IXTAPA/ZIHUATANEJO: CLUB MED IXTAPA PACIFIC
Jen & Family (baby 10mos.)
My family of 4 (4-year-old and 10-month-old) stayed in one of the newly renovated family suites. They did an amazing job. Two years ago we stayed there and our room was a cottage cheese box. This time, we splurged and it was well worth it. I upgraded my room after booking it when I found out that the family rooms don’t have bathtubs. The suites include send-out laundry service, Internet, additional turn-down services and probably a million other amenities that we didn’t use.
The week we went was part of their soft-opening so it felt like an intimate week as the property was only at 50% capacity.
The GOs are like camp counselors shuffling you from one amazing activity to the next. By the end of our 8 days, we knew the majority of the GOs names and they knew ours.
Mini Club: Once kids are 4, their world opens up to many more fun activities including trapeze.
While all the GOs were warm and playful, Noel (aka Christmas), Jeff, Brian, Chris, Ingrid, Nurse Sophie, and the adorable and hard to decipher sisters, Pascale and Camille went above and beyond. And of course Chef Anthony aka Mini-chef, who brought out my munchkin’s inner chef.
Baby Club: My babe wasn’t a huge fan of leaving mama, but the baby club facility was top notch and Sarah, and Marilou did a great job of comforting ME when I left her. Heather also made a huge effort.
Activities: The Circus area was really fun. Water polo and beach volleyball are my two new favorite sports. There’s something for everyone and never enough time to explore it all.
Food: I was terrified of getting sick since we all got sick on our last trip there. I’m happy to say that we ate and drank everything and were totally fine! And we ate a lot of everything. We drank the free bottled water in our rooms and the poured water from the bars and restaurants. Even the baby. The food was crazy delicious. Seriously.
Jean-Marc, the chief of the village, and his second in command Eduardo, are incredibly attentive and constantly checking in with everyone. And the staff was consistently saying what a great camaraderie everyone had which is a testament to their leadership skills and presence. You can tell that everyone likes each other and enjoys the lifestyle.
If you’re looking for a camp-like experience where you feel like you’re walking into Cheers every time you go for a meal, Club Med Ixtapa is for you. It’s really kid-oriented so I wouldn’t recommend it to people without children. Good tip: Bring a set of Walkie Talkies to stay connected to your family. We didn’t bring our cell phones so being able to find each other on the grounds was very cool.
Downside? It’s definitely on the pricey side. The bed frame is black with sharp corners that stick out against the black floor and my entire family kept stubbing our toes. The mosquitoes are insane at night so wear bug spray! The paparazzi guys are constantly taking photos, but they cost an arm and a leg. The ocean water is a bit colder than expected.
We’re already trying to figure out when we can go back and hope to see many of the same faces.
IXTAPA/ZIHUATANEJO: CLUB MED IXTAPA PACIFIC
Have Baby Will Travel (baby 2yrs.)
My wife, 2-year-old daughter and I stayed at Club Med Ixtapa Pacific for the last week of February 2008. The resort has been newly renovated, and only just re-opened in December. We were very impressed by everything the resort had to offer, and would definitely return to a Club Med in the future.
As we arrived at the resort after a 30min transfer by Suburban (take your car seat), we were greeted by a boisterous team of GOs with cold towels and trays of lemonade and water. I will admit that it was a little unnerving to have our bags whisked away and be checked in by a GO while sitting in the lounge, but all our stuff made it to our room. We were escorted there by GO Emily, who explained where everything was on the way. This was a nice touch, as we didn’t feel lost when we ventured out to the large resort for the first time.
We had a Family Club Room. It was clean and modern with tons of space and storage. The three of us had more than enough room and a family of five could be easily accommodated. The only drawback for us was the lack of a balcony or terrace, but such rooms are available as an upgrade. Our daughter could easily open the locked door, but it was explained to us that the deadbolts they had on order were held up at customs, so that issue will be rectified soon. Housekeeping was excellent, and the room was always made up by mid-morning. Our daughter’s bed was a sturdy and clean playpen that had a mattress for extra comfort and was made up with fresh linens. Large shower only – no tub. The towels are lovely and fluffy and in ample supply. A thoughtful touch was the addition of extra towels the day before we left, so we didn’t have to dry off with used towels on the morning of our departure.
