PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic -- Club Med Punta Cana offers
activities for guests of all ages, but the village is an especially
good fit for families with children.
Thanks to the completion last December of the first phase of a
multiphase renovation, guests, known as gracious members or GMs,
now arrive at a dramatic open lobby under a thatch roof with views
of the swimming pool, the beach and the water beyond.
A half-sunken ship on the horizon looks like a Hollywood prop
but is, in fact, real.
Guests will be surprised by the room size and layout, especially
good for families.
Although there are no connecting rooms, a sliding door separates
a double bedroom from a sitting area furnished with two daybeds
that transform into twin beds.
Rooms have separate bath areas, safes and hair dryers.
The decor is vibrant and sunny with intense blues, greens and a
The real draw is the ocean view, which is especially nice from
rooms with decks.
Punta Cana rooms have telephones and televisions with
During the renovation, 334 rooms were converted into 243 larger
rooms. Also new are the main reception area, a boutique, a main
bar, a beach bar and an amphitheater.
The main restaurant and La Cana specialty restaurant were
enlarged, and the swimming pool was transformed into a large pool
with a terrace.
A second and final phase of the expansion, scheduled for
completion in October, will include new bungalow-style rooms with
bathrooms, to bring the total of rooms to 543.
At the same time, the Petit and Mini clubs will relocate to new
facilities with their own pools and play areas.
Despite these welcome changes and additions, the village still
retains that hut-on-the-beach feeling that draws legions of loyal
Guests can choose to do as little or as much each day as they
want. Most activities, except for off-site excursions, carry no
The Mini Club offers age-appropriate activities for children
from 4 to 12 years of age.
The children's program runs daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with a
break at 5:30 p.m.
Parents can drop off their children later or pick them up
earlier without hassle.
Children ages 8 and up can check themselves in and out of the
club, with permission.
Parents might have trouble wooing their offspring from the lure
of the kids' camp.
Children ages 4 to 7 typically spend their days swimming,
playing tennis, practicing archery and -- most compelling of all --
learning to swing from a trapeze under professional
The circus, a trademark at certain Club Med properties, draws
adults and children alike. Families who spend a week can perform in
a show at the end of their stay.
Kids ages 8 to 12 years meet at the water-sports shack each
morning, where they choose from a number of activities, such as
kayaking, water skiing, sailing and snorkeling.
After that, they can play tennis, roller blade and play
volleyball in a new sports area.
Those from 2 to 4 years have their own Petit Club, featuring a
pool for toddlers and supervised activities.
New this winter will be a weeklong soccer program for kids ages
8 to 12, at an extra charge of $50 per child.
Youth staff members are chosen for their expertise in sports and
in working with children.
Our 7-year-old's counselor was a bilingual certified teacher
The children's programs are not offered on Saturdays, when most
guests arrive and depart.
While the children are off having fun, parents can relax by the
pool, which is designed in an elongated, meandering shape, or on
Aerobics classes are set to classical music in a beachfront
gazebo. Adults also can play softball or golf nearby.
Beverages, except for those served in the dining room, are not
included in the overall price; tickets come in packets.
All meals are served buffet style and are very good, as befits a
Menu items include regional specialties, fresh fish, kabobs,
steak and kid-friendly burgers.
Salad bars, fruit, French cheeses and decadent desserts round
out the offerings.
Wine and beer are available at no extra charge at meals.
Children get a daily afternoon snack and are free to dine with
their parents at meal times or with their Mini Club friends in a
Evenings jump with nightly activities that range from musical
productions and circus acts to a family carnival night.
Best of all are the absence of noisy watercraft, wet T-shirt
contests, deafening poolside disco music and a swim-up bar emitting
the smell of beer.
Club Med Punta Cana is about 10 minutes from the Punta Cana
A much-needed renovation at La Romana, a secondary airport an
hour-and-a-half west, will be completed by the end of the year.
Club Med Punta Cana
Phone: (888) WEB CLUB