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Bell's Los Alamo Restaurant Review | Michelin Star Restaurant on Central Coast

March 17, 2024
My husband and I had a recent date night at Bell's in Los Alamos and our date night experience was completely elevated when compared to all of the date nights we've ever had. I'm still on cloud 9 when I look back at all of the food that I enjoyed there with my husband.

Bell's Los Alamos is located in Santa Barbara County and attracts many visitors from other parts of California and even outside of California for their renowned farm-to-table French cuisine experience. They earned a Michelin star! I highly recommend coming to this Central Coast restaurant to celebrate a special occasion or for a romantic date night. 

With a prix fixe menu offer only for dinner, I actually like this format from Bell's very much. The first three items on the menu were not choices but the last three items were choices that you can pick from three different options. I think Bell's Los Alamos does this right and it makes the dining experience really fun! I ordered a nice port and tonic to accompany my meal. It was refreshing and the ingredients balanced well together for a nice and sunny early evening.
Bell's Restaurant Drinks Review

What We Ate
First to eat and as noted on the menu, we were presented with the Santa Barbara Sea Urchin with caviar. Delicately put together on top of a small crepe, it was so fun to eat and the different textures danced well in my mouth. It was delicious and a new adventure for my taste buds!
Santa Barbara Sea Urchin with Caviar
Next, we were presented with a nice salad and their freshly baked seeded sour dough bread. I didn't take a picture but have taken a video of it on my instagram reel of my Bell's Los Alamos dining experience. The salad was simple but you can tell the salad was locally sourced and the dressing was extraordinary. The sourdough bread was also very wonderful with the cultured butter. 

For my choices, I chose the French Omlette (sic) and it was plated so beautifully! The greens and sauce accompanied the omelette so well and I liked it better than my husband's choice: Wild Mexican Shrimp Pain Perdue.
Bell's Appetizer MenuBell's Prix Fixe Menu
For my next choice, which I liked to call my "main course", I picked the Petrale Sole (fish) while my husband picked the Steak au Poivre. Both would be excellent options if you are torn between the two. I decided to stick to a more pescatarian diet this time, even though I did have a couple bites of his steak. 
Bell's Los Alamos Main Courses for Dinner
For dessert, I chose the Mt. Tam as I've been on a very big cheese kick lately. I enjoyed the savoriness of my dessert. My husband chose the Chocolate Bouchon which he absolutely loved. It was very decadent. I also took a couple of bites of that. (Please excuse the dotted mess on the tablecloth below. I thought about editing it out but decided to be more real because sometimes we are a little bit messy.)
Bell's Restaurant Desserts
At the very end, the server gave us a Mignardise which were some chocolate bites and I loved them. It was a great finale to our romantic date night.

If you're looking for places that offer a kid's night out or parents' night out program so that the parents can have a date night, go to my blog entry that has a list of places that offer kid's night out or parents' night out events in SLO County.
Mignardise
Go to my instagram to see my video reel of my dining experience at Bell's Restaurant in Los Alamos.

Reservation Experience for Bell's

We hadn't planned to dine at Bell's Los Alamos until a few days before and when we had initially checked their reservation times for Saturday, it was all booked up! So, I decided to put our names on the waitlist. Then, on the very morning of Saturday, I decided to check their reservation availability again on Tock and saw that they had an opening! So I took myself off the waitlist and snatched the 6:15PM time! Since each reservation dinner was allotted 2.5 hours for dining at dinner time, it closed out the other times and I basically took the very last reservation availability. I knew this because when I checked back a few minutes later after depositing for our reservation, there were no times available for other patrons anymore! In order to reserve our reservation, we were required to deposit $25 for each person and it went towards our bill. I think this is a good move to avoid customers from flaking out as much as possible. They only have so much room and a good business like this would know how to capitalize every space.

I was concerned about how long our dinner was going to take so I emailed Bell's later that day (they don't have a telephone number) and I asked if there was a possibility that our dinner could take shorter than 2.5 hours because we had another commitment and if not, we'd like to see if we could box up our desserts to save time. It's a 5 course prix fixe dinner and I didn't know what to expect. Surprisingly, they emailed me back shortly after and said that we could finish up dinner before the 2.5 hour allotment and that if we were cutting it close, they'd be happy to box our desserts! I was so impressed by their proactiveness and communication! We didn't have to box it because we decided to show up earlier than our reservation time.

Los Alamos is not located within the same county as San Luis Obispo but it was close enough for us to have a special dinner. As mentioned, we got to Los Alamos early and decided to walk in to see if Bell's could accommodate us early. If not, we would just roam around and explore the area a bit. So, we walked in at 5:30PM with a 6:15PM reservation. We asked if they would be able to accommodate us earlier than our reservation time. With smiling faces, they checked our names in the system. They were more than happy to seat us right away! I was so impressed with their quick responses and eagerness to make it easy. I'm definitely coming back here again! With incredible food and fantastic service, it is a no wonder that they have a Michelin star!

Read my other restaurants reviews for the Central Coast.

