by Carrie Calzaretta
Pioneers in catering specifically to the needs of families with children, the folks at Club Med were kid-friendly long before being kid-friendly was cool. The GOs (“gracious organizers”) who play host to Club Med guests are genuinely that, welcoming and warm. So when their Punta Cana resort recently underwent a $36 million renovation, which included adding some impressive and high-end waterfront family suites to the property, the renovations did not disappointed. Located on the Atlantic coast of the Domincan Republic, on a private stretch of white beach just 10 minutes from the Punta Cana airport, the resort is ideal for folks who don’t want to venture too far afield; but are looking for a peaceful, tropical respite.
Our Editor Loves
- Waterfront Family Suites
- Beautiful beach, water sports abound
- Warm and welcoming staff
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
There are a wide variety of rooms and suites (more than 550 of them) to choose from at Club Med Punta Cana, including Club Rooms, Deluxe Rooms and Family Suites. The accommodations in general are quite spread out over the property; so if you want to be near any given area (pool, dining) be sure to make that request. Some of the club rooms on the edge of the property are a 10-minute walk to the restaurants.
The Club rooms offer two bedrooms, a living area, mini-fridge, flat-screen TVs, AC and bathrobes.
Deluxe rooms are ideal for families of three to five people. There is one bedroom and a sitting area or children's bedroom area separated by a curtain.
While the Club and Deluxe rooms are more than adequate, and located in tasteful, brightly-colored low-rise buildings facing the ocean, it's the Family Suites that you'll write home about. Because Club Med's rates are comparatively affordable, it's well worth the extra splurge for these waterfront suites. With 750 square feet of space, you'll get two bedrooms with high-end decor and amenities, two gorgeous and spacious bathrooms (our master bath had a large bathtub and two separate sinks, and even the kids' bathroom looked like a spa ) as well as a large sitting area and a private terrace.
You'll also get a mini-fridge, coffee maker and an in-room computer with free Internet access. When staying in a family suite, you'll also get shuttled to the resort from the airport, and to your room from a separate check-in area at the resort, as well as access to a private (communal) infinity pool and concierge.
This was our first time at a Club Med resort and also our first time in the Dominican Republic. Overall, this is a nice resort and we definitely enjoyed our time here. However, there are a number of small issues that prevent this from being a great resort.
First, for context: we have travelled extensively in Europe, Northern Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean. We stayed in the Zen Oasis portion of the resort and were pleased with the spaciousness, decor, fixtures, and landscaping.
Second, the positives:
1. The activities were plentiful and fun. If you get bored here, it's your fault (unless that's what you want, then you can do that too).
2. The food is consistently good and occasionally great, though typically under seasoned for my pallette and occasionally not warm/fresh (sitting under heat lamps too long).
3. The grounds are very well maintained.
4. Several of the staff offered stand out service: The male Zumba instructor was so much fun. Both archery guys (Samuel and Emilio) were patient and good teachers. Alberto at Hispaniola was a greatly informed pastry Chef. The guy who made fresh gnocchi (Edidgio?) was wonderful. Sergio at baggage was amazing!
Now for the not so positives:
1. Maintenance seems to be suffering in the Zen Oasis. Some examples:
- The pool in the Zen Oasis has a number of broken and missing pool tiles (see pictures)
- The Zen Oasis pool deck has a number of broken boards, some of which have been marginally repaired, some not (see pictures)
- The shower in our room (#1078) had a mildew problem on the floor and a hard water / rust problem on the shower head (both easily treatable with bleach and vinegar/baking soda respectively)
- Many of the outdoor day beds were damaged / broken in some way, such as loose frames, and cracked plastic seals which allowed for extensive mold and mildew in the mattress/pools of water
2. Management seems hit and miss. Some examples:
- Our welcome / introduction was very limited and seemed distracted / half-hearted and there was a great deal on information about how the club operates that would have been very useful for us to have as first time guests, that, instead we had to figure out as we went.
- Our housekeeping was variable, frequently not replenishing / replacing shower wash, wash clothes, hand towels, etc.
Bottled water should be “easily” available more often than the day we get here.
