The recent $20 million renovation at the Club Med Ixtapa transformed a one time singles destination into a family friendly vacation paradise.
To be honest, I’ve never been a Club Med kind of traveling mom. I’ve always been a bit leery of all those organized activities, dinners where others join you to chat and clubs that take your kids away for long periods of the family vacation (after all: you’re there to bond, right?).
Truth be told, I’ve always been a bit nervous about taking my girls (one of whom has some medical concerns) to Mexico where the water can be iffy and food for picky eaters limited. But I was proven wrong on a recent family vacation at the remodeled Club Med Ixtapa, on the Pacific coast about an hour north of Acapulco. From the ease of getting there (quick stop in Houston from LaGuardia) to a bus that whisked us away the minute we passed through customs—complete with a lively staff who gave us our keys with immediate check-in to our rooms as well as bottles of cold water—I was sold. And that was before my family and I even tasted the fabulous food or set foot on the gorgeous 34-acre property.
The resort itself, formerly a no-frills (mostly singles) destination, just reopened in December 2007 after a $20 million renovation. It is now more upscale, comfortable and family-friendly, with an emphasis on the infant to 10-set. You have your choice of spacious rooms (all with a mod vibe, flat-screen TVs; refrigerators, Internet access, and in some cases, small play areas with desks and tables).
We opted for the Dolphin Excursion, where we got to swim, touch and interact with dolphins.
There’s also a tower option with pampering concierge and room service, along with a stretch of private beach. Personally, I don’t know that it’s worth the extra money as the whole place screams ease and convenience with everything you need at your fingertips, including strollers, cribs, bottled water and a super-friendly staff that is eager to accommodate in all languages. On our recent visit, it was stroller heaven with families from all over the United States, Canada, England and France (making it fun to hear so many accents).
Like all Club Meds, the resort is all-inclusive, meaning you never have to whip out your wallet. Plus, it boasts an egalitarian atmosphere that encourages socializing between staff and guests, as well as guests and guests. We met a bunch of other families from the New York area, as well as a grandmother and her granddaughter from Los Angeles. We also met a few extended family vacationers who hailed from points across the United States). It’s honestly the perfect vacation spot for all kinds of families thanks to the “G.O.s” (short for “gentils organisateurs”) the young and energetic staff (also from all over the globe) who join you for meals; hang out with you on the beach, and encourage you to try activities you might not otherwise try. It’s also a great way for your kids to bond with other youngsters, allowing you and your hubby – or just YOU—some “alone time.” (When we left, many kids were crying and exchanging emails with their “G.O.s,” that’s how attached they got to them.)