Other Villages




Big, Big Disclaimer: This section is about villages that I have not visited, so I do not have first hand experience. I really didn't want to do this section, but I've gotten too much e-mail asking for anything on other villages. The items included are just what I have heard from others that have visited these villages. Without first hand knowledge there may be inaccuracies or downright wrong information. I hope not and I'll try my best, but don't yell at me if it's not perfect. As soon as I get around to visiting each of these villages, it will get a proper review and a place on the main page.





Archaeological Villas (Mexico)
Club Med has 5 Archaeological Villas in Mexico near the larger Mayan ruins (such as Coba, Chichen Itza, etc...). They are nothing at all like normal ClubMed villages. They are NOT all-inclusive (you have to pay for meals), they don't have any sports (other than a tennis court), and they don't have GOs (kinda). Think of them like nice, but small hotels that happen to be owned by ClubMed. They don't provided archaeological or ecological adventure themselves, but they are conveniently located near the ruins so you can tour the Mayan site yourself. Each of them has about 45 rooms and are very, very quiet; they are not party places. They all have a pool, a restaurant, a bar, and a library. The guests tend to be European, I'm not sure why. I had lunch and a swim in the pool at the villa in Coba, I enjoyed it a lot and thought it was very nice.



Caravelle (Guadeloupe)
Expect a VERY French experience here. This is a French island with easy direct flights from Paris. The majority of the GMs will be European. If your foreign language skills are good, this village shouldn't be a problem.

Everyone says that this village and beach area are extremely beautiful. With nicer rooms than most other villages.

There is a full Mini-Club at this village. But one word of warning for Americans thinking of taking their kids. There isn't much English spoken here and I believe it would be worse for the kids, as most of the smaller ones haven't been taught other languages in school yet. The language barrier could be especially difficult for them.

There is good scuba diving, but unfortunately it's on the other side of the island. I guess that you could make a day of it and do it yourself through one of the local dive shops.



Crested Butte (Colorado, USA)
This is a 'family' village with a full Mini-Club.

Don't even think about this village unless you ski. Unlike other villages, this is pretty much a single sport program. Each GM is assigned to a small group for the duration of the week. One GO skis with his group and provides instruction each day. There's nothing to stop you from skiing on your own, or even changing groups, but most find they end up 'bonding' and have a good time.

Note: Tipping is actually encouraged for the instructors.



Ixtapa (Mexico)
With Eleuthera out of the running, this village will move into the #2 spot for popularity at 'family' villages.

The village is nestled in a cove of it's own. There is a great view of an offshore island.

The beds are large twins, but unfortunately for couples, they can not be pushed together to form one large bed; as most other villages.

This is a 'family' village with a full Mini-Club, and a full Petit-Club. They have recently added a Baby-Club, taking in babies from 4 months, to this village.



Paradise Island (Bahamas)
The village is located next to the Atlantis casino hotel. For me this is the main problem with this village. This village is obviously way, way too close to civilization. Atlantis is a HUGE Las Vegas style resort; something like 26 restaurants (you get the picture). And it's right next door. This may be a great thing for some people, but not for me.

When they talk about historic, they are kinda correct. ClubMed bought several old mansions and turned it into a unique ClubMed setting. But because of this, the village doesn't have the 'normal' ClubMed look and feel. But, they have done some interesting things like turn an old church into the fitness center. Also, the marina is on one side of the village and the beach on the other. The beach is very nice, almost as good as Turkoise. Be forwarned, the swimming pool is salt water not fresh water.

This is a mainly couples oriented village.



Punta Cana (Dominican Republic)
This seems to be THE most popular 'family' village. Now that Eleuthera is gone, Punta Cana's #1 reputation will be strengthened. Kids are THE focus here.

The village is newly renovated. Yeah right, like they had a choice after the last major hurricane just about destroyed the place. It's also MUCH larger than it use to be, people wise. This is now the largest village in the American zone, like 543 rooms; wow - major big!

The airport is close by, which helps when traveling with kids. Though, unless you're using the Club Med charter (full land/air package), getting to this village can be difficult due to the infrequent number of flights.

