04Ex-Loyal Club Med Customer of 32 Years!
If you had asked me a month ago if I intended to go back to Club Med, I would have told you 100% yes. Now back from 2 weeks in Ixtapa and my answer is probably never.
I have been going to Club Med myself for 32 years, since I was 6! My family has been going longer than that.
On any given year, our family of 8 usually books between 4 and 20 weeks at Club Med. And thats not counting the friends who come along on their own reservations.
Does that make us a good customer? Id say yes, especially since we usually book quite a lot of holiday weeks that are priced higher than low weeks. And we only book 4 and 5 trident clubs.
We were excited to go to Ixtapa. New remodeled club, small enough that we wont get lost in the crowd, and the kids love the baby and mini clubs.
Let me start by stating what we liked about Club Med Ixtapa:
- Small club, you dont have to walk miles to go back to your room
- You run into the same GM a lot, its easier to socialize with people
- Beautiful beach front location
- GO team is great, Chef de Village super professional and approachable
Now I am at a loss for good things, so I will continue on to what turned me off:
- When we arrived in our room, there were 2 guests there already, settling in, and to their credit, wondering why they had 4 beds and a crib in a double room! It kind of felt like we were getting a used room by the time they exited the room.
- We had a double room. I found clothes in the drawers of one of the kids beds. House cleaning obviously didnt do a great job at cleaning between guests.
- I had to call the front desk every day to get 4 bottles of water. Even though the front desk had requested daily delivery of 4 bottles for our room, we never got them. Tipping house cleaning $20 allowed us to get 4 bottles the next day, but that was it. Paying $5/bottle per day, going straight into the pockets of the house cleaning person, just didnt sound right to me.
- The sewer smell. Abominable! The club is bordered on the south by a used water treatment facility. The smell can be overwhelming at night! It smells like toilet and sewer. We complained to the Chef de Village, who admitted she had noticed the same thing, and called the person in charge over there to do something about it. There wasnt much she could do about it, we know that. Still, the smell was horrible.
- The harassment on the beach. There is a line that beach vendors can not cross to harass guests, and its the high tide mark. Security is supposed to enforce it, they dont care. I witnessed beach vendors move and turn towels on the lounge chairs on the inside of the tide mark (therefore where they are not allowed to go). They were looking for things to steal. I went to security and asked them if they spoke English. The answer was no, even though I had heard the guard speak English with a guest earlier during the day. So I switched to Spanish and explained what had happened. He did absolutely nothing to go check what the beach vendor had taken from the lounge chair, and yes, that person stole some items that she put in her blouse. So not only am I upset that the guard was refusing to speak to me, hoping to deter me with a no English spoken message, but I am upset that our security was totally overlooked. The people who came back from the water came back and found their stuff missing from the chair. They had been robbed right before security, security had been notified by me, and nothing was done! You have to wonder if security is in cahoots with these vendors. I had hoped that security had radioed to another guard on the beach to check that persons blouse, but when I checked with the other GMs who had been robbed, they told me no.
- GOs go two by two. I love GOs, I work with ex GOs, and have always enjoyed talking to them. Never before have I seen such a trend of female GOs walking 2 by 2, and chatting away, oblivious to the GMs. I expect this in high school, not in a GO team. Call me old fashioned at 38, but I was looking forward to a vacation without my blackberry and cell phone. It was tiring to see all these GOs with their phones and iPhones text messaging and emailing. I was looking forward to a relative technology free vacation, only to be confronted to the GOs and their constant texting and emailing!
- Group invasion. Little did I know that Ixtapa was partnering with various religious groups. No, the principle doesnt bother me, I love people from all different backgrounds, and the Club has to make money! What bothers me is the consequence of any large group taking over the club and making my presence at the club a bottom priority in the eyes of the GOs and the new GMs. I have been insulted at the bar, trying to get water for my kids, and prevented by this new group of GMs to access the bar. And then they looked at me and were commenting on the fact I didnt belong to their religious affiliation. Too bad for them that I actually am totally fluent in English, which they wouldnt have known as I was using French with my son, and that I understood everything they were saying. I didnt go on vacation to be insulted, especially by people who discriminate against people who dont belong to their group. Very lame.
