Featured on parentscanada.com on April 4, 2017
“Breathe in and out like the waves, with strength and energy,” says Mo, the fitness instructor who is leading the 9:00 a.m. yoga class here at the Club Med in Ixtapa on the Pacific coast of Mexico.
“Respira con las aguas—con fuerte and energía, “ she repeats in Spanish.
As we stretch into cat posture, then move into downward dog, I can hear the steady rhythm of the waves’ movement, in and out, like breathe and life together. And as I stand in warrior pose, I can gaze out at the water, and the Sierra Madre Mountains in the distance. It’s really not such a bad backdrop! I am here for a quick January getaway with my 13-year-old daughter Antonia. For four days, we have entered a Caribbean playground.
Club Med marketing and communications project manager Julien Laurent tells us, “Club Med is not only about going to the beach, but Club Med’s forté is really the range of activities it offers, and its focus on families.” Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice 2017 rated club Med Ixtapa Pacific the second best hotel for families in Mexico. A big part of its appeal are its kids’ clubs, which are tailored to the age of the child: they start with Baby Club for four to 23 month olds and move all the way up to Junior Club for aged 11 to 17 years. Within each club, daily schedules are action-packed with everything from circus school to archery to sailing, kayaking, swimming, and pajama parties in the evening.
The Club Med playground is also available for grown ups too. I found myself doing yoga twice daily, water aerobics, kayaking, flips on the trapeze and even a towel design class. Some activities, like the tie-dye t-shirt designing class, my daughter and I did together because they are set up for families. So whenever our family returns from a trip, we recap the highlights and surprises of our experience:
Antonia: We had a great view of the ocean from our suite. Whenever we came back to our room each night, there was a cool towel animal at the end of the bed: a cat one day, an elephant the next, and my favourite—a mermaid.
The buffet at the main Encanto restaurant was very impressive. They had both Mexican and American dishes. I loved the fish and beef tacos, the hash browns, the guacamole with homemade tortilla chips, and the sushi we had one night. I also liked the great dessert like mocha cake, brownies, meringues, the cappuccino and lemon ice cream and more toppings than you could imagine: chocolate salsa, caramel sauce, and sprinkles. There was even a chocolate fountain one night.
I also liked exploring the market at Playa Linda, which was only a 10-minute walk from the hotel with rows of little stands selling everything from jewellery to crucifixes to t-shirts. Next to it was a crocodile farm, where we saw several crocodiles having a siesta.
Diana: Let me add that I loved the fact that the resort’s accommodations were spread out in two and three-storey hacienda-style buildings. Our ocean-view Sol Suite was right next to the beach, so I could fall asleep to the sound of the waves each night. It also had its own concierge, easy access to excellent espresso in the morning, the option of continental breakfast delivered to our rooms (which we ate out on our balcony), a stocked mini fridge, and two bedrooms divided by bathroom in the middle, so each were totally private.
I also appreciated being able to get quesadillas and guacamole at off hours at their beach snack bar, Miramar, and loved the retro open air Estrella bar, where we had sparkling wine one night.
Diana: I don’t tend to go to evening shows at all-inclusives, but I went religiously each night with Antonia at 9:15 p.m., and really found the shows, put on by the Club Med staff or “G.O.s” as they are called, displayed some serious talent. Their “Music Factory” show highlighted popular songs from the 50s to today–from Elvis Presley to Stevie Wonder to Abba—and was well choreographed with great costumes and dancing. Their Circus Show featured some amazing acrobatics that included using aerial silks, with performers spinning and spiraling from fabric suspended from the ceiling.