Punta Cana is at the far end of the island, away from most of the population centers. When Club Med started this village it was totally remote. Now there are a number of other resorts in the area (many are all-inclusive). Hopefully this should help to increase the number of flights into Punta Cana. I've heard that the roads in the area are bad; it is a poor country.

They dropped the snorkeling program for a while, but it's back. The good snorkeling is way out on the reef, but there's nothing much to see next to the beach. But because of the reef's protection, the swimming is great.



Sandpiper (Florida, USA)
This village is actually much fancier than traditional villages. ClubMed bought this site from another hotel so it's not styled quite the same as most villages. Golf is the major sport here, as the village is surrounded by three courses. Though tennis is a close second. Keep in mind that Sandpiper is on a river, not the ocean. This is actually a big plus for water skiers.

The focus of this village is families, read that kids. If you don't like being around children, this is not the spot for you. This is one, of the only two villages in the American zone the has a Baby-Club, taking in babies from 4 months. Can you believe that, 4 months.

ClubMed touts lot's of excursions to all the top places to see in Florida. The problem is they are all a long way away. Sandpiper is pretty much midway between Miami and Orlando; 120 miles to Orlando and 130 miles (in the opposite direction) to Miami. This makes day-tripping to see the sights pretty tough. A 4 to 5 hour round trip to Disney World for the day is a tough call.

I think this is the perfect village for a family reunion.






Retired Villages



Copper Mountain (Colorado, USA)
The base elevation is very high - 10,000 ft. (3,000 m). Take it easy the first day or two, altitude sickness is to be taken seriously. You will not see any heavy drinkers at the bar either, because of the altitude.

The rooms are smaller and even more spartan than normal Club Med villages. Most rooms have small twin beds.

This is now a 'adult' village, no children allowed.



Magic Isle (Haiti)
Yeah, well, it looks like this village is down for the count. It's looking doubtful that it will reopen.



Huatulco (Mexico)
From what I've heard it is a very nice village. The only 'downside' is the physical size of that village, it's huge; you'll do a lot of walking. Some people have told me, they would pack a small bag with their stuff for the day and not see the room again until they were ready for bed.

Also in the huge category is the number of rooms, like 483. When this village is full, it's really full. I've heard sentiments like "If you meet someone at dinner, you never see them again". On the other hand, the size of the crowd really varies. It can go from nearly empty to completely full.

Getting there can be a pain also, as most flights need to connect through Mexico City; or have other bad (or dreadful) connections.

The village has 3 annex restaurants - an open-air seafood restaurant, a fancy Italian restaurant, and an exotic Moroccan one. Everyone raves about the Moroccan restaurant. I'd try all of them if you can. That being said, I really like the main restaurant at the villages I've been to, so see for yourselves.

The beds are large twins, but unfortunately for couples, they can not be pushed together to form one large bed; as most other villages.

There is a full time (unlike Sandpiper) teen-club; this makes Huatulco unique. When there are a lot of teens at the village, they have a tendency to 'take over' the disco.

This is a URL for a site that has a huge amount of info on the area itself, the guy has done a great job.
http://www.tomzap.com



St. Lucia (British West Indies)
The island of St. Lucia (Sainte Lucie for the Europeans) is lush and tropical, EXCEPT where the Club Med village is located. My personal opinion is the village is on the wrong side of the island. The wind blows hard and constant; which is great if you're a expert windsurfer, but lousy for everyone else. You can't windsurf or sail at the village directly, you have to go down the road a ways (shuttle bus) to a marina. The beach in front of the village is small and nothing to write home about.

ClubMed has been trying to figure out what to do with St. Lucia for some time now. A few years ago ClubMed turned the property over to a European sister company and it catered strictly to Europeans. But it didn't do very well and it's back to being a ClubMed property again; though it still gets many Europeans. This property was originally an older hotel built in the '60s, so it doesn't have the normal 'village' feel.

They have dismantled some of the neat mini-club stuff (circus, go-carts, etc...) to cut costs.

The airport is close by, which helps when traveling with kids.


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