I’m in the water practicing my best alligator as the world wakes up around me. The early morning sun is dancing lazily on the docile Gulf of Mexico, and sparkling in the wake left behind me as I paddle softly through the water. For the most part, the Moon Palace is quiet, perhaps living up to its nocturnal name as most guests are busy sleeping off last night while I’m doing “laps” in the giant maze of a pool system.

Sunrise over the pool at Moon Palace

Like many other travelers who look deeper than the nearest gift shop–or fellow Moon Palace guests who look no further than the nearest bar–, I am a firm believer that the mornings reveal the most about a destination. Mornings are a quiet place where the important things happen: curtains thrown open, beds made, cups of coffee enjoyed on the porch. Or in this case, the pool chairs are properly arranged, towers laid out on the VIP loungers, and the pool men are busy preparing for the next day’s swimmers. I’m not the only one pretending to be an alligator, as I can’t imagine the young Mexican man with a pool vacuum hasn’t had the same daydream sometimes.

A panorama of the pool at Moon Palace

If there’s one thing that seems to set the Moon Palace apart, I muse with my nose just above the waterline, it’s the staff attention to details. I’ve never been at an all-inclusive resort before, but I have done my fair share of hotels, and nothing compares to this. Everything is immaculate by the time most guests arrive, both poolside and in the common areas, lobbies, restaurants, and bars. The woman at the front desk walks to the concierge to ask about the evening’s baby turtle release, rather than pointing me in that direction; she’s clearly mastered the art of keeping guest effort to a minimum, which I suppose is what makes these resorts so amazing. Nobody points you from here to there, nobody makes you get your own towel, and everyone greats you with an, hola, buenos dias. It is, in short, a ways from reality.

Early morning rays at Moon Palace

I’ve decided to stop being a chronic over-thinker for a few days and just go with it. Each morning, I’m up by 7am, in the pool by 7:30, and lounging by 8:00. Regardless of when I went to bed, or when the last room service delivery was, I’m drawn to take advantage of these small, quiet minutes in my day. The early morning sun is kinder to my skin, and the staff isn’t harried by the feelings of a being nearly done with a long shift, or those hooligans causing trouble in the next pool over. Everybody’s more pleasant in the morning, though none of us may be morning people. My cup of coffee cools to the perfect temperature as I consider never leaving this magical, insular world. It’s warm enough I could sleep out by the pool, right?

Tiny Planet: Mornings at Moon Palace

As each day wears on, I’m drawn back into my normal life–after all, I’m not on holiday at Moon Palace; I’m here for work. Thinking on this more, I’m confident that I will never truly be on holiday again as a travel writer. Everywhere I go, the muse will be dancing behind the veil, occasionally peaking out to give me gems that I carry home in my pockets until it comes time to sit down and tell my stories. Even my blissful, quiet, alligatorish mornings are now peppered with moments of inspiration among the relaxation. I guess I can’t complain though: the pool vacuum makes a quiet hum, and with my eyes closed, the world feels pretty darn Right. I may have to leave and head back to the increasingly rainy Pacific Northwest, but I’ll take this token of sunshine and clear water home for when I need a little pick me up.

My stay at Moon Palace was sponsored by my dear friends at Trippy.
Rates start from $448, and include a $1500 resort credit to cover all your wants and needs.



I have to ay, I’m loving your blog Valerie! You have such a gift for description and creating a sense of place. I can’t wait to follow along on your next adventure. 🙂


Malia, thank you so much! Sorry your comment got put into my spam folder, but your words mean a lot to me! I can’t wait to keep sharing!! 🙂

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