Old Reviews – Club Med Ixtapa

  Club Med Ixtapa   LaLaLadyNYC ~ New York, NY

February 2009

This was a really good experience for my friends and for me. I was a bit leery of Club Med in general, I have heard so many mixed reviews in the past. But I knew they had recently remodeled this one at Ixtapa and I had read on trip advisor that this one was really nice. It is.

Ixtapa is physically maybe the most beautiful place I have ever been, rivaling Hawaii in its natural elements. It has mountains, green trees, and of course the ocean. Spectacular! The daily 88 degree weather did not hurt either.

The Club itself is very inviting, and we were greeted warmly by the GO’s and the village Chief, Jean-Marc, a warm and genuinely nice man who loves his job. He is from Montreal and has 20 years with the Club. I enjoyed conversing with him in French too. Good practice and he overlooked my language gaffes.

The GO’s were fabulous too, very sweet, smart people who work very hard for our fun! My standouts: Geoff, from CA, the bar manager, Daniel, from Brazil, who took us sailing, Mo from Mexico City, Justine, Alex and Leonne at the front desk, Carlos the DJ, Roberto, Basti at the main bar, and so many others. The servers at the restaurant were so sweet, Cesar, Juan, and the pretty gals too. Sheik from Mauritius was a cute flirt who likes his job a lot.. He gave me a couple of special dishes, as I like to eat some vegetarian things.

The room was nice. It was clean, the bed comfortable with lots of pillows. The flat-screen movable TV was nice too but there were only about 6 channels, which is fine, but one night I just felt like getting away from everyone and vegging in front of the TV and a movie channel would have been appreciated. No biggie. The little complaints I have about the room: not enough natural light (I was in Pajaro building), no balcony or place to dry suits ( I opened the window), and thin walls. There is a CD player in the rooms and I wish I had brought some CD’s. Maid service was very good- don’t forget to tip them (~$3/day per person is about right).

Next, the food. It was quite good. I live in Manhattan and can eat at 4-star places whenever I want, and I also cook. So I am frankly spoiled. I love to eat great food, and I did all week long. Salads, fish, veggies, bread that rocked, fruit, egg-white omelettes. A great selection, clean and well-prepared. I ate every meal outside with a view towards the oce

an. DELIGHTFUL. The gym could use some updating, and a few more machines. One elliptical is not enough. The weight machines are old too. It was clean though, and the machines all worked. They need more mats, as I think those yoga people kept taking our mats. 🙂

The pool and the beach are both really nice. Clean, lots of padded chairs and umbrellas for shade. The beach sand is a bit dirty, and it is the Pacific, so no blue waters. Still, who would complain? Bring cash to buy something from the native vendors on the beach as $20 will go a long way for them. Sorry my social liberal is coming out, but these are really beautiful hardworking and very poor people, so don’t bargain them down too hard. 🙂

The activities are pretty good, although I don’t really do any of them. I am a surfer (newbie), so I hooked up with the LA surfing crowd, we rented boards in advance and taxied to the surfing beach. It was rough and rocky so bring your water shoes. I got dashed into the ocean floor as it was very rough one day, then I couldn’t wait to go back. The lack of shoes really impeded my progress. Tenderfoot here!

I did one excursion, swimming with the dolphins. Honestly, it was fun catching a ride on the noses of two large mammals, but hardly worth $158.00. There were too many people in the water and it got kind of stupid for me. You do a lot of sitting around in porpoise-poop H20. Skip it.

In lieu of the snorkeling excursions, we hired our own boat and went to the little island. For $8/pp RT Miguel will take you over, for $10 you can rent the snorkel gear, and Miguel’s wife Jessica will feed you at the Lilly Cipriani for $20. I ate a snapper the size of my upper body! Yee-UM.

There were a lot of kids on this trip and I had formerly said that I would never go on a trip with Kids, even though I love them. I must be mellowing out because it was fine. They were also the kids of my friends so they were extra cute to me.

The shows were hoaky but good fun, and it is SO what you make of it. The night life was a little slim, we did have a couple of dance nights but I could go to the disco almost every night when on vacay.

I did end up spending about $200 on pictures. as Arturo the roving photog is quite good. Erik in the photo room is a doll! Madge is nice too.

We made this trip great by relaxing and enjoying the food, atmosphere, friends, and many of the offerings. I will return to this resort, but next time I will rent one of the private cottages that sit right on the beach. I like a more luxe room and something more private so it is probably worth it.

Because of the great mix of all of the above, and my laid-back, no -expectations attitude, this trip may be the best one I have ever taken.

Well, I hope this helps!
Liked The laid back and friendly atmosphere coupled with decent amenities

Disliked Not sure

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April 2008

We are experienced Club Med travelers, having paid about 20 visits to 7 different villages over the past 20 years, but this is the first visit to a true “Family Village”. We had an opportunity to visit a recently renovated village and find out just what is different about the family villages, so we thought it would be interesting to check out Ixtapa.

