Debbie's Dominican Travel.com Old Reviews - Club Med
Club Med Punta Cana
Gil 
USA
December 2006
Our family which included my son and wife and three grand children attended club med the lst part of July. It was a long full flight from Calif. We found the weather heavy and humid but the air conditioners were very good in the rooms. The maid service was excellent and had no troubles although they could only speak Spanish which was good practice for me. We were fortunate in having a room close to the center of things but there were many rooms that required a long walk. Our rooms were in the older section but had been reconditioned and were of good utilitarian quality but not 5 star.

The unique character of this resort as contrasted to 4 other club meds we have been to is that it is oriented to children. I think there could be more kids than adults and the programs for them were outstanding. Wind surfing, trapeze work, skating, sailing, gymnastics etc.. The only limitation was the lack of wanting to do all of those things. We found there was a tendency for the kids to group based upon language and age. The GO”s were very attentive to the children and the smaller ones had a control through the parents by having to check out if they wanted to leave the group

I felt the food was excellent and was better than most club meds. The bar was very good but some of the bar tenders were not to sure how to make a martini but they tried.There was plenty of alcohol at no charge

The nightly entertainment was very local. Most of the time the GO’s enlisted the kids into plays or shows, and of course the parents attended. The acoustics for the shows were lousy. The MC would yell into the mike and the sound would break up and you could not understand him in either English of French. Probably the worst example was when the administration put a rock band and a string sextet together for an evening show. I felt it was a disaster for both. There seemed to be poor communication as to what was planed for the evening. I asked the main desk and they didn’t’ know where the sextet was going to play and when.

The maintenance of the grounds was very impressive. At the end of the day the beach was a mess with plastic cups etc all over. The next morning it was immaculate.

The grounds were well maintained but many of the plants were quite mature. Occupancy of the club was close to max but generally there were adequate beach chairs. The ocean was comfortable but there was no surf. My wife appreciated a promp rescue when I tipped over a sail boat and dumped her in the water. .

The GO’s were uniformly friendly and helpful, particularly when one of the GO’s took us on a personal tour when we arrived to orient us to what was available and where it was.

Overall it was a good week and the only limitation was ourselves and how much we wanted to participate.
Club Med Punta Cana
Dawn 
Canada
June 2006
We benefited from the reviews on your site and thought that we should do the same for other travelers. My husband and I were at Club Med for one week in May and had a wonderful holiday. The weather was perfect, it rained during the night a couple of times and the days were gloriously hot, there is enough shade for those who want it. Our room was very far from the reception area, however the walk was good exercise and the grounds are so beautiful that we did not mind the walk. The meals were very good, lots to choose from, the taste and quality were good, every evening there was a different theme - Fish, Italian, Tex Mex, Chinese, Elegant etc. We always had lots of fresh fruit and the freshly squeezed orange juice every morning was just the best. Our room was lovely and spacious and housekeeping always did a great job, we also had new bottles of water left in the room everyday. The beach was cleaned every morning and generally the grounds and public buildings were well kept and clean. Lots of activities to choose from and the hotel offers quite a few excursions, we did the one to Santo Domingo most interesting, had a delicious lunch, however I wouldn't recommend it for children as it's a 3 hour drive there and back. The GOs were very friendly and great fun. We would go back.
Club Med Punta Cana
 
USA
June 2005
The food at this particular location was described by those more knowledgable about Club Meds as being "okay." There is a tremendous variety of offerrings, but often the appearance is far better than the taste. The fruit, however, was consistently fresh (grown locally) and a real treat. However, out of my family of four, the two that ate a lot of the fruit experienced some significant lower G.I. disturbances; whereas the other two who abstained, had no problems. Consistently good stand-bys at every lunch and dinner included the roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, rice, stir fried veggies, dominican pork, and some of the pasta dishes. I even had seconds on the baked frog legs which were surprisingly good.

In terms of sports equipment and facilities, the kayaks, snorkel gear, windsurfers, and sailboats all seemed in good shape. However, if you are a serious windsurfer, get there early due to the limited number of larger sails.The wind can be variable and when it starts to crank, the 14ft. day sailers are really fun to sail and fairly easy to upright if you dump one.

Some other things to consider before going:
1. The water in the dining halls and in the bar has been purified. No need to bring your own. They will provide you with 2 bottles of water so that you can refill them and keep them in your room. Don't drink the tap water in the rooms.
2. For some odd reason, the infirmary is closed between noon and 5pm. However, a physician is on call for serious medical events. Be sure to bring some extra band aids, peroxide, and other first aid stuff in case of afternoon cuts, scrapes, and blisters
3. If you windsurf, sail, or snorkle, be aware that the water can get very shallow, particularly in the afternoon, to the left of the wreck that lies several hundred yards out in front off the beach. Be sure to bring some beach shoes or Tevas with soles that can protect your feet from the sharp edged volcanic rock. If you wipe out on your board, capsize your sailboat, or drift too far over snorkeling, the rocks under the shallow water can inflict serious damage. The staff didn't do a very good job of alerting people to this particular hazard.
4. Check with the CDC website regarding the malaria risk. We took precautionary measures and began the once a week Chloroquine prior to our visit.
5. If you are accustomed to great snorkeling, temper your expectations here. We did go out on the boat excursion which consisted of a 5 minute ride out to some nice ledges with a variety of fish, (the highlight being a very large puffer). We all felt like it was worth it, due to the scarcity of fish just off the beach.
6. Regarding golf, there is a nearby Fazio designed course which was given pretty good reviews by some folks in our group. Green fees and club rentals are reasonable. Some of the other, more formal Club Med Discovery excursions into the countryside garnered mixed reviews.
7. In terms of "turista," I would suggest some Lomotil or Immodium just in case of an attack while on the way home.
Club Med Punta Cana
Sally 

