Club Med Cancun Yucatan, Mexico says:
“Nestling a short distance from the town of Cancun, at the tip of the bay in the Gulf of Mexico, the resort lies between the warm turquoise waters of the Caribbean and the lagoon. Club Med has enjoyed this prime position for over 30 years, being the first holiday resort to take advantage of the stunning white sand beach with wonderful views. It’s a fairly sizeable resort with 376 rooms with a chic Mexican hacienda vibe.”
With palm trees and clear turquoise waters, this really is an idyllic location rich with wildlife on a giant scale. One day, we rescued a super-size grasshopper from the swimming pool. Joel also loved playing hide-and-seek with the huge iguanas. We’d see how many we could spot as we walked back to our bungalow: our highest count was 12 in one walk! Our family room was decked out in a rich palette of pinks and burnt orange, with a balcony overlooking the lagoon.The best time of the day was late afternoon, when we would head out to the petanque area for a game of boules and swing en famille in the giant hammocks, as we gazed up at the leafy palm trees overhead. Then I’d do the sunset yoga on the decking to a soundtrack of gentle waves crashing on the shore, before we all had a little snooze (setting alarm clocks!) before getting ready for the evening’s adventure.
There’s plenty of exertions, should you choose, including windsurfing, kayaking, tennis, sailing, flying trapeze and circus skills, table tennis and petanque all included in the package. Scuba diving, big game fishing and golf are also available at extra cost, as are beauty treatments at the spa. Well worth spending a few pesos on yourself for some pampering indulgence! Part of the unique ethos of Club Med is that you’re encouraged to mingle and make friends: what better way than with team games such as beach volleyball or soccer? There’s no obligation to join in, well, apart from the occasionally cheeky banter from some of the more exuberant GOs (gentiles organisateurs) who may taunt you with “If you want to be boring, go next door to the Westin hotel.” I must admit the daily Aquafit classes in the pool were fun and vigorous; we even did one in the sea, which must have been quite a sight from the shore! With the children’s insistence, we even joined in the “crazy dancing” round the pool – just the once, though.
Bar area at Club Med Cancun Yucatan, Mexico
Rooms channel the Mexican vibe
For children, there’s a daily timetable of lively activities from sports to arts and crafts at the Mini Club Med (ages 4–10) and Juniors Club Med (11–17 years). For summer 2014, Club Med Cancun Yucatan will also offer Petit Club Med (2–3 years). For children’s clubs for younger ages, Club Med also run Baby Club Med (4–23 months) at many of their resorts, including Ixtapa Pacific in Mexico. Joel tried the kids’ club a couple of times and enjoyed it (the multilingual staff are very friendly and welcoming) but most of the time he and Gracie just wanted to splash about in the pool or build sandcastles in the shade on the beach – always in their UV protective sunsuits, hats and slathered with high factor sun cream.
What to eat
The culinary offering at Club Med is definitely one of the highlights. There’s a choice of three restaurants, plus two bars including one poolside. The Hacienda, the main restaurant, has an assortment of food stations in the middle, with seating round the edges, and features everything from fine dining dishes (artfully plated so they look the part) to cook-while-you-wait tortillas and omelettes, stir-fries and steaks to order. Each day has a different culinary theme – Asian, Japanese, French and Mexican, of course – with signature dishes as well as lots of healthy salads and fresh fruits. Guilty pleasures are the desserts and delicious home-made ice-creams and sorbets (so many to choose from, you’ll be tempted to have a couple at the self-serve buffet). Joel and Gracie loved the breakfasts, and were quickly addicted to their morning waffles fresh from the pan, doused with maple syrup and sprinkles of icing sugar. Another highlight is the early evening cocktail hour with moreish nibbles including plenty of tortilla chips and authentic homemade guacamole with big hearty chunks of avocado.
When to go
Although Cancun is a year-round destination tourists prefer the months October to May as they provide the most comfortable climate.
For the youngest guests, cots, changing mat, baby bath and bottle-warmers are available on request. There’s sweet and savoury baby foods in the restaurant with a special baby corner equipped to prepare babies’ meals, as well as high chairs and booster cushions in the restaurant. There’s also an optional Pyjama Club for communal babysitting in the evenings, as well as individual babysitting services (at extra cost).
To experience the local culture, take a trip to the archeological site Chichen Itza, one of the seven wonders of the modern world, or spend an afternoon of swimming with turtles or white sharks (but not at the same time). We took a half-day shopping trip to Carmen del Playa, where Joel bought a rather flamboyant Mexican hat and a wooden slingshot, while Gracie got a pretty bracelet with her name woven into it from a street vendor. It was a gloriously sunny afternoon, and we spent our time running from one shady canopy to the next, in the end taking shelter in Starbucks with ice cool Frappuccinos – and feeling just ever so slightly cheated we weren’t in some cute little cantina.
How to get there
The flight is just over 11 hours, with a five-hour time difference, meaning a lunchtime flight from Gatwick arrives in the late afternoon sunshine of Mexico. In-flight entertainment, activity packs and kids meals (must be booked in advance) are available on Virgin flights.
Seven nights all-inclusive, with a departure from London, based on a family of four (2 adults, one child less than six years old and one 6-plus) costs from £3,834.