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Club Med Cancun

September 1-8, 2007

Well, here we are finished with our third vacation in a year.  I could get used to this.  If you are unfamiliar with Club Med and
the nature of the all-inclusive, I invite you to first read my review of Club Med Punta Cana from my January 2007 visit.    Also,
Club Med Cancun is the first of the North American Club Med Resorts to go through the "renewal" process.  Club Med is trying
to update all of their villages one at a time.  Making it a more luxurious resort and providing more services; as well as, making
all clubs family resorts.


TRAVEL TO/FROM  CANCUN:

We were once again on United ~ not necessarily by choice, but their mileage program is just about the best one in the industry
for accruing and redeeming mileage.  So our routing to Cancun was through Denver.  Overall, pretty uneventful for the flights,
we were pretty much on time arriving for each segment of the trip.    Denver customs was smooth, but it did take quite awhile
for our luggage to come out.  No worries though as we had a 3 hour layover in Denver on the return, which allowed us plenty
of time to get through customs and immigration and get a decent dinner before boarding our final flight home.  United on
board services were pretty basic, as is the case with most airlines these days.  Their boxed snacks for $5.00 aren't too bad
actually ~ a variety of crackers, cheese spreads, chips, cookies, applesauce, etc.  I think my biggest peeve with United is their
"Economy Plus" seating and how it is assigned.  These seats are initially set aside for the Mileage Plus Premier Flyers (anyone
who flies a great deal with United) ~ these people can get into these seats at the time they confirm their reservation.  My
business travelers love the extra leg room and I can certainly understand that.  They travel a great deal, this should be an
added perk for their loyalty to the airline.  However, for the average person like myself, if we want seats in the Economy Plus
section, we have to pay a surcharge to do so.  When we went to Punta Cana, we asked for Economy Plus on the return and
did not get charged.  This time for the Cancun trip, if we wanted Economy Plus, we'd have to pay for it on each leg of the
trip.  My husband is tall, so it makes for a much more comfortable ride ~ but two of us, that was an added $300 just for more
leg room on the flights.  I think within 24 hours of the departure, if those seats are not taken, anyone should be able to request
them for FREE!  


GROUND TRANSPORTATION IN CANCUN:

Since my stay at Club Med was a prize that I had won at a seminar and I did my own air separately, I was on my own to get
from the airport to the resort.  I had pre-arranged airport transfers with Mayaland (a local tour operator in Cancun).  
Everything with this was very smooth.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.  As with just about any arrival in Mexico, you do
need to be aware that you will be approached on your way out by people who want to get your taxi, get your
transportation, sell you optional tours, get you to attend a time-share presentation.  I did allow myself to stop and talk to one
of these representatives because I wanted to see just how easily it would be to get away.  Overall, they were very respectable
here in Cancun, they did take "No" for an answer and then pointed me in the direction to meet my driver.  On our return,
Mayaland was very prompt with our return to the airport.  Upon arrival at the airport, the Mayaland Representative there
greeted us and obtained a sky cap to assist with our luggage.  

Side Note:  Do make sure when you travel to Mexico (or anyplace for that matter) to have enough small bills for tipping.  We
found at the end of our trip that we had mostly $20's and had no need for "Peso" change, so this guy ended up getting a
$20 tip for his luggage assistance.


ARRIVAL AT CLUB MED:

We had a long travel day, up at 5am for an 8am flight, we arrived at the Club Med Resort just about 7pm.  We were
greeted by the Club Med Staff, handed a wash cloth to refresh and a choice of water or iced tea.  Check-in process went
smoothly and we were then escorted to our room and given a brief tour of the grounds on our way to the room.  When we
arrived at our room, the bell boy was waiting out side the room with our bags.  We unpacked and then got ourselves
freshened up for dinner and our first night at the resort.


