Club Med Cancun Yucatan is a GO for Families

By Nancy Schretter, Editor

Club Med is focusing exclusively on upscale and family-oriented vacations and its newly revitalized property in Cancun is the flagship for this philosophical shift. A revamped and classy Club Med Cancun Yucatan has emerged after $24 million dollars in renovations and it's a winner for families. While the flat screen televisions and chic European guest room decor are new, the quintessential hallmarks of a Club Med vacation have not been altered. The friendly G.O. staff, innovative cuisine, and wealth of all-inclusive activities are still as exceptional as ever.

Located on 22 prime acres at the tip of Cancun, Club Med Cancun Yucatan used to be an adults-only destination. Now, all of that has changed. The resort is chock-full of family-friendly amenities and programs for kids, and more are coming. "At Club Med Cancun Yucatan, we seek to bring families together," says Kate Moeller, project manager for Club Med Cancun Yucatan. "Parents and children are able to enjoy time together and discover the Yucatan Peninsula."

One of Club Med's greatest strengths is its people. At Club Med Cancun Yucatan, parents can enjoy time alone with confidence, knowing that their children are in expert hands. In 1967, Club Med opened its first Mini Club for children ages 2 to 11, pioneering the concept of activities geared to children. Since its debut, the program recruits experienced and specialized Gracious Organizers, called G.O.s, who place special emphasis on safety, hygiene, nutrition, and having fun. The G.O. ("Gentil Organizateur" or "Gracious Organizer") staff at Club Med Cancun Yucatan clearly love their jobs and are committed to making the guest vacation experience as enjoyable as possible. As a result, the programs and service are outstanding.

The Mini Club Med program at Club Med Cancun Yucatan caters to children ages 4 to 10. Activities include the flying trapeze, tennis, soccer, sailing, in-line skating, games, arts & crafts, mini-scientist programs, special shows, and other events. A gated area with a separate pool for younger children is available right outside of the air-conditioned Mini Club facility and there is also a baby pool for toddlers. Children may be divided in three additional groups, 4-5 years of age, 6-7 years old, and ages 8-10. The Mini Club Med operates Sunday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with a break before dinner, and is offered at no additional charge to guests. Family oriented activities, such as make your own pi˝ata and tie-dye events, are also offered periodically at the resort.

For families with older children, a Junior Club Med program is also available for kids ages 11-17. As any parent knows, the quality of a 'tweens and teens program is only as good as its staff and the energetic G.O.s leading this program are perfect for their jobs. The Junior Club Med program caters to young guests who are seeking new friends, independence, or just want to hang out in a group. Activities for this age group include games, parties, beach volleyball, arts & crafts, flying trapeze, trampoline, juggling, sailing, in-line skating, tennis, and much more. The program is available year-round for kids ages 11-13 and during certain school holidays and high teen occupancy periods for kids ages 14-17. Both programs are available to guests at no additional cost.

Passworld, a concept that caters exclusively to teens and 'tweens, will open at Club Med Cancun Yucatan this summer. Each Club Med Passworld has a different theme that caters specifically to teens, and the theme of Cancun Yucatan's Passworld will be decided in the spring. "This concept gets adolescents to interact and try activities while still maintaining their cool and allowing their parents some needed R&R," says Kate Moeller. "We have several Passworlds that have been extremely successful in European Club Meds, and many people have heard about The Ramp at Club Med Punta Cana."

Families with babies and toddlers aren't left out in the cold at this resort. Children up to 12 months of age stay free at this resort and Club Med's Baby Welcome Program provides a long list of amenities such as bottle warmers, high chairs, baby baths, strollers, cribs, baby food, and more. There is even a blender available in the dining room for those parents who wish to make their own fresh baby food. In-room babysitting for up to three children from the same family is also available at an extra charge of $15 per hour for 1-3 hours and $10 per hour for every hour after that.

While the kids are enjoying all their fun, there are lots of sports and activities for parents to pursue. Free lessons are available in tennis, flying trapeze, fitness, water aerobics, waterskiing, wakeboarding, and other activities. Catamaran sailing, snorkeling and windsurfing lessons are also available for beginners. In addition, guests can enjoy a wide variety of activities on their own, including basketball, bocce ball, kayaking, street hockey, table tennis, and three types of volleyball.

Club Med's exceptional location is one of the biggest assets of the property, because this myriad of these activities can be offered in a way that makes guests feel relaxed and uncrowded. The resort is located on a very large piece of property at the very end of the Cancun hotel zone, with beaches facing both the lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. The main beach along the Caribbean is particularly lovely, and thatched palapas provide shade for those who need it. The low-rise, three story white buildings add to the laid-back feel of the property, easily blending in with the white sand and the turquoise blue water.

The newly renovated rooms are one of the most pleasing aspects of the resort. The Marc Hertrich studio of Paris, renowned for its quality and attention to detail, led the full interior and exterior design of Club Med Cancun Yucatan. All of the 384 rooms feature flat screen televisions, large showers, clock radio/CD player, and a balcony or terrace. Traveling families can be accommodated in the 118 rooms that have connecting doors, or smaller families of three (or four if one child is in a crib) can comfortably stay in one room using the single pull-out sleep sofa. Guests also have the option of upgrading to the luxurious Jade Villa, Club Med Cancun Yucatan's new concierge building, which offers oceanview suites and upgraded amenities. Special rates are available for children ages 15 and under, while those 16 and older pay the adult guest rate. Typically, Club Med does not charge a single supplement for single parents staying in the same guest room with one or two children.

The Discovery Center is another particularly appealing aspect of Club Med Cancun Yucatan. The Yucatan Peninsula is full of exciting cultural and natural wonders. Families have the opportunity to create particularly memorable experiences on one of more of the resort's 17 distinctive discovery trips, many of which promote ecotourism. Guests can choose to swim with the dolphins, explore archeological sites in Coba and Tulum, discover the Cenotes of Ek Balam, sail to Isla Mujeres, and hike through the Sian Ka'an biosphere, the largest marine natural protected area in Mexico. Families who book a 7-night vacation will receive a complimentary trip to El Meco, a small restored Mayan archeological site opened to the public in 1997.

Cuisine is another distinguishing characteristic of a Club Med vacation, and foodies will not be disappointed at Club Med Cancun Yucatan. The three restaurants at the resort each deliver a unique dining experience. The main buffet restaurant, La Hacienda, offers five uniquely decorated dining areas, each with the atmosphere of a colonial-style manor house. This restaurant serves buffet-style breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dinners tend to be excellent here, particularly the dessert bar. Las Cazuelas, the a la carte dining option, offers authentic Mexican cuisine prepared with a French touch. The beachfront La Pergola specializes in lightly grilled cuisine throughout the day and Mediterranean tapas at night. For guests staying in the Jade Villa, room service is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This Club Med resort typifies the new Club Med: more upscale, personalized, and totally committed to families. For more information, visit the Club Med website at www.clubmed.com or call 1-800-CLUB-MED.

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