Bring on the family holiday

Bring on the family holiday
Photo Credit: Outlook Traveller
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Club Med Cherating, in Malaysia, is an all-rounder resort that has something for everyone

Annie M. Mathews
March 18 , 2014
06 Min Read

Before this trip, I hadn't known anyone who had been to Club Med (or had admitted to it), but I realised that my friends and I shared the same befuddled notions of a ‘time-share’resort. I expected to be completely at sea on land, while bold and beautiful people went sailing and surfing, all in immaculate whites, which would extend to their dentistry. As a single woman on the wrong side of spring-chicken hill, I was also sagely advised by one friend to look (out) for the tennis pro and by another, for the cabana boy (what do my non-Club Med friends know — they had neither coach nor cabana boy at the Club Med Cherating).

What they do have is more than sufficient though — a holiday concept that has more than a little of something for everybody. As I see it, you’d have to be more than jaded and crabby to find nothing to please... Admittedly, if you haven’t already bought into the package and come with the expectation of having a good time, the welcome can seem a little overwhelming. A chorus line of casually-uniformed, cheerful gentilsorganisateurs or GOs (Club Med Staff) greet you enthusiastically at the reception and after short introductions (we’re all on first-name basis from the word GO), you are led down the timbered corridor to your ‘bungalow’ — the rooms are by and large congregated down a long line on a stilt structure with the passageway giving out on the greens on one side and a benign sea on the other. But this structure is possibly all that is stilted or stiff about this resort.

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Cherating, Malaysia was Club Med’s first resort in Asia. The built-up part of the resort is but a third of the sprawling grounds. ‘Green’ since its very inception, its landscaping does not impinge on the untamed rainforest — on the contrary, creatures of the wild have quietly claimed their share of the resort and monitor lizards sun themselves on the lawns, while gibbon families unthreateningly swing around the stilts, and macaws and cicadas attempt to accompany or drown out the soothing music of the spa, where you can sometimes get your massage in the enclosed garden under a moonlit sky.

In the generally balmy, sometimes hot and humid climes, air-conditioning is a welcome comfort but the condensation generated by the centralised air-conditioning is re-circulated as the hot water supplied to the rooms. The rooms themselves have all prerequisite creature comforts but are less than generously sized. Which hardly matters, as it would be a shame to spend an enormous amount of time in the room, when you could while it away most pleasantly in any of many other spaces.

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Club Med boasts of more than 80 resorts the world over, which have five broad focus points: luxury, wellness, culture, sports, and family. Club Med Cherating would certainly fall into the last category but it embraces a bit of every other option too. (Hey, did I mention that there’s something for everybody?) The beauty of the family resort is that you are unlikely to have children under your feet as you get yourself the next pina colada at the bar — the under 18s are probably being kept happily busy at the mini, junior and password (teens) clubs with creative, adventurous or sporting activities, which can vary from wielding a paint brush to swinging from a trapeze to rehearsing for an evening show. Group activities are not restricted to the very young — though everything is of course optional; you have bought into a package deal that includes your board, lodging and fun times. There’s yoga and power walking and spirited water aerobics and jungle walks and cooking classes...

It would be impossible to write about this resort without at least one glowing reference to the meals — far from fobbing you off with an indifferent or restricted buffet, the buffet tables offer bewildering and gourmet choices of Asian to European cuisines at the Mutiara restaurant and a relatively more sparing menu at the Pantai restaurant, which offers a stunning view of the expansive South China Sea, with white sails gently breezing past the sifting sands of white beaches. The large circular bar is clearly the centre of this universe — there’s always a hum of activity here and either DJ music or a live crooner. And then there are the evenings.

Again, it seems a little daunting or corny to be told to bring thematically coloured clothes for the evening — green, white, blue... well, you won’t be denied participation if you happen to be in red on a white night but it is actually quite charming to have everyone awash in varying shades of the same colour... while we are entertained, either by a song and dance or circus performance, all engineered or enacted by the talented, energetic, multi-lingual and multi-national GOs. (Yes, they even had an Indian on the staff, and several Hindi speakers amongst the Mauritians). The GOs do deserve a plethora of complimentary adjectives — their friendliness is unflagging and the camaraderie never seems invasive. In case you hanker for a taste of the world outside of Club Med, the resort also organises visits to the nearby turtle sanctuary and day excursions to either the lotus-covered Lake Chini or a mini-safari and visit to an elephant sanctuary.

Then again, what you may have come for is to get away from it all — and this too is possible. The long stretches of beach within the property are always mysteriously empty, as most of the Club Medders seem to prefer the boisterous pool. But for the watchful eye of the life guard, you could well presume yourself to be all alone for miles around in a quiet, warm sea, with a sunset to call your very own. 


The information

Where: Cherating, Malaysia
Accommodation: 297 rooms and suites
Tariff: Village Only Package: Superior Room: Adult Rs 9,068, Child (4-11) Rs 5,441, Child (2-3) Rs 907. Deluxe Seaside Room: Adult Rs 11,789, Child (4-11) Rs 7,074, Child (2-3) Rs 1,179. Suite: Adult Rs 18,136. Includes accommodation, three meals with unlimited alcoholic (except premium spirits) and non-alcoholic beverages, open bar with snacks and kids clubs (only Petit Club for children 2-3 at additional cost of Rs 1,395 per night). Valid till Oct 31.
Contact: www.clubmed.co.in


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