DINING AT CLUB MED CANCUN:

This Club has 3 restaurants, although most meals you only had 1 choice.  The resort was at low occupancy, so they would shut
down some of the restaurants.  Each day "La Hacienda" restaurant which was located in the middle of the resort would be
open for breakfast and dinner.  There were two other restaurants:  "La Pergola" and "La Cazuelas" - however,  these two
restaurants would alternate for dinner each night - both offering reservations only and sit-down, service dinner.  La Pergola
was a "Tapas" Specialty, which meant they brought you small plates of many items for you to share and try.  For the picky
eater, not a great choice, but I survived.  The chicken tapas were great and the churro dessert tapa dipped in chocolate
sauce - also a winner.  La Cazuelas would offer "Mexican Specialty" dinner; however, we really did not feel that it was a
Mexican menu.  The food here was good, but not anything worth repeating.  We did dine in La Hacienda several nights for
the buffet dinner.  All in all, I was disappointed in the menu choices, the food was many times cold and just not very tasty.  That
is not to say there weren't a few good things, but overall, just not very good.  Our dining experience at Club Med Punta Cana
was much better - 100% better!  

They did not have the "themes" for the dining at Cancun, like they did in Punta Cana.  It would have been nice to have had
different themes for dining each night.  It would have provided more options throughout the week.

Lunch was only available at La Cazuelas restaurant, which was located a decent walk away from the center of the village.  
Always a buffet lunch and overall decent choices.  I opted for the grilled items that were grilled on the spot, at least I knew I
was getting a hot meal.    You could also find late afternoon items at La Pergola.  Late night snacks were also available at La
Pergola - which was good after a night of dancing, a little quesadilla midnight snack was welcomed.

Overall though, the dining at this village was very lacking.  As for service in the dining venues, always very good service.  In the
buffet restaurants you were always asked immediately what beverages you wanted and they were delivered to your table.  
The sit-down dinner options also had very good service.  

It was disappointing to not have a "snack shack" type of venue near the pool or beach for daytime quick snacks or meals.  You
really had to talk yourself into walking down to the lunch venue if you wanted to eat- it really wasn't convenient at all.  But I
think this is a problem because the resort was at low occupancy and it didn't make sense for them to operate all the dining
venues for all meals.  I would have opted for them to operate the most centralized dining venue.  Also, the daily sheet of
activities never seemed to be properly updated to reflect which restaurants were open/closed.

Our best two meals:  Dinner in town at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and lunch another day along the Hotel Zone for real Mexican
food.



ENTERTAINMENT:

Well, it does seem that with the new "Renewal", a few things have changed with Entertainment.  They do have nightly shows
and I certainly would not place them on the level of cruise ship shows- but they are getting better than what they were.  Most
of the shows were the dance variety shows and "Hooray"- no more "Hand's Up" song that they have been singing for
decades!!!!  Some of the shows were a bit too long, or maybe felt long because they weren't attention keeping.  But overall,
much better than the evening shows that we had in Punta Cana.    Other than the nightly shows in the theatre, they did
have a big screen movie out by the pool, but seemed as though most nights the movie was on and the audio playing didn't
match the movie, which seemed a bit pointless.  This village has 4 bars, with 2 of them located at the "specialty" restaurants- so
they were only open if the restaurant was open and/or if it was the chosen location for disco that night.  The pool bar and the
main bar were pretty much always open.  Friendly bar staff, we always had a good time in the bar talking and socializing
with the bartenders and other guests.  We did meet a very nice couple from Alabama and always met up with them each
night.  It did help to make the difference for our evenings ~ I think we would have been pretty bored if we had not met a few
nice people.  

Disco venue was not constant.  They advertise 3 discos, but it seems as though they only operate one each night and location
changes from night to night and often times it is not the location on the daily sheet of events, which was very confusing.  I think
if they are going to put something in print, they need to stick with it.   Of the 3 locations, 2 of them were great.  The main bar
was air-conditioned (well until our 5th night when it broke and it still had not been fixed by the time we left)- but with the
air-conditioning working and a very large dance floor, it was a good venue.   La Cazuelas Bar was the 2nd choice, even
though it was located non-central, the dance floor was good and it is an open-air venue, so you did get a cross breeze which
helped to keep you cool.  La Pergola Disco was all outside and the dance floor was the equivalent of a wood pier, so not very
conducive for real dancing.  We did manage to dance most nights.  We had 2 early mornings scheduled and since the disco
never really got started until 1030-11pm, there were the 2 nights preceding our early mornings that we did not go to the disco.