June 2005
Club Med Punta Cana is the perfect, stress-free family vacation. Our children (ages 6, 7, and 9) loved the activities of the Mini Club (archery, trapeze, swimming in the pool and ocean, sailing on the Catamaran, tennis, and hip hop). They performed in two different dance shows in the evening. The teachers (called GOs) were extremely fun, animated, and responsible young adults from DR, Canada, France, and the US. I always felt that my kids were in great hands.

My husband and I enjoyed our time together and learned to sail and windsurf and perfected our dancing skills. We appreciated our lunches together without the kids. We had plenty of family time as well playing water polo with the other families in the pool until late in the night.
Good mix of French, American, and Canadian families. June was a good time to visit as it was only half full. We enjoyed all the extra attention from the staff.

Room and food were fine. The Dominican food was the best choice each night in the buffet. My picky eaters loved the chicken and rice. You simply can't beat the view from the Hispanola Restaurant at midday. The beach is even prettier than on the web site. We snorkeled right off the beach everyday and saw many fish and sting ray. No need for fancy excursions; we took the local bus into town to see the magnificent basilica in Huigey (one hour away and cost less than $2). Club Med is less than 10 minutes from the Punta Cana Airport. The facilities are extremely clean and well maintained. This was our second trip to Club Med Punta Cana.
Club Med Punta Cana
 
USA
March 2005
We have just retured from a week at Club Med, Punta Cana. Overall, it was an enjoyable week, characterized by a lot of varied activities and opportunities to meet some new and interesting people. The staff at this Club Med were exceptionally responsive and helpful. Everyone is young, energetic, and upbeat. Our family is particularly geared toward outdoor activities so we really took advantage of the tennis, morning power walks, windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling, table tennis, aerobics, swimming, kayaking, water polo, etc.

The food at this particular location was described by those more knowledgable about Club Meds as being "okay." There is a tremendous variety of offerrings, but often the appearance is far better than the taste. The fruit, however, was consistently fresh (grown locally) and hard to resist.. Consistently good stand-bys at every lunch and dinner included the roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, raw or stir fried veggies, dominican pork, and some of the pasta dishes.The white chocolate bread was really good.

The evening entertainment varied from stage shows, to dancing, to sports night, to some really impressive trapeze work, to just "chillin" at the bar listening to a variety of live music. A few of the stage productions were a little corny and slow, but you can always opt for a glass of wine and a walk along the beach.

In terms of sports equipment and facilities, the kayaks, snorkel gear, windsurfers, and sailboats all seemed in good shape. Howver, if you are a serious windsurfer, get there early due to the limited number of larger sails.The wind can be variable but even if it starts to crank, the 14ft. day sailers are really fun to sail and fairly easy to upright if you dump one.

Some other things to consider before going:
1. The water in the dining halls and in the bar has been purified. No need to bring your own. They will provide you with 2 bottles of water so that you can refill them and keep them in your room. Don't drink the tap water in the rooms.

2. For some odd reason, the infirmary is closed between noon and 5pm. However, a physician is on call for serious medical events. Be sure to bring some extra band aids, peroxide, and other first aid stuff in case of afternoon cuts, scrapes, and blisters

3. If you windsurf, sail, or snorkle, be aware that the water can get very shallow, particularly in the afternoon, to the left of the wreck that lies several hundred yards out in front off the beach. Be sure to bring some beach shoes or Tevas with soles that can protect your feet from the sharp edged volcanic rock. If you wipe out on your board, capsize your sailboat, or drift too far over snorkeling, the rocks under the shallow water can inflict serious damage. The staff didn't do a very good job of alerting people to this particular hazard.

4. Check with the CDC website regarding the malaria risk. We took precautionary measures and began the once a week Chloroquine prior to our visit.

5. If you are accustomed to great snorkeling, temper your expectations here. We did go out on the boat excursion which consisted of a 5 minute ride out to some nice ledges with a variety of fish, (the highlight being a very large puffer). We all felt like it was worth it, due to the scarcity of fish just off the beach.

6. Regarding golf, there is a nearby Fazio designed course which was given pretty good reviews by some folks in our group. Green fees and club rentals are reasonable. Some of the other, more formal Club Med Discovery excursions into the countryside garnered mixed reviews.

