So today I am so excited to share this very comprehensive overview of some of the most fabulous Club Med properties out there! It is actually a compilation of two separate video chats I had with my dear colleague Maribel Lascalere who is the Business Development Manager for Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico Louisiana and Arkansas for Club Med. Maribel is my go-to person for everything Club Med which is why I invited her to showcase quite a few of her properties – but it is still only a sampling as there’s a lot more in their collection!
During our first chat we talked all about the Club Med Fun & Sun properties and then switched gears in our second chat and looked at the Ski and European properties. Yes, Club Med does ski destinations! In fact - they are the worldwide leader of all-inclusive ski vacations and offer unique locations throughout the European market in some of the best ski domains. And these are certainly a great opportunity for those who love to ski and love the snow - to be able to combine a few days of skiing with some sightseeing!
Let’s not waste any time and dig right into all of this great information that is sure to have you saying sign me up!
Background: Did you know Club Med has been around since 1950? Crazy right? That means they celebrated their 70th birthday this year! But I must point out that this is definitely not your grandmother's Club Med – meaning by no means has the product stayed in that era. It has evolved through the years and I know firsthand as I have stayed at several of the properties in the past few years. Now – another thing you may not have been aware of is that it was Club Med that originally started the all-inclusive concept way back then. And since they have been doing this for quite a while, they have been able to not only get their offering in some of the best locations - they also pioneered a lot of those destinations. For instance – they were the first resort in Cancun, Punta Cana, Xtapa and Turks and Caicos as well as other areas worldwide - and they continue to search out new locations to pioneer regularly.
Locations / Atmosphere: Club Med has more than 70 resorts around the globe and I teased Maribel that it feels like they’ve touched upon almost every single continent except Antarctica! One thing Maribel brought up was when they go into a destination, they always keep the setting – or the atmosphere - of where they are. This way every one of their hotels is unique and you actually know and feel like you're in that destination and not just at a hotel that could be anywhere. So, in reality they take on the personality and culture of each location they are present in to immerse you in it while you are staying there.
Value: So being an all-inclusive, of course all the normal inclusions are there – transfers, food, beverages, kid’s clubs. activities, water sports and entertainment.
Then in the ski destinations you also have ski lift passes, ski instructions (all levels) and ski room access all included as well. One of the things that makes this different from what you are used to when you take a ski trip in the US is the fact that everything is included. Normally you have to book your hotel or condo, then get your flights and transfers and once there you have to pay for your lift tickets and food and drink and well – everything else. However – when you ski with Club Med you pay just one price, and everything is included making it very seamless for you. And Maribel gave us a peak of possible savings when skiing at Club Med versus skiing in the US and the savings can be thousands! (Side Note: You do have to pay for your equipment rental - however - I can book it and pay for it ahead of time for you so that it's waiting for you in your locker when you arrive – keeping that seamless experience for you! And don’t worry - they all offer high level equipment for all different levels of skiers from beginner to expert.) And the best part? At most of them you won’t have to drag your equipment on a shuttle or walk it to the slopes as the majority of them are ski-in /ski-out. Which means that you go to the ski room – get your skis out of your locker put them on and ski right back out! (Maribel noted there are maybe only two that are not ski-in /ski-out.)
One thing that sets Club Med apart from other all-inclusive resorts is that for their sports and activities they also include instructions should you wish to take them – and not just at the ski destinations. So, for instance if you always wanted to paddle board but don’t know how - there is someone there to teach you how to do it correctly. As Maribel joked – they don’t just give you the paddleboard and say see you later! And this goes for tennis, golf, volleyball, water skiing, sailing and pretty much any other sport or activity they offer. And should you happen to know how to golf or play tennis - for instance – you can still get some extra pointers to improve your game!
