13 NOV 2017: I don’t know about you but when I used to hear the name “Club Med,” images of foot loose and fancy free types imbibing tropical drinks while enjoying lusty playful games and other ‘fun’ things under the sun, would pop up. Well I’ve made a huge rethink.  

Club Med, like its earliest guests, has matured. The renowned pioneer of the all-inclusive brand has been big on families through its Kid’s Club programmes and under four year-old kids stay free strategy but it has also gained a footing on the upscale all-inclusive market.

As one senior company insider put it, “We are the leader of the all-inclusive upscale vacation.”

Last week, executives from the international all-inclusive resort brand visited Toronto. The timing couldn’t have been better.

White Powder

On the heels of what weather forecasters are predicting as a wild winter this upcoming season (oh joy! oh bliss!) comes images of white sand fringed properties in the idyllic sun havens PLUS the resort company’s foray into Canada.

Club Med enters Canada on the white powder alright but this time it’s … snow.

On the outskirts of Charlevoix, Quebec lies Le Massif, the first Club Med operated resort in Canada expected to open by 2020. Only 1-hour from the Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport, the year-round luxury property will have the bells and whistles of the usual all-inclusive package familiar to Club Med guests, but will go beyond, with extra amenities and activities fitting for the ski crowd. Ski lifts, ski lessons and l’apres ski are all included. The $120-million venture is a partnership with Groupe Le Massif, Club Med including the provincial and federal government among other investors. 

Club Med + Millennials

Carolyne Doyon, senior vice-president with Club Med for Canada and Mexico, pointed out that ski clients, especially among the Millennials which is a fast growing market, are seeking more than ski. “Their expectation is to enjoy a true mountain experience rather than just hit the slopes and ski from 8 am to 5 pm,” she said.

Club Med differences

So how does Club Med separate itself from the all-inclusive pack?

Doyon says, “We invented the all-inclusive in 1950 and we have unique selling points. We have the biggest sports school in the world. You can learn to sail, try a new sport at every level, or learn how to play tennis. We have academies and it’s all included.”

In addition, the “Gentle Organizers” or the G.O.s, are staff from all over the world. “So it’s the non-tangible that you don’t have with other places.”

Club Med + Canadian market

The resort company reports last year among the 40,000 Canadians travelling to a Club Med destination, 20 percent originated from Ontario.

For Canadians, the top-selling Club Med destination is the Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, with its three properties. Besides the resort, there is an adults-only section Zen Oasis; and, the 5-star Tiara for VIP treatment. Also, expect transformative experiences with the likes of acrobatic lessons called Creactive from Cirque du Soleil-trained instructors.

For this winter’s sun seeking season, Club Med has updated the Club Med Cancun in Mexico which the company says is a totally new product, while it continues to expand internationally among other markets with future openings in China, Italy, and other parts of Europe.

First Time Club Med Clients

For clients living in Ontario in the over 40 year-old couple category who want to leave the teenagers at home, but have never experienced Club Med, is it too late to start? I’ve been told, “No, it’s not too late.”

For a Club Med intro, consider taking a direct flight from Montreal to San Salvador Island in The Bahamas. Within 4-hours you’re rolling out the beach towel in a private beach setting.

“It’s like a private island,” says Doyon describing the Club Med Columbus Isle atmosphere then adds, ‘If you are active, there is scuba diving. It’s an amazing place to see sharks.”

For that idyllic sunset on the beach, romantic types can enjoy a candlelight dinner for two with nothing but the pulse of the sea and the starry night ... And, for good measure, throw in some sand between the toes.


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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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