clubmedixtapaFood Glorious Food: This was our greatest surprise and pleasure. We loved the food here: the buffet options at the main restaurant, El Encanto, were always surprising and varied with something for everyone (including my picky eaters).

There was always spaghetti, pizza and pasta (with sauces on the side), along with fresh fish (salmon, tilapia, and even a huge fish a guest caught one night) as well as local flavors, including housemade guacamole, cheese quesilladas and tacos (some of which were hand rolled by weathered looking local women who clearly have been doing this for years). So good it’s worth bringing home (and yes, they package it for you): the house-made white chocolate and dark chocolate bread. Overall, you’ll find the bread is varied and delicious and looks like something you’d find in a French boulangerie. There were also salads, and fruit galore, along with international flavors of the Mediterranean as well as the Mexican staples of beans and aroz con pollo. We ate the majority of our meals here, where you could dine seaside on the covered terrace or inside one of the five themed air-conditioned rooms (there was also a special area for babies). Again, every detail is well thought out, including offering a water cooler so moms can feel confident about the water their little ones are drinking. There are also coffee cups to go (you can make your own cappuccino or latte thanks to an easy machine) and high chairs and boosters are easy to come by. There’s also a beachside restaurant (Miramar) for late breakfast and lunch that turns into a Brazilian grill house at night and offers sit-down service. And Luna Azul showcases fusion cuisine giving you another nighttime option. I swear I gained five pounds because the food was too tempting to pass up (not to mention the wine).

Don’t forget YOU:  Aside from the gorgeous beach and pool, one MUST try the spa, which gives you the option of relaxing in a robe on the Spanish-style hacienda overlooking the Pacific or in one of the billowing tents on the beach. Let the trade winds calm you while essential oils are rubbed into your now bronzed body as you veg out with the calming massage known as the Club Med Detox. The Spa also features a variety of facial treatments (including a special one for men) in addition to a variety of body treatments, many adapted from ancient Mayan therapies. Unfortunately, the spa treatments are not included, but they’re oh, so worth the extra cash.  

Optional: As enjoyable as it is to spend all seven days here, it’s also fun to get out and see some of the “real” Mexico. The Discovery Center, located at the resort, offers a host of excursions (for an additional fee) from a lobster lunch on secluded Ixtapa Island to shopping and sightseeing in nearby Zihuatenejo. We opted for the Dolphin Excursion, where we got to swim, touch and interact with dolphins. We also enjoyed the catamaran adventure that included snorkeling and spinnaker flying.

For More Information: Club Med’s all-inclusive rates are reasonable and there are few hidden costs. A family of four is $1,400 per adult, with kid rates that are often discounted (30% of the adult rate, while kids 4 to 15 pay 50%). Register at www.clubmed.us to get news of their promotions, as they’re always having some kind of a deal. Just keep in mind when you make your reservation that many rooms have bathrooms with showers but no tubs. If your kids are bath-takers, make sure you request such a room when you book.

For More Information: Club Med’s all-inclusive rates are reasonable and there are few hidden costs. A family of four is $1,400 per adult, with kid rates that are often discounted (30% of the adult rate, while kids 4 to 15 pay 50%). Register at www.clubmed.us to get news of their promotions, as they’re always having some kind of a deal. Just keep in mind when you make your reservation that many rooms have bathrooms with showers but no tubs. If your kids are bath-takers, make sure you request such a room when you book. 

Jeanne Muchnik, a travel writer for 20 years (who, to the major embarrassment of her two girls, still carries the same beat up carry-on bag) loves beaches that boast azure waters, blue skies and plenty of sunshine.