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Reviewed February 4, 2012

Having been to Club Med Punta Cana in 1991 and Club Med Ixtapa in March 2010 with our then 13 year-old son, we didn't waste a second deciding to go back to Ixtapa for the American Thanksgiving Week in Nov 2011. All five in the family gave it "two thumbs up" and three of those were our 15 and 21 year-old sons and 24 year-old daughter.

The change from the Club Med (CM) experience of the early 90's to the two recent CM experiences is significant and I know that Punta Cana has been upgraded from its former self. In researching CM Villages, I've noted that the rankings of CM Ixtapa (CMI) on Trip Advisor have kept it at the top of the CM reviews for other villages (although some others rank pretty high too). CMI works because you have the right blend of staff (otherwise known as GOs) interaction with the guests (GMs) so that you always know what is going on and be entertained if you want to. The last two Village Chiefs in Ixtapa, Eduardo and more recently, Flavia Bove, have done an exceptional job and both were blessed with great "wingmen/women" in Nat and Guga on our first trip and more recently, Mourad and Lauren. As many have said, CMI is a family resort, so expect this angle to be focused on... it is like a "summer camp" for the whole family with many age-appropriate activities.

Both times we stayed in the suites and were glad that we did as we had gotten very reasonable deals. On this last trip my wife and I enjoyed one of the 15 adult suites and put our three kids in one of the 15 other family suites. The adult suites with one king bed room, king-sized bath and shower and large sitting area which was great for the whole fasmly to gather in, was fantastic. Everything was in good working order and the concierge service really adds a great touch with morning coffee and pastries and then various snacks later in the day with all kinds of beverages available all the time from 7am to about 10pm. The staff are fountains of information too. An important note on booking here: depending when you book, check in once in awhile on the 1-800 CM# to see if deals have changed. For this past November's trip, I booked in February and then checked back in June. Boy was I surprised when CM very graciously gave us a significantly reduced rate on our reservation. This was huge and was another example of exceptional service and treatment by CM. This is how brand loyalty is built and this was not lost on our kids either.

The beach out in front of the suites was perfect and there was always plenty of room. We did experience some of the local staff who live at the far north end of the beach, turn out in a good-sized group with friends one day, but they were not in front of the suites or disruptive in any way. In fact, they added nicely to the beach that day and were friendly. Thus, it was a great way to meet some new people.

Many have commented on the shows in the past and all this 53-year-old can say is, "Remember, it is a summer family camp." Thus, some show themes may seem hokey. The GOs have tremendous energy and go out of their way to be engaging, so for those who are more extroverted, you will not be disappointed! For those who are more introverted, this may not be the place as CM can't be all things to all people, so that is one thing to keep in mind. The spirit and energy of this place are wonderful if you are looking for this kind of experience.

The food was great on both visits and Luna Azul really seemed to hit its stride on the more recent trip. All of the family liked signing up for it and did so as often as we could. We also went to Ixtapa Island for the better part of a whole day this last time and that was fun. You can arrange through CMI or you can hoof it about 15 minutes down to Playa Linda (out the driveway and to the left or north) and book you own boat passage. Playa Linda is another good cultural experience what with its Crocodile Lagoon and long paved bike/walking path that goes off the main road right at Playa Linda into the wooded interior. Eventually the path loops around to the town of Ixtapa which is a few miles south of CM or to the right when you go out the driveway. Bikes can be rented at the Hotel Melia next-door if desired. Playa Linda is a beach for the locals and has all kinds of food and retail stands with very reasonable prices (a good place to buy a "boogie" board if you did not bring your own). There can be decent surf at times at CM for kids to ride boards.

Another excursion aboard the 75-passenger catamaran, "Picante" was fun as we sailed for a few hours at sunset out from Zihuatanejo, up past the Ixtapa beach front and were right off Capella, the "Number 1" ranked hotel in tha area. (Capella is about a 15 minute walk from CM to the right when you go off the property and is a very different kind of place; all built into a steep hillside). The views from the water were striking in many spots from Picante and we sailed around some cool rock formations off of Capella. For those liking to get out on the water, this was fun. People come from different hotels, so this is not an exclusive CM cruise. Food and drinks are supplied and I would say everyone has a good time that wants to.

Some other items I've not seen addressed much and as some inquiring minds might want to know, here goes.... (my humble opinion only).

How safe is it to let kids (say 12 and over) roam around on the CMI property?

