Four years ago, when Maya was 9 months old, we took our very first holiday as a family. We had been to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire when she was about 4 months but that does not count since we did get a lot of support when visiting there.
August 2014 was the real deal. I was still a full time investment banker at the time and those two weeks constituted my annual holiday break, as was the case for my husband.. We rented a house in a small town called Le Rouret in the South of France. It was a lovely functional house with a swimming pool that we never used and a nice garden we barely stepped into. Lovely setting but It was NOT a holiday! Little princess woke us up at 6am every morning and then would fall asleep randomly in the afternoon (we got much better with the nap schedule after that!). We would then collapse on the couch to catch up on our sleep. How I wish we had known about Club Med at that time!!!! Obviously I had heard about Club Med but back then I did not realise how absolutely amazing it was for young families.
Last August, we spent a week at Club Med Grand Massif Samoëns Morillon in the Alps. It is a brand new luxury resort that was inaugurated in December 2017. We went with our friends B&F whose children were 5 and 12. This trip marked two firsts for us: our first time staying at Club Med and our first summer in the mountains. Both were a hit!
The hotel was fully booked and although we have now travelled with our kids to several family friendly hotels, the density of young families was impressive at Club Med. We have been to Mauritius three times and despite being a very family friendly destination, in my experience there was always a mix of single people, honeymooners, couples and families. I would definitely not recommend Club Med Samoëns Morillon to my single friends (at least not during school holidays) but I heard some Club Med clubs cater only to adults.
Here is my honest non sponsored review.
What I loved:
- Childcare at Club Med is extraordinary. The resources that are mobilised to look after the children in terms of staff, equipment and entertainment are incredible. At Samoëns, they run 4 kids club for different age groups: a baby club (4 to 23 months), a petit club (2 to 3 years), a mini club (4 to 10 years) and a teenagers club which they call Passworld (11 to 17). Both our girls (even our 2 year old!) learned a choreography and participated in shows where the lighting, costumes, make up and overall organisation were superb. My friend B even joked that the children shows were bigger than her son’s annual school production!
- The accommodation: we booked a family room made of two connecting rooms. Upon arrival, several toddler-related items were waiting for us in the room (bottle warmer, bath tub, cot bed). We did not have to request them, which I thought was fantastic.
- Club Med was a proper all-inclusive holiday with very little added costs at the end. Our girls took part in the kids shows so we decided to purchase some of the professional pictures that were available. However, there was absolutely no hard sell from the staff. We made our decision independently and chose the pictures we liked. We also booked a couple of massages at the spa so obviously those were extras.
- We were slightly anxious about the food because of the large size of the hotel. Everything turned to be very good, fresh and there were always a lot of options.
- The staff was friendly and helpful. The tone is very informal at the resort so if you like being addressed in a deferential manner then Club Med is not for you.
- Sports and activities: The resort offered a lot of options, especially considering how much nature has to offer in a mountain setting. We went hiking almost everyday and I also took a couple of fitness classes. I found the Zumba class quite boring but then again they have to cater to people with very different fitness abilities so it makes sense that someone who is used to active classes might find their classes a bit dull. However, you could always train on your own at the gym or outdoors.
What you may not like, although to me none of those were deal breakers:
- As I said earlier this is not the right place for people who do not have kids. Because there are so many children and big groups, it can get loud very quickly. I feel like you only notice it the first day and then it becomes a background noise. If you suffer from tinnitus, maybe don’t go.
- The resort did not feel like a regular hotel. There is a set schedule and although food is served often throughout the day, there is no room service at night. Everything is done to encourage people to talk to each other and socialise.
- Finally, it is a very French experience. The staff was very international and they spoke a variety of languages but the majority of the games/activities were in French and I think the same went for the kids activities. It could just be because we were in France but I am told there is a strong sense of French identity at Club Med wherever you go in the world. Cocorico!
Club Med Samoëns Morillon was a very positive experience for us and I highly recommend this resort to anyone with children. Each of us had a great time and that is all you can ask for when you travel as a family. We will definitely try another Club Med destination.