7. In terms of "turista," only those in our family who consistently ate the fruit were affected and then it really didn't kick in until day 8. Consequently, I would suggest some Lomotil or Immodium just in case of an attack while on the way home.
Club Med Punta Cana
Mark 
Texas
July 2004
I spent over half of a year at Club Med Punta Cana as an employee­ not as a Club Med "G.O.", but as an employee of a private contractor providing ancillary services for the guests.

Club Med is not just a chain of resorts. It's a concept...actually a mini-subculture in France and Quebec. You either like the Club Med idea or you don't. Visitors unfamiliar with Club Med should investigate Club Med in general before looking at Club Med Punta Cana. The positive side of Club Med is that management works hard to maintain a very friendly environment and a "party" atmosphere. A negative aspect is that some people find the structured activities to be a bit like summer camp for adults. If you're looking for an elegant, classy Caribbean experience, look somewhere else. If you like a "party" environment and want to meet a lot of people on your trip, Club Med could be just the place.

This particular Club Med is an excellent place to take children. The activities and programs for children are top-notch.

The beach at Club Med Punta Cana is pretty, but as noted elsewhere, the reef isn't very impressive compared to reefs elsewhere around the island.

The rooms are nice, as are the grounds. It's a big "village," but unless you're mobility-impaired, the long walk from an outlying room shouldn't be a problem.

Most of the staff and many of the guests are French-Canadian or French. Sometimes, the "village" is full of French-speaking guests (many from Montreal). Occasionally, during North American holidays, the resort will fill up with people from the United States, mainly New Yorkers. Rudeness and occasional Franco-Anglo tensions occur, but it's unlikely that one's vacation experience would be affected. Topless bathing happens, particularly when the "village" is full of Europeans...the French tend to be less bold about toplessness when there are lots of North Americans around. In eight months there, I never saw anyone swim nude, and the only nude sunbathers I saw were lying face-down.

The food is generally very good...hard to go wrong with the various types of seafood consistently offered. The breakfasts are particularly nice.

The entertainment and activities offered at night are pure Club Med...again, either you like it or you don't. If you prefer "Mambo Number Five" to a classic salsa tune, Club Med has what you need.

This Club Med is in La Altagracia, the easternmost and flattest province of the Dominican Republic. The best scenery is along the coastline. Once you leave the shoreline, it's a typical coastal plain until you get to the mountains that are pretty far inland. Higuey, the province's only large town, is interesting if you're familiar with Dominican culture, but doesn't have anything to offer the casual visitor except a modernist basilica. It's not dangerous, but it's a scruffy, sloppy town. Higuey is old, but the many years of hurricanes have destroyed the older, wooden buildings...the city is made of concrete. Club Med guests who wish to explore the country should probably explore the coasts and forget the interior. To the north, resorts and beaches stretch for miles. To the south, the Parque Nacional del Este offers wonders for those interested in eco-tourism and anthropology. Manati Park, a sort of no-frills Sea World, advertises at Club Med. The Park is located close to Bavaro, near Punta Cana. Manati Park has been targeted by people upset by alleged abuse of dolphins at the facility. Those interested in this issue should investigate the matter to decide if Manati Park is worthy of their patronage.

In summary, Club Med Punta Cana is a great place if you have kids. As noted above, compatibility with the Club Med philosophy is a prerequisite. Couples wanting a quiet, romantic vacation should go somewhere else.
Club Med Punta Cana
Walden & Michelle 
Texas
June 2004
Here is our review of Club Med the last week of May 2004. We flew American Airlines from Texas and changed planes in San Juan to Punta Cana. At the Punta Cana airport, the “Baggage Handlers” had our bags before we could get to baggage claim, then a short 5 minute taxi ride to the Club ($10USD). The Club was 1/3 full with 2/3 from Paris. The non-local staff was 97% Canadian. May is the off season and the rainy season as evidenced by the big floods on the other side of the island. The first two days: scattered showers; a strong wind; and, a bad current. All waters sports closed. The third day was the major rain and then sun the rest of the trip and light winds and all water sports open.

Our room and grounds
This place is big and absolutely beautiful. The variety of trees, plants, and flowers made this place a tropical heaven. Other reviewers said to fax ahead and request a room close to the main area. I could not agree more. Although the walk from end to end is not as bad as some of the reviewers have made it out to be, the four main buildings are the best location-wise. Colon (the one we stayed in) is best choice and Ovando second. Our room was clean and bright and cleaned very well every day. We did tip the maid every day, although not required. The room looked freshly painted as did the exterior. (They were painting the exterior when we were leaving.) The grounds were well maintained, with gardeners working every day. The beach was gorgeous with beautiful white sand—no trash, but some seaweed. There were around a dozen topless women at the pool and many at the beach. There were lots of jellyfish the day after the storm, the next day all gone. Some reviewers complained of blasting techno music all day long. I did not hear that at all. The only thing close to techno music being played was when they were offering water aerobics, otherwise it was Dominican music the rest of the time and it was not blasting. We could always find a chair at the pool, but not in the shade, and at the beach a chair in the sun or shade any time. The pool was massive with varying levels from a baby pool section to much deeper.