Date Night Ideas:

 

Epoch Estate Wines Tasting Room Review | Templeton, CA

March 2, 2024
Epoch Estate Wines Tasting Room Review | Templeton, CA
Located in Templeton and in an isolated area, Epoch Estate Wines offers wine connoisseurs a unique tasting room experience. Their architecture is sleek and clean inside and their outdoor seating area has a nice view of the vineyards from up high.

My husband made reservations online so when we got seated, the tastings were already set up on the table for us with 5 different glasses of wine. It was a nice presentation and we were glad to have been seated in the center of the main tasting room. 

The lighting and ambiance of the tasting room was cool and relaxing. I really enjoyed looking up inside as their offices were upstairs and gives the place a really elegant look. Even though they said there were only offices on the second floor, I wish I could have taken a look! 

They require reservations for tastings and it states so on their website. However, they are available daily, starting at 10AM. Just plan ahead accordingly and make that reservation so that they have enough staff to serve you.

We were very impressed with how professional and knowledgeable our wine attendant was. The experience was very comfortable. The wines were exquisite and I liked every glass that we tasted! We were so impressed that my husband and I joined the wine club that very day! Every year, we are club members of 3 or 4 local wineries in San Luis Obispo County. Once we let one go, we carefully go on a hunt to pick a different one by researching extensively online.

Although it was too cold to have a tasting outside, their view is pretty amazing. On a warmer day, it would nice to relax outside.

See a video of my seat while looking around the room at Epoch Estate Wines below.

Epoch Estate Wines Address: 7505 York Mountain Rd, Templeton, CA 93465

I've visited over 50 wine tasting rooms in San Luis Obispo County. Epoch Estate Wines has made it to my top 10 favorites. See my current top 10 wine tasting rooms/wineries in San Luis Obispo County as a local.

Suggested Supplies for the connoisseurs:

 

Austin Hope Winery (The Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar) Review

February 19, 2024

We went to The Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar to try Austin Hope wines to celebrate a belated Valentine's Day.

My husband had made reservations a few days before and we were able to get an early reservation at 10:15AM. Most wine tasting rooms in Paso Robles don't open until 11AM so this was a really nice option for an earlier tasting. They gave us a private seating area with a view of the vineyards. The wines were excellent, especially their Cabernet Savignon. We were so impressed with Austin Hope wines that we joined their wine club membership that very day and gave up our Stephen Ross wine membership.

Our Wine Tasting Adventure in San Luis Obispo County

Currently, we are wine club members for 3 different places and we try not to exceed 4 at any given time. After moving to San Luis Obispo County, we've really enjoyed being so close to all of the wineries and learning more about wine. Thus far, we've visited over 50 wineries/wine tasting rooms in all of San Luis Obispo County (including Edna Valley and Paso Robles wine countries. See my top favorite wine tasting rooms to visit and hang out. As our palates have changed, our preferences in wines have also. We've been regular members of Tolosa Winery for a few years (read my Tolosa Winery review). We used to be members of Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery, Stephen Ross Wine Cellars and Sextant Wines. We are currently only members at Tolosa Winery, Austin Hope Winery (The Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar), and Sans Liege Wines (read about my date night at Sans Liege Wines Tasting Room in Pismo Beach during our Pismo Beach date night).

While at The Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cella, we also saw a woodpecker there while we were enjoying our tastings. See my video of the woodpecker at The Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar

 

Moon Palace The Grand Cancun Family Trip Review

January 11, 2024


Flying out of San Luis Obispo, California, and traveling to Cancun, Mexico required our family to hop on two plane rides. Since our kids are much bigger now, luckily we no longer need to carry a stroller, car seats and diaper bags. I'll never forget how hard it was to fly with a baby and toddler! However, traveling with elementary kids still requires planning and organizing over a series of days for me.

Quick Jump Links:

Packing for Cancun, Mexico

For trips that are at least 3 nights, I usually start packing at least a few days ahead so that I can figure out what we're missing. Our stay at the Moon Place The Grand in Cancun was for 5 nights. After pairing the kids' clothes by day, I often find that we are usually short on undies for long trips (since we usually don't have a washer and dryer handy on our vacations). My kids just grow so fast so I've had to toss some in the trash periodically! Fortunately, I can always go to our closest Ross Store to buy an affordable pack of undies. One thing I'll probably never run out of anymore are swim goggles! For the last 3 vacations that we went on, I had forgotten to pack goggles for the kids so I had to go buy them at our past destinations. My kids are very particular about wearing swim goggles at the pool. Now, it is on the top of the list to pack because I don't want to collect anymore kid's swim goggles! They are becoming better swimmers with every vacation because we don't have a pool at home so they really try to maximize their pool time at resorts trips; and their swim goggles always give that boost of confidence they need for hours at the pool.

Additionally, I realized we needed to shop for another particular item. We had ruined a couple of our travel pillows on our last trip to Virginia so we also had to go on a last minute errand run for two more travel pillows. It's been a game changer for us when needing sleep on the plane! So, we also went to the Ross Store to get a travel pillow. They had one left in the luggage section and it was $6.99. Because we needed two, we decided to shop at Big 5 Sporting Goods and got another one for $14.99 (it was the least expensive that they had at that store when we went). I always try to go to Ross first because it's been the most affordable and I can usually find at least one travel pillow there. 

