What are your thought about inclusive resorts?
We have been to a couple of them, and we always seem to go back to Club Med.
You either love it or hate it.
Club Med vacations are something we always look forward to.
We like the thought of knowing what to expect.
Luc has been a CM client for years.
He still recalls the time when the Club Med rooms were simple huts on the beach without lock or TV. And food was put in the middle of large tables instead of the spectacular buffets nowadays.
Quite a few people still think that Club Med is a hippie resort for that reason.
Why we keep going back to Club Med
1) The food
What is Club Med known for?
First off, for its food which is always great.
Whatever Club Med resort you go to, there is always a lot of choice of local food that is extremely well prepared. Lots of local fresh ingredients and specialties as well.
We certainly remember the tower of fresh lobster and sea urchin at the Club Med Albion in Mauritius (and the real caviar too).
Sure you can also find the usual food corners with pizza, burgers, fries, salads and soups. Every night the buffet includes a specialty cuisine or theme such as French cuisine, seafood, Middle Eastern, Japanese cuisine etc.
Some larger resorts also have a la carte restaurants that are also included in the price.
Breakfast offers anything you want and more: Danish pastries, eggs cooked to order, fruits, yogurts etc. Too much to sum up.
And have we mentioned the desserts yet?
The kitchen staff has some of the best pastry chefs and it shows in their dessert display. Their signature lemon tart is absolutely to die for.
When you read Club Med reviews clients practically always agree that the food is amazing. Sure, you will always find people who don’t agree.
Fair to say that we have never had a bad meal at a Club Med resort. And all in all we have stayed in about 50 of their resorts up until now.
2) The location
Club Med also knows how to choose the best locations for their hotels and resorts.
As it was one of the first European resort companies in the 1950’s, Club Med was usually the first as well to build a hotel on a stretch of bare land, uninhabited island and white sandy tropical beach.
Or find the perfect spot with the best views up in the mountains for a ski resort.
Club Med doesn’t own all of its own resorts.
Some resorts are leased for short or long term.
3) The atmosphere
Like we said before: you either love it or hate it.
The staff is very attentive and talkative. If you arrive from the airport a bunch of staff members will be greeting you at the entrance. Depending on what resort you go to the staff all speak French, English or both. Usually the person in charge of the entire resort (the French call it ‘le chef de village’) will personally greet you and give a small introduction.
During the day the staff will set up several activities such as aqua gym, yoga, sports tournaments, dancing classes, board games, fashion shows etc.
At noon the pool area comes to life with lots of music, the traditional crazy signs group dancing and pre lunch drinks and snacks.
No, you don’t have to participate if you don’t want to.
If you are not into the whole music and dance thing, some resorts also have quiet area adults only with swimming pool and no music.
In the evening the bar area becomes very lively. Drinks and pre dinner appetizers as much as you want.
After dinner you can enjoy a show in the theatre brought to you by the staff. Expect dancing, (funny) magic tricks, stand up comedy.
The bar area stays the place to be at night to have drinks and talk. And it all starts again the next day.
Let’s say that depending on what resort you visit and how it is run, the atmosphere can be different to another resort. And that certainly has to do with how the resort manager in charge is running things.
We got the best atmosphere in resorts where the manager was omnipresent and keeping the staff on their toes.
How many Club Med resorts are there?
Club Med was founded in 1950 in France.
It’s full name is Club Méditerranée.
Nowadays it is owned by the Chinese Fosun holding group.
Club Med has over 70 all inclusive resorts in 26 countries all over the world. You can find all the Club Med locations on their website.
Is Club Med all inclusive?
You can book a holiday at a Club Med resort with or without transportation.
What is included in your price: transfer from and to the airport, your room of course, full board food and (alcoholic) drinks all day long, sports, skiing (or golf, tennis, sailingwaterski, etc.) courses and equipment, fitness centres, shows, cooking classes, all sorts of activities.
Things like excursions, wellness, beauty treatments and diving lessons are not included.
Is Club Med luxury?
Club Med uses its own star rating for its resorts: the level of luxury is marked by a trident.
Five tridents is the highest and most luxurious resort rating. In recent years some 4 trident resorts have also opened an exclusive 5 trident area to which you have access if you booked more expensive rooms or villas.
Is Club Med good for families?
Yes, Club Med offers enough activities for kids.
Some resorts even have a Baby Club and Mini Club, a type of kindergarten where children are looked after all day by professional care takers while parents can relax and enjoy their holiday.
The buffet also offers plenty of food suitable for kids, even baby food and bottle warmers or microwave ovens. Kids up until 6 years also stay for free in the resort.