The G.O.'s: What are G.O.'s? The G.O.'s are the “Great or Gracious Organizers” whom you will get to know quite well during your stay as they really spend the time to get to know their guests. This is simply because they are there for you - to help you in any way that they can whether it's with getting the hang of a sport or activity or even helping with the kids. You’ll find them eating and playing right along with you and ultimately, they become your friends. Their energy level is just so positive and high and it’s so much fun to be around them! Plus, the staff is multicultural so there are G.O.'s and staff members are from all over the world giving you the chance to learn about where they came from and their culture - and they get to learn all about yours in return.
For the Adults: At most of the properties there are more than 60 sports and activities options available and if you prefer an individual or private class those are available a la carte. And the instructors are some of the best – they are often true athletes helping out in their off season or they may be retired professional players. And at the resorts that offer Creactive by Cirque Du Soleil - which features acrobatic activities - those are being taught by instructors that either work for Cirque de Soleil or trained with Cirque de Soleil!
On the ski side of things, they have some of the best ski experiences out there - there's really something for everyone thanks to their after ski or apres-ski activities. So, after a day of doing runs on the mountain you can head to the spa for a massage or go sit in the pool or the sauna or even take a yoga class to wind down - as all of that is available at their ski resorts.
For the Kids: At all of the family friendly properties Club Med has amazing kids’ clubs for ages from four months old all the way up to 17 years old! And per Maribel the nice thing about their kid’s club is that they don't just put the kids in a room and turn on the TV – they actually get them out into the location they are in. For instance, in one of their new resorts in the Dominican Republic they have implemented gardening with the kid’s club so they can go out and plant and learn about the process – in turn getting them involved in the environment that they are in. And the clubs are divided up by age groups as such: Baby Club Med is for ages 4 months to 23 months, Petit Club Med is for ages two to three years old, Mini Club Med is for ages four to ten years old and Club Med Passworld is for ages 11 to 17 years old. And even within each club the kids are divided up – meaning they don’t have the four-year old’s and the ten-year old’s in Mini Club Med doing the same activities.
And those fabulous kids’ clubs are also a part of the ski resorts! And that includes teaching the little ones how to ski – or even snowboard. Typically, they start some of the kiddos as early as four years old - but it just depends on the whether there's some beginner slopes available at that destination. And – all of the instructors are professionals that speak English and hail from great ski schools. Plus, it is mandatory that they be certified in the country that they're instructing in.
Accommodations: So, once we figure out where you're going and when you're going and how many people are going - then we can take a look at the different accommodations that will be suitable for the number of people in your party. But rest assured that Club Med has everything from superior rooms - which are entry level - but even with the entry level there's plenty of space - to suites to deluxe rooms and at some of the resorts they even have chalets which are great for multi-generational families traveling together. What a cool experience it would be to have your own chalet!
Gastronomy: Club Med offers gourmet cuisine all day every day. And their internationally trained chefs mix in local, traditional foods along with international fare giving you a taste of the best of both worlds. And there is a higher level of cuisine even in the main restaurants - not just at the specialty restaurants. At the ski resorts - this is especially true - since they are mainly in Europe where I feel the food just tastes so much better to begin with thanks to no GMO’s. And don’t forget about those fabulous wines in the French and Italian Alps!
Sun and Fun Properties: These are just a sampling of some of the collection of the properties that belong in the fun in the sand and the sun category and offer a great way to rejuvenate and recharge our batteries – which we all need after the year that was twenty twenty!
Featuring four pools - an adult only pool, the kids club pool plus two other pools, water activities and tons of sports – you are not going to get bored here! Fun Fact: One of the fastest growing sports right now is pickleball (a paddle sport combining elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis) and you can find pickleball courts here. It has become popular for families to play together because the little ones can play along with them.
This property is a great place for multi-generational families looking to vacation together or if you're looking to maybe do a destination wedding and you want an all-inclusive property - this is certainly a great option.
The property has been renovated and the rooms are comfortable with lots of space to move around - which is another plus for families.