If you haven’t heard, the Ixtapa Pacific village has just undergone a massive renovation and the facilities are really very nice. To be sure, there are a few rough edges, but we happened to visit during the official Grand (Re)opening week and there was still some final finishing work going on. Club Med has been focused on moving “up-scale” over the past several years and the Ixtapa Village reflects this change. Don’t expect a fancy Hyatt or Hilton type resort; its’ not that kind of “up-scale”. The lobby is not all marble and mahogany and the bars are not dark quiet retreats, rather the entire village has a very lively atmosphere: everything is very nice but not pretentious or stuffy. You would not feel uncomfortable of out-of-place anywhere in the village wearing a swimsuit and t-shirt.

The grounds are relatively extensive with a fairly long (about 1/2 mile) beach all to itself. Along with the normal central facilities (reception, dining, bars, theater, boutique, etc) there are about 300 guest rooms, circus facilities, tennis courts, archery range, miniature golf course, rollerblade track, several pools, kids facilities, separate restaurants, and there is still enough open space so you never feel crowded. Besides the main pool (two pools, really) that is mainly for kids and families, there is also a very quiet adults-only pool (although there is no bar service close by, so it is not very popular). Everything is well maintained and very clean, including the public areas and guest rooms.

If you have never been to a Club Med resort, you first need to understand the GO concept. GOs, Genteel (or Gracious) Organizers, are the mostly young, international, staff who are the heart of the village. They organize most activities, provide lessons, and assist guests (GMs or Gracious Members) with anything they want. They are universally friendly, outgoing and helpful. The GOs that run the “mini-club” and some of the other kids activities must also be some of the most patient people on earth. GOs are not the “staff” or the “employees”, they are your friends and companions for your visit. GOs are moved from village to village so if you visit other villages in the future, you are likely to see some of the same ones again. This time we were lucky and were able to meet up with several good GO friends, like Andrew and Brian, as well as make many new friends, like Jo, Kyle, Jonnie, Peter, Kathleen and many others.

The renovated rooms are very nice with updated fixtures (such as the “rain” shower head and flat panel TVs). They are well maintained and kept clean by the staff. The room towels are some of the largest and fluffiest I have ever seen. The drapes over the windows are very effective so you can shut out the sun and sleep as late as you like. There are different types of rooms and we had one of the smaller ones but families would typically get a nice large two room unit and some have balconies across the back. The only fault in our room was that there was no mirror within 6 feet of a power outlet which made drying your hair (with the provided hair dryer) a little challenging.

Club Med, being a French company, is generally known for providing good food and plenty of it. The main restaurant was very good, both for its’ facilities (spacious, light and airy, comfortable) and the food. We did feel the food in the main restaurant was “toned down” a little from other villages, probably to make it more in keeping with the tastes of all the children there. The food quality and variety was still excellent, but just not quite the variety (for adults) at each meal that we’ve had at some other villages. There was more than the usual pizza and pasta dishes and not as many highly spiced dishes. The fresh fruit was excellent, however, with very good mangos, papaya, pineapple, and even fresh guavas. We visited both annex restaurants (reservation only) and they were generally exceptional. Whereas the main restaurant is buffet style (with wine and drinks provided by waiters), the annex restaurants were full table service and the servers were very attentive, although with the occasional rough edge typical of a recently opened facility. One evening we ordered coffee after the meal and it never arrived, so we just adjourned to the main bar and had our coffee there. The “Luna Azul” served “fusion” style dishes (I would call it somewhat different variations fairly standard themes) and the “Miramar” was a “Argentina Steak House”. The various restaurants and snack bars run a staggered schedule, so there is always something available to eat and drink from about 7 AM to well after midnight. The meal the evening of the official grand reopening was definitely outstanding, with lobster, Beef Wellington, and other specials, but I suspect that at least some of it was there because of the reopening celebration (but we enjoyed it anyway!). Other nights there were sushi (mostly California rolls) and even caviar, so the challenge will be to avoid putting on too many extra pounds…

We generally go to Club Med villages to sail, windsurf and snorkel, but these activities were somewhat limited at Ixtapa. The wind did not come up enough to sail until mid afternoon, and then it was relatively light. The snorkeling was off-property at Ixtapa Island (reached via water taxi) and when we went there we could tell there were lots of fish, but the water was too cloudy that day to see very much. Since there is so little wind, windsurfing is not offered. We did brush up on our archery skills several times, but I must admit that Andrew outshot me on the last day when he joined us for a few rounds of shooting. Normally we might be bored with such a relative lack of activities (for us) but we took several excursions, took several nice walks, and the excellent GO team made up for any lack of our normal activities.

But, Club Med Ixtapa Pacific is really about families and kids. Couples and singles just don’t go there very much because almost everything is geared for the kids. I was amazed at the effort and facilities that were dedicated to families/kids. The kids were broken up into 4 or 5 groups by age and, with the help and guidance of the GOs, they participated in many different activities, from just playing in a little wading pool, to learning to do tricks on the “flying trapeze”. Many of the children rehearsed for and participated in several of the nightly shows, with children as young as 4 years old taking part in the circus show and obviously loving every minute of it. We would frequently pass groups of children going from one activity to another, with the GOs leading them in a song or a chant. The children could eat several meals with the GOs, and they were entertained at least 12 hours a day. What is really amazing is that this was all done with no “video games” or other passive “sit down and watch the computer/TV” kinds of entertainment, these kids were active all day. I’m sure they slept well at night. Our two boys are grown and gone, but if we had a family now, I couldn’t think of a better place to go for a true family vacation.

