As we have two boys, aged 3 and 4, Club Med is our no-fuss choice when it comes to family travel. We have been to most of the Club Meds in Asia Pacific. Club Med Kabira is by far the most convenient as we live in Taipei, and it takes less than an hour flight on the regular summer charter.
What we like most about Club Med Kabira is its location, Ishigaki. It's a beautiful island. The beach is pristine. Our rooms were on the first floor, and we were very surprised to find a family of super huge toads passing through the lawn that leads to the beach every evening. Our boys loved watching the toads. One night we took a rental car out to see the stars. We did not see the stars as it was cloudy that night, but we almost ran into a pretty sizable wild boar. Very cool.
The pool was nice and clean. Saw staff make regular check of the water, which was comforting. Sport facilities are well maintained and the staff on duty were capable. We tried trapeze, tennis, pool activities, and archery. The trapeze instructors spoke good English and were very capable in helping even the least sportive kind manage the seemingly impossible sport. The archery instructor was attentive and friendly. We brought our boys to archery. He made sure that the boys were safe and entertained when my husband and I were practicing. He even gave our boys a medal for being such good sports, which they loved. The only thing I would suggest is that the trampoline was a bit crowded as the opening hours were too short for the queue of kids who wanted to try.
The food was reasonable for children. There was always a good variety for our boys to choose from. The Ishigaki beef steak which my husband paid extra for was quite good. The restaurant staff was busy but seemed in control of the situation given the huge crowd coming through.
Our rooms might have been a bit far out from the reception/restaurant/pool, but they were new and clean. Housekeeping was prompt. One night our boys spilled some sand from their beach toys on the floor. I called housekeeping and asked if they could send someone to help. Staff arrived in about 5 minutes and was very professional.
The Mini Club and front desk persons need serious improvement, however. First the Mini Club. We did not spend a lot of time there, as our boys were reluctant to join the group. I must say, however, that the facility needed more investment in variety of games and books for children of different age group. By any standard of daycare or kindergarten, the Mini Club was quite insufficient.
And then the Front Desk staff. I had a rather unpleasant encounter with a couple of the female staff on duty on different days of my stay. Honestly, I was there on vacation enjoying some peace. I approached the front desk only because I needed help with essential things, like finding out how room change would work and how I could get to my rental car. I had thought that perhaps it was a language issue, but from what I have read of the reviews in Japanese by those who had visited at about the same time of my stay, I realized that I was not alone. The two (of the four I encountered) did not want to help, and did not seem like they wanted to be stationed at the front desk. While the management was very helpful in sorting out the logistics issues I had needed help with, a hotel should not rely on crisis management. The hotel management needs to select and train more capable front desk staff.
Despite these hiccups, my family and I enjoyed our stay. We would recommend Club Med Kabira, and we will go back again. After all, we did have a fantastic time there. We hope that the management would pay more attention to improving the mini club facility and staff attitude. It would make this place an excellent destination for families.