I’m finally getting around to posting about a family vacation we took at the end of September to Club Med in Florida! A bit of background before I begin: the last vacation we took was with my then 18 month old daughter and I was pregnant at the time. At the end of the trip, the husband, not feeling well rested and like we had a vacation at all, declared that we would either take a nanny next time (very $$) or find a place with a good kids’ club- somewhere where we would feel comfortable leaving my son who’s not even a year yet, and my not-so-easy-going daughter!
Overall, we felt like we had a good vacation and I would recommend this place to other families with young children. We left our children in the kid’s club for *FOUR* mornings while we went golfing or rested by the pool!!!! And the place was EMPTY when we went! During the week we practically had the pool to ourselves and when the weekend crowd came in, it still wasn’t that busy. If you can, I highly recommend going in September Now for the deets:
Click the image above to open in a lightbox !
We ended up booking the Deluxe Family Room so we’d have a second bedroom with a door on it (I was told that the regular Family room most likely would have only a curtain separating the second bedroom.. really?). The room had a fridge and coffee maker, and they also gave us a baby bathtub (which was really for infants so we didn’t use it), a bottle warmer, change pad, crib for my son, and bed rails for my daughter. The latter was a nice surprise because I was thinking I’d have to pile pillows on the floor beside the bed in case she rolled out!
- There was a second bathroom for the kids. Not essential IMO but nice to have so we could keep my daughter’s potty seat on the toilet instead of having to take it on and off.
- Even though I liked the floor tiles, carpet would have been much better for my crawling baby.
- There’s a coffee table and a bench in front of the Master bed that my son used to stand up on, but then he’d fall down sometimes not so gracefully and hit his head on the floor. The night tables beside the bed are a bit tipsy so we had to watch he didn’t pull them down onto himself.
- There’s only 2 small drawers for storing clothes in the Master Bedroom, and a small hallway closet next to the kid’s bathroom. I like to unpack my clothes and put the suitcase away to make more room for the kids to move around so it was a bit of a pain having to go back and forth to the hallway closet to get my clothes.
- We always had to call to ask to have our coffee, creamer, sugar and pop restocked. That was a pain.
- It would have been nice to have blackout curtains in the kid’s room but my kids slept fine at nap time.
- Note: I brought my own babyproofing safety plugs for the outlets and toys. It would have been great if the hotel had a baby/ toddler toy lending program to save on valuable luggage space! (Note: the last family vacation we went on to Sensatori Azul in Mexico had this which was a great help!)
Kids’ Club & Other Kids’ Activities
Loved the Kid’s Club!
- The Kids’ Club has multiple rooms for different age groups, lots of equipment and toys, a TV for watching cartoons, and big windows for natural sunlight, and it was very clean.
- The staff were fantastic! They were so friendly and well organized. They took down all pertinent information regarding when our kids were last fed, if they had any allergies, when my baby had his last diaper change, and asked us what kind of napping and feeding schedule we wanted for them that day.
- I thought that it would be easier on both my kids if they could stay together (the reservation line had said that they would need to be separated because of their ages) and they accommodated with no problem. That was a huge relief to me. Be forewarned that this might not have been possible if the place were busier!
- There’s an Arts Centre close to the Kids’ Club that is very well stocked with arts and crafts materials. We wandered in just as the staff person was leaving and she said we were more than welcome to stay as long as we liked. My daughter got busy with coloured construction paper and crayons for more than half an hour
- There’s always entertainment in the evenings. One night there was a Las Vegas theme in the bar (kids welcome) and an area set aside with dress up clothes for photos. My daughter donned a wig and we got some cute photos with her favourite staff person, Eleni! Another night there was a glow-in-the-dark show which my daughter found fascinating and kept asking me ‘What’s going to happen next?!?’ during interludes.
- OK variety at the buffet and tasted ok (I’m comparing to all-inclusive hotels I’ve been to in Mexico and Cuba!). There was always Italian dishes (pasta, pizza), Asian dishes, kids’ station (burgers, fries) a variety of breads, salad bar, desserts, and fruit, which was a good enough mix for my family.
- Having baby jarred (Gerber) food available both in the restaurant and by the Kids’ Club (available 24/7) was fantastic, however I thought there would be more on-the-go snack foods available for kids (and adults!) between meals. There were only cheerios and bananas available for my daughter if we didn’t want to sit down at the restaurant, order and wait. For my son, the baby jarred food included chicken, beef, carrots, green beans, apple sauce and pears.
- I’m used to there being a number of food “stations” and bars scattered throughout all-inclusive resorts. Here, there was only one place to get food from and one bar. No pool bars and no one going around bringing drinks while you lie on the pool chairs.
- No room service?! We love love love room service, especially for breakfast because it takes us forever to get everyone ready and out the door in the morning, and when we are not feeling well (we all got sick at the beginning of this vacation), it’s even more important!!!
