17My Background: More than 25 visits to Club Med Cancun, Turkoise, Columbus Isle, Playa Blanca and Sonora Bay.
This was my 5th trip to CM Cancun. This was my first CM trip in 10 years, and it was my husbands first time to Club Med.
Its difficult to explain how I felt. It was the same, but different. The biggest difference was all the kids. We tried to plan our trip after what we thought was Spring Break, but before Easter vacation so that we would minimize the kid factor. Not that we have anything against kids, but I had never been to a CM family village before. In any event, when we first arrived there were tons of teenagers which was no big deal because they are quiet and tend to travel in large packs together. After a few days the teens left and then the village was loaded with kids under 12 years old. The decibel level at the pool was deafening. Tons of kids running, yelling, screaming, and splashing all day long. I like the beach in the morning and the pool in the afternoon, so it didnt ruin my whole day. The lifeguards try their best to keep the kids from running and play fighting in the water, but most of the kids we saw paid no attention to the lifeguards, and their parents couldve cared less or were nowhere to be found. That was really my only complaint, and not really even a complaint because I knew going into it that there would be kids and it would be different.
The food was terrific as always. I couldnt wait to have the dark chocolate bread, the pan chocolat in the mornings, chilaquiles, beef carpaccio, the broiled tomato halves, etc. all my CM favorites. I would have liked a bit more Mexican food during the week, but there were lots of GMs from France and Argentina while we were there that week so maybe thats why not a lot of Mexican food like I remember from past trips.
Speaking of French GMs, cutting in line at the buffet or at the bar is still standard operating procedure for them. LOL However, French GMs have now also added stealing beach chairs and towels to their repertoire. This happened to us 3 times during the week. Wed leave to go have lunch and come back and a French family would be in our chairs! I was not happy about this at all and had a small meltdown on the beach the third time. But, I realize this is not CMs fault.
We ate alone or with GOs during each meal the whole week. This wasnt by choice. I love the shared table concept, but there is very little opportunity for that anymore. There are hardly any tables for 8 anymore. Its amazing to me that we didnt have one meal with other GMs the whole week. We were always alone for breakfast and lunch and then had dinner almost every night with 2 different GOs.
The steakhouse restaurant, La Pergola, was okay. The food was good. But the whole upscale CM thing just puts me off. They try very hard to make it an elegant atmosphere at La Pergola and Im sure there are guests who like that. Im old school CM and am not interested in that whole upscale thing. Give me a table full of GMs and GOs laughing and having fun and Im in heaven. Las Cazuelas (formerly La Palapa), was still a beautiful place to have a late lunch right on the water.
Speaking of upscale, the whole Jade building thing is strange to me as a CM old-timer. We walked through the separate reception area, looked at the pool, and vowed never to stay there even if money were no object.
Snorkeling What a difference. I cannot believe how much the reef has changed. Its practically dead. So sad, I wanted to cry. It used to be alive and brilliant with color and tons of fish, coral, and plants. Now its practically just sand and grass with a few fish here and there. No chance to go over to the other side of the reef with the Snorkeling GO anymore either. The other side of the reef used to be spectacular, not sure how it is now. But, theres only 1 Snorkeling GO, Luz, and she was great, but isnt allowed to take anyone over to the other side.
This was my first CM trip where no bar books or beads were necessary for drinks. All alcohol included is definitely a huge plus. The Beach Boys serving drinks at the beach and pool were great! They were always around right when you finished a drink asking if you wanted another yes, please!
The rooms were fine, no problem at all. We were in Topacio on the 3rd floor on the lagoon side. I loved having the coffee pot and the mini-fridge. I was happy not to have to march myself bleary-eyed to the dining room to get my first cup of coffee, and happy to have cold water in the room to make Gatorade or ice tea with powder we brought from home. Maid service was wonderful. We made sure to leave $5 each day for the maid. They work hard and are paid very little and we appreciated the extra water, towels and prompt and friendly service.
Crazy signs are alive and well! Hands Up and Jessica almost every day/night. Other oldies but goodies: Sunlight du Tropiques, Freed from Desire, Muevelo, Absolutely Everybody. Lots of new ones, as well.
The GOs were fantastic. Nadia Meslem was the Chief while we were there because Eduardo Rojas was on vacation until the day we left. Lots of GO turnover, though. Most of the GOs we met were only with CM for less than a year. Its not like before when you met GOs who worked for CM for years, or ran into the same GOs over and over and different villages for years on end. But they were all helpful, friendly and energized.
I had planned to make an appointment at the Spa, but never got around to it. We did walk through there, though, and it looked beautiful.
We worked out at the gym and it was basically the same as before, no problem at all. They should move the Zumba class from 4:30 in the afternoon to the morning and move the water aerobics to the afternoon. Its way too hot to be doing Zumba outside, uncovered in the sun at 4:30 in the afternoon. If it was hot in April, I cant imagine how bad it will be in July with even more humidity.
My overall impressions were good, but conflicted. Club Med has definitely changed, but so have I. The average GM has changed also. I think what I missed the most was the feeling of community, of were all in this together for a week. Nobody says Hola or Hello when you pass by them anymore except for the GOs. That made me sad because it was one of the things I always loved about Club Med. The GMs and GOs used to be on their own little planet for a week and it wasnt just another hotel, but now it is. Im happy that I got to know Club Med the way it was before. It sounds corny, but looking back, I can see how Club Med changed my attitude about life, the world, and getting to know people in general. Im thankful that I had all those opportunities to visit CM the way it used to be. Ill probably still go back again, but it will always be different than before.
Id like to say a special thanks to Craig, for all the wonderful information on his CM Cancun review site, and for all the questions he answered for me prior to our trip.
If anybody has any questions, please feel free to ask me!