The resort features three sides of beaches plus the second largest reef in the world that starts there and runs all the way down to Belize - so it’s great for snorkeling and scuba diving. There is also the lagoon area which features calmer waters making it great for the young ones.
The social distancing aspect works well at this resort and here is why. One side of the resort features a long stretch of beach and - since the property is not located close to the hotel zone there's no traffic on the beach – i.e. – no one wondering over from other resorts – making it almost like having your own private beach. For more water fun there is a family pool as well as a splash pool for the kids and the kiddos even get their own little day beds to lounge around in!
Although it is not in the Cancun hotel zone - it is not far from Cancun - so you have that local cultural feel as it is only about 10 to 15 minutes away and everything is still easily accessible. And as Maribel pointed out when Club Med goes to a destination, they take on the culture and the feel of that area, so you feel like you're in Cancun.
The property has seen a lot of renovations and offer new family rooms that are quite spacious and feature separate kid’s rooms so the parents can be in their bedroom and the kids can be in theirs just like at home. Oh, and there are separate bathrooms too!
So, one really cool experience offered here – that yours truly tried! – is learning the trapeze. What I really loved was that no matter what your skill level was you were encouraged to give it a go. It really was done super elegantly in terms of teaching us all of the different techniques and even those of us who are not that flexible – we still got a chance to experience what it is like to be “flying through the air with the greatest of ease” or some variation of that! This is definitely a bucket list item and of course – there is no extra cost as it is included as a part of the all-inclusive package.
One thing I want to stress about this property is that it is small and is a quite different property overall so it doesn't have a lot of outlets that you think that you may need – when in reality it really has all you need. And there is an area called Sharkies which certainly provides you with the opportunity for some nightlife – and some amazing sunsets.
As for the accommodations you can choose from rooms with balconies where you will enjoy a gorgeous ocean view or if you want to be next to the party scene you can select a garden view room.
Maribel and team are really excited about this property as it is one resort built upon 93 acres that features four boutique villages throughout - so there's certainly something for everyone here. And that means lots of opportunity for social distancing room! It’s situated on 2000 feet of pristine white sand beach and they are the only resort in this area so once again they are doing what they do best - pioneering an area! And as Maribel noted that although she’s certain other resorts will follow - for now it's just Club Med so it's almost like being on you own private island! Fun Fact: It is considered an eco-chic resort and Club Med is incorporating a lot from the local areas – such as dealing with the coffee plantations located nearby to offer their coffee at the property.
The property is close to Samaná Bay which just so happens to be where the whales show up every year during whale watching season – usually the end of January through February - and sometimes the beginning of March - making it a prime location for spotting these magnificent creatures. And there are plenty of other excursions around the area that are just phenomenal too.
As for those the four boutique villages - there are two that are family friendly and two that are adults only:
This resort sits on 104 acres and offers something a bit different than the others. In addition to the main resort there is also an adult only section called Zen Oasis. This adult only section not only features its own private swimming pool, but it also has a section of the beach just for the adults! Another difference is that they offer their Exclusive Collections Tiara Space which offers you more luxury and more attentive service. So, you have a few different options of the atmosphere and service you experience at this property.
Club Med Punta Cana also offers the Creactive by Cirque Du Soleil experience which means there are over 30 acrobatic activities that anyone can enjoy! And it is a part of the all-inclusive package so there is no extra charge. PS - Maribel shared that she tried the bungee experience there and it was awesome.
There is a small airport which you would fly into and the resort is literally two minutes away. Club Med offers charter flights on American Airlines that you can package together from Miami right into San Salvador and back - making it very seamless. And of course I can coordinate the flights for you guys from your origin city to Miami making it completely seamless for you!
There is a gorgeous beach area that is perfect for water sports such as scuba diving and snorkeling – in fact, they have dubbed it a scuba divers paradise.
The whole feeling of the resort is a very tranquil feel because they are so secluded and once again it’s another location where you will feel like you are on your own private island with your own private beach. Great for honeymooners!