The Water Sports
Snorkeling at the Club was the worst I have ever seen. No fish until you get to the end of the snorkeling area. Lots of fish outside the snorkeling area, as the reef starts just outside the snorkeling boundary, but if you go out of bounds, Club Med security will be in the boat to get you back in 30 seconds. We paid ($33USD each, including beer) for an excursion to the reef to see the fish and coral, which were excellent. However, the boat trip leaves much to be desired. You go to two places--a reef wall formation called the aquarium and a sandy starfish area. At the reef, the current is strong and you must swim the predefined route with the guide, no stopping. The fish at the aquarium are excellent. The next place is a deep water sandy area to look at star fish--a waste of time here, unless you want an easy swim and to drink beer. You would be better off chartering the small boat for an hour ($150 USD) and stay at the aquarium and swim unstructured. I did not dive, but talked to several people who did and they said the diving was good and worth the money for the fish they saw at the reef.

The instruction is good for the windsurfing and sailing and the equipment in good working order. A large area to windsurf and sail, but must stay in the defined area. We did not kayak.

The Food
The food for the most part was great. Breakfast was the same everyday--anything you wanted except waffles. Lunch was mainly the same every day with a few minor changes. The dinners are as follows: Saveur *****, Couscous ****, World ***, Italian ****, Tex-Mex *, Dominican ***, Fish ***. My only complaint was Tex-Mex night, as I am from San Antonio and have had much better, but other dishes were available, including pasta, a tremendous salad bar, grilled chicken, and fish. At both lunch and dinner, there were foods for the children, including hamburgers, chicken fingers, and fries. I can report we ate a ton of fresh fruit, lots of ice and water and did not have any problems

The Petite Club
We have a 2-year-old and placed her in the petite club for four days. The Petit Club is closed on Saturdays, as that is the major check-in and check-out date for Club Med. The GO’s were wonderful with the kids and watched them closely. Every morning, they had arts & crafts, went to the baby pool, went to the beach, played under a covered awning on little cars, went to lunch around 12:00 at one of the restaurants and then went down for their nap from 1-3. Around 3:30, the GO’s herded the kids to one of the restaurants for a snack and then either let them play in the play room or had entertainment down at the beach where the parents picked up the kids. Overall, money well spent. We were able to relax or do water sports and we felt confident the children were being well watched.

Shopping & Sightseeing
We hired a taxi to take us to Higuey ($60USD + tip roundtrip) as the prices were lower. I can report that they are, but the trip is much longer than to Bavero and you will probably lose a price advantage unless you buy a lot. There is a shopping center across from the airport, but we did not check it out. The drive to Higuey is very interesting. A mix of donkey riding locals to Lexus SUV driving police. Housing ranges from Shacks to Casa Grande. Higuey has a huge Cathedral, worth viewing. The taxi driver drove us around the town and took us to his and his mother house; we met his mother and daughter.

The shoulder season is the time to go. No crowds and great prices. If you want to do every activity there, you need two weeks. For just laying out at the pool or beach or drinking, one week is plenty. I would highly recommend this Club based on my stay and the time of the year. My wife would go back tomorrow. I too would go back again while my daughter is still very young, it’s great for kids.
Club Med Punta Cana
Al & Caroline 
Calgary, AB
April 2004
We just returned from a trip to Club Med at Punta Cana and I thought I'd pass along our experience.

We arrived on April 1st, 2004 and were pleased that the Club Med staff were easy to find at the airport and were very well organized. After we were directed to our busses and took the short trip to the village we had a very brief orientation and were shown to our building and room. The room was nice and clean and had a nice large closet to contain our myriad suitcases and a separate TV room with beds for the kids. After our luggage arrived we retired to the restaurant for a quick supper and then off to bed. Our son (aged 9) tried the kid's club the next afternoon. He was a little cool on it the first day (Friday) but after a day of hanging around with Mom and Dad and two sisters (aged three and six months respectively) he decided that Kid's Club was much cooler. He returned on the Sunday and stayed every other day we were there. The kid's club was a great experience for him. He got to kayak, sail, snorkel, and try archery. The staff were great and very attentive. They take the job of minding the kids VERY seriously. One day I pulled him aside from the rest of the group as they were finishing up snorkelling to put some sunscreen on him. After about five minutes one instructor came over and asked that I make sure to let an instructor know when I was taking him as they do a head count every 10 minutes and they start to worry if they don't have the proper number of kids. It was pretty reassuring that they take their jobs seriously.

Most of the vacation for the rest of the family was spent at the beach or at the pool. The beach was great and was obviously cleaned every night. There were quite a few people on the beach yet garbage was at a minimum. There were the occasional drink cup, straw, or cigarette butt, but they were few and far between.

