Spoiler Alert: Read on and yes, you’ll discover how Club Med spoils you.
We miss cruising. We really do. We love that the cruise lines we typically sail on — such as Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises — are all-inclusive experiences in which luxury knows no bounds. All drinks — alcoholic or not — and all meals and snacks are included, as well as a wealth of activities all day long. Just stash your wallet in your room safe and you are truly good to go, without ever being nickel-and-dimed.
So now that cruising is basically at a standstill, we searched for the next best thing — a land-based, all-inclusive luxury resort offering oceans of activities all day long, plus unlimited snacks, meals and drinks. We found it at Club Med in Cancun, which opened back up last October and this year celebrates its 45th anniversary. We didn’t need a Covid test before arrival and the only thing that was required upon departure was the Covid antigen test, which Club Med provided for all guests. Getting to Club Med Cancun was as easy as could be, and a smart alternative to cruising. Trust me — once you go to an all-inclusive resort such as Club Med, a mere hotel room — where you are charged for everything — will never suffice anymore for you and your family.
If you want activity, activity, and more activity for the family, Club Med — like many family-themed cruise ships — is just the place. A typical day can include — but isn’t limited to — yoga, power walking, scuba diving, aqua gym workouts, ping-pong, Zumba, archery, tennis, pétanque, trapeze (more on that in a minute), as well as sunset stretching and, of course, ocean swimming and sunbathing in the pool. That’s when you’re not waterskiing or playing tennis. And unlike many other beach destinations, Club Med offers wonderful live entertainment every night, whether it’s singers and dancers or a circus-like trapeze show. These circus acts are a sight to behold, with performers with beautiful bodies displaying impressive talent. Furthermore, like a luxury cruise line, the shows are so good that I would happily pay admission.
Let me tell you more about the trapeze. There it stood in all of its glory, in a special place on the resort. The two trapeze artists held court, Tammy and Margaux, at the ready, all day long, to help guests try their hand at swinging on the trapeze. This was a phenomenal adventure. My husband, Bill — who contributed to the preparation of this story — was at first hesitant to go for it, but he mustered up his courage and not only swung on the trapeze but wrapped his legs around the bar and let go as he swung upside down. Now that’s brave.
Me? I was petrified. Just practicing on the on-ground swing made me nervous. But after much thought about it (and believe me when I say much thought) I summoned up the courage to try it. I was OK climbing up the ladder to the platform, but once I got there, I started to cry I was so scared. To me, it really felt life-threatening — even though I was tethered on both sides of my waist, with a net below. It took me at least 10 minutes to summon up the courage to bend forward (Yikes) and grab the bar. Tammy and Margaux were just wonderful as they kept telling me that I certainly could do it. And you know what? I did. And proved to myself that I could face my fear. (And you thought walking on coals at a Tony Robbins conference was scary.)
In this story I can’t say enough good things about Tammy and Margaux — two beautiful young women with sparkling personalities that shone so bright. They also put on a heck of a circus show at night for the entire resort. It’s that kind of thrilling entertainment that Club Med offers, which spoils you. One trip here, and you’ll never want to go anywhere else with your family.
Food, glorious food
The cuisine at Club Med Cancun is also some of the best that we’ve experienced anywhere in the world. Most nights Bill and I dined at The Hacienda, where numerous stations are set up to take you on a culinary escape. The food here, I must say, was outstanding — whether it was a simple skewer of grilled chicken or something more elaborate like Beef Wellington in Bernaise sauce, it was decidedly delectable. The menu at The Hacienda changes every night and there are options galore. There are always stations featuring Mexican, a daily carving station of, say, turkey roulade or chicken, plus pizza, pasta and salads — as well as beautiful selections of cheese and bread. (The chocolate-laced loaf was scrumptious.) There are numerous fish and meat choices, vegetarian options, baby food (for families that come with their little ones). Desserts await at both lunches and dinners, and an ice cream bar featuring cones, sundae, and other sweet temptations will lure you. Always responsive to guest requests, executive chef Nicolas Schellinger made me special Nutella ice cream one night. It was dee-lish. And we loved pairing the chocolate with the coconut ice creams, so that your dessert tasted like the best Mounds bar ever. The kids here had a field day.
One reason the food is so great is because Club Med is a French company, where “ooh la la” goes into every bite. Schellinger hails from Alsace, and his inimitable touch is everywhere. Take the shrimp cocktail, for example. I have to say that Club Med’s take on it makes it one of the best shrimp cocktails I’ve ever eaten. Here, Chef Schellinger uses his special recipe of placing all the ingredients in a huge Margarita glass with a stem in the shape of a cactus. In it goes shrimp, guacamole and pico de gallo salsa, among other things, plus a cocktail sauce featuring cognac. Simple, delicious and melt-in-your-mouth wonderful. These are some definitely upper-crust crustaceans.
Last but not least, the beaches at Club Med Cancun were gorgeous. Picture-perfect powdery sand and turquoise waters — that’s the real reason we came and whenever I parked my posterior in a pink tube, in the Gulf of Mexico, I was filled with joie de vivre. And that is what a stay at Club Med is all about. Voilà.
Rates start at $136 per person per night. Kids under age 4 stay for free and kids under age 16 stay for 50% off. For more, visit clubmed.us. And follow Debbi on Instagram at @DebbiKickham.