It’s been a few weeks since we left the confines of Club Med in Cancun. Was it worth it? Would we do it again? Yes, and probably not.
We usually travel as inexpensively and pragmatically as possible. Condos in Hawaii, apartments in New York and Europe, and the occasional B&B in England. We like to cook in, dispense with the formality and cost of eating in touristy places, and not have to worry when housekeeping is coming to clean up. Basically, we like to go local.
We knew when booking our Cancun trip that this would be a different kind of trip. More of a vacation – less adventure, plenty of r&r. Travelling with friends played a big role in the planning of this trip as did my desire to be able to eat the food and not get sick. Being vegetarian affords little chance of being able to trust that fruits and veggies are tourista-free. (Alas, that part of the plan failed me on the last day of the trip, but that’s another story.)
So, it’s confession time. Yes, the Club Med experience was a first for us and maybe the last? Here’s the deal:
1. You pay for your trip in advance. A good thing.
2. Everything is included: food, alcohol, assorted activities. An okay thing. We are not used to being waited on without being able to tip accordingly. Maybe this is an American thing, but for us, it made us uncomfortable.
3. But wait, not all things were included – internet fees were not included. Not a good thing. I understand that you are at a resort to relax, but please make it my choice whether or not to go on the web. Do not force this protocol on your guests. The fees were ridiculous — $10/hour. At the Cancun airport, I was able to get a full-day pass for $10. We didn’t bring a phone for emergency contact and instead relied on email. Forty dollars later …
4. All you can eat food, buffet- and even faux-restaurant style. A good thing for many, but tiresome for us. This is a personal choice. The buffet and selection of food was a novelty for the first few days, but it wore off. Quickly.
5. All you can drink. For us moderate drinkers, this was kinda fun. Weird to have someone on the beach take your order, but pretty decadent when they returned a while later with a decent margarita. For the folks who hung out in a posse in the water all day and had their drinks brought to them, I’m sure they’ll never be the same. We called them the beer bucket brigade.
5. A resort does not mean excellent service. A lot of the folks at the front desk were standoffish, and not about to bend over backward. The business center people were not exceptionally friendly, but that could be because of our initial attitudes. Plates were often dirty and one too many times I saw staff drop food on the buffet counters, only to pick it up with their hands and place it back on the serving dish. No thanks.
6. Housekeeping service. Pretty great. Some of the best, most unobtrusive room cleanup I’ve ever experienced. Maybe I liked it because we were able to leave a tip. We asked for extra things either when we saw our room attendant or via a call to the front desk and were treated quickly and efficiently.
And finally, the final confession. This was an Olivia trip, an all-women excursion. A first for me. And because of that, I am still recovering. Another blog post awaits.