Flying to Cancun from California

If you live in LA, you can easily get a direct flight to Cancun, Mexico. I'm pretty envious of that as it makes it less of a hassle because you get to avoid layovers and for international travel, it is especially helpful for coming back to America from out of the country. (Scroll down for the rush experience we had coming back to U.S.A.) We've driven a few hours before to get to a major airport to fly out, but this time, the price difference with gas and time didn't make sense to us. When flying out of SBP (San Luis Obispo Airport Code) for SLO (San Luis Obispo County) residents, the quickest route to Cancun, Mexico was to plane hop from SBP to LAX (Los Angeles Airport Code) or DEN (Denver, Colorado Airport Code). Then, plane hop from there to Cancun. For this trip, we flew out at 5AM at the San Luis Obispo Airport to Denver. We checked in our two suitcases for about $70 total and then had planned to just carry on the smaller two bags on the plane. After checking in our bags at United Airlines, we walked through the TSA line and found our terminal. It's a really small airport here in San Luis Obispo, California, so it didn't take long. At our terminal, the United Airlines staff announced that they would let anyone check in their carry on bags for free because of the full flight. So, my husband wheeled our carry on bags to that podium and the employee tagged them for checking in. That was the last time that we saw those carry on bags until we arrived in Cancun, Mexico.
San Luis Obispo Airport Review
San Luis Obispo Airport Experience
We loved that they allowed us to check in our 2 smaller bags for free. Additonally, I appreciate how small and easy our SBP (SLO) airport is. Therefore, we were able to check 4 bags for the price of checking in two suitcases. It doesn't always work out this way but when it does, I'm so grateful. My husband had his backpack with him and I had my purse on the plane. We were both able to fit and stowed our backpack and purse under the seats in front of us on both flights so our family didn't need to use the overhead cabinet for storage. The plane ride in the air from SBP (San Luis Obispo) to DEN (Denver) was about 2.5 hours long and my kids slept during that time. It was still so early in the morning and it helped make it a calm ride for all of us!

Once we landed at our layover in Denver, we had to take the shuttle/tram from Terminal B to Terminal A to get on the Cancun flight for our connecting flight. Our layover at Denver was about 1.5 hours long and that was enough time for us to get to our next plane ride without having to rush through the large Denver airport. However, when we were returning from our Cancun trip at the end, this 1.5 hour layover was not as relaxing. (Scroll down to read about the rush experience at the airport when we were coming back.) The air time from Denver, Colorado to Cancun, Mexico was about 4.5 hours long and both of my kids slept through most of that flight too. They didn't get the usual amount of sleep the previous night because of our early flight and that made it a more chill flight again. The flight attendants were really great about giving us complimentary snacks and drinks during this 4.5 hour flight. Once we landed, we had to go through the immigration check line as a tourist in Mexico and then got our bags at baggage claim to head out of the airport. The Cancun Airport was a really busy airport during the first week of January when we traveled! If you've never traveled to Cancun Airport before, you might want to get ready for a culture shock because I was shocked!

Intimidating Cancun Airport & the Search for our Airport Shuttle to the Moon Palace Resort

The tour companies at the Cancun Airport were very aggressive and sly about trying to perceive as helping us navigate through the airport and get to our resort, even though they were just trying to get us to book one of their tours or taxis. I was overwhelmed by all the hollering that we got from them as we were leaving the airport. My husband had booked a transportation shuttle that was complimentary through Moon Palace The Grand Resort by filling out a form weeks ahead, but we were still perplexed as to where to meet with them at the airport because our resort said to look for someone who's wearing a white shirt and khaki pants. However, a few scattered individuals were wearing that type of al fit that day. My family and I had to go all the way to the end and outside the entrance of the airport to find the shuttles and there were dozens of different companies parked there. That was such an intimidating experience, but fortunately after passing a lot of aggressive salespeople, we found our shuttle and they found our name on their list that was already printed on their clipboard. The ride from the airport to our resort at Moon Palace The Grand was only about 15 minutes away. Once we got to the Moon Palace The Grand Resort, I was able to finally relax.