I'd say it's very safe. There is no regular public access from the outside. Local staff live at the extreme north end. There are security staff posted at each end of the 1/3 mile or so beach just for good measure, so the one at the north end is posted between the suites and the staff housing. On our first trip when our son was 13, we did not worry about him.

How it is walking off of the property?

Again, I walked without worrying about where I was. While common sense would dictate not letting (say a 12 year old) walk off on their own, familes can go in either direction and see something new; one should not feel like they must stay on the property (although it is a great place to hang out!) My wife and I walked through Playa Linda and went a fair way north on the beach (not nearly as clean as CMI, but hey, why not see what true life is like here? This is NOT in a part of Mexico where violence and crime have been a problem.

How about medical attention on-site?

On our first trip to CMI, our 13 yr-old went to the infirmary a few times for some minor stuff and all was handled quickly and professionally.

Is there an ATM on-site? (Pesos are handy for off-site trips, although American dollars are accepted about everywhere)

Yes, there is one just off the lobby now that was not there on our first trip.

What kind of content is in the shows and are they family appropriate?
For every family, the definition of "appropriate" will vary. The climate is hot and humid, not cold and snowy, so figure what clothing goes with that and that is all day long. Is anything like a Las Vegas show? No. Can there be some suggestive humor? Yes, remember that CM is a French Company and they are striving to provide travelers with a fun experience (and I think they do a fine job at it).

Do the GOs respect the GMs and add value to the CMI experience?

Absolutely!!!

Now go to Club Med Ixtapa and HAVE FUN!!

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank MontanaGuy27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
clubmedofficial, Guest Relations Manager at Club Med Ixtapa Pacific, responded to this reviewResponded February 15, 2012

Dear MontantaJim,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this in-depth review! We loved reading about all of the wonderful things you enjoyed about Ixtapa Pacific. It is evident that your suite was perfect for your family, the beach was gorgeous, as always, and the staff was more than accommodating! We love that you enjoyed the spirit and energy of the resort, as that is what truly makes Club Med special. Thank you for answering several common questions and giving tips to your fellow travelers. We are sure they appreciate it. We can’t wait to have you and your whole family back again!
Kind Regards,
Your Club Med Team

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Reviewed February 2, 2012

We just returned from 9 days at Club Med Ixtapa Pacific and we had a fantastic time. Our girls aged 12 and 16 had so much fun with their respective groups that we had to make appointments to see them. The variety of food was not as extensive as Cancun Club Med but the quality was great. I also love the style of the family rooms at Ixtapa. Lot's of space, privacy yet you know when the kids are home. The weather is totally reliable (as in perfect all the time) and the views from the resort are spectacular. The best part for us is the staff: friendly, caring, customer service oriented and fun and informative. The sports team is excellent - thanks to Javier and Jesus for excellent coaching, we can't wait to go back. One caution: if you are single and / or don't care much for babies, don't go there. They have a fantastic baby club (take babies from 2 months old) so a rare find for families with little ones.

Room Tip: If you want to be close to the kids' action ask for a room in the Iguana complex. It is very central and quiet at night.
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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1  Thank lec0038
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
clubmedofficial, Guest Relations Manager at Club Med Ixtapa Pacific, responded to this reviewResponded February 15, 2012

Dear Iec0038,
Thank you for writing this fantastic review of our resort! We can see that your 9 days at Ixtapa were simply amazing! Your comments of the beautiful facilities and friendly GOs put smiles on our faces. Thank you for all of you suggestions and tips to your fellow travelers; we are sure they appreciate it! We can’t wait to have you and your girls back for another fun-filled, family vacation.
Kind Regards,
Your Club Med Team

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Reviewed February 2, 2012

The absolute best part of this resort is the baby club. We have a set of twin boys who were 23 months when we stayed here and they loved every second of this kids club. I was a little weary about leaving them but the GOs in charge of watching them took care of them as if they were their own children (thanks Dora & Daniela!). They would happily wave bye-bye to us each day and then not even want to leave when we went to pick them up! They had snack time, nap time, lunch and daily adventures. My husband and I actually had a vacation (those of us with toddlers know that even though you go on vacation, it's not really a vacation when you are chasing your kids around like a crazy person). We would lay by the pool or the beach and on most days would see our kids happily go by on their way to their next adventure.

Food was great, our family room was perfect, everybody who works at club med is so friendly and the weather could not have been better. The only thing missing is the option of room service. Everywhere you went was kid friendly, no dirty looks if your child was acting up at dinner because we were all in the same boat. All in all a great trip, thanks Club Med I definitely needed that!