The food services were great. We ate at both the Samana and Hispaniola and were always able to find something to our liking. We did find the crowds a bit daunting since a lot of tourists come from larger US cities and France. As a result people are not particularly friendly as they're getting their food. Small children sometimes get cut off and ignored. That being said we didn't have one altercation with anyone, we just found people a little brusque.

The guests who were in attendance when we were there seemed to be split evenly between Americans, Canadians, and French. There were a few topless sunbathers on the beach but very few by the pool, and it certainly wasn't obnoxious or anything. For the most part it was all pretty low key and no fuss was made about it. In fact, it was kind of refreshing since my wife is still nursing our daughter and it made nursing a little easier in that she didn't stick out like a sore thumb.

For those travelling here I would make a few suggestions:
1. If travelling with small kids, try to get down to the pool by about 7:00 or 7:30 am to stake out a sun shade (Cabaña?) and some chairs. Lounge chairs can be found on the beach up to about 10:00 am so it's not as critical.
2. Don't expect a palatial setting. Even though this is a 5 star resort, the rooms are pretty basic and the grounds are not sculpted English gardens. I'm not sure why but the grass looks kind of odd (like they have some sort of pest that burrows beneath it leaving ridges all over the place). I heard one lady complaining loudly that the grounds were the worst she's ever seen. Hey, it's a tropical place where things grow awfully fast. Just be glad there's so much lush vegetation.
3. Bring Imodium. Both my wife and I got sick from eating in the restaurant. And it wasn't just a minor upset because we were eating different food. I've travelled to Iraq three times and Mexico twice and not had this type of stomach problem. We were both fairly careful about what we ate avoiding things like soft skinned fruit and berries, lettuce, salads with mayonnaise, or undercooked eggs. We still wound up getting sick, although we weren't violently ill. When we asked about it at check out we were assured that nobody ever gets sick at Club Med. Well, they must not have been checking very many people because, coincidentally the people standing in line behind me at the airport told me that they'd stayed at Club Med and three of the four people in their party were pretty sick.
4. Bring tons of sun screen. We thought we had lots and wound up running out. We had to pick up two tubes at the boutique and wound up paying $56 CDN or about $42 US.
5. Make sure you take all of the over the counter meds you need. I wound up getting heart burn unexpectedly and couldn't find any antacid in the boutique.
6. If you don't have hot water, turn on the shower and let it run for about five or ten minutes. The hot water seems to be in another building and if there's no one else in the building showering, it may take some time to get there.

All in all it was a great vacation. The stomach problems were not real fun but they certainly didn't stop us from enjoying ourselves or having fun. My son had a blast and the three year old and baby really enjoyed the pool and the beach. My wife and I both enjoyed the snorkelling. The only criticism I have about the resort (if you could really even call it a criticism) is that it's sometimes a little over the top. There weren't too many times that there weren't at least two or more loud systems playing techno music and there was generally someone extolling the virtues of "Club Med, Punta Cana" in three languages at least once an hour. It would have been nice to get away from that while we were at the beach or the pool. However, it's a very small irritation when considered with the rest of the experience. Would we go again? Absolutely. Although next year we'll probably leave the kids at home so we can enjoy more of the activities and a little of the night life. We'll probably take the kids again when the youngest is old enough to enjoy the kids club and Mom and Dad can have some time by ourselves!
Club Med Punta Cana
A happy family in Calgary 
Canada
March 2004
Sum it up - We had a fabulous time!

Family of four, two children ages four and seven. We flew in on a package with Air Trans-AT from Calgary, Canada. Flight went off without a hitch, although next time I'm going to bring some real food for my little ones. The breakfast on the airplane was a bagel and a small fruit cup.

Club Med is only a 5 minute bus ride from the airport to the resort. We were met with much fanfare, fruit slushies, a quick orientation, and a personal escort to our room. The rooms are basic, unpretentious and very functional. A LARGE walk-in closet for all our stuff, separate toilet and shower area, nice king bed and a separate room with two day beds and a TV. The TV room had a door you can close to make a separate room. Our room had a new coat of paint (as did the whole resort) and the air conditioning worked great. We were in the Playa Blanca building which was the third farthest building out, on the ocean side. We were actually in a garden-view room, but our front door opened onto the ocean. I personally found the walk peaceful, and did not mind it at all.

The food was all buffet, and was quite good. The staples were always there for the kids, spaghetti, burgers, dogs, chicken fingers fries, etc. Every night the two restaurants had different theme nights, so pick what you like. Tex-mex/French/Italian/Seafood, etc. The restaurants seat everyone at tables of 8 (usually). We met people from all over the world, mostly France, Canada, and New York. There was only one night where we absolutely could not communicate in some fashion with the other folks at our table. I found the deserts very European, a little bitter rather than sweet, but instead some fresh papaya, passion fruit and a slice of chocolate bread sufficed.

The beach was beautiful. White sand and very clean. We had no problem finding beach chairs at any time. Lots of palm trees to sit under. The pool was huge and I was surprised there were not more people using it. There were some instances of beach chairs being claimed with towels, but this was mostly held to the chairs under the cabanas at the shallow end on the pool. People traveling with toddlers tended to migrate here, as such, we did not.