Check In Process at Moon Palace The Grand

When we got off of the airport shuttle with all of our suitcases, we were immediately greeted by the bellhop personnel that was standing in front on Moon Palace The Grand. He gave me a carnation flower (because I'm a lady) and tagged our bags and told us he would have them in our rooms and that we could go ahead and check in at the lobby. That was especially helpful because lugging suitcases while waiting in line would not be fun. There were 2 other families waiting to check in in front of us and by the time we got to the lobby, it was already around 4:30PM. Check in time was 4PM. It was perfect timing because most likely, that meant we wouldn't have to wait for our rooms to be ready. After about 15 minutes, it was our turn. It turned out that they had overbooked for our room type. We selected the standard room type when we had planned our vacation. So, they offered us a free voucher for a future 5 night stay within 1 year at Moon Palace The Grand if we would stay at Moon Palace Sunrise, their sister property, instead. He said we would still get complimentary access to all of the three resorts, a perk that resort guests get for staying at The Grand (shortened from Moon Palace The Grand). My husband debated and asked me what I thought. I said I wanted to stay at The Grand because I just have a good feeling that the alternative solution would be better and we have no more free vacation days for 2024 since we already made plans for our vacations for pretty much the rest of the year already. So, in unity, we told him that we wanted to stay there at The Grand. So, he said he'd upgrade us then to a Governor's Suite but it only has 1 king bed and that the resort would bring in two rollaway beds for the kids. We told him that that was fine with us and he put on our wristbands, which also doubles as our key to the room. Well, the Governor Suite (full official name is Grand Governor Suite) was amazing! It's bigger than our house! I live in a SLO County, so that is not surprising. It made me so happy when we stepped into our room! See a video tour from my stay at the Grand Governor Suite below.

I kept my carnation flower that the bell hopper gave me earlier and put it in a glass with water when I got to our room. It survived throughout the entire 5 nights there.
Grand Governor Suite Review at Moon Palace The Grand
Balcony Picture at Moon Palace Governor Suite


Hot Tub Review at Grand Governor Suite in Moon Palace The Grand
The Governor Suite had a large hot tub, balcony, dining room, living room and walk in closet! It also had 1.5 bathrooms and that half bathroom was nice to have for the kids when someone else was using the main bathroom. I felt like this Governor Suite was big enough to host a party!

Pools at the Moon Palace Cancun Resorts

Because we were staying at the Moon Palace The Grand, we could dine and enjoy all the entertainment at the Moon Palace Sunrise and Moon Place Nizuc for free as it was complimentary as The Grand guests. From my understanding, it does not work the same when it is vice-versa. If you're staying at Moon Palace Sunrise or Moon Palace Nizuc, you would have to pay an extra fee to enjoy the complimentary food and drinks at The Grand. We took advantage of the complimentary access and visited all three Moon Palace Resorts in Cancun, including: The Grand (where we stayed at), Sunrise (their very first Cancun resort) and Nizuc. Of all the pools at the 3 resorts, we liked the Los Tacos pool at The Grand the best! It was a nice size for our family.
Los Tacos Pool Moon PalaceLos Tacos Food Review at Moon Palace, Cancun
My kids don't use floaties to swim anymore because they are much better swimmers now. However, I am the occasional lifeguard when they need a little help and the size of the pool was perfect for me to manage that. They also served amazing tacos and drinks there. Everything was complimentary, of course. Service was also very attentive and I never had to line up at the bar or restaurant to order anything. The server came by where I was lounging at regularly to check on me. It was fantastic! Having a nice lunch, pool and easy watch on the kids were the best winning combo for this mama.

Other pools that we visited at The Grand included the Waterpark, the Caribeno pool (heated pool) that's located next to Building 85 and El Caribeno restaurant, and the Sports & Athletic pool (not heated pool). We didn't hang out at the pool at Nizuc during our vacation stay in Cancun this time, but we did spend a long afternoon swimming in the pool at Sunrise and really loved the layout of this main pool at Moon Palace Sunrise because it was central to everything there and located right in between the busy lobby and beach. 

We also made sure we went to the waterpark! We spent a couple of hours at the waterpark at Moon Palace The Grand and it was definitely fun for everyone. It had a lazy river, kid's water play structures and waterslides. The bonus is it's located right next to their Playroom, which had arcade games, bumper cars, mini golf and more.

Restaurants that We Visited at Moon Palace Cancun Resorts

Even though we stayed 5 nights at The Grand, we took the Lobby to Lobby Bus to Sunrise and Nizuc for the last couple of days for more entertainment and food. We weren't able to visit all of the restaurants because we didn't have enough time but, here's a list of restaurants that we got to try at Moon Palace The Grand, Moon Place Sunrise, and Moon Palace Nizuc.

  • Tapas Y Vino at The Grand - Tapas Y Vino was a great place to eat to tide us over before the buffet opened for dinner as they were opened a couple of hours before the dinner buffet did at The Grand. The Crostinis were delicious and it was attentive service.
    Tapas Y Vino Picture at Moon Palace
    Tapas Y Vino Review at Moon Palace The Grand
  • El Caribeno at The Grand - This restaurant served a la carte for lunch and dinner, but for breakfast, it was a buffet. It was the closest restaurant to building #87, where our suite was located so it's very convenient for us to dine here! We didn't have to get on a golf cart to get here like we do to get to the lobby. Best of all, it was delicious! A bonus is they let you make your own mimosas at the buffet bar here for breakfast. The main buffet in the lobby at The Grand didn't even have this option for breakfast like El Caribeno does.
  • Habibi at The Grand - We saw a gentleman rave about this place on YouTube and knew we had to include it in our itinerary. It definitely felt very fancy inside at Habibi. The pita bread was fresh and delicious. I ordered the octopus dish as my main entree and thought it was well executed. Service did take a little longer than the other restaurants because they made everything really fresh to order. I asked for a glass of champagne and the server automatically refilled my glass without me asking when I finished my first glass, which is a star is my book. I felt very healthy coming out of this of this restaurant as there were a lot of healthy options. I enjoyed my lunch at Habibi very much.
    Habibi Moon Palace ReviewHabibi Moon Palace Pictures
  • Circus at The Grand - The Circus Restaurant required a reservation and the times get taken quickly so once you check-in, I recommend making a reservation on the app for this place as soon as possible after you've checked in. This restaurant was definitely a wonderful option for the kids. The service was very casual and the popcorn show that they gave every table was really neat. I commend their efforts! See our video of the popcorn steam show for our table.

