My recent visit to Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic was a marvelously easy, fun and pampered way to spend the week. It was a working vacation so the rest of the family stayed home and I had a beautiful room at the adult-only Zen section. (Am I supposed to say here that I missed my kids? Sorry!)
As to the all-inclusive nature of Club Med, there is something very freeing about locking your wallet away in your hotel safe upon check-in and never again thinking about the cost of what you are eating, drinking, doing or tipping. Club Med has French roots and, as such, its clientele is largely European. It is fun to hear so many languages spoken around the resort. The European nature also means that, unlike many other all-inclusives, they don’t feed you round the clock but rather at meal times—I appreciated the structure. The drinks never do seem to stop flowing, however, and snacks can always be found if wanted.
Club Med was the pioneer of the all-inclusive concept in 1950 and its history is interesting but I won’t delve into it here. Today there are over seventy Club Meds around the world and they are terrific for families. The company also has an impressive commitment to sustainable tourism and the Club Med Foundation serves the needs of communities local to the resorts.
Club Med worldwide has its own lingo. The resorts are called villages and each village is overseen by a chief (Chef du Village). GOs or Gentils Organisateurs (Gracious Organizers in English) are the staff. The guests are called GMs, Gentils Membres (Gracious Members). All of the GOs during my stay were super friendly and helpful, making for a happy group of GMs.
There really is something for everyone at Club Med, from sports, spas, kids programs, yoga and fitness classes, nightlife if you want it or just relaxation. Here are just a few examples of Club Med destinations that would be wonderful for a family or group vacation.
Cancun Yucatan, Mexico—Completely renovated property at the tip of the Riviera Maya. A great choice for families and easily accessible from much of the US.
Miches Playa Esmeralda, Dominican Republic—An Exclusive Collection property opening soon in a prime, undeveloped location of the Dominican Republic, just over an hour drive from Punta Cana airport.
Bali, Indonesia—Relax with the ocean, nature, adventure, art, culture and food of Indonesia.
Grand Massif Samoëns Morillon, France—All-inclusive skiing with Club Med can be a great value and exciting change from skiing at home. This ski-in ski-out resort is only an hour from the Geneva airport.
Cefalu, Italy—On the rocky coast north of Sicily, an Exclusive Collection resort offers history, nature, hiking and sea only 1 km from the nearby fishing village from which its name comes.
This list is just a start, of course, and there are so many more. I’ll be happy to help you choose the village for your family!