Club Med is considered the original all-inclusive resort and has locations all over the world, usually in exotic places. Some of the most popular locations are in North America and the Caribbean, and I thought I could give you a few pointers on how to plan your Club Med vacation with some specifics from my recent trip to Club Med Punta Cana.
Large resort – Note your landmarks
Club Med Punta Cana is one of Club Med’s largest resorts, and the resort is quite spread out, so make sure that when you leave your room you make note of the landmarks as the building names aren’t well marked.
Should I book a couple’s getaway at this family resort?
Club Med Punta Cana has a great kids program complete with kids pool and water park as well as great staff that are adored by the children. The benefit of having these children’s facilities is it gives parents’ time to themselves and those without children a peaceful relaxing getaway. Even the main pool and restaurant have a separate section for children.
Can I keep connected?
The Punta Cana resort offers wifi in certain areas of the resort, and a business centre with computers at an extra cost. Try to book the unlimited week pass if you will need to have computer access throughout your stay. The wifi tends to be spotty in this part of the world regardless of where we stay.
How is the beach?
Club Med Punta Cana boasts one of the finest beaches in the world, but how is it really? The beach is really good for children, because it stays fairly shallow. There can be weeds that wash up on the beach, but they are usually good about cleaning it up. The only down side is that when you wade out, there can be larger rocks along the way.
Mobility Issues – Will I be able to still enjoy?
Punta Cana has flat terrain that is wheelchair friendly. For those that have these concerns, Punta Cana is the best North American zone Club Med resort to cater to this need.
Experience the Culture at a Bargain
To get a low cost excursion in Punta Canatry bargaining with the taxi drivers at the resort taxi stand. Most drivers would be willing to take you on a city tour at a fraction of the cost.
Get the best Deals?
It pays to book early with Club Med. As long as you are more than 60 days prior to your departure you can rebook your stay if Club Med offers a new lower promotional price. When you see a new promotion come out that looks like it would save you money, just call and ask
your travel agent or Club Med to double check if you can save any money on the new promotion. This trick can save quite a bit of money, especially if you’ve got a knowledgeable travel agent – it’s a case where it pays to be with an agency.
Don’t pay membership fees
Also, ask, and a good travel agent should be able to discount the Club Med membership costs (Saves $60 per adult). Plus, every booking through a travel agent should be at better prices than booking directly with Club Med, and you get the additional advice.
Do you really need connecting rooms?
If your children/teens require only limited supervision request to be close together but avoid booking the connecting rooms, which will save you a few hundred dollars. Request to be close by and they seem really good about keeping families together.
Is the Insurance worth it?
Look at the Club Med’s total peace of mind insurance – it’s not a bad price at $79 per adult and $49 per child. This insurance will allow you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours prior to departure and still give you credit for up to 90% of the land value for future travel.
Make sure you know that the insurance only covers what you book directly with Club Med.
Things to Note
One of my worries about going to all-inclusive resorts is food allergies. So it’s good to know that Club Med will cater to food allergies.
No Tipping Required at Resort
Tipping at the resort is not expected or allowed
Bring a Watch
Make sure to bring a watch as there are very few clocks around the resorts, and the day’s activities are all scheduled at varying times – without a watch I found that I kept missing the ones I wanted to participate in!
There are many airlines that fly to the cities or areas where the Club Med resorts are located. If you’re flying out of North America down south, many people prefer getting a direct, non-stop flight. If you’re looking to save money, consider a flight with one connection as you can save a lot of money. Club Med offers flight plans as well, but before booking, check the cost of booking your vacation and airfare separately. If you book airfare separate you may be able to find better flight pricing except if you are comparing to a promo with chartered Club Med flights. If you book your flights separately make sure to book your transportation at the airport not through Club Med. This could earn you savings of up to 50% on airport transportation.
When you arrive, you have the choice of taking a shuttle to the resort or a cab. The shuttle is great if you’re not in a hurry, but you have to wait for 10-15 (or more) people to get organized before you can leave for the resort – and sometimes the resort is only a few minutes away! Look into the average cab cost, because if you know what you should be paying, you may save money and time taking the cab instead of waiting for the shuttle.
And there’s theme nights! Club Med resorts will have theme dress nights such as:
- Jeans & Blue
- Jeans & Black
- Black & White
- Coffee, Cream, Brown & White
- All White
- Free Casual
They’re optional, but if you want to participate, sometimes it’s good to know what theme nights may be available while you’re there. Both the resort manager or a travel agent would be able to get you this information!
Plus, Club Med offers extras for birthdays and anniversaries at no additional cost if you inform them.
Families of 3 can upgrade from a Club Room to the Family Club at no extra charge, and it’s a much better space. In Turquoise, the adult only resort, always request a second floor or higher room to avoid the noise and foliage that has grown up.
Request a late check out if the resort is not full- you don’t want to bake in the sun for hours before your flight and not have a place to freshen up.
Here’s a spreadsheet that compares the most popular Club Med resorts in North America and the Caribbean. [click on image for larger view]
For North America and the Caribbean, try the following agencies:
For Europe and other locations, try:
Good Information Sites