    They have a very kid-friendly menu. Their entrance was so exciting to walk through. I really felt like I was going to a circus, except there were no performances while we were there. This place was definitely not fine dining when it comes to their food, but it's so fun and worth it for the kids. You order your entrees a la carte but the dessert was a buffet that included candy apples!
  • Jade at The Grand - Jade, an Asian fusion restaurant, offered many different things. They had sushi, noodles, soups, waygu beef (extra charge), seafood dishes and wonderful desserts. Sadly, while we were there, service was awfully slow and cold. They were so busy! However, some of their dishes were very good! I liked the seafood soup, tempura shrimp and mochi dessert! My husband's waygu beef was definitely worth the extra money!
    Jade Review at Moon Palace Cancun
  • Tavola at The Grand - We dined at Tavola, an Italian restaurant at Moon Palace The Grand, for a late lunch. The service was lackluster for me. Maybe because it was towards the end of the server's shift and he was exhausted by the time we got sat. I was also confused about why they said they didn't have calamari as the appetizer. They told me they ran out of calamari so the calamari appetizer was not available but when I ordered my seafood fettuccine as my entree, I saw a couple of squid rings (calamari) in it. Anyway, I really enjoyed my seafood fettuccine, which had shrimp, fish, calamari, and clams, but wished I could've had better service. My husband ordered the Tavola pizza and didn't like how the toppings tasted together. One of my kids liked the cheese pizza that he ordered so his meal worked out for him, and he's usually the pickiest eater among us!
    Tavola Review at Moon Palace
  • Room Service from The Grand - We ordered from room service 3 times while we were staying at Moon Palace The Grand. Twice were for breakfast and once was for a late dinner. The breakfasts were very good. For one morning, I order chilaquiles and a kiwi bowl and for the other morning, I ordered an egg and mushroom omelette. My husband also liked his steak and eggs and two eggs breakfast. However, when my husband ordered the pepperoni pizza for dinner, he didn't like it at all. Obviously, he didn't have very good luck with his pizza orders on this trip.
    Room Service Review at Moon Palace The Grand
  • The Grand Buffet at The Grand - The buffet in the lobby of The Grand served really delicious food and every day was a different theme. We ate at the buffet three times during our 5 night stay. We ate there on our first day for dinner, another day for lunch and one last time for our last morning at Moon Palace for breakfast. They had so many dishes every day. It was unbelievable!
  • Momo at Sunrise - Momo at Moon Palace Sunrise didn't require a reservation but had a confusing entrance. The Momo Teppanyaki, located next door to Momo, required a reservation and had a separate entrance. It was probably a very common mistake but we arrived at the Momo Teppanyaki entrance first because it had such an inviting entrance. Then, they redirected us to the door next to them to wait for Momo to open. Once inside of Momo, it was very dim and my husband almost tripped but caught his footing so didn't fall but, be careful walking inside of there. The decor was very pretty, much prettier than Jade at Moon Palace The Grand! I ordered sushi and some dim sum. My kids ordered rice, gyozas, noodles and fried wontons. I ate what they didn't finished as well and was very full that night! My husband ordered waygu for an extra charge here as well. I love that Momo presented him with 4 different cuts to pick from, which Jade didn't do! Overall, the food was okay. I didn't like their shu mai or sushi that much. I felt that the dim sum and sushi places that I've dined at in California executed all of this better! However, the service at Momo was excellent, compared to Jade. I really enjoyed my experience here even if there were a few items I didn't like to eat all that much.
    Momo Restaurant Review Moon Palace SunriseSushi Review at Momo in Moon Palace CancunFamily Friendly at Momo at Moon Palace CancunWaygu Beef Review at Moon Palace
  • Bugambilias at Sunrise - Bugambilias was the buffet restaurant at Moon Palace Sunrise that we enjoyed dinner at for one of the nights. The place was very open and inviting. It's located right behind the lobby bar and easy to find. The food lay out was interesting and reminded me of a small maze. I loved how the dessert section had a lot of ice cream to pick from. A bonus was, we had the ocean and pool views from the windows here. Service was very nice and relaxed. 
  • Arrecifes at Nizuc - Arrecifes is a Brazilian steakhouse at Moon Palace Nizuc and it is what you typically expect in a Brazilian steakhouse. Someone comes around and presents the meat on a big shish kabob stick and cut them for you. The appetizers, sides and desserts were on the buffet line. You flip the green sign at your table when you still want meat and flip it on the other side when you're done with the meat so that they won't come around at the table anymore. This place was a bit overwhelming for my kids. It was loud and our table for four was just not big enough to fit our plates, especially if we also had salad and bread plates as well. However, the paella from the buffet was excellent! It was probably my most favorite thing to eat during our 5 night stay at Moon Palace. The service at Arrecifes was also wonderful and warm.
Adult-Only Bars that We Visited

We took advantage of the amazing and well-supervised childcare at The Playroom at Moon Palace Sunrise (scroll down to read more about our thoughts about the 3 different Playrooms) for our kids and used a couple of hours of their services (also complimentary) to check out the adults-only bars at the Moon Palace Cancun Resorts. Here were the ones we visited.