-The deck chairs and daybeds around the Zen Oasis pool were frequently "claimed" by 7 am by people putting towels, etc on them, but leaving them unoccupied during much of the day. There are signs posted asking guests to not "reserve" beds/chairs for more than 30 minutes. That's not enforced at all, as far as we could tell. The result was that at any given time during the day 100% of the deck chairs and beds would be claimed but 2/3 of them would be empty for hours at a time. Very annoying.
On the whole, we enjoyed Club Med Punta Cana, and may consider returning, but there's definitely room for improvement before this is a truly great vacation spot.
This resort was absolutely incredible from being picked up at the airport in the coolest teal van at the airport. The team greeted us with cold fresh face cloths and cold drinks. They escorted us to our rooms which were clean and we were in the Mariposa block which was very close to the dining and kids club which was ideal as we were travelling with 5 children under 6 years of age. The kids club had the following activities: soccar, mini golf, beach, circus, dancing, singing, plays, pool time, snacks, lunches and dinners as well as evening events as well. We found most difficult our children were very tired due to language barrier as primarily French was spoken as most children were French. The staff were super accommodating and did try there best to communicate in English to us and the kids. The food was top notch with ample various fish, beef, chicken, vegan and gluten free options that were all appealing with many different feature dishes each evening that were impressive including sushi, Pad Thai, beef tenderloin, sashimi, tuna chivici, cheese selections, fresh fruits and salad bars at every meal, fresh juices. There were 13 tennis courts that I saw, full sized basketball court, archery (This was a little misleading as it says for all ages, then at the kids range one sign said 4 and up another said 6 and up) and when we came on Wednesday Dec 12th at 2pm the instructor told us it is 8 years and up. Alex was an impressive manager of guest relations, he greated us upon our arrival, was ever present at each dining and event we experienced and helped our kids in the vehicle upon departure. He was up in the lobby and running around the resort before we woke and would even ask how our dinners were in the evening. The photos were great. I recommend taking advantage of the package deal and finding out the costs at the beginning and using the photographers to your advantage and leaving your phone/camera in your room. They end up taking awesome candid photos of your children and also there is set ups/props and backdrops outside the resturants before dinner that are cool. I think it was around 220 bucks for 250 photos and it was around 20 dollars per photo. So it's best to just let them do their work in my opinion and get as many as you can! The last day their was an unforgettable foam party on the beach. The cica de solet show was truely amazing as well. Our kids were exhausted by 930pm when the evening shows were on however I'm sure they were impressive. Their were non stop fitness classes on the beach as well. The Circa De Sole looked so cool for the kids of all ages and also lots of adults were having a blast on the trapeze! Our room was I would say average nothing fabulous but really we didn't stay in the room except to sleep so the rest of the resort was AWESOME. Overall very very memorable trip we will forever cherish. Thank YOU club med staff! There was also the friendliest most helpful greater at the buffet restaurant by the beach at dinner. The kids club staff worked non stop and were a ball of energy especially Momo.
Positives: Food, Resturants, Service, Entertainment Staff, Fitness activities and amenities.
Negatives: no swim up bar, watered down alcohol, Primarily French guests (negative if you like to chat and for kids club for our kids)
Other info: bring hats it's required for kids club and many different sun tan lotions if you have kids of different ages, they each need their own. The phones in the rooms do not call out. There was the following attire evenings: floral, black and white, white, white and red and the a casual sheek while we were there. online it didn't tell us all of that.
Punta Cana is known for its beautiful, calm beaches, ideal for swimming; and Club Med's beach is no exception. It is large, private, and has a gentle slope with clear, shallow water where kids can dip their toes, windsurf or sail. The beach has plenty of lounge chairs, as well a bar with outdoor seating and light fare like wraps and salads' great for snacks or a quick lunch if you don't want to head up to the main dining rooms.
Pools and Activities
The property has three swimming pools, including one dedicated to the children's clubs, which has a small water park area with slides and sprayers. Outdoor activities at the resort abound; you'll find basketball, beach volleyball, bocce ball, football, tennis, kayaking, water polo, snorkeling, scuba, and sailing, among others. There are beginning group lessons in sailing and windsurfing, as well as group lessons at all levels for aqua aerobics, archery and tennis. There is also a weight room, and a super-cool skating ramp for kids ages 11 and older.