We did not have any Karaoke nights, there didn't seem to be nightly "cocktail hour" musical entertainment like we had in
Punta Cana.  So overall the entertainment was a bit on the sleepy side.


ACCOMMODATIONS:

Again, as previously mentioned Club Med is in the "renewal" process of their Clubs.  Cancun was completely remodeled after
Hurricane Wilma two years ago.  The new colors, bedding, linens, etc. in the rooms are nice, but I would not classify the room as
"luxurious".  It was still a very basic room, the bed was not very comfortable - you could feel where the two twins were put
together to form a king bed.  If you wanted to be cozy with your spouse, one of you was going to be sleeping on the bump in
the middle of the bed.  The bathroom was updated with a beautiful shower and new sinks.  We did have some issues with the
water turning cold on you in the middle of your shower, so it wasn't very consistent.  The towels were plush and large.  We
never had to ask for more towels- they would keep 5 bath towels as standard which was great.  Housekeeping was a bit
sporadic with making up the rooms.  Often times they would not replenish our water bottle supply.  We had one day that
they took the shampoo out of the shower, but failed to leave new bottles.  In fact, they never left new bottles of shampoo, etc.
~ we were given 2 bottles (small) of each amenity the day we arrived and they never replaced them.  We realized we were
out of shampoo once we were in the shower.  We had to get out, all the front desk and then wait about 20 minutes before
the shampoo was delivered.    I will give our housekeeper one kudos though- she could make towel animals- well, maybe I
should say- a "towel swan" that she made twice during our stay.


ACTIVITIES:

This village has activities galore:  windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, water skiing, wake boarding, trapeze, volleyball,
basketball, pool games, bocce ball court.....you really could not say you have nothing to do.  The pool was a large circular pool,
beach was plentiful- nice white soft sand with plenty of chairs.  The fitness center is air-conditioned and has several cardio
machines, weight machines and free weights.  They offered 5 daily classes.  I was a bad girl and did not attend any of the
classes.  We used dancing nightly as our exercise for this vacation.  We did use the gym one day and I thought about
attending the step-kick class, but I didn't see any kickboxing at all and I'm not a big fan of step aerobics.  


GENERAL INFORMATION:

This club did have the nightly dress code themes, pretty similar to those of Punta Cana.  You didn't notice as many people
adhering to these dress codes.  The club did have a spa, although we didn't indulge, our new friends from Alabama did have
massages and they said that they were very good.  The village did have a few shopping venues and also an excursion desk.  
We had prearranged our own excursion through Mayaland to the Chichen Itza Ruins which was a wonderful tour.


SUMMARY:

We did enjoy ourselves, but really felt that the Punta Cana club was much better.  There are many factors that could play a
part in this difference, with a big part being the low occupancy level, therefore, services seemed to be cut back.  We didn't
feel as though the G.O.'s made real attempts at getting to know you.  In Punta Cana, we always had the G.O.'s come up to us
and strike up conversation.  With the exception of the bartenders: Ami, Jeff, Sophia and Tony ~ we really didn't get to know
the other G.O.'s at all.    Bar Service at the pool and beach were inconsistent.  A few days we didn't have any service and
then other days they were always coming around.  

We did have great weather- it was hot and humid which is to be expected.  We had a few days with very brief showers, but
never a bother.  We both caught up on some reading which was great!  It wasn't our most favorite vacation and I'm not sure
that I will be going to Club Med anytime soon.  There are other all-inclusive resorts that I think would suit me more.

I think for people who are new to all-inclusive resorts or people who are Club Med regulars ~ they will like the Cancun club very
much.  It is a beautiful location with plenty of things to do.  Gorgeous waters, gorgeous beach help to make up for the
short-comings of the resort.  After speaking with a client who was at the Club in July when it was at full occupancy, I do have
to wonder though if the resort had been to maximum occupancy, we might have had a better experience.  He seemed to feel
his experience was very much the opposite of what we experienced with the staff friendliness and the quality of food.


To see pictures of Club Med Cancun:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pamstravel/sets/72157601930154612/