  • Sky Bar - The Sky Bar was located at Moon Palace Sunrise on the second floor. The lobby bar of Moon Palace Sunrise was so busy in the evenings that taking a bit of effort to go up the escalator to get to Sky Bar was an alternative option, if you don't have kids in tow. The escalator was located right next to the lobby bar and the Sky Bar from the escalator ride up would directly be located on your left once you got off the elevator. If you look up from the lobby, you could actually see the Sky Bar so it's pretty close to the entrance. Sky Bar was a James Bond themed bar and their cocktail glasses were interestingly slanted! They had two pool tables and a lot of comfortable seats. The service was great here! It was so much more relaxing than sitting in the lobby bar of Moon Palace Sunrise.
    Sky Bar review at Moon Palace SunriseSky Bar Picture at Moon Palace Cancun
  • The Pub - The Pub at Moon Palace Nizuc was pretty cool! It's a British pub with the UK flag decorated around the area. It was pretty quiet when we came in so if you're looking for a bar that is quieter or has a dive type feel, this place is for you. There were only 2 other couples there and by the time we left, there was only one couple left. I really appreciated the extra smoky garnish that my server added to my cocktail.
    The Pub Review at Moon Palace
    Drinks at The Pub Moon Palace Cancun
  • The Library - The Library at Moon Palace The Grand was a stand out among this list of adult-only bars! It was a speakeasy bar and the door was a library bookshelf that you'd have to open at the right side to find another bookshelf door to enter the bar! It was so neat and memorable! The drinks were unique and the vibe was 1920s. It was uber romantic! See my video of my experience below.

    The Library Speakeasy Bar Review at Moon Palace Cancun
    The Library Review in Cancun
    Pictures of The Library Moon Palace Cancun

I'm glad we ventured out of The Grand and explored Sunrise and Nizuc towards the end of our stay because Sunrise and Nizuc had a couple of interesting restaurants and each had their own Playroom for the kids. Among all of the Playrooms (area for kids), Sunrise's Playroom was my kids' favorite out of all three resorts! Continue to read more below to see why.

Playrooms at Moon Palace Cancun

Surprisingly, we didn't like the Playroom at The Grand the best, although the kids really enjoyed the bumper cars there. It really all depends on what kind of things your kid likes but there were 3 Playrooms to choose from as The Grand guests. They named all three of the kid's clubs at Moon Palace Cancun the same name: Playroom, even though the vibes and offerings are all different between the three. 

The Playroom at Moon Palace Sunrise was specifically for ages 4 - 12 years old and they were well-supervised with planned activities and specific rooms like the Xbox game consoles, craft area, arcade area and more. Kids under 4 years old were allowed at the Playroom but only if they are accompanied by their parents or guardians. The Playroom at Sunrise reminded me of the kid's clubs on the Carnival Cruise and Royal Caribbean Cruises that we went on, except my kids got be together. The cruises often separate the kids into smaller groups by age ranges. Read about our 3 Day Baja California Carnival Cruise Vacation or our Royal Caribbean Cruise to Catalina and Mexico
Playroom at Moon Palace Sunrise ReviewWe used the Sunrise's Playroom services for a couple of hours for the last two days of our trip because we didn't discover their awesome services until venturing out of The Grand. Like I mentioned earlier in the blog, access to Moon Palace Sunrise and Moon Palace Nizuc were included if you're staying at Moon Palace The Grand. That was the biggest perk for staying at The Grand.

The Playroom at Moon Palace Nizuc also had supervised childcare but it was for ages between 4 - 10 years old and had less activities in the room. However, they also had supervised childcare with a fun itinerary for the kids. I think if your kids are on the younger side, this would be more suitable for them. We decided not to use the Playroom Nizuc's services because it was smaller in size and did not have an Xbox game console that my kids really liked. Like Moon Palace Sunrise, kids under 4 years old were allowed in the Playroom only if they are accompanied with their parents or guardians.