A couple of Club Med resorts are adults only.
Is Club Med good for singles?
You will certainly find enough people in for a chat or spend the day with.
Clients and staff. The staff will especially try to include you in activities or invite you to join a group of other singles for dinner, if you are open to it of course.
Club Med resorts can charge a single supplement, check before you book.
Do you tip at Club Med?
No, tipping is something that is not expected here.
Sure you can leave a little something for the staff cleaning your room on the last day.
If you don’t, that is perfectly OK.
Club Med 2
Club Med doesn’t only have resorts: cruise ships as well.
In fact 2 ships at one point.
The Club Med 1 was sold to Windstar Cruises and is called Wind Surf today.
The second cruise ship Club Med 2 is still in use.
We traveled on the Club Med 2 years ago: we boarded in Rio de Janeiro, visited a couple of coastal towns all the way to Arrecife. And then we started off on a transatlantic crossing to the Canary Islands.
Is the Club Med 2 a modern ship?
No, when we were on it the ship was 22 years old. The rooms are comfortable but basic. We loved being on the ship though. Just because we love traveling on ships, and also because Club Med 2 is a beautiful 5-masted sailing ship.
However the entertainment staff was quite absent, the cruise manager was taken off the ship after 7 days and replaced.
The food was unfortunately mediocre. Like we said before: we never had a bad meal at a Club Med resort on land. The Club Med 2 head chef always came up with excuses when people complained. Of ammonia reeking lobster and beef wellington wrapped in leftover crepes instead of puff pastry.
Far beyond the usual standard.
Fortunately we made some foodie friends on board and the bar staff kept our spirits up.
Let’s hope things have changed since then!
What is the best Club Med resort?
We went to many of them over the years.
Quite a few brand new and luxurious resorts were built as well so the competition for the best Club Med resort is certainly higher now.
However the best resort we went to is the Albion resort in Mauritius.
We were there for our honeymoon and because of that we got an upgrade from a standard room to a bungalow on the beach. The food was fantastic. Fresh oysters, lobster, caviar, local Mauritian curries, fresh fish, you name it. The staff was amazing.
The other guests were mainly couples like us.
Great atmosphere. We booked a couple of scuba diving trips and we loved it.
What alcohol is included in Club Med?
The red, white and rosé house wine is free and plentiful.
Cocktails are also included and they are very good and generously poured. Beers, sparkling wine and a nice selection of spirits at the bar are included as well. Expensive champagnes, premium liquors and wines (if available) are not included.
Is there a dress code at Club Med?
Quite often resorts will suggest a color or style to wear for the night.
However you are in no way pressured to be dressed accordingly. And you will not be the only one wearing just what you want. Shorts are perfectly OK in the buffet restaurant during the day, however people tend to dress up a little for dinner.
Casual smart is more than OK. Or a dress and high heels.
Whatever you feel like wearing.
Club Med resorts are not the place for a flashy fashion show.
There is however a classic gala night called ‘la soirée blanche’ or simply the ‘white night’. If possible all dining tables will be set up outside and covered with white linen. It is the evening where more people do take the effort to wear something white.
But again, no pressure.
Whatever you do: you can leave your tux and ball dresses at home.
What is a GO and a GM?
A member of the entertainment staff is called a G.O., which stands for ‘gentil organisateur‘ or something like ‘kind staff member‘ in French.
The guests staying at a Club Med resort are called G.M., or ‘kind client’.
Last minute Club Med vacations
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Check whether that very attractive price at a specific resort is with or without transportation though. And if that price isn’t low just because the weather is not great at that location.
Myths about Club Med debunked
You have to participate
No, you don’t have to do any activities if you don’t like.
It is totally fine to just read books, sleep and eat all day.
No, neither will you be forced to share a table with someone else for dinner.
The restaurant staff will make sure to get you a table for 2 in a quiet corner if you like. And guide you to a larger table if you feel like talking to other people.
You can have a perfectly private and quiet holiday if you want.
It is all about partying
At Club Med music and throwing instant (beach) parties are not an exception.
If you feel like going up to your room or sit in a quieter area after your meal, that is up to you. No one will make you dance. At night the entertainment staff retires around 10pm. Parties never last until early in the morning.
The bar area usually closes around midnight.
Club Med is for families only
Check before you book if a Club Med resort is suitable for kids or not.
That counts for both families and people traveling without children. Some resorts will be packed with families, couples might find it too noisy and busy.
And vice versa, a Club Med golf resort will probably not be entertaining enough for kids.
How about you?
Have you ever been to an all inclusive hotel or resort?
What did you think of it?
Have you been to Club Med before?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
We’d love to hear from you.