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Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort, one of the largest properties in Cancun equipped with some of the most extensive meeting facilities, has gotten even bigger with the addition of the $22 million Moon Palace Arena, which opened in February.
Designed by Elias Studio, the arena was part of a $100 million wave of renovations and expansions at the resort.
The 140,000-square-foot arena is located next to the resort’s Moon Palace Sunrise Lobby. It boasts eight meeting rooms, an exhibition area and foyer, an outdoor terrace for events, a mezzanine level with offices and boardrooms, the latest audio and visual equipment, snack areas and loading docks.
“Natural light comes in from the front and side windows, which open up into a courtyard where we can do events for up to 600 people,” said Alan Doyle, vice president of global sales, meetings and incentives at Palace Resorts, which owns Moon Palace. “There are no pillars in the space, so you can open it out and there aren’t any obstructions.”
This versatile layout enables the arena to serve a multitude of functions — from hosting meetings and conventions to acting as a venue for concerts and banquets.
“We’ve had to turn down groups in the past because we didn’t have the capacity for them,” said Doyle. “Now, we feel we can compete with destinations such as Las Vegas and Orlando.”
The arena can accommodate up to 10,000 guests, and Doyle hopes it will attract large groups, such as trade shows. He said the venue has been in constant use since its opening.
“When we’re not operating groups in there, we have the opportunity to host different types of entertainment, such as concerts,” said Doyle.
The Broadway musical “Chicago” and a performance by musician Michael Bolton were among the arena’s inaugural shows. The arena was host to the travel industry event Tianguis Turistico in May, as well as various events presided over by the president of Mexico.
The arena is currently preparing to host “Broadway on Ice.” This holiday show will feature Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano and musical numbers from classics such as “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Cabaret” and “Les Miserables.”
While some may think of Cancun as a spring break destination, there have been massive investments in building meeting spaces and diversifying hotel space in the past 10 years, according to Doyle. The Moon Palace Arena is Palace Resorts’ contribution to this boom.
“We are setting ourselves apart from the rest in terms of the size and variety of groups that we can bring to a destination,” said Doyle. “We’re helping Cancun become recognized as a leader of hosting groups, meetings and conventions.”