The Playroom at The Grand was the biggest of all and multi-leveled, but kids ages 8 and up (including teens) do not get tight supervision. Kids who are ages 7 and under had to be accompanied by an adult so we accompanied my kids the whole time because one of my sons was 7 years old.
Playroom Review at Cancun Moon Palace
The Playroom Review at Moon Palace
Playroom Review for Kids at Moon Palace Cancun
Playroom at Moon Palace The Grand
I didn't mind this because I had a great time playing with them and was able to play on the big Pac Man console at the arcade. I really loved watching my kids have fun there and playing with all the free arcade games at The Grand's Playroom! I think the reason why they didn't have the same supervision and well trained staff like the Playroom at Sunrise had was because this Playroom also allowed teens to come play without supervision and teens don't need to be babysat.
Mini Golf Review at Moon Palace The Grand Cancun
My younger son and I also played at their indoor glow-in-the-dark mini golf room so it was a fun way to have one-on-one mother and son bonding time with him at this particular Playroom.

To iterate, my kids liked going to the Playroom at Sunrise the best as they prefer organized play and all the fun activities that they had there. My kids currently get intimidated by bigger kids so the narrowed age group that the Playroom Sunrise cared for worked very well for our family while my kids are still on the younger side as elementary kids.

Rush with Shorter Layover from Cancun to Denver Stop And U.S. Customs and Border Examination to Get Back to U.S.

I had such a wonderful vacation and the staff at Moon Palace made everything so easy that shifting back to the close of our vacation seemed so abrupt. Plus, traveling internationally is not as easy as domestic. The last time I few out of the country was before having kids so it's been a long time! I was not expecting to be so stressed out coming home during our layover. Our layover at Denver was 1.5 hours long, which worked out just fine when we were traveling to Mexico but not so much for coming back to America. I had forgotten that the process required an extra step and that we had to claim our bags during the layover and then checked them in again before going through the TSA line in the U.S. to get on our last plane. On top of that, our plane was delayed by 15 minutes and we sat in the second to last row on the plane so we're almost dead last getting off the plane.

Once we got off of the first plane, we had a lot of things to take care of before hopping on the last plane. The kids needed to use the restroom after our 4.5 hour flight from Cancun to Denver and were hungry so after getting off of the plane, we rushed to the restroom, walked a long way to find our bags at baggage claim, checked them in again, went through a few lines to get processed, hopped on the tram to get from terminal A to terminal B (where our plane to San Luis Obispo flew out of), bought some hot dogs and skedaddled to B12 where they announced that Group 3 (our group) was ready to board. We had made it! I guess even if we had arrived 5 minutes later, we would still be okay but I was herding my kids like cattle almost the entire time because their little legs didn't want to move fast. So, be wary of the extra step with baggage and try not to overly stress like I did.

Hope to Return to Moon Palace in Cancun

Our family had one of the best vacations we've ever had during our stay at Moon Palace in Cancun, Mexico. Our stay included food, drinks, entertainment and had some interesting elements like riding on golf carts everywhere to get to places within the resorts and watching the Glow Motion Show. It was really all inclusive and I really like not having to worry about bringing my wallet. That is true inclusivity and a grand vacation. We had such a great time that I hope to return again one day to eat at the restaurants that we missed and enjoy all the other shows that we didn't have time for. This vacation was not sponsored in any way and we paid for our airplane and resort stay ourselves. See a couple of quick videos of our vacation highlights at Moon Palace in Cancun below.


Suggested Things to Have for Airplane and Vacation
  • Kid's sunscreen (pack in checked in bags only and not in carry on, if you are buying the regular size because TSA will toss it if it's in your carry on bag)
  • Fun luggage tags for the kids to get them excited for the trip
  • Swim goggles for kids
  • More than 1 swimsuit for each person (so that while one is still wet and needs drying, you still have one that is still dry for comfort while walking from the room to the pool)
  • Unopened snacks in their original package for kids for the plane like goldfish crackers or biscuits
  • Travel neck pillows for sleeping on the plane
Reading Suggestions
 

Best Places to Take Photos in San Luis Obispo County

December 14, 2023
There are many great photo opportunities throughout San Luis Obispo County. With famous California beaches, a cozy downtown and a lot of agriculture, you can take many different thematic snaps! Here are my favorites as a local and the pictures that I've personally snapped!
  • Pismo Beach Pier and Coastline

    Pismo Beach Pier Drone Pictures
    A lot of visitors from the Central Valley, Los Angeles and Bay Area come to Pismo Beach to enjoy the beach weather and local restaurants. The Pismo Beach Pier is iconic and there are large standing neon PISMO BEACH letters right in front of pier that lights up at night in different colors.  See more pictures of San Luis Obispo County beaches that I've taken over the years.

    There is also a Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach that is free to visit but the best time to visit to see the butterflies is between the end of October through February. The trail from the Monarch Butterfly Grover is a short walk to the beach as well. 
  • Cambria Christmas Market (between late November through December)


    Cambria Christmas Market PhotosThe Cambria Christmas Market is run by Cambria Pines Lodge and has over 2 million lights during the holiday season. Starting in late November and all through December, their Christmas lights attract visitors locally and tourists as well. If you're staying at the hotel, the entrance to the lights is complimentary. Otherwise, it is a fee to enter the Cambria Christmas Market. They sell food and has train rides for an extra cost as well. See my short video of Cambria Christmas Market. Cambria is a stand out from the list of beaches in San Luis Obispo County because it is a really nice and quaint coastal town. It's quiet, secluded and has a famous beach called Moonstone Beach. Read more about Cambria, California.
  • Downtown San Luis Obispo and Bubble Gum Wall