Club Med Punta Cana offers supervised kids' clubs for children ages 4 months to 17 years, including the Baby Club (4 to 23 months), Petit Club (2 to 3 years) Mini Club (4 to 10 years) and Passworld (11 to 17 years). While the Mini and Passworld clubs are complimentary, the Baby and Petit clubs are available for an additional cost, and are not included in the all-inclusive rate.
The kids' clubs are absolutely top-notch. The G.O.s are warm, competent, fun, and always wear a smile. As a parent, you can come and go as you please; they welcome you to pop in and visit. Kids may go to the beach to take part in various water sports, attend tennis clinics, swim in the kids' pool and use the waterslide, hike the property, visit the flying trapeze and do art and crafts. Teens can hang out at a village called "The Lab at the Ramp" where they take part in fun activities including dance lessons, video editing, mixing, and theatre lessons.
A large percentage of Club Med G.O.s and guests are French. While a vast majority of them also speak English, this is not always the case for the children. Don't be surprised if your child is put into a group when French is spoken along with English, and be sure to discuss this with your child beforehand. Most children love the learning of a few new words and will not have trouble communicating with anyone.
For parents of children ages 4 and up, there is a weekly stage show, which they prepare for during their time in the kids' club. The kids love performing in the small outdoor theater with their new friends -- and they put on a great show!
Club Med CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil
Club Med has teamed up with Cirque du Soleil to offers kids (and grownups) trapeze lessons, as well as lessons on how to juggle, tightrope walk, and even unicycle. The instructors are patient and encouraging. Windsurfing, tennis, sailing and archery are just a few of the other sports and skills schools offered to guests.
The huge playground is a treat for young kids and parents with little ones will enjoy the Baby Gym and classes. Six days a week, you and your baby (beginning at four months old) or toddler can take part in classes that allow them to climb, crawl, slide, and interact with other babies in fun, bright environment. With an emphasis on development of social skills, this program is geared towards exploration of movement.
Let's face it, all-inclusive resorts aren't exactly famous for their gourmet dining. But the food at this property is solidly good, and often creative. Club Med Punta Cana has three restaurants and two bars. High chairs are available.
The Samana restaurant faces the swimming pool and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet-style. Dinner offered a wide variety of fish, meat and pasta entrees, along with an unexpected selection of Asian-style spring rolls, which were quite good. The desserts were decadent. A special baby corner is available for parents to prepare meals for little ones right in the restaurant.
Hispaniola serves buffet breakfast and lunch and dinner and has gorgeous views of the sea. Breakfast offers a great selection of breads and pastries, as well as cooked-to-order omelettes and fresh fruit.
Indigo Beach Lounge
The newly renovated Indigo Beach Lounge features a beautiful waterfront view and is a restaurant, lounge and bar that transforms through the day. Late breakfast, light lunch and beachside snacks are available here much of the day. Dinner is for adults only and then in the evenings the space becomes a nightclub, also for the adults.
Room service is available in the family suites; while the food was good, the service was a little unorganized (orders went through the concierge office) at the time of our visit.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Don't forget bug spray and sunblock! The onsite store is expensive. Also take along a windbreaker. Cool evenings and afternoon showers will make you glad you did. If you have a little extra space in your luggage, bring along some pens, pencils, paints, paper, school bags or toys. The resort's "Espace Fondation" will see they are donated to local children in need.
Babysitting can be arranged until 1 a.m.
The Baby Club Med Welcome Program for children up to 23 months provides cribs, baby baths, bottle warmers, baby food and utensils.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is included in the rate.
The Art of Smart Timing
Your best bet for a good rate is after mid-April when the low season fares start to kick in.
Club Med Punta Cana is located on the Atlantic coast of the Dominican Republic and just 10 minutes from the Punta Cana airport.
When staying in a family suite, the hotel will provide a shuttle to the resort from the airport, and to your room from a separate check-in area at the resort.
For Mom and Dad
Don't miss the Wellness Centre, a secluded spa oasis on the far edge of the beach, away from the pitter patter of little feet.
There is a variety of nightly entertainment for mom and dad.