The last time I went to a Club Med, Clinton was president, I was wearing a size 4 bikini–without underwire–and I think I made out with the GO who ran the trapeze. It’s hard to say. There was a lot of tequila.
Let’s just say a lot has changed in the last decade or so, both in terms of my own (ahem) vacation expectations and the resort itself.
With wanton debauchery a thing of the past, Club Med resorts are almost entirely devoted to families now, and I was lucky enough to get an invite to check out the new bazillion dollar reopening of the Punta Cana resort on a press junket this weekend.
And by press junket, I mean holy hell do I love my job sometimes.
Here are a few things I observed about a Club Med vacation which, as it turns out, indeeds remains the antidote to civilization. Even though there are now flat-screens in the room and Guitar Hero around the bar.
1. If you spill an entire bottle of wine on your iPhone on the very first night so that it doesn’t work? It’s not the end of the world. It might even be the beginning of a better vacation.
2. Sipping rum out of a whole fresh coconut is more romantic than it sounds. Unless you’re already accustomed to toting along a 2o pound bowling ball in one hand while trying to dance or shake hands or simply keep your balance.
3. Pack enough diapers for your children to last the trip.
4. If you do pack enough diapers for your children to last the trip, don’t not lose them somewhere between the shuttle to the hotel and your room.
5. If you do lose your diapers between the shuttle and the room, make sure you have an extra $30,000 US in the bank to pay for replacements.
6. Buffets are highly underrated. Unless you’re three, in which case Frosted Flakes is always the safe bet.
7. It is not possible to smoke a cigar post 1999 without looking like a complete cigar-smoking Wall Street douche. Even if the very last thing that you are is a cigar-smoking Wall Street douche and more like a really funny guy who serves Soho tourists onion soup for a living.
8. The more drinks you’ve consumed, the better idea you will think it is to take endless photos of the bartender pouring said drinks. Even if he can balance a glass on a spoon on his arm. I blame it all on the magic bracelet.
9. That huge spider in your room? Ignore it.
10. That woman with the huge fake boobs that every guy in the lobby is checking out? Ignore it.
11. Enjoy being in an environment where European parents look at you funny because you’re not keeping your children up until 10PM to watch the family show. It is decidedly nicer than being in an environment where American parents look at you funny because your children are still awake at 8PM.
12. If your kid gets some sort of courtesy diploma that every kid gets at the end of the trip, just know that whichever one she got was the best award of all of them, and no doubt the staff gave it to your kid as a secret code to you that she was the best of all the kids they had ever seen. Ever.
13. Some words just don’t translate well.
14. The best loved aspect of resort by children will not be the brand new playground or the kids pool with the water slides and the squirters, the tennis courts or the guy who dresses up in a bee costume to welcome them on arrival.
It will be some rocks.
15. White chocolate bread. Enough said.
16. On the last day of the trip, skip the shower. You’ll lie in bed that night still smelling the chlorine on your skin and the ocean in your hair. You’ll love how those errant grains of sand tumble out from between your toes as you pull up the blankets and listen to the wind rattling your windows.
If not, well, you always have the photos.