    Best SLO Photo in Downtown

    In California, there is only one bubble gum wall and it is here in San Luis Obispo, specifically in Downtown San Luis Obispo. You can stick your own gum to the wall if you want. Downtown San Luis Obispo is a popular place for college kids and tourists to hang out. The walk around downtown can be hilly so wear proper shoes. They have a creek that runs along there and it's fun to stroll along it. The downtown area has a lot of wonderful restaurants, shops and a weekly famous Thursday evening farmers market. See upcoming free things to do in Downtown San Luis Obispo. There is also a movie theatre. You can read about my movie date experience at their downtown movie theatre in San Luis Obispo.
  • Flowers at SLO Creek Farms (seasonally)

    During the fall, many local farms in San Luis Obispo County sell pumpkins, flowers, apples and other crops. At SLO Creek Farms, they have many different flowers in the fall where you can handpick your own bouquet. It's very eventful around here in the county! Many other farms have flowers as well. See my fall page to see a list of pumpkin patches that are usually open every year around this season.
  • Granada Hotel & Bistro

    Best Hotel in Downtown SLO
    Granada Hotel is located in Downtown San Luis Obispo and also has a bistro on the ground floor of their property. We stayed at this historic hotel as a staycation for our anniversary. It's centrally located and is close to a lot of restaurants, shops and the weekly Thursday Farmers Market. We never had to use our car the entire time that we stayed here. It's a beautiful and romantic stay so I would not advise friends or siblings to share a room. I could see my spouse take a shower because there is no division between the see-through shower and our bedroom. Read my full review and see pictures that that I took during our staycation at Granada Hotel & Bistro.
  • Grover Beach/Oceano Dunes

    (part of Pismo State Beach, but it's a different vibe from Pismo Beach)


    We really enjoy being able to drive on the beach on the Grover Beach and Oceano side of Pismo State Beach. We've driven through the dunes part as well. Both locals and visitors can pay $5 to enter the driving part of the beach. Make sure you have a flag on your vehicle if you're going to the secluded dunes. Many tourists lump the Oceano Dunes as part of Pismo Beach, but it's not part of Pismo Beach. It's part of Pismo STATE Beach. Pismo State Beach includes Oceano, Grover Beach and Pismo Beach. Yes, I do sound like a local snob but for geographic and mapping sake, it's worthy to note so you know that you'll have to go specifically to Grover Beach or Oceano to get to the dunes and driving area of the beach! Read more about Grover Beach.
  • Vineyards at local Wineries in Edna Valley and Paso Robles

    Best Vineyards Photo in Paso Robles
    We've visited over 50 different wine tasting rooms as a local of San Luis Obispo County. There are over 200 of them! It's one of the best perks of living around here as our county includes Edna Valley and Paso Robles. See my top 10 favorites wineries that I've visited within San Luis Obispo County, including thorough reviews and pictures. The views of the vineyards are beautiful here and make a great place for a photo with with your friends or family. Some tasting rooms have a better view than others so do scope out for that. My top 10 favorite list has many that are fantastic for photo ops.
  • Shell Beach Cliffs


    Located in Pismo Beach, Shell Beach has the cliffs part of the area. It's quieter, has a lot of nice hotels and there are many entrances to the cliffs areas for a great photo opportunity. My favorite thing to do is take the kids to Spyglass Park in Shell Beach and hike down to the cliffs when the tides are low enough. Then, after we're done with exploring the tide pools, we hike back up and enjoy the playground there right at Spyglass Park. It is breathtakingly beautiful. Here's my cliff views from Spyglass Park below. To see a list of playgrounds where my kids and I have visited throughout San Luis Obispo County, go to my San Luis Obispo County playground section.

  • Morro Bay and Morro Bay Rock

    Morro Bay is one of the most famous beach areas in all of California and it's located in San Luis Obispo County. The Morro Rock is iconic and offers a great photo opportunity for your family. It really looks like a volcano when it's cloudy like there's steam coming out of it but it's actually a volcanic plug. There are many nice restaurants along Morro Bay and every year, they have a kite festival. See more pretty photos that I've taken at Morro Bay.
All photos on this blog entry were taken by SanLuisObispoMom.com.
 

About Me


San Luis Obispo Mom Originally from San Diego, California, I'm a San Diego State University alumna, veteran's wife and mom of two kids who were born two years apart. After living on the East Coast for 6 years, we now reside in San Luis Obispo County and here, the exploration continues.
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All photos (except for ads) on SanLuisObispoMom.com including: homepage, 'Family-Friendly Things to do' page, 'SLO Restaurants' page,'Mom Groups & Childcare' page, and 'blog' page were taken by me so they are my original content and belongs to this blog/website.

To find family-friendly activities in the SLO area, go to the 'Family-Friendly Things To Do' page.

Some of the links are just useful local information that I'm sharing for free and some are commission-based products that may help me earn a small commission for each sale to upkeep with the fees of running this local blog.



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