Room Tip: Family room had a great seperation of rooms so parents had privacy. Muneca building is further away from the water treatment plant that can get smelly sometimes. Iguana building is close to everything (including the water treatment plant). Beach front suites are literally beach front, 10 yards from the beach.
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank AlmaS_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
clubmedofficial, Guest Relations Manager at Club Med Ixtapa Pacific, responded to this reviewResponded February 15, 2012

Dear Alma S,
Thank you for sharing your experiences at Ixtapa with us! It sounds like you and your family made some amazing memories! We’re glad you and your husband were able to catch up on some well-deserved R&R. The GOs in the Baby Club are the best of the best, and we are happy you noticed. We appreciate your suggestion regarding room service and have passed this insight on to upper management for review. Thanks again and we hope to see you and the twin boys again soon!
Kind Regards,
Your Club Med Team

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Reviewed February 1, 2012

This was my 1st club med vacation. I'd have to say this is the best family vacation you can find for the value. We have 2 kids a 5yr old boy and 2 yr old girl. I would have never expected to love this place as much I did. The exceptional staff works really hard to please all their guests and it shows all day every day. Our family spent 12 days in the village so we saw many different groups come and go and as far as we could tell every guest in the village shared our enthusiasm. We stayed in the iguana building, we had a ground floor family club room with the balcony. These are def the best located rooms in the village.(closest to the center of the village and very close to the beach)
What you can look forward to.
-Great food no matter what your into. Nicholas runs the restaurants seamlessly and the chef sheik has a new surprise at every meal.
- All kind of activities running all day long
- A variety of entertaining shows for all ages every night including singing and dancing.
- you don't even need to bring a camera they even do that for you.
GO's that I can name by name(that's how tight knit the village was) made the experience unforgettable
Josh always had sports running all day long,volleyball/ping pong/soccer/football/basketball/frisbee and more...
Chucho ran a spectacular circus team, trapeze/wall climbing and amazing shows at night in the theater
Mimi and Amira from the petite club are the best!
All the gos from the mini club were great with all the kids in the village.
Alex and Alexis were some of the best waiters I've ever had.
Mourad for running an excellent sport and animation program
Flavia the chef du village AKA wonder woman. She is the captain of this spectacular team. She is everywhere and apart of every bodies vacation. She makes every guests happiness her priority. She gets an A+.

Can't wait to go back again!!!

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Thank DavidNyc23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
clubmedofficial, Guest Relations Manager at Club Med Ixtapa Pacific, responded to this reviewResponded February 15, 2012

Dear DavidNyc23,
Thank you for taking the time to write this review! We are so glad you had an amazing 12 day stay at our beautiful village. It brings us joy to read that we far exceeded your expectations and that we could give you your "best family vacation" yet. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us and your fellow travelers. You did a great job of pointing out all of the main features of the village for everyone to read. We hope you and your family will come see us again soon!
Kind Regards,
Your Club Med Team

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Reviewed January 28, 2012

As a family of 5, with children ages 1, 5, and 7 we were looking for a family vacation that would actually be a vacation rather than merely a change of venue with more complications than benefits. Well, Club Med was it! The kids club provided a range of fun, engaging activities which allowed my husband and I time to relax, play and then enjoy time with each child. However, though their website is lovely, it would have been nice to have greater details before booking the trip. Therefore, below please find a more detailed review.

baby club

The baby club runs from 9am to 5pm. The facility is lovely and is situated on the edge of a winding garden path surrounded by a tiny white picket fence. It is just next to the Iguana Rooms. When you walk through the locked gate to your left is the baby size playground and in front is a paved patio for the 2-4 year old with a fleet of those cute little Fred Flintstone type baby cars. The 2-4 year old club also functions as an after hours pajama club for a flat fee of about $20ish US/kid. To your left is a short square mini-pool. The baby club building is attached to the Milk Room where a 24 hour supply of milk (shelf stabilized box milk of all kinds including soy and lactose free), baby food (more on this later) fresh fruit and yoghurt. Inside the baby club, the floor is soft and padded and there are cozy rooms for eating sleeping and playing. The facility has a general schedual which they will walk you though when you sign up. However, they will ask what your child needs and are very flexible. The focus at the club is not just to keep the babies calm and cared for but to ensure that each child has a good time. My son, 15 months, did NOT want to go. The lovely people at the club, particularily, Dora, took him for special walks, which he loved, found him balls to play with because they were his favorite toy, ordered food from the kitchen that he would eat and was flexible in schdueling his nap time. By the end of our trip, he was in sinc with the club. Having tried cruise ship kid clubs and the like with my 2 other children, I would say, by and large babies don't enjoy new experiences, different food or meeting new people. However, the caregivers at Club Med made it possible for our son to go without me having to worry that he was miserable.

