Paradise Is Nice… But Fight For Party Time!


We just returned from Mexico after having one of the great vacations of our lives. My wife and I love Palace Resorts, based mostly in Cancún and around the Mayan Riviera, but most particularly the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort right outside the city. While some inclusive resorts toss you quickie buffets and crowded pools, this resort treats you the way Angelina and Brad get treated, or at least a reasonable facsimile.

Being in a place like that, and we were there for two weeks, is like going to heaven without having to die first. There are 13 different restaurants, several of them at gourmet level. There are swimming pools galore, live entertainment in lounges and even in some restaurants. We had a harpist playing most days as we ate at a breakfast buffet. And everything is included. Like to eat? Well, you can dine on tacos or mint-infused lamb chops, and it still costs nothing. There is a Caribbean restaurant that features ceviche and jambalaya as well as a great crème brûlée. Drinks are included, even the minibar in a room that always has a Jacuzzi for two.

The Moon Palace even tossed in free tickets to Cirque Dreams, a show that visited the Kravis about a year and a half ago. We would have paid $150 a ticket for the kind of seats we got for nothing. It’s a great little circus show, by the way. And there are a couple of shows every night right inside the resort. Not all are fabulous, but all of them are free, and a higher percentage than you’d imagine are fun.

My favorite place was a small hangout called Los Tacos. It had an infinity pool that backed up against a small natural area that contained a few crocodiles. I was quite happy that we had about 6 inches of solid concrete between us and the crocs, which occasionally liked to lay out in the sun and pose for photos. And Blanca, Luis and Agosto brought us cold drinks and hot food all day. That’s the way I wish I could live 52 weeks a year, but when I suggested Maria take over, she gave one of her wonderful smiles while suggesting that perhaps she deserved being served that well, and I was the obvious one to do it.

We go to one of the resorts every year, and it’s always a treat. It’s great to eat and drink like a king and worth having to use one of their excellent gyms or pools to work off the calories. Not to mention time in the sauna, steam room or cold plunge.

On the other hand, when you have time-shares, laws regarding them can change, particularly when you’re dealing with those in other countries. Mexican laws have changed in the dozen years since we bought in, and this year we came down with a bit of a grudge. We had been promised certain special deals and felt that perhaps we were being cheated.

So I spoke to the people there. Two charming gents, Miguel Lliteras and Dannunzzio De Marchena, spoke to us, and soon we had worked everything out to everyone’s satisfaction. Responsible resorts have good managers who understand that some changes are inevitable and it is far better to have satisfied members than angry ones. If your time-share seems not to be holding up its end of the bargain, be smart. Deal with the management. You’ll be way ahead of the game.

Americans are among the worst at doing vacations. We all tend to limit ourselves and accept what’s given. We met a lot of people from all around the world. One charming man from Wales spent relatively little time at the pool but traveled through just about every Mayan ruin in the area. “I don’t have that much time to get away,” he explained, “so I want to do everything.”

And if you keep that in mind and work with a responsible resort, you, too, can have the vacation of your life. We didn’t meet Brangelina there, but always felt it just might be possible. And if you can’t meet them, why not live like them? Or at least a reasonably affordable facsimile?