Club Med Ixtapa Pacific’s grounds and facilities are immaculate. Everything faces beautiful Playa Quieta. Although my wife is partial to the Caribbean’s turquoise warmth and white sands, she soon embraced the clear Pacific and golden sands. The lounges at both the pool and beach are cushioned, and both areas have cabanas that are lovely for a bit of shade. We saw many a baby or toddler snoozing on one with their families throughout the day. The cabanas, however, tended to be snapped up before breakfast by bags or towels. Most were well used but sometimes one or two would remain annoyingly empty for most of the day. The main pool is actually two pools divided by a walkway. They are tended by lifeguards during the day and never seemed too busy.
There was always something to do if you wanted to, and no pressure if you wanted to do nothing. Although the resort was only half-full during our stay, I can’t imagine things being crowded while they are at capacity. Most areas, especially at night, were practically empty.
The Mini Club, Petit Club, and Baby Club were the stand-out facilities for us. Everything was spotless, the GOs were caring and attentive, and most children really seemed to be enjoying themselves. A lot of the older kids seemed reluctant to return to their parents! All guests with a baby or young child have access to a 24hr. baby room that was stocked with milk, baby food (Mexican Gerber – some sweetened and some not), yogurt, crackers, fresh fruit and dry cereals. The room also had a fridge, microwave, and facilities to warm, wash and sterilize bottles. They also offer the use of strollers, high chairs and bottle warmers for your stay.
The Petit Club staff were very patient with our initial constant hovering, and we felt comfortable leaving our daughter there. You are allowed to use the facilities without signing your children in so long as you are there to supervise. The Baby Club is for infants from 4-23 months and costs roughly $70 per day. Petit Club is for toddlers from 2-3yrs and costs roughly $65 per day. Children 4 and up go to the Mini Club and is included. Not all Club Meds offer a Petit or Baby Club. It is just Ixtapa Pacific, Sandpiper in Florida and Punta Cana in The Dominican Republic. Club Med Ixtapa Pacific also offers babysitting services at roughly $17 per hour for up to 3 children and a Pajama Club where you can drop off your children that costs an additional $22 for the evening.
The main dining room also has a fridge stocked with baby food and other essentials, and there are loads of options for older babies starting on table foods as well. For grown-ups, the food is amazing. We were incredibly impressed by the selection, quality and freshness of the food at the main buffet. I normally dislike resort food where everything tastes the same and is swimming in some kind of oil. I also liked that there was a Mexican station at every meal that offered authentic dishes. The fresh fruits and salads are beautiful and safe to eat. They have their own filtration system and test the water and food every two weeks. At the entrance to every eating area are hand sanitizer and wet naps, which most people seemed to use. As a parent, I also appreciated that the eating areas were non-smoking. In spite of the large amount of babies and toddlers, there was never an issue with finding a high chair or booster seat and any dropped (thrown) food was quickly cleaned up, either by the conscientious parent or the quick busperson.
One day we walked about 15min down the road to Playa Linda. It made for a nice change of scenery and had we been more prepared we would have hopped a skip to Isla Ixtapa. Right before Playa Linda is a Cocodrilario – where a bunch of big scary crocodiles live in a protected reserve. One other morning we went into Zihuatanejo. We negotiated with one of the cab drivers to drive us in, store our car seat and meet us 2 hours later. It worked really well for us and, although the price tag seemed a little steep at $50, it was worth it for us to know our daughter would be safe in her car seat and we wouldn’t have to worry about finding a cab back (although there were plenty in town. Zihuatanejo is a cute little town, and you actually feel like you are in Mexico. Although we felt happy and relaxed at Club Med, it felt good to venture out for a bit of a change.
We really enjoyed our stay at Club Med Ixtapa Pacific, and the Club Med experience is very different from previous stays we’ve had at All-Inclusive hotels and resorts. The only drawbacks for us were the aforementioned lack of balcony and the lack of child-proof locks. One evening we hired a babysitter and she was late – we were credited for an hour, which was appreciated.
In spite of the excellent quality of the food and facilities, what really stood out to us was the quality of service – namely the GOs. Some stand-outs include Eler at the front desk, Janine at the Petit Club, Jeff – the manager of the Mini Club, John the head chef and, of course, Jean Marc – the Chief du Village. Jean Marc clearly takes pride in his resort and the great team he has assembled to work there.
Club Med Ixtapa Pacific is not just a family-friendly resort, it’s family-embracing.