miniclub

The miniclub serves ages 4-7 and has so many fun activities that you need never actually play with your child. The typical day is a sport (tennis, soccer, etc), circus club(flying trapeze-yes the little kids do go up there and they like it), swim time(they have a 3 foot deep pool with sprinklers), beach time, cooking time (think freezer cookies), snacks (eating the freezer cookies) and practice for the evenings shows. At 4:30 there is a "family" activity in the park area by the baby club. This ranged from pinatas, finger paining, tie dying tee-shirts and other similar activities. The club hours are from 9 to 5 and they will take the kids to lunch in the mini-club lunch room. Note, the 6-7 year olds can participate in sailing, archery and ocean swim time. However, when we signed our girls up, ages 5 and 7, it was not clear that there were actually different sections for the different age groups and so our older daughter wound up with the younger group until we mentioned her wish to participate in sailing. They were happily accommodating. The club personal are lively, cheerful and good with kids. You can pick the kids up or drop them off any time during the day, make sure you have a scheudle to find them. The kids looked forward to the range of activities and did not tire of going to the club. In the evenings, 7-9, the club goes to dinner in the main dinning room and the kids are welcome to join them. (But they only allow one scope of icecream for dessert ;). At 8:30pm there is a evening show. Many of them include the children. It is truelly amazing how well the kids can perform on stage with so little time in the club, I was also impressed at how no child seem concerned by going 'on stage' and how the focus of the events was on fun and it actually was fun both for kids and parents. (Maybe the endless free drinks helped but the atmosphere was happy and carefree).

Activities

The adults can enjoy a wide range of activities (see the webpage). We liked getting the girls breakfast from the baby room (ceral and yoghurt) and taking them to camp. This gave me time to take the baby to the bigger kid playground for 1/2 hour, feed him breakfast at the babyclub's highchairs, and then head off the the beautifull dinning area for a quiet breakfast with my husband (review on food to follow ;). We then went sailing, intially we had a short lesson and then spent the rest of our trip practicing the mechanics. Somehow after this we managed to either go back for lunch or pick the girls up for snack in the lovely beachside grill area and yes, eat more :). We then took the girls out for swim time, beach time, and one-on-one mommy or daddy time. The club has a number of "family times" set for various activities. My older daughter and I did archery lessons (she got better and hit a bullseye... i hit the target... twice!). My husband and older daughter tried the rock climbing wall. Who can participate and when is a bit confusing. It should be noted that kids under 8 can go sailing only with a trained club member during class, not with untrained parents, and that 5 year olds can't participate in tennis lessons or archery lessons during family time. This was a bit of a disappointment for my 5 year old, but she enjoyed ping-pong, and beachtime with us.

Offsite activities

The club has a booking office for off-site extras such as visiting dolphins, sailing/snorkeling trips, horseback riding, shopping and a cultural/arechological trip to a small town. They can also arrange a water taxi to meet you at the sailing area and take you out to Ixtapa Island. We are experienced divers/snorklers and took our girls out to the island without a guide. This was discouraged. The island has some very nice gold sand beaches (this is not the carribean), calm swimming areas, and small reefs maybe 10 feet deep with reasonable visability. Equipment rentals for ok equipment are availible as are palapas, chairs and food. The snorkeling is a short walk, over a rocky hill to the other side of the island. We saw small mantarays and enough colorfull fish to make the kids happy. A very nice man named Maurice came by with some very nice quality silver jewlery. He was quit please to sell me a number of lovely items and meet me for payment at the club later than evening. Later that week, I took the girls by taxi to Ziuhatenja for our own (non-club) shopping tour. We visited Alberto's the nicest jewlery store which with its own onsite designer which was also quite nice. I would recommend Maurice for good quality trinkets (i bought several silver/opal or torquise rings and earings) and Albertos for the higher end purchases. My husband went diving with Carlo's dive shop and advised it was a very good experience. The boats do not have ladders so if you have mobility issues (i do) be warned. He advised the guide was excellent and knowlegable and the dive was interesting.