- More Group Invasion: it is sad that suddenly a string appeared along the beach, tied to all the palm trees, with yellow caution tape every 2 feet. Totally ruins the landscape. But it is for that religious group, to keep the spirits away. Fine at peoples homes, but I dont think the Club should give into specials guests cosmetic or religious needs, bothering the rest of the GMs who paid their share and want to enjoy the amenities of the Club. I cant tell you how violently some GMs reacted to that, they were upset, very upset. I understand and I was sad: no more beautiful sunset pictures, the beach border looked like a construction zone. Not what I had paid for, obviously!
- More Group Invasion: even the staff was fed up, I caught GEs serving the food telling people that cerdo (pork) was indeed called chicken, to get them off their backs. It was interesting. Not complaining about the GEs here, but this group invasion had gotten on everyones nerves with their rude behaviors.
- More Group Invasion: there is a rule that states that only 2 GOs can sit at a table with GMs. With 350 people out of 600 present at the club from one group, it left very little opportunities for GOs to join GMs, so they were scrambling to join GMs tables who welcomed them and didnt send them away. We were flooded by GOs, and I felt like they were targeting us, there was no longer any option to have a nice family meal, GOs would flood our table and when they left, new GOs would ask if they could sit with us. We were in the business of entertaining GOs at our table. I enjoyed it, but some quality family time would have been appreciated. So we looked for tables that hosted exactly our party and no more, that was our only chance to have a meal without a revolving door or 4 to 6 GOs at our table to entertain, two at a time.
- Mini Club: Mini Club hours end at 530pm. Several times, we passed by our son in various areas of the club and were urged (read forced) to sign him out. We didnt want to leave him there all night, but had plans until 515-530 usually, but because on several instances we happened to run across the GOs and our son between 430 and 5, and since he was the last kid there, we were forced to cancel some activities to pick him up and release the GOs so that they could be done with their day..
- The lagoon is dangerous. Any lagoon is dangerous, but I heard some teenagers dare each other one night, our room was right over the lagoon. The lagoon is fenced by a 3 feet fence, yes, but if the rumors are true, there is an old alligator in there. It must be true as I saw the staff in charge of feeding him at work. Looks really dangerous to me with young and stupid teenagers who will do anything for a dare. But there is no warning Captain Cooks favorite enemy in there! So why would a dare be dangerous there? I understand teenagers and their minds: no, it wouldnt be dangerous in their mind.
- Bat poop: bats have taken residence in all the stairways leading to the rooms. It is absolutely gross to walk in bat poop. Kids walk there, hold the railings where there is bat waste. Its gross. But its neat to see that many bats from up close! Still its gross!
- The bar is usually the gathering place where activities and games occur, its the heart of the Village before and after meals. This bar is dead. No idea why, but its not in a central location, people gravitate away from it. Its no longer a Club Med ambiance with 2 to 4 people in the bar area, but a normal resort ambiance. Night time is slightly more busy than the day, but its a functional location issue, the bar is just not a gathering place there.
- The Spa: I had the honor to get a massage in the cabana by the beach. The masseuse arrived 10 minutes late, time to set up and all another 5 minutes had passed, and 40 minutes later I was already back in my room. But I had paid for a one hour massage? Oh well, my loss! The prices of the massages are also a lot more expensive if you book them in Mexico versus in the US. My husband bought me a 3 day spa package for $560 from the US, priced at about $800 from Mexico! Talk about a rip off! Whoever is planning on a massage should plan ahead, that will save them some money!
- Price differences. Being that I live both in France and the US, I have priced the same weeks at Club Med via the Club Med agency in Paris, and the Club Med agency in the US. I wasnt disappointed: the same options were priced at 9,000 euros on one side and 5,000 euros on the other. Call me stupid, but now we feel cheated as a group.
I could go on and on, unfortunately. But I will leave it there on the bad stuff. I had a nice time in Ixtapa, but it was definitely not worth the label Club Med. It was my worst experience ever and trust me, I have been to a lot of clubs! There are other options than Club Med out there. Obviously, the Club is no longer meeting our family needs.so the 8 of us are going to fish elsewhere.
4 members of our family have already made reservations outside of the Club for their total of 8 winter weeks this quarter. The 4 of us are looking at other options for our total of 8 winter weeks over Christmas 2011.
I wish all of you a great stay at Club Med if you decide to go.
A sad ex-Club Med loyal customer