- A small thing but I’ll say it anyways because it seemed ridiculous to me. The plastic spoons in the baby section were way too big for baby’s mouth. They were all adult-sized.
- It would have been awesome if there were toys on the high chairs (like at the Sensatori Azul) to help keep baby occupied while you finish dinner!
Activities for Adults On Site
Activities onsite include golfing, trapeze, sailing, tennis, canoeing, and the spa
- We really enjoyed golfing and it wasn’t busy at all so we could walk to the club house after we dropped the kids off (it was right next door to the kids’ club) and take a cart to the first hole without waiting.
- I got a massage at the spa and it was fantastic! I’m the kind of person who usually needs the therapist to use her elbows on my shoulders but this lady was super human strong without !
There are 3 pools: adults only (plus hot tub right next to it), lap pool (barely used) and a pool in front of the restaurant that has a gradual incline for the kids (busiest pool of course!). There’s also a small wading pool beside the Kids’ Club and a splash pad (life vests for kids were hanging right beside the splash pad), and a playground that’s suited more for older children (well older than my 2 1/2 year old!).
- The kids’ pool is nice and big. My daughter had a fun time being able to walk up and down the incline. There’s plenty of seating around the pool although I’m not sure there would be enough in peak season. I also liked the “double bed” seating so I could comfortably lounge with my son when he was napping!
- My daughter also enjoyed the small wading pool and splash pad but there’s not much seating there… if your child will let you sit down.
- Unfortunately the shop beside the Kids’ Club ran out of the inflatable rings that hold baby inside. I settled for a normal pool ring and propped my baby’s arms over the side, but of course had to hang on tight to him so he wouldn’t slide under!
- The resort is situated on a bay that is half freshwater and half saltwater, and looks very muddy and unappetizing to swim in. We heard that there are sharks and stingrays in the waters. Suffice it say, we didn’t set foot near the water.
- There’s a small sandy beach area which I’m sure my daughter would have liked to play in, but my son was into eating sand so we didn’t even try it.
- If being able to swim in an ocean/ lake is big on your priority list, this isn’t the resort for you.
- Most staff were very friendly and helpful. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Club Med, when you have meals, staff may come and sit with you while you eat. At first we thought it was a little odd but quickly warmed up to the idea and welcomed it! However if you’re a couple looking to get away for a private, romantic vacation, this might not be the place for you
- My daughter immediately took to one of the staff from the Kids’ Club, Eleni, and let me tell you, this made our trip a million times better. There was no crying when dropping her off- all we had to say was Eleni is waiting for you! And in fact, my daughter was asking for her every morning! We also tried to time it so we’d have meals when Eleni was eating so we could sit with her or she could visit us which made my daughter so happy! Eleni was a tremendous help to us. Thank you Eleni and best of luck to you!!
- Other staff who made our stay enjoyable were Natalie, Adelene, Ivy, Marie, Shauna and Lala. Thank you everyone!
Other ‘Good To Know’s
- The hotel gave us 2 Graco strollers that we didn’t use since we brought our own to make it easier to navigate through the airport. However, they looked pretty decent and I wouldn’t have had any qualms with using them.
- I called the Club Med reservations center a few times prior to the trip when I saw what looked to be a better sale on than the one I originally booked under, and I ended up saving a couple hundred more!
- There’s a Walgreens and many other stores about a 5- 10 minute drive from the resort (handy if you have a car at the resort.. or you could take a taxi if you really need to purchase something).
- We paid $50 for WiFi for the week but it was very unreliable. There were times where I need to reconnect every few minutes. I found this unacceptable given that the resort is in the U.S.!
- The ride to the hotel from the airport in Fort Lauderdale is 2 hours. The vehicle was very comfortable and had car seats in it for both my son and daughter, but it was a long ride for them after being on a plane. (As a side note, the Fort Lauderdale airport has an ice cream vending machine where the baggage claim is.. I’ve never seen that before!)
- The reservations center wasn’t incredibly knowledgeable. They told me I had to book the kids’ club for the entire week or not at all. When we got there we were told there was an option to have the kids come for a whole day for $85 or two half days! The supervisor, Marie, was very helpful and told us she would sign and help us fax a letter to head office letting them know how much we used the kid’s club and requesting a refund. *If this happens to you, make sure you have a photocopy! When I got home I followed up with an email and scanned copy of the letter and I got a phone call back letting us know we’d receive a $600 refund! While I’m very happy to finally get the refund, it was an inconvenience to have to remedy what shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
All in all, a great vacation! Would we go back? There’s a good deal on now (Book 7 all-inclusive nights for the price of 3 until Oct 31) and we’re debating driving down to Florida next time because my husband loves road trips. We could make a few stops along the way and make it a 2 week trip. However, we’re the kind of people who love trying new things, plus not having a lake or ocean to swim in is a big minus for us, so… I’m not sure yet. If you haven’t been, I’d definitely recommend it if you have a young family and would like to take advantage of an amazing Kids’ Club! What’s your favourite family vacation?