Even for the adults and non-family GMs, there are nighttime activities and partying. There were two “beach parties” and several events around the main bar (such as a loud and festive “Brazilian party”) to keep almost everyone entertained.

One “hint” for people considering visiting the Ixtapa village (or really any other Club Med village): if you check the normal rates for most villages, they will seem to be relatively expensive. Watch the specials (at the Club Med web site) or work through an experienced (with Club Med) travel agent. There are frequently special rates for limited times that make it very affordable.

I intended this to be a “short review”, so I’ll stop now, but if you want to see the full length review with photos you can check my personal web site (no advertising) at www.hammocktree.us. The full length review with photos and a large photo album is now available.

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Club Med Ixtapa Susan ~ Vancouver, BC

December 2005

We have just returned from 2 weeks in Paradise. Club Med is not the Ritz Carlton, but it is so much better in so many ways. The Staff- professional, friendly and very organized.. The beach- long sandy bottom and warm water The food- incredible variety all day long The grounds- Immaculate-lush and clean

The rooms- we had a king size bed.. 2 closets and adequate hanger space.. The bed was firm but we slept like babies lulled to sleep by the sound of the surf.

We took some of your tips from previous trips—e.g. the insulated Thermos Glasses, pennies for the corners of the room to keep any ants anyway (although we didn’t see any at all).

They do have mosquitoes but we put bounce Fabric softener at our window ledges and had no problems at all.

We hired Roberto- Cab 190- a new air conditioned Taxi-His cell Phone number is 755-1112845. He speaks perfect English and we had a one-day private tour of the countryside for less than the organized tour from the Club.

For a special night out we went to El faro in the Pacifica resort-expensive but very good and spectacular scenery.

Ixtapa has changed a lot in 25 years but it still the most spectacular of all the west coast resort areas. Perfect weather in the 90’s day after day.

In closing, the Club offers a great holiday to people of all ages.

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Club Med Ixtapa Jerry in Brampton, Ontario, Canada

March 2004

We just returned from a week at the Club Med Ixtapa in March 2004. My wife and I travelled with my mother and three children aged 4, 6 and 11. In past years we have visited other inclusive "family oriented" resorts in Mexico most notably the last two years at Gala Playacar in the Mayan Riviera and the Gala Huatulco in Huatulco and that is the basis of our comparison with Club Med Ixtapa.

The only disappointing feature of this resort is the rooms. They are small and contain next to no furniture. The shower, bathroom and vanity are tiny. The sleeping area is of a decent size but the beds themselves are smaller than advertised. Their queen size beds are closer to "double bed" sized and cannot fit two adults. There are no dressers or drawer space for your clothes. Instead clothes have to be placed on shelves in the tiny closet. I am told that these sparse rooms are a common feature of many Club Meds. To be fair, my travel agent warned me about this but it was nonetheless a disappointment when we first walked into our rooms. The only other inconvenience was the constantly changing water temperature in the shower. However, I have experienced this same problem in almost every resort I have visited in Mexico.

The inconveniences mentioned above were far outweighed by the positive features of this resort.

The Club Med staff (called G.O.’s) are absolutely great. They are cheerful and always helpful. They come from different places in the world so language is not a problem and you are always likely to find a G.O. from your home country.

The kids clubs are fantastic. Our children simply did not want to leave the clubs. Their daily activities varied depending upon the age of the children but they included such things as trampoline, trapeze, iguana hunting, soccer, tennis, basketball, volleyball, mini-put golf, archery, kayaking, sailing, crafts and many more. They also have the kids rehearse for shows that are put on in a couple of evenings in which all the kids participate. The shows are well organized, well rehearsed and are as much fun for the adults to watch as they are for the kids to perform.

You will always find people who complain about the food at inclusive resorts. They would have a tough time doing so at Club Med Ixtapa. There is a wide variety of food at all meals catering to children and adults alike. And, unlike other resorts we have visited, the menu varies significantly from day to day. In summary, the food is well prepared and a good variety.

The beach is quite long and wide. The ocean swimming is reasonable and is void of seaweed and rocks. There was a constantly breaking surf which prohibited us from snorkelling but made surf-riding and wave-boarding a lot of fun. I was told by a G.O. that the surf there is highest around December and gradually reduces to almost nothing by summer time.

Many other things which sometimes go wrong with vacations went very smoothly, such as easy and efficient transfers to and from the airport, quick and courteous check-in and check-out procedures, immaculately clean resort and very, very well maintained, good bar and restaurant service, and pool which is never crowded.

All in all I highly recommend this resort especially for families with children aged 14 or younger. There truly is something for everyone.

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