Activities were constant. Partake if you like. If you don't, no one would bug you. Pool games, beach volleyball, bocce, aerobics-on-the-beach (there was an athletic floor set up on the beach with a roof). The GOs were always keeping things going. They always smiled and said Hola! The beach is protected by a coral reef about 300 yards out, so there's minimal surf. Good snorkeling and there's a scuba boat that can take you out to the ocean side of the reef for diving or snorkeling.

Our biggest kudos for Club Med goes to the Mini Club Med for kids. We went to club med hoping that our kids would spend an hour or two in the mini club med every day so that we could have a little relax time. WRONG! Our kids were part of the mini club med every day all day. We always left it up to them if they wanted to go or not, and they usually decided to go. We had expected sort of a babysitting service with some local teenagers. WRONG! All of the GOs were mid-twenties, and all spoke at least three languages, some spoke four. Several of the GOs had Education Degrees. We thought that the kids would be left to entertain themselves with whatever was available and the club. WRONG! The GOs kept them busy all day. Circus school, rollerblading, swimming, crafts, dancing, tennis, soccer, archery, basketball. They had a treasure hunt, sandcastle contest and a fun fare. The GOs did not just take them to the next event, they participated. The GOs were in the pool with the kids, dancing with them or playing soccer with them. Sign in is at 8:45. Activities run on a schedule hour-by-hour with two rotating days, and they keep to schedule. You can sign in or sign out your children at any time. When you sign in your children they get a bracelet. All the time while your child has a bracelet, the child is under the responsibility of club med. All the staff are constantly vigilant about where the kids are. If a GO sees a child with a mini club bracelet wandering by them selves, they immediately take them back to their group. Mini club med made sure the kids had time in the sun and the shade. They applied sunscreen during the day, and made sure there was quiet time as well as fun time. We usually grabbed the kids about 4:00 or 4:30, just to have some beach and pool time with them. The Mini Club med "closes" from 5:30 to 7:00 PM every day. At 7:00PM, the GOs are at one of the restaurants and you can sign the kids back in and they can eat dinner with their friends. At first, we kept our kids with us for supper, but as they made friends during the week, they insisted on signing back in and having dinner with friends. Who am I to argue??

Overall, the resort was clean and safe. There was a fresh coat of paint on everything. The resort sits by itself between some private properties, so the only people on the beach belong to club med. We took bug repellent, but did not need it. Not even so much as a mosquito bite. There was plenty of security staff and felt completely safe. I understand that when we were there the resort was 75% full, but you would have sworn it was only half full. I never felt crowded at all. It is not a party resort, as far as I could tell, but then again my entire clan was lights out by 10:30. There was a beach bar and disco at night, but I never got around to trying it. I highly recommend the massage on the beach. Wonderful.

Would I go again? Yes. We're already booked for next year. It was the kids who first brought up going back. What would I do differently? Take a cheap air mattress or two and leave it there (or give it away) when we're done. Take half the clothes that I did. Pack a few beach toys. Request a room closer to the Hispanola restaurant. Have a massage the second day I'm there.

There were a few female topless sunbathers, but only a handful. My kids pretty much ignored it.
Club Med Punta Cana
A Satisfied family 
Hamilton, Ontario
February 2004
We just got back from spending a week (Feb. 7 to 14, 2004) at Club Med, Punta Cana.

If you are reading this review, you have probably gone to multiple sites trying to discern if this is a good resort to go to. And you are probably confused at how some can absolutely rave about it and others can't say a nice thing about it. I have decided that, in this case anyway, that you must take any complaints about this resort with a grain of salt. This is a truly wonderful resort. We have been to many southern destinations and three other all-inclusive resorts. They have all been nice, but this is by far our favourite.

If you don't have a great vacation here, it is your own fault. If you don't like to experience other cultures, then don't go here. If you don't want to experiment with other languages, then don't go here. If you feel that all the food has to be the same as your native country and people all have to act like those in your own culture, then don't go here. If you resent having to walk maybe 10 minutes along a lovely pathway, lined with beautifully manicured gardens to get to the restaurants or your room, then don't go here. If you don't like children or are prone to criticizing how other people raise their children, then don't go here. If you expect Las Vegas style shows, then don't go here.

We met people who resented sitting with people they didn't know or who didn't speak their language. We embraced it. We met families from the States, Europe and Canada; GO's from Brazil, Peru, and other parts of the world. We dined with a woman travelling from Germany - together we struggled to understand each other, but it was wonderful getting to know her.

The food buffet had something for everyone - and if you don't like seafood, don't worry. There are so many other choices. The food was tasty and completely acceptable. That Atkins diet doesn't work well here though. Mashed potatoes, breaded chicken nuggets, pasta, desserts..... (yummmmm) - but one week will not harm you. What are vacations for anyway!

