All the Fun You Can Eat...Club Med for the whole family Inspired by visions of topless beaches and round the clock toga parties, I never dreamed of bringing my family to a Club Med. But over the years, the Club shed its hedonistic overtones and now offers G-rated packages at many of its locations. So we selected the Club Med on St. Lucia, a former British colony with French place names.
It seemed exotic...yet safe. This facility has since been converted into Aquarius, a no frills resort affiliated with Club Med, so these comments may not be typical for every family oriented Club Med. The Rooms When we considered an all inclusive resort, we assumed it would include a hotel room rather than a broom closet with twin beds. Ever been to the men's room at Billy Earle's Texaco in Sardis, Mississippi? Well, our bathroom had the same designer. If this is the antidote for civilization give me the poison.
The Activities Obviously, the Club Med staff does not want to spend all your time in your cubicle. So they provide activities for every age group and level of athletic ability. Our kids signed up for go carts, golf, archery, swimming, scuba, street hockey...and that was just the first morning. Other choices include tennis, horseback riding, triathlon, alligator wrestling, jousting, chainsaw juggling and demolition derby. Being adventuresome, I signed up for sitting in a lounge chair to see if any woman under 200 pounds between the age of 18 and 55 would go topless.
My wife opted for water aerobics, an activity where a very tan woman barks confusing directions in French at a pod of pale Americans bobbing in the water while Euro Techno music annoys the rest of the people at the pool. Then there's the circus activities. Every now and then I'd glance at the trapeze, high wire, trampoline and other instruments of torture. I never liked clowns. I didn't spend all this money to become one. No thank you. Kids are divided into four age groups from toddlers to teens. With proper planning, family members can avoid each other for a whole week.
The Food Club Med's real claim to fame is the food. And there is a lot of it. All identified by little signs in French. Even the hot dogs seemed to taste better with French names. Hot food. Cold food. Soups. Fruit. Vegetables. Salads. Wonderful fresh bread. French food. Italian food. Chinese food. Burgers. Pizza. Ice cream sundaes. Fresh pastries. All you could eat and then some. And some people still asked for doggy bags. Club Med encourages camaraderie in the dining room.
The forced mingling provides an opportunity for total strangers to develop a genuine and lasting dislike for each other. Sometimes we were joined by French or German people who claimed to be world travelers, but didn't even know who Brett Favre is! Boy, talk about being provincial. The Entertainment Every night the staff provided free entertainment such as lip synching to Disney cartoon songs or dancing in front of someone's vacation slides.
I now have a much better appreciation for the production values of my sixth graders' school plays. Every night had a theme, like "Watch Your Kids Bounce on a Trampoline While Wearing Silly Costumes." The Money Instead of using real money, you buy bags of colored pop beads which you trade for overpriced drinks or snacks. And they say the Indians got a raw deal for Manhattan. The theory is to make every one equal regardless of social class.
It didn't work. The rich folks couldn't resist prancing around in their pop bead chokers and tiaras. One aristocrat was dripping with enough beads to keep a small village in Red Stripes and Doritos for a month. Show off. The Bottom Line A family Club Med is a summer camp without reveille. A cruise ship without sea sickness or Cathy Lee.
A non stop orgy of food and sports instead of the other kind at Hedonism II. In short, a family oriented Club Med is a wonderful experience for a kid...and for adults who want to be treated like one.