As for the accommodation they are two story little villas along the beach - so it's not a high rise – which also gives it that deserted island vibe.
Along with the renovations they opened a lot of new experiences such as a new spa experience with treatment rooms on the beach, a beauty salon and an aquatic treatment center. Hello heaven!
They also added new dining experiences in the form of a beach lounge as well as a rum cellar - which Maribel added that she can't wait to experience – and I agree! There were also extensive renovations done to the main restaurant as well as the addition of two new bars by the beach.
A Zen Oasis area was also added – which we mentioned earlier is an area for adults only and along with that came some oceanfront rooms that are brand new. Plus, they redesigned all the other rooms so as I said it really is like staying at a brand-new resort.
And for those of you guys who are based in the New York area JetBlue does have direct flights into the Guadalupe Islands. And if you are not familiar with the Guadalupe Islands there is a video on my Facebook and YouTube page where we tell you all about this gorgeous archipelago of five islands in the French Caribbean. It offers a great Creole experience and since its part of France they actually work on the euro - so it’s going to be little different than some from the other properties where everything is based on the US dollar.
Another property with plenty of room for that social distancing thing - including a 2500-foot beach that is a swimmable beach – unlike Cabo. This one is also a great family resort.
A cool thing here is that there is a little island off of the shores of where they resort sits called Ixtapa Island and you can actually take a boat over to it for a little excursion to explore the area. There is also a fabulous sunset cruise you can take part in and for the kids there is the turtle release - where they will release the babies back into the wild – and is always to see! There is also golfing here for my golfers and a Convention Center which makes it great for business offsites or retreats.
And the accommodations themselves consist of spacious rooms along with couples’ suites and family suites as well.
It sits on one of the most beautiful beaches in Martinique and is great opportunity for you to participate in water sports including waterskiing, wakeboarding, scuba diving and kite surfing. And for those of you who just want to relax and be pampered it does feature the Club Med Spa by PAYOT.
This amazing resort has 52 villas with some situated right over the water and some on the beach - but they all come with private plunge pools! And if you so choose you can also opt for butler service and really spoil yourself!
Needless to say, this is great for honeymooners or just couples that want to get away to something extraordinary - a bucket list destination if you will. And making this trip come together and become a reality - from air to transfers to villa with everything included - is a one stop shop seamless experience!
Ski and Europe Properties: There are 20 Club Med ski resorts worldwide including two in China and two in Japan – which Japan - Maribel noted - is actually the next up-and-coming ski destination for a lot of avid skiers and ski clubs. Out of their ski resorts 16 out of the 20 are in Europe with the majority in the French Alps but there is one in the Swiss Alps and two in the Italian Alps - so needless to say they have got some great ski domains covered in this area! And guess what? We are also getting a Club Med ski resort here in North America as the Club Med Québec Charlvoix will be opening in Quebec in December 2021.
Below we've highlighted the most popular picks of the ski and Europe resorts. And do note that some of them are open year-round while some are only open seasonally - just for the ski season. So technically you could go to some of these resorts in the summer and enjoy biking, hiking and mountain activities then return for the skiing and other winter sports! And another thing to note is that a lot of these resort areas are in or close to little villages so in case you don't want to ski one day you can walk into the village and explore and go shopping. There is definitely more to do than just ski so if you are someone who wants to be out in a winter wonderland but are not a skier – you are guaranteed not to be disappointed!
And now Maribel is going to let us in on why we should ski – and do Europe – with Club Med!
Club Med Quebec will be open year-round meaning you can enjoy all the amazing waterfront activities at this resort in the off season as well – perhaps adding a stop in Montreal for a few days - which is only about three and a half hours away driving distance.
