I went to Cancun with a group of friends (23-25 yrs old) and we stayed at the Beach Palace for a week in September. It was hurricane season so the resort wasn't all that busy, but we were lucky to have missed the rain. The hotels in Cancun aren't as scenic as the ones in Riviera Maya but the staff is equally great and there is no shortage of amenities.
The resort - We chose Beach Palace because we found a great last minute deal for about a grand all-inclusive. Turned out to be a good choice! Every hour there is something to do, such as yoga, beach volleyball, water volleyball, beach soccer, zumba, pictionary game, etc. Water volleyball appeared to be pretty popular the week we were there. You could also go parasailing ($55 USD) or rent a seadoo ($60 for 30 mins) on the beach. The resort has a sky bar and rooftop pool, and a sports bar on the mezzanine level that has a billiards table, popcorn and snacks, and live band music some nights. There is a pool bar where you can ask the bartender to make drinks that are not on their menu. Only the pool bar has a food menu. There is also a nightly show at 9pm on the outdoor stage. If you get bored of the resort, the clubs are just a few minutes bus ride away. Buses run 24 hrs and come by about every 5-10 mins, and cost 8 pesos per person. I would recommend taking the bus where possible as it services the entire hotel strip, including transportation to all the clubs.
- You get 1500 credits (1 credit = $1) per room to use towards certain excursions and activities. The credits cover the cost of the activities and you just pay the 11% tax on the activities. We used ours towards the Isla Mujeres tour, Wet N Wild, swim with dolphins, massages (max of 300 credits can be used towards spa), and purchase of up to 4 tequila sets per room. If we had time we would have also used them towards the Chichen Itza or Tulum excursions as well! You could use them to purchase jewelry from the store as well, though there is a max credits allowed for this and you would have to pay for the difference.
Rooms - The rooms are decently clean and there is a jacuzzi in the middle of each room, though the water came out a bit yellowish when we first turned on the taps. After letting it run it was fine. The rooms have unlimited liquor and pop, and room service is included in the all-inclusive packages. These are great for excursion days where you have to leave the hotel before breakfast buffet is available. Beds were okay - not the most comfortable but nothing bad.
Food - There are 4 restaurants, Wok (oriental food), Italian, Mexican, and an outdoor grill house. I would not recommend Wok as we did not enjoy the food at all. It was also the only formal dress restaurant. The other 3 were okay - great staff at all 4 restaurants but average food. We were not used to how salty everything was either. For breakfast and lunch there is a buffet and a wide variety of desserts. Every dinner you are offered a welcome drink so it's a great way to try all the different drinks Mexico has to offer. Our favorite waiter was Guillermo who worked the buffet, though he was relocated to Moon Palace shortly after we met him. There is a Margaritaville and Senor Frogs a couple mins from the hotel as well that we didn't have the chance to check out.
Coco Bongo - Definitely the best "club" in Mexico! It combines Vegas style shows and artist impersonators and dancers, acrobatic shows, random comedic acts, a lot of confetti, a lot of good music, and a lot of balloons. Between the shows, music would be blasting and the people would be dancing up a storm. It is a very different experience from the clubs in Canada and you can't go wrong with checking this out. It starts at about 1030pm and goes till 3am. If you book through the hotel this includes shuttle transportation. We had the best time here!
The clubs - Our hotel did not know that certain clubs are closed on certain days so we were sold tickets to The City on Sunday. Once we got there and realized it was closed, one of the club operators took us to Sweet Club instead and we had to get a refund from our hotel. Make sure you do your research of when the clubs are open in case you run into any trouble getting refunds! At the clubs you pay $40 - $50 for cover and bottle service. You can either get a bottle for the table or order drinks from the waiter. We decided to do the latter and thought we were supposed to tip after every drink. The waiter told us to wait till the end to tip so that we could judge his service. As the club filled up we realize he was blatantly ignoring us and we went to confront him. He told us that as soon as we tip he would serve us. Turns out you have to tip big the first time ($5-$10) and then the waiters will keep coming back. You could try to order from the bar instead of the waiter but it takes forever. Sometimes other club-goers leave early and will give you the rest of their alcohol. Overall it is still cheaper to get bottle service in Cancun than Canada so it was still a fun night.
- Girls are constantly pulled onstage to dance and there is usually someone from the club who pours free liquor into the girls' mouths. Be careful with the women that come around to the tables with a whistle and bottle of liquor though. These shots cost $4 and they don't tell you that until after you have taken the shot. They can get pretty insistent too so be aware of that.
- Most of the clubs seem to play American style music and only certain ones are open on certain nights. Make sure you check with your hotel to see if you can book VIP tables otherwise you will be waiting a long time in line. Sweet Club had a wet t-shirt contest and girls taking off their clothes to win $2000. Senor Frogs has a foam party and glow paint party, and Cabana Beach club has a beach party on Tuesdays. Cancun is definitely the place to party!
X Plor - This excursion is an amusement park that consists of 11 or so ziplines (3 water landings and 1 water slide), driving through a jungle and caves, and swimming and hand paddling through a cave. Very tiring day and kind of pricey ($139 USD, not including pictures for sale) but worth it! Definitely recommend this.
Isla Mujeres - This is an island about 25 min ferry ride from Cancun. The water is gorgeous and clear and I had a great time snorkelling! Isla Mujeres has some beautiful coral reefs. You could also take a bike ride to a turtle sanctuary, which some of my friends did while the rest of us went snorkelling. One side of the island has a beach but we were on the non-beach side. There is a pool and hammocks and meals are always included in all the excursions. They also take you to the marketplace where you can buy souvenirs. We found that the souvenirs closer to the centre of the market were cheaper than the ones closer to the boats, though most places sell the same thing. The boat ride is a lot of fun! The staff work very hard to maintain the high energy and they sing and dance and there is music playing, and they try to involve everyone. Doesn't hurt that they give out free liquor as well.
Dolphins - There are multiple places where you can do this so just look around for the best price/convenience. We went to Dolphinaris Cancun which was right by Wet N Wild waterpark, though you could have done this at Isla Mujeres as well. It was a very interesting and unique experience.
Wet N Wild - Would not recommend this as there are only 4 waterslides. Without the resort credits the waterpark ticket cost $50.
Our all-inclusive packages included access to everything at Moon Palace (chain resort), which is a golf and spa resort in Riviera Maya. About 30 min cab ride from Beach Palace. The cabs will charge a set 600 pesos, but you could always walk to the shopping centre a few mins away (La Isla) and get a cab there as you can usually get a lower fare. Moon Palace is a gorgeous resort and worth a visit but designed so that the guests don't have to leave it. It has a discotheque but the crowd and music was older for our taste, so we didn't stay long. Your best bet to party would be the clubs in Cancun.
This is my 2nd trip to Mexico but the 1st for most of my friends. I think we can all agree that we will be back someday. I want to thank the excellent staff for making our stay very enjoyable and fun! Make sure to tip as they greatly appreciate it and will remember you for it, and will continue to provide excellent service. :)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.