We have two boys -- 9 and 12 -- and this was our first attempt at a "family resort" (although I'd gone to a couple of singles Club Meds in my youth, so I was familiar with the whole vibe). Overall, I'd say this place is as good as you want to make it -- the facilities, services, etc. are all at your fingertips and relatively easy to access, you just have to use them. In our case, we finished the trip highly satisfied, but with a couple lessons learned. Specifically:
1) If you have kids that are around the age of our kids, chances are they'll "sort of like" the camp after the first day. We gave them a break on the second day, but then between excursions and the inevitable minor illness, they hardly went to camp at all the rest of the time, and me and the wife did not get nearly enough time without them. So...next time, I would simply set in stone the days when they're in camp (three days in a one-week stay, I think), and then plan excursions around that. None of this is Club Med's fault -- we simply didn't schedule ourselves properly for our own needs (which is what I mean when I say "it's as good as you want to make it).
2) The Dolphin Island excursion was great. The snorkeling excursion stunk (they make you wear huge life vests and if you're any kind of snorkeling it totally sucks). The reef fishing was a joke (I did all the work baiting hook, etc., while the boat guy did almost nothing). You don't catch anything bigger than your basic freshwater sunfish. If I had to do it over again, I would have tried one of the more extensive snorkeling excursions (Saone is apparently a really good trip), and I would have booked deep sea fishing for half a day (but directly with a captain -- not through Club Med. They wanted $2000 for half a day at Club Med! It's $600 if you go direct.)
3) The food was generally pretty good. Here's a critical tip -- go for the Dominican dishes. Every one I had was excellent (which makes sense, since the people cooking them are Dominican!). The rest of the offerings were sort of hit or miss, but given the volume they dish out, I didn't have a problem with the quality.
4) We stayed in the Five Trident area and thought it was worth every penny. It's great to have an area where you can escape the mayhem and have your own pool. The bartenders were a mixed bag though...my wife never knows what she wants to drink, so it's great to have a bartender who can actually suggest something. Some of them could, others were clueless.
5) I wish there were some sort of written resort guide in the room. We spent a lot of time doing "trial and error" because we didn't know how things worked. They sort of explain stuff when you check in, but then you're on your own. I think Club Med should hire a good writer to crank out some "how to get the most out of your vacation" guides for the rooms.
Overall, I didn't feel like we were left wanting for anything at this Club Med -- basically, if you can't have a good time here, you just can't have a good time. There were some annoyances, but when you put 700 family members together in a constrained space, you should assume those are going to happen. We'll be back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover the Dominican Republic in this all-inclusive family resort, designed over a long white-sand beach, considered to be the finest in the world. Travel to Club Med Punta Cana with your family and enjoy a carefree all-inclusive vacation in this resort which flourishes beside a lagoon surrounded by magnificent grove of coconut palms. Fun moments filled with memories await your kids at Club Med world-famous children's clubs with dedicated activities and sports for children and teenagers from morning to evening, for each age group, and all coordinated by qualified and enthusiastic professionals. This newly redesigned resort has something for everyone, with amenities such as: Baby Club Med™*, a new Spa* with private pool access, exclusive private Oceanfront Family Suites, new dedicated programs for Mini Club Med™ including Le Petit Tennis(R), circus school and Baby Gym(R), Passworld for teens, and more. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Club Med Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
- Punta Cana Club Med
- Club Med Dominican Republic