All the GO's (Gentils Organizateurs - Gentle Organizers or Nice Organizers) were wonderful people. They are like the animation teams at other resorts. They ALWAYS said hi to you when you passed them and they ALWAYS tried to communicate. They work very hard to make everyone's stay enjoyable. To the reviewers who complained they didn't speak english - STAY HOME. If you try, then they will try. If you are arrogant, then I don't blame the GO's if they pretend they don't understand you. Ola, Adios, Bonjour, Merci, Gracias are words that go a long way. Why not broaden your horizons and try to expand your knowledge. It's fun. The Manager of the village - Philippe - said it so well. He would love to invite politicians from around the world to come to his village so they can see how people of different religions, nationalities and languages can all live harmoniously. This is truly a harmonious village.

The children's activities are too numerous to mention. Our children, in the 14 to 17 age group sometimes participated in the organized activities, and sometimes did their own thing. The teen group GO (Terry) was very easy going and the kids all enjoyed him. There were only a total of 30 14-17 year olds at the resort last week, but this week there are over 100 - so each week is different. There were not many 16 or 17 year olds when we were there, but our daughter and her friend didn't seem to care. They participated in the water polo, the water aerobics, snorkelling and sunning on the beach. Our 13 year old son participated in the 14--17 club on and off, and made many friends. They all hung around with each other all week (most of them between 13-14) - eating dinner with Terry most nights, rollerblading, archery, water games or simply doing their own thing. Boredom is not an option at this resort. There is no pressure to participate in anything, but you are always welcomed when you do.

The shows are fun. Especially when you get to know the GO's who are in them from night to night. These are not professional shows, but we always enjoyed them. They work very hard at their choreography and you can tell that a lot of work went into them. They have so much fun on stage, it is hard not to enjoy yourself too. The two GO's who do the trapeze in the theatre are amazing.

The accomodations are very comfortable. The hot water issue in one review I read must have been an unfortunate problem that week. I heard no one complaining about hot water. We certainly had an abundance of it. If you want a luxurious room, stay at the Hilton. These rooms are clean, but fairly basic. But who goes to a southern resort to stay in their room all day anyway? Lots of shelf space for clothes, lots of hangers, good size bathroom and very large shower stall. Each room had a separate sitting room with two couches and a TV. There is a CD radio-alarm clock beside the bed, so bring your favourite CD's to lull you to sleep. We left a tip on the pillow each morning for the lady cleaning our room. You are not expected to, but it is a nice gesture. The walk to the low rise accommodation buildings throughout the resort is pretty and quite relaxing. After eating all that food in the buffet each day, the walk was actually quite welcome. Walking is good for your heart and bones - so embrace it. There is plenty of security all along the pathways - so walking home at 1:00 in the morning even felt safe.

As for getting sick, you are advised not to overindulge in foods you are not used to. We didn't drink the tap water. Some of us brushed our teeth with the tap water though and some of us used the bottled water we brought back each night from the bar. My husband and I had slightly upset stomachs, me near the beginning of the week and him near the end. Our discomfort was mild, however, and didn't last very long. Neither of us know what caused it, so just be mindful. We all took an acidophilus capsule each morning (has good bacterial culture like yoghurt). Don't know if this helped, but none of the kids got upset stomachs. We tripled our dose when we felt our discomfort and it went away fairly quickly.

If you are part of a package, your ground transfers should be included. We actually missed the main bus because we got delayed having to get out of line to fill out our tourist cards. But we only waited maybe 5 or at most 10 minutes and they piled us all in a little bus with our luggage piled in the three back rows. I couldn't believe the complaining of some of the passengers - its too hot, its too crowded, this is horrible....some people just don't know how to relax and see the fun and adventure in things. When we arrived at the resort, we were greeted with fan fare, and each of us was given a fruit punch. The five minute bus ride was all but forgotten.

Our Club Med/Air Canada package did not include the tourist card, so on arrival, we had to purchase 5 cards at $10 US a piece (hence the delay in filling them out). However, our departure tax ($20 US per person) was covered by Club Med. I think each travel package is different. We met others from other resorts who had their tourist cards, but had to pay the departure taxes. Air Transat also went to Club Med from Canada. I know their tourist cards were included, but don't know if their departure tax was. Also, if you are not part of a package, you are apparently expected to pay for your lunch if you arrive before the lunch buffet closes. This happened to the man ahead of us in line. He complained loudly and I could see his blood pressure shooting through the roof. The 'vacation-don't-worry-be-happy-solution'? Don't buy the lunch - no big deal! Go check into your room instead and wait until 2:30 or 3:00 to get your wrist bands. This actually happened to us - while we were part of a package, the GO who checked us in made a mistake and told us we had to pay for our lunch. We decided to wait until after we settled into our room to get our wrist bands. I can assure you, we didn't starve (of if we did, we made up for it the rest of the week). The few drinks we may have missed were not worth ruining our vacation over. Mistakes happen.

