Club Med Ixtapa Pacific staff and amenities make it tough for vacationers to say good bye.
story and photos by Matthew Abernathy
Vacations are meant to be relaxing, enjoyable, invigorating and memorable. All too often, however, the stress of where to stay, what to eat and what activities to participate in can cause travelers mountains of anxiety and waves of tension. The Club Med Ixtapa Pacific website offers a better solution for mountains and waves: “A heavenly, Mexican hacienda-style, all-inclusive family resort nestled between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the shores of the Pacific Ocean.”
Encompassing more than 30 beautiful acres, Club Med Ixtapa Pacific sits just off the west coast of Mexico, near the village of Zihuatanejo. With a list of available activities all taking place inside the resort, it is the perfect retreat spot for families, newlyweds, singles and retired people of all ages. And with several restaurants, spas and shopping venues located on site, one never even needs to leave the resort to enjoy a full vacation. My wife and I had an opportunity to stay at Club Med Ixtapa Pacific and for us, the only bad part about this vacation was having to leave. We were spoiled beyond measure by the friendly staff, including our very own concierge (by request only and subject to availability).
Families with children, from infants through teens, can take part in the many kids programs the resort has to offer. These signature programs include Baby Club and Baby Welcome for infants and toddlers. While there is an extra charge for Baby and Petite Club Med, it is well worth it for new moms and dads who may need a bit of their own pampering. There’s no need to bring your own stroller, crib, baby tub, bottle warmers or any of the other dozen or so apparatuses that usually accompany a baby on vacation. For older kids, the Mini Club has its own pool and the kids participate in fun activities and sports geared towards kids of their age group. There is also a Circus School that has juggling, trampoline and trapeze classes. Club Med is always adding new programs for the mini-club. A highlight of the evening entertainment is the weekly Mini-Club show where the kids perform the dances they learned in the kids’ club, in a professional theater setting with lights and sound effects—very cool. For the older kids they have their own signature club; the Junior Club Med has similar activities to the Mini-Club. Teen programs are less formal, and include various fun activities, such as night-time water polo.
Adults need not feel left by the pool or left out in any way. Try out the trapeze school, kayaking, deep sea fishing, archery, volleyball, soccer, mini-golf, inline skating, rock climbing, tennis, basketball or one of the water sports available. At the end of the day, the same staff that has been serving you throughout your many activities, comes together to perform a stage production. We found the show very entertaining and amusing. What we really found amazing, however, was the energy of the staff; we were very impressed with their gracious, upbeat attitudes after a very long day!
The main restaurant, El Encanto, has outdoor tables, and several differently-styled areas indoors with air conditioning. This restaurant is buffet-style, and also has a special section for baby food. The beachside Miramar has a la carte items and is open late. The fine-dining restaurant is the elegant Luna Azul; please note, reservations are required for this establishment. For our group, the chef of Luna Azul prepared the Bonita fish that was caught during our offshore fishing trip. There is nothing better than freshly caught fish prepared by a renowned chef!
While it is an inclusive resort, it is fun to venture outside the walls at least for a bit. My wife and I were fortunate enough to be in Mexico at the same time as Food & Wine magazine’s Food & Wine festival. There were chefs from all over the world creating dishes with local fare that were absolutely amazing. I believe my wife was “star struck” with Chef Marcus Samuelsson and his lovely wife, model Gate Maya Haile. The winner of Top Chef Masters Season 2, Samuelsson is an award-winning chef, best-selling cookbook author and the youngest chef to ever receive two three-star ratings from The New York Times, as well as, a very considerate and grateful host! The food and wine was exceptional and the group we were with had a wonderful dining and entertainment experience close to Club Med in the small village of Zihautanejo.
There are many half-day outings available including a lovely horseback ride along a beautiful beach, an ATV outing, and the snorkeling trip to a nearby island is popular, too. You can easily reach Zihautanejo by taxi and then stroll along a walkway by the beach, shop for jewelry, hammocks, and souvenirs to remember the occasion.
If you ever wish to escape to the beautiful, lush landscape on the west coast of Mexico, we strongly suggest Club Med Ixtapa Pacific. It is one of the most beautiful settings my wife and I have ever shared together and we plan to get back there soon with the entire family. Hasta luego!