A Club Med GMs experience: Julie Barlow

With over 70 resorts worldwide, Club Med prides itself on delivering an all-inclusive holiday that covers the needs of every individual. Our unique setting nestled in beautiful locations, limitless activities and the finest cuisines, all integrated into the nature and culture of the environment are only some of the things that separates Club Med from our competitors. With the opportunity to discover various locations around the world, choosing a vacation for a couple or family trip is right at your fingertips. Each destination is unique, ensuring that each experience is unforgettable. Our resorts promise to enchant individuals, couples and families with the warm atmosphere, cultural vibrancy and incomparable blend of fun, leisure and luxury. We recently sat down to chat to Julie Barlow, a Club Med GM about her experiences and why she continues to choose Club Med.

Julie has been to five of the different Club Med resorts, a few on repeated occasions. The resorts she has been to are: Club Med La Plantation d’Albion (Mauritius); Club Med Cherating Beach (Malaysia); Club Med Phuket (Thailand)  with her family; Club Med Bali (Indonesia) on two occasions – once with family and once as a couple holiday; and Club Med Bodrum Palmiye (Turkey) as a couple.

Julie’s daughter enjoying the archery activity at a Club Med resort

“When my kids are happy, I am happy”

This is something that was very clear when speaking to Julie about why she chooses Club Med. The Club Med children’s clubs offer a wide variety of games and activities under the watchful eye of expert staff who ensure that children and teenagers are closely monitored while having the freedom to explore the culture and history of the destination, and engage in activities that promote health and happiness. The flexible programme of the children’s clubs give parents the opportunity to enjoy the finer details of the resort, while children are kept entertained in dedicated areas. Not only does this give parents peace of mind in knowing that their children are protected and cared for, they are also ensured that their children are entertained in more ways than one can hope. With over 60 world-class activities to choose from, children are able to explore new talents, engross themselves in their favourite sport activities or take centre stage in talent shows and competitions.

“We have been at a Club Med resort for both Christmas and New Year and there is always something special arranged for these celebrations. As well as on Easter, the resorts offered an Easter egg hunt and other activities for the kids to enjoy. There are really no limitations to the activities available.”

There is a strict sign in and out process so as to ensure that the safety of the children is always high priority. Having two kids between the ages of four and 10 years old, Julie could rest and relax while feeling assured that her kids were being entertained at ‘Mini Club Med’ – designed especially for this period of childhood where holiday experiences and memories are most important.

“Having younger kids, we spent more time at the resort than going on excursions outside of it.” Club Med offers ‘a la carte’ excursions to their guests that are wanting to explore more than just the resort by offering guided excursions to some of the historical sites and landscapes of the surrounds at an additional cost. For those guests not wanting to make any additional payments, the Club Med resorts encompass the essence of local architecture, traditional dishes, native cooking and languages ensuring that every vacation is a wholesome experience. Having young kids often makes excursions a slightly more difficult task, however, Julie expressed that having the comfort of the kids clubs, she felt comfortable leaving her children in their care so that herself, her parents and her husband could venture beyond the resort. Having this opportunity ensured that there was never a sense of feeling limited or tied down to the confines of the resort.

“There is something for everybody of all ages,” said Julie, “with most of the offerings being very similar worldwide, it is always nice to know what you are arriving to and that you will be well looked after by friendly staff and well-trained GO’s.” The GO’s of the resort are at your service at all times with absolutely no hesitation to assist whenever asked. Whether at the pool or in the hotel, there is always someone available to help out where need be.

Having travelled a few times with her parents as well as with her husband and children, Julie expressed that the needs of herself, her parents and her kids were all taken into consideration. Thailand was a stand out based on the fact that the adults had inter leading bedrooms with their kids. This is always an added benefit in ensuring that the kids are monitored and cared for while still having the privacy of their own bedroom.

Having experienced Club Med as a family, Julie and her husband have also been on Club Med holidays without their kids. Club Med has resorts designed specifically for adults only, such as Club Med Bodrum (in Turkey). These adults-only resorts do not offer children’s clubs and are primarily centred around allowing couples to step away from their work lives and family commitments to enjoy some time relaxing in a secluded resort surrounded by preserved landscapes. Julie expressed that during her couple holiday, they never felt lonely or out of touch thanks to the GO’s at the resort, however, there was a definite sense of understanding of when the GO’s should and can be present and when the couples are wanting to be alone – and this was always respected. Holidaying with kids often meant that the night time activities were missed, so experiencing a Club Med holiday as a couple allowed Julie and her husband to enjoy the later activities. Whether dining by the sea or enjoying a couples massage, the opportunities are endless.

One of the highlights of the resorts for Julie is the ability to choose to dine at the standard restaurant or alternatively being able to book a place at the resort’s premium restaurant which is offered at no additional charge, but entitles the guest to a premium 3 course meal with a different menu offered every night. The dishes are plated and are of Michelin Star-standard. Julie did express that all the cuisine offered at the resort is extraordinary and of the highest standards, however, it is always nice to get dressed up for a more formal dinner date.

When it comes to booking a Club Med holiday, the options are endless and choosing your destination is often framed by personal preference, however, the booking process is exceptionally easy. Julie has most often booked her vacations directly via the Club Med boutique situated in the Design Quarter in Fourways. The information required is always at your fingertips and the agents are always helpful and eager to assist in any way possible.

Club Med Cherating Beach, Malaysia

“If I could choose Club Med for every overseas holiday I would”

Lastly, we asked Julie what her favourite destination is. Cherating Beach, Malaysia, is Julie’s pick due to the remoteness of the resort nestled in the magnificent beachfront jungle landscape of Malaysia. The resort has a zen pool with a 360 degree sea view. It is a child friendly resort situated amidst the tropical flora and fauna of Malaysia, where magical moments are made in the Green Globe-certified playground for adventurers.

In terms of future holidays that Julie wishes to go on, she would love to do a ski trip when her children are a little bit older as well as heading to Club Med Bintan Island for a summer holiday enjoying the calming views of the South China Seas.

Whether you’re wanting to jet off on a fun filled family holiday, or unwind on a couples retreat, Club Med has an extended list of packages that are suitable in all instances promising to provide an all-inclusive holiday that will never be forgotten.