ceiling décor of orange Japanese style lanterns created a very relaxing and romantic aura.
Sunbathing at one of the many pools is a delightful pass time, and servers bring guest what ever they need to be happy, including colorful cocktails with wild names. Guests all talk to each other as though they were on a cruise ship and after a few days they see you and call you by your first name as if you were old friends and ask how you are doing.
The three golf courses at Moon Resort are lovely, and several players told me they provide challenge to expert players as well as mid and beginning golfers. The Moon Spa & Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, offers golf instruction and a driving range with a panoramic view that would be a great start to get back in the game. The golf club has two fine restaurants, a busy cocktail lounge, a fully equipped golf shop and a spa. For avid golfers there are special vacation accommodations near the club, where a private swimming pool is available as well a personal golf cart to tool around the resort.
The AWE SPA is a surreal journey into a magnificent Scheherazade zone. This is one of the most beautiful and perfectly appointed and designed spa facilities I've yet to visit; it has everything. The colors and designs bring visions of Turkey, Egypt and Arabia as guests move from room to room. The pool is beyond anything MGM could dream up with a myriad of azure blue and gold tiles and golden plunge fountains spread around the pool area that massage the head, neck and back. The ultimate Cleopatra touch was a group of lounges in the pool that became jacuzzi's and massaged the entire torso under water. Following these other world experiences guests relax on lounges around the pool and sip waters with fruit or tea.
Prior to a treatment, massage or facial guests may sit in the ice room, sauna or steam room, followed by a shower and time to relax in the quiet room until their massage therapist quietly directs them to a treatment room. My facial, a platinum anti-aging treatment, and massage of neck and hands was beyond outstanding and Wendy the therapist also massaged my scalp. I just cannot sing high enough praises about this venue and the excellence of the therapist. The AWE Spa card reads “just because it's not what you were expecting doesn't mean it's not everything you've been waiting for” and are they right!
If you are traveling with children this resort has every possible amenity to keep kids up to teens happy, including game rooms, an amazing water park area that parents seemed to be enjoying more than their kids, a bowling facility, movie theatre, special menus and more. Families I saw seemed to be having a marvelous time together, and family style dining is numero uno at The Grand. The resort is also fully handicapped compliant, providing disabled or elderly special assistance.
Hard as it is to believe this actually is an all inclusive five star resort where service is exceptional and the quality of everything is the best. I talked with so many guest who come back once or twice a year and they just adore the consistent quality accommodations, fine food and drinks, and exemplary service. I must agree with them this is definitely a be back vacation destination and if we return for the 18th Riviera Maya Jazz Festival at Quintana Roo I look forward to yet another dream escape to The Grand at Moon Palace Resort. For reservation information visit http://moonpalacegrandresort.com/accommodations.asp.
The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun
All Inclusive Golf & Spa Resort
1 (888) 774 0040 or (305) 774 0040