Club Med’s new focus is on upscale family vacations – and that’s exactly what Club Med Ixtapa Pacific delivers. After a $20 million renovation, the resort re-opened in 2008 as an upscale family all-inclusive.
If a visit to the resort in April 2008 was any indication, Club Med’s commitment to providing a sophisticated experience is most definitely working.
Accommodations: Club Med Ixtapa Pacific opened 98 rooms in December 2007 and the remaining 200 in March 2008. Accommodations feature renovated, enlarged rooms and 60 family suites. All rooms offer flat-screen TVs, Internet access and high-quality amenities. The family suites feature two bedroom areas -- one for the kids, including two twin beds and a flat-screen TV, and one for mom and dad with a king-size bed, a sitting area, flat-screen TV, and balcony or patio access. The bathroom area divides the two bedrooms and features a separate tub, an oversized shower, two sinks and a separate toilet. There is plenty of closet space and storage, all of which should be much appreciated by family guests.
The resort’s all-suite Sol building offers a deluxe experience for those who crave even more upscale offerings. There is a concierge service on the first floor, and suites feature a minibar, room service, a computer with Internet connection, newspaper service, private pickup from the airport, bathrobes and slippers, and fresh flower arrangements. If your family group includes grandparents, request the guest rooms closest to the main resort area and on the first floor.
Public Spaces: The resort’s best feature is its beachfront location. It sits on 34 acres on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, and much of the public space is designed to take in the magnificent view that nature has provided. The public spaces are designed to evoke a family hacienda. Arches, pergolas, bold Mexican colors and modern convenience meld with open-air spaces -- starting with the lobby and reception area -- offering guests the chance to enjoy the year-round magnificent weather.
Dining: Club Med’s strategy to create upscale family resorts is definitely reflected in the quality and quantity of dining choices available at its three (and a half) restaurants. All food, drinks and snacks are covered in the all-inclusive pricing. The buffet-style El Encanto is the largest of the restaurants, with five themed, air-conditioned dining rooms, allowing for a more intimate experience. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant offers international fare, American favorites and kid-friendly food. Specialties include fresh seafood, including lobster, shrimp and whatever is caught that day. Beef lovers and vegetarians alike will find a wide variety of choices. Entrees, appetizers, salads and, of course, desserts are available in abundance.
Miramar, which also is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, is the resort’s open-air, seaside, a la carte Brazilian grill house. Luna Azul, offering fusion cuisine served a la carte, offers a beautiful setting and is open only for dinner. You should leave the kids in Mini Club and enjoy a special night there. Sirena is a new restaurant just for kids, located in the Mini Club. It is whimsically designed like to resemble a tree house, complete with “tree stumps” for chairs.
Kids’ Clubs: Ninety-nine percent of Club Med’s business comes from North America, and 80 percent of that is families, so not surprisingly, the company has created an environment that is very much about kids. Club Med’s program is available for guests from four months to 17 years. Young guests get to experience such thrills as the flying trapeze, kayaking, performing in shows and the warmth of unbelievable staffers who truly love being with kids all day. Facilities for the kids’ programs are set in their own corner of the resort, complete with a swimming pool and playground made to size.
Club Med also truly caters to babies, something not easily found in most resorts, where toilet training is usually required for admittance to camp. Club Med Ixtapa Pacific’s Baby Club Med (four to 23 months) features games, puppet shows and even a private dining room. A personal chef prepares fresh baby food daily from all-natural ingredients. Parents can access a 24-hour convenience room equipped with sterilizers, blenders and bottle warmers. Club Med’s Baby Welcome offers a variety of amenities for toddlers, including strollers, toys, cribs, changing tables, baby baths, changing tables and high chairs.
The Petit Club Med is for kids 2 and 3, Mini-Club Med is for visitors 4 to 10, and Junior Club Med is for teens and “tweens.” Each club has its own age-specific schedule of fun. New for the younger kids is Mini Chef, which features a cooking lesson each day. Families can leave the kids from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and each day ends with an event in which mom and dad are invited to participate. The fun picks up again from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., including dinner. Parents are free to drop off and pick up their kids at any time during these hours. The program is free to all kids 4 and up, with a minimal fee charged for the youngest participants. An in-room baby-sitting service is also available for a minimal fee.
Activities: It’s not just the kids who can try new activities. Parents can enjoy being active as well, whether its watersports, the flying trapeze or enjoying live nightly entertainment – it’s all part of the inclusive pricing. Guests can enjoy a climbing wall, with group lessons at all levels; fitness and aqua fitness classes; a fitness center featuring cardio equipment and weights; eight tennis courts (three of which are floodlit), with group lessons at all levels, archery, in-line skating; basketball; volleyball; beach volleyball; water polo; catamaran sailing with classes; and kayaking. Then there’s always the chance to enjoy the large swimming pool or the half-mile beach. A spa offers massages, facial and body treatments, as well as manicures and pedicures, for an additional charge.
Club Med set out to offer its guests the best location, best accommodations and the best service, and Ixtapa Pacific seems to be doing just that. Families seeking an upscale experience that is most decidedly kid-friendly really can’t do any better than this. The value is excellent, since Club Med offers one all-inclusive price. Anyone with an active family will be happy there, and the memories are unbeatable. The quality of the food is yet another selling point for those who might fear the usual dull all-inclusive buffet, and the choice of a la carte restaurants can help those who prefer to be served. The service in the restaurants and bars is excellent.
For more information or reservations, call 800-CLUB-MED or visit www.clubmed.us.--Stacey Zable