So here’ a fun fact for you. Club Med used this very resort before – in fact, it was actually one of their first resorts in back in the 1960’s! Back then they had it designed as a hut concept – with little huts all around the resort. Years later they closed it down but kept the property – so now - instead of little huts – they have Villettas – or little wooden villas. These Villettas are basically like your own little standalone room so to speak - and come with jaw-dropping views of the Mediterranean. Imagine how neat it is to walk out your door and onto your deck – pretty much just you and the marvelous sea views!
For this resort you would fly into Sicily and good news my NYC peeps - there are direct flights into Sicily from Newark. And if you wanted to make this a multi-destination trip, we can easily create an Italian exploration for you including Sicily and perhaps combine it with Rome.
And the accommodations are pretty gorgeous – nice clean lines with a European flair but modernized so everything is really up to par in terms of what we are accustomed to. Oh, and it is family friendly too!
Maribel relayed to us that she was lucky enough to go to this resort a couple of years ago for a sales meeting and she fell in love with it because of all of the acreage and the fact that it was so spread out. She noted that it sits on an olive orchard which is an oh so great place to plop down, have a drink, relax and take it all in.
And at this family friendly resort you can also participate in Creactive by Cirque Du Soleil or for the not quite as adventurous - or pliable - there is golf and tennis as well as other options. And since it is only 30 minutes from the Nice (and the Nice airport as well) you could make this your home base and go on different excursions every day - including Nice of course – as well as Monaco or Cannes or a great little village like Saint-Paul de Vence. It really is just a great location where you can venture off to other destinations throughout the southern part of France from.
The rooms at this property have been renovated and they offer many different room types based on the number of people in your family. They also improved the golf experience – which speaking of – by the way - this resort is perfect for golfers as they have a golf course there that actually sits up on a cliff! They also added a new space for adults only which is our Zen Oasis area that we touched upon in previous properties. And of course, there is also a wonderful beach area and it is family friendly (other then Zen Oasis of course!)
And of course, there are plenty of activities onsite as well including the trapeze, tennis, archery, scuba diving – which is new to the resort - and even water skiing.
Safety: Right now, at Club Med the motto is Safe Together. There are elevated safety measures for staff members who were trained by Crystal which is a certified company that Club Med is utilizing to make sure all precautions are taken and taken correctly. The staff are following all of the safety protocols and recommendations from each country (and states because they do have a resort in Florida). Among the most common are temperature checks upon arrival, masks and gloves worn, temperatures taken throughout the day, numerous sanitizing stations throughout the properties, safe distancing at restaurants and other venues and a doctor or a nurse available onsite 24 / 7.
Another plus are the spacious outdoor areas they have which of course are especially important - and in demand - these days with social distancing being the new norm. They do have the luxury of space at their resorts - whether in North America or worldwide - so it doesn't feel like you're just clustered with a bunch of people. They average 50 acres on their resorts so it's not like they’re in a condensed area. In addition, Maribel noted that they are going to be opening at 65% capacity instead of 100% capacity so that also helps - as that comes out to about three guests per acre instead of say 100 people per acre.
Updated COVID-19 Information: As each property resides in a different destination please check with the Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health in the destination you are interested in visiting for up-to-date entry requirements.
For the CDC’s most up to date information on COVID-19 click here. And for the most up to date COVID protocols at Club Med click here.
Whew! It’s like I just went around the globe with all of you in a short period of time! Now we just need to get there physically! And just think - as I stated in the intro this was just a sampling – to whet your appetite so to speak - so keep in mind there are others out there!
Ok so here is the scoop. Club Med has flexible policy AND they will always honor their best rate. So, I definitely encourage you to book early as that's when they have the best rates out there – per Maribel - and it is also when you will find the best room availability. Because remember - once that room you are looking for is booked - it's gone.
For more details on the fabulous Club Med properties, their price points and more - contact your Travel Guru! Oh, and if you need a payment plan to fund your travel adventure – we got those too!
During the shutdown of Covid19, Loulu Lima began interviewing many tourism boards, destination management companies and suppliers whom BHGH works with in the curation of your itineraries.