Speaking about mistakes, also try not to complain if your room is not ready when you get there. The reception crew and cleaning staff all work very hard. The efficiency of room turnover is only as good as the expediency of the previous guests leaving. If they didn't leave their room on time, or paid for a late check-out, the cleaning staff can't get into the rooms to clean them. Instead of complaining (and demanding to see the manager - as we saw two couples do) plan ahead. Pack a bathing suit, sunscreen and a good book in your carry on and go and park yourself by the pool or on the beach and unwind. We also saw one man complain that he was promised a room on the ground floor. Again, why one would raise their blood pressure complaining is beyond me. No resort will guarantee your room location or even adjoining rooms when you book your vacation. If it works it works. If it doesn't - live with it. We asked for a central location and side by side or adjoining rooms. We got side by side rooms, but one of the furthest buildings. 1 out of 2 wasn't bad. I am actually happy we weren't central. As I said, we enjoyed the walk. And if you are not happy with your lot, don't yell at the GO's behind the counter. Smile, be nice and they will obviously help you out if they can.

All in all, you cannot go wrong with this very well run resort. The beach is one of the most beautiful we have seen and very private - not a busy hotel strip. Lovely sand and lots of palm trees for shade. This was our first Club Med, and we met many people who have been here many times or to other Club Meds in other parts of the world. We would certainly go to Club Med again. Pick this resort, relax and enjoy yourself.
Club Med Punta Cana
Nicholas 

November 2003
I went to Club Med Punta Cana in March, 2003. It was great, I have been to many other Club Med’s and it was the best. I think the food was the best part, the bread, fish and coffee were great. The pool was huge. But one thing to warn American visitors about is that the majority of the people there were French and the French women and teen girls bathe nude (all top-less, and a lot completely nude). The beach was also spectacular. The ocean view rooms are a distant ocean view (looking through a few gardens and a building) but you also get more bugs in a ocean room. The gardens a spectacular cared for daily. The kayaking is good too, but if you have 10 or 11 year old children that are big for their size and look the size of an average 12 yo. Then I would recommend saying they’re 12, or else they can’t kayak by them selves.

Over a great trip, will come back next year.

P.S. I would recommend only staying for 1 week, it gets tiring after 2.
Club Med Punta Cana
Steve 

August 2003
i cannot say enough how great the trip was! we traveled with our whole family (in-laws, kids - 15 in all) from ages 6-69 and everyone agreed that this was a terrific vacation. i thought that mid august would not be a good time to go, but i was wrong. the resort itself is beautiful and very well maintained. the food was great, the accomodations were perfect, the weather cooperating was a big plus (sunny and hot every day), the mini camp for the younger kids and the counselors couldn't be better, the beach, the pool, the bars, the exercise classes. i don't think i have a single complaint! we are all going back next summer
Club Med Punta Cana
Saul 
Dallas
August 2003
Our extended family gathered for a vacation at the Club Med Punta Cana in early Aug. 03. Travel was relatively easy although a pair of walkie-talkies were stolen from one bag - presumably in San Juan. We all had been to numerous club meds but this was the first to including drinks, (and I did what I could to drink my monies worth.) Club med is a designed for an active but relaxing vacation where the emphasis is on participation and where everything is located on site. My family tends towards tennis and that was emphasized in PC. We also sailed, windsurfed, snorkeled, etc. They said that children under 12 were not permitted to kayak by themselves so my 10 year old son was disappointed but I suspect if we had simply said he was 12 no one would have stopped him. The GO’s have a very relaxed attitude and they truly want people to enjoy themselves. Only one of our party ventured out of the resort for an excursion and afterwards she said she probably should have just stayed at the club med. The rooms were simple but comfortable and clean. We tried to give the children an hour of down time before dinner and let them watch TV. Since there were the same stations and programs they watch in the US, they felt quite at home. The food was good and plentiful. We’d been warned not to eat fresh fruit, salad, certain fish but we ate everything and only one of our party of 13 had any trouble – and it was not a big problem. Our chief complaint was that our rooms were located at least half a mile from the main facilities and thus it was a good 10 minute walk each way, (add kids to the mix and make it 15.) Walk both ways for just breakfast, lunch and dinner and you've killed more than an hour of your day – forget your suntan lotion in your room and your stuck with the options of buying new at the boutique ($$) borrowing from a stranger or simply frying. At the Huatulco club med they used golf cart like vehicles to whisk people around and that would have made life much easier. I would probably reconsider our decision to attend club med PC in August. Apparently, that is the big French holiday month and the place was both packed, (100% occupied,) and overwhelmingly French. That’s not a problem unless you don’t speak French. If, however, your French is rusty or non-existent, problems will arise. Even the folks who work there and have no problem communicating in English 11 months out of the year sudden speak only French in August. And while the GO’s try hard not to show a preference towards their various guests, you belly up to the bar and ask for a beer at the same time someone asks for a biere and you’re going to get served second. The real problem arrives with respect to the mini or children’s club where a lack of English speaking compatriots caused my children problems. Before arriving I was looking forward to introducing the kids to another culture and language but ultimately they claimed the lack of English created such problems that they did not want to attend. All and all, it was a great time and we’d certainly go there again.