Families searching for an active, multi-generational resort experience will find it in spades at Club Med Punta Cana.
With more than 70 beach and ski properties around the world, Club Med has evolved significantly since that sexy Hand’s Up ad campaign of the 1980s.
While Club Med still operates three adult-only properties (and many of its villages also have adult-only spaces), it has swiftly been shifting focus to the family market. This isn’t surprising given that the all-inclusive founded the world’s first kid’s Mini Club back in 1967.
More than 50 years later, Club Med offers kids clubs specifically curated to minis from four months to 17 years. It is also increasingly investing in programming that children, parents, and grandparents can enjoy together.
In May, Punta Cana launched the Amazing Family concept that includes activities like archery lessons, giant Jenga, family meditation, pool games, and circus training at the village’s CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil space.
Here, guests (aka Gentils Membres or G.M.’s) of all ages can learn juggling, trampoline, and trapeze skills under the guidance of Cirque-trained Gentils Circassiens (or G.C.s).
“The CREACTIVE circus space is a really big selling point for families,” says Alex Vilera, managing representative for Club Med Punta Cana. “There aren’t many places where you can practice circus arts from a young to an old age in a very safe environment.”
The Amazing Family program will launch in Cancun in September 2019 and will be unrolling at Club Med’s other properties over the next year.
“Before, there were a lot of activities for the kids and others for the adults, but [Amazing Family] meets in the middle,” says Vilera. “We have a dedicated team who organizes it for parents who don’t necessarily want to drop their kids off at the Mini Club all day. It lets them do everything together.”
Throughout 2019/2020, Club Med is also investing more than $3 million at its Punta Cana property to keep minis (and their parents) happy. This investment includes renovated kids clubs and water parks, upgraded sports facilities such as four new pickle ball courts, and refreshed connecting rooms for up to six people.
An international experience
Despite Club Med’s push to the family market, many misconceptions still exist that it’s an adult-only brand or that it’s a French-only resort, making it difficult for English-speaking kids to get by. In fact, all of the staff (aka G.O.’s or Gentils Organisateurs) are multilingual.
“Because of its location, Club Med Punta Cana is a very international resort,” says Alex Vilera. “Kids and teens are the ones that have the least issue with language. If they want to make friends and have fun, they figure out ways of communicating regardless of the language barriers.”
The misconception that most surprises Jacinda Lowry, national sales director at Club Med Canada, is that “many people think you book the resort for the experience and activities, but not for the rooms.”
READ MORE: 5 common misconceptions about Club Med
“It’s up to advisors to get up to speed on rooms so they get their client in the right category. If a [family] wants a certain luxury they will want a deluxe room or suite,” says Lowry. “We also have our 5 Trident/Exclusive Collection spaces in Punta Cana and Cancun. If experience or sport is the focus, then a Superior room will be fine.”
PAX recently had the opportunity to try out ‘le village’ of Club Med Punta Cana on a recent FAM trip geared towards parents and kids!
The Kids Club
The Mini Club was so fun! I made two friends who are the same age as me. The G.O.s are really nice and I got to swim in the pool a lot!
While my daughter was enjoying an afternoon at the Mini Club, I relaxed at the adults-only Zen Oasis lagoon pool and Hibiscus Bar. Then I went to the Club Med Spa by L’OCCITANE for a fantastic massage under one of the oceanfront palapas. Bliss!
I loved being able to choose what I wanted to eat and go back for more. The pizza and quesadillas were really yummy, but my favourite thing was the candy station!
There are two buffet restaurants (Hispaniola and Samana) and one à la carte (Indigo Beach Lounge) so we enjoyed a lot of variety at meal times. I liked how there were plenty of healthy options like fish, salads, and fresh fruit, as well as a nightly gelato bar.
I tried paddle boarding for the first time and my mom only tipped us over once! At CREACTIVE it was cool seeing kids on the trapeze, but it was really high so I went on the trampoline instead.
There were so many things for us to do together that we wouldn’t get to try at home, it was almost hard to decide. We were both a little nervous about the trapeze but watching a four-year-old do a backflip while gliding through the air inspired most of the parents there to take the plunge!
I got to sit in the front row of the Atlantis show with my friends from the mini club and see one of the G.C.’s I know do the splits up in the air!
Every Club Med has its own choreographed dance routine called Crazy Signs. They usually happen late at night but there are daytime versions too. It’s very addictive, tons of fun, and everyone can join in (no dance skills required!)
Club Med is amazing! My favourite G.O. was Nick because he was really friendly.
Our stay at Club Med Punta Cana was the perfect blend of family time and me time. The beach is beautiful, the rooms spacious, my daughter had a ball, and we can’t wait to go back. Hands up!
What's included at Club Med Punta Cana
- A swimming pool with a shallow section for babies and toddlers
- Step-up stools so kids can reach water fountains and buffets
- Child-height sinks in the common area washrooms
- Babysitting services
- Little tennis courts
- Baby feeding corners with purées, sterilizers, blenders, and bottle warmers
- A dedicated teen space (called Passworld) and spa services
- Electronic bracelets so kids can pay for what they need on account, and access their rooms.
- Roaming photographers that take professional family photos
Agents booking a Club Med trip for their clients can benefit from a new incentives program called Great Club Med Advisors.
Launched in 2019, it offers points that agents can redeem for room upgrades and free nights for both themselves and their clients. The more points an agent earns, the more rewards they get.
“We definitely use it as a tool to keep Club Med top of mind, and the feedback has been really positive,” says Lowry. “Also, the points don’t expire as long as they do one booking a year.”
Advisors looking to book Club Med for their family clients can now do so through the web-based booking system SIREV or by phone: 1-888-932-2582,