After reading many recent reviews here of ClubMed Ixtapa, I felt properly prepared for our multi-generational family reunion during Christmas Week. As mentioned in numerous reviews, if you are not part of a family group or do not have children to take advantage of the kids clubs you do not belong at this ClubMed.
The G.O.s are simply fantastic. It’s as if they took a sieve and screened out the best camp counselors in the US, Canada, and Mexico – and then hired the top 1% of them. They were tireless and never gave up trying to include the kids in a myriad of activities. Each G.O is a social director and entertainer. They live, eat, and drink among the guests and they are what makes this ClubMed a special place.
The LOCATION is superb. The club was at capacity (800) yet never felt overcrowded. Ixtapa Island and a reef sit off in the distance creating visually dramatic wave breaks. The beach is soft amber sand with good body surfing waves and a powerful undertow. All Mexican beaches are public, so you find yourself saying “No Gracias” quite a bit to vendors – but it’s not as bad as other Mexican Beaches. ClubMed rakes the beach daily, so it’s pretty clean. This attracts locals – but guards keep them off club property. The sprawling property is well maintained and the kids loved the playgrounds and eco-pond with a crocodile and iguanas hanging out on palm fronds.
MINI CLUB. While the Baby & Petit Clubs are very good day care, the Mini Club is actually enriching. When our very social 4.5 year-old decided to go, she loved it. She bonded immediately with her G.O.’s and with the other kids. The activities were imaginative and varied… and the two stage productions she participated in were almost worth the trip. If your kids aren’t the kind that separate easily and likely won’t attend this program – you’d probably be better off at a traditional hotel.
THE ROOMS are really inexcusable. Think Mexican-themed Motel 6 circa 1975. According to the Head of the Village, this is the only ClubMed not to have been upgraded. Most all housing is in three-story concrete/stucco units. The windows are covered with thick iron security grates, so while the ocean view is obstructed, bugs are not. You’ll want to keep the windows open to let the musty smell dissipate – but not at sunset when the air abounds with mosquitoes. The air conditioning was adequate and repair to the unit was handled quickly. The shower stall and water closet are no bigger than a phone booth, which is fine, unless you’re sick. Then it’s not fine. Consistent water pressure and temperature changed from room-to-room. The beds were the as hard as every review promised. As in any good Motel 6, a hairdryer and toiletries are supplied. Each room has two safes (from the days it was a singles club) and special locks are available for $5. The housekeeping staff does a good job of keeping the rooms clean and extra towels were delivered the one time we asked. Our 1.5 year old learned to take a shower since the bathtub we requested from the Front Desk for three days never arrived (they did deliver an extra crib though).
THE FOOD was just plain bad. Think Soledad, San Quentin, Leavenworth. While it was remarkable how much food was put out for each meal, it was equally remarkable at how simple dishes were barely palatable. I did not have gourmet expectations and I have been to my share of Soup Plantations – so I know it’s possible to make commissary cuisine acceptable. We found it to be like a treasure hunt. Whoever in our party arrived first would do reconnaissance and those arriving later would get the info on anything worth eating. The breads, ice cream, desserts, pancakes, and French toast were consistently good – everything else was a crap shoot- emphasis on crap. Food aside, I will say I was impressed that our group of 16 could always get two prime tables together and there were always plenty of booster seats & high chairs available. Since this is a family club, the dining room/buffet is absolute bedlam and remember to apply bug spray to your legs before dinner.
Surprisingly, THE INFIRMARY is absolutely perfect -- unless you actually need real medical care. After a serious fall in the under-lit theatre, an elderly woman in our party was sent on a scavenger hunt to find exotic medical supplies like ice and Advil. Her first stop? The bar for a bag of ice, then it was just a short limp over to the boutique for some over-priced Advil. The infirmary is staffed by a friendly G.O. – and while assumedly a good dancer with a winning personality -- her Mary Poppins cheer is insufficient to handle anything that ails you. Believe me: there is very little "Med" at this Club.
No matter how you slice it, a trip to Mexico comes with the likelihood of getting SICK. Of the 16 in our group 10 got sick, some violently – and others we spoke with met the same fate. As careful as we were, and as “filtered” they claim the Club to be, it’s just impossible not to expose yourself to bacteria. It is recommended that you take a dose of LIQUID Pepto-Bismol daily to help stave off illness. Also, have Cipro & Imodium AD to take if breaks through. Two of our party were too sick leave their rooms for a day…and if you’ve seen the rooms…that means you must be REALLY sick.
Here are some TIPS for your stay:
ON THE BEACH: *If you want shade all day, grab chairs under the palms in front of the Baby Club. Boogie Boards rent for $5/hr, so you may want to bring your own. If you can bring an umbrella, do so. They’re not for sale or rent and consistent shade is at a premium. *Bring (or buy) a string hammock and a couple of lengths of sash cord. Plenty of well spaced palms to hitch it to – but beware of the fire ants. *There is a massage shack on the beach beyond the sailboats/kayaks. $25/hr as compared to $100/hr at the hotel.
AT THE CLUB: *The grounds are sprawling. Take the 20-minute walking tour they offer. During the day, bring a backpack to avoid having to return to your room constantly. Every child should have a backpack of their own for Kid’s Club. Kid’s Clubs are closed on Saturday, when most people are leaving/arriving. *The PUNTA building is beachfront. Top floor rooms have a pitched roof/ceiling so they’re a bit more airy. Middle floor rooms have best stroller access. Rooms 280 – 275 have both as they are in the only two-story unit. Bottom floor rooms have access to tiny patio good for drying clothes.
OFF CAMPUS: *Rather than a private excursion, take a two-minute cab ride to the pier, and take a water taxi ($2) to Ixtapa Island. Rent snorkels for a buck.
DAYPASSES: *ClubMed offers day passes to the club for $42 & $75. This means you can stay at one of the luxury resorts next door and use the club for meals and activities.
OVERALL: Although I can see returning to a ClubMed with grade school kids, we would not return to Mexico. While it’s a close flight from LA, it’s just not worth the risk of ending up sick during our precious six days and dealing with the lingering after effects. However, if you and your family have ironclad stomachs and very low expectations when it comes to food and accommodations, I believe you’ll have a great time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover the wonders of Mexico during your stay at Ixtapa Pacific, a heavenly Mexican hacienda-style all-inclusive resort, elected as one of the ‘world’s best’ family resorts by Trip Advisor. Travel to Club Med Ixtapa Pacific and enjoy a carefree all-inclusive vacation in spectacular sceneries, as the resort is nestled between the Sierra Madre mountains and the shores of the Pacific Ocean. A hassle-free stay for you, an adventure for your kids: practice your favorite sports, indulge at the Spa* or relax on a lounge chair on the breathtaking beach while your children are entertained at Club Med's world-famous Children's Clubs with dedicated activities and sports for children and teenagers, for each age group, and all coordinated by qualified and enthusiastic professionals. Already one of the best family resort for those traveling with babies, this environmentally-friendly hideaway also offers activities for adults. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with TripOnline SA and Club Med so you can book your Club Med Ixtapa Pacific reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Club Med Ixtapa Pacific Hotel Ixtapa
- Club Med Zihuatanejo
- Zihuatanejo Club Med
- Ixtapa Club Med