Accommodations

The room we stayed in was a garden view, ground floor in the Iguana grouping. It had 2 entrances (with high-up chain locks). The adult room consisted of 2 large beds pushed together, it was a bit hard but better then many. It had a closet and computer desk (bring a cable for your computer the wireless does not work well). The adult room is ajoined to the children's room through tall double doors. The kids had 2 day bed, one with a trundle. a cute desk, 3 small tables and a second TV. Both rooms join the bathroom which has 2 sinks, one toilet in separate area, and a walk in shower with beck and 2 shower heads. A baby bathtub is provided as is a nice carriage. There is a refrigorator, bottled water is brought by the maid, a coffee maker and a bottle warmer which is too small to accommodate the width of the event bottles we use. (but there is a microwave in the babyroom, just plan on going for a short walk in the mornings... more pleasant than it would seem).

FOOD!!!

This was my favorite part of our trip! The main dinning area is set on the second story of the tall white colummed main building. It has a beautiful open air deck with view of the ocean and Ixtapa Island. Inside the buffet is divided into several sections. You are greeted first with the dessert area. There is an array of pasteries depending on the meal (think brioches, chocolate chip brioches (YUM!) raisen breads, fresh rolls, cheese cakes, tarts, layer cakes, chocolate fountains one night, fresh fruit, and about eight kinds of icecream. For breakfast there are fresh eggs with a chef to prepare them for you personally- i liked scrambled with fresh tomatoes, onions, cheese and peppers. There is a grill section with a variety of prepared and grilled items. At every dinner there was plain grilled chicken (flavored with a touch a garlic and maybe lime?), grilled fish (lots of mahimahi), plain hamburgers, hamburgers with cheese, hotdogs and plain pasta. There was also a main dish such as fancy steaks, or roasted turkey. There was a mexican food station with tacos made to order. If you like fish- this is the place for you: clams, octupus, squid, calamari, fresh swordfish, sushi -it looked great even though i don't like any of it. Lunch featured fresh salads made to order, the tuna for the sushi is excellent and lots of mexican dishes. My husband told me, that yes, he actually could eat Mexican food for every meal (its his favorite).

There are two other resturants. The grill located near the pool and just off the beach and another returnate that was booked by private parites for the duration of our trip. The grill was opened when the dinning room was not. We has a few lunches there: chicken nuggets/french fries for the kids, chocolate eclairs, fish tacos, chicken skewers for the adults. The service is slow and a bit lacking in friendliness but the view is wonderful and the food is good. One evening we placed the kids in the pajama club and went "out to dinner" (no additional cost for food). The evening meal is akin to a nice resturant: salad, maindish, dessert. I has a good (but not great steak) and nice salad. The ambience was lovely.

The drinks are free and plentiful if sometimes a bit odd. The bar tenders are good with the specials but unsure how to prepare anything else. However, there are very willing to keep trying and you can keep sampling. The redwines, a termpernillo was nice, the white not to my taste and the rose not great. There is always coffee and the fresh squeezed orange juice is to die for.

Baby Food

The baby food was not our style. There are 2 baby food areas, one in the milk room and one in the main buffett. They provide jars of gerber baby food. Generally the mixed vegi/meat type, a few types of veggies, pears in sugar sauce, lots of surgery cereals (cocopuffs, cornpuffs, frostedflakes, etc). There are plain saltines and I think a blender if you want to mix your own. There are a variety of surgery yoghurts and one plain type that the older girls enjoyed. Our baby is past a year so he was past the baby food stage but I missed plain cheerios, non-surgery fruits. He loved the plain pasta, bread and eventually accepted the grilled chicken (which i though was delicious but a better different from what he was used to). The people at the grill resturant would cut up plain apples or pears for us. The bananas are excellent!

All in all we had a wonderfull time and look forward to another visit!!! thanks to everyone.

Room Tip: the iguana rooms are close to all the kid stuff
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank rubiskies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
clubmedofficial, Guest Relations Manager at Club Med Ixtapa Pacific, responded to this reviewResponded February 15, 2012

Dear rubiskies,
Thank you for taking the time to write this in-depth review of our resort! We are so happy to read that your experiences with us proved to be your “best family vacation” ever! It is apparent that there were many aspects of the village that you absolutely loved. It’s great that you felt so comfortable with the child care, which really allows you to be care-free your entire stay! We love that you dove right into the activities by taking lessons and learning as many new skills as possible. Your vacation memories will truly last a lifetime. We hope you’ll come back to make even more of these wonderful memories soon. See you then!
Kind Regards,
Your Club Med Team

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