Much has been said about this ClubMed. Here are some things I found to be true or false that others have written, based on my personal experience here.
1) "The air condition is substandard or doesnt work." I do air conditioning for a living. They have three cooling towers at this facility. Only ONE tower was working. This means that two thirds of capacity was not being served. My room was one of them. Since I work in extreme heat conditions at my job, my idea of a good nights sleep includes a cool air conditioned space, which I paid for. After a few nights of no air conditioning, I asked for another room, which they gave me, and after moving from one end of thre facility to the other, realized that this room also had non- operational air conditioning. If having a comfortable space to sleep is important to you, than the chances of you recieving it here are not in your favor.
2) "The food was substandard." My palate must not be sophisticated enough to know the difference, but I found the food to be just fine. Although the Buffet was serving the basic same meals every day, there was more than enough variety to satisfy even the pickiest of our bunch, which was 10 people. I did notice reserving of certain foods but who cares? It wasnt as though it was unsanitary and these small desert items sometimes do better when the ingredients have time to marry.
3) The "GO's" were there if you needed them but I found that they left you be if that is what the customer wanted. This was very welcome, almost without exception, help, advice and directions were spot on. This seems to be something they work very hard at and it shows.
4) "The rooms are thrashed" True, really not sure why rooms are so beat up, with lots of cracked tiles. Floor tiles are all good, but for some reason the wall tiles, and base tiles in particular, seemed to have craked and some pretty shoddy repairs. Being from Maintanence, I can appreciate the resourcefulness of the crew. They were all well dressed, friendly and efficient.
5) "The French" did see some arguments and disagreements between the French and American patrons. Interviened once, and did my best to smooth things over, but would like to say this about that.
Coming from Southern California, it's silly really to group people by race or nationality. America is such a diverse place, as well as the world, that no one, US or French, should anyone judge short of the individual, is just ignorant and silly. Still, I heard through the language barrier, the word American spit out several times during my trip, and it was not complimentary. It seemed to be more evident in the younger French. Several in our group spoke French and one was from France, and their experiences were the same.
The incidents were trivial, but racism is not, and after a few days I realized I could witness this almost on command: It had to do with the many narrow concrete walking paths. I began to notice that I, a 50 year old man, was expected to side-step the French and walk into the sand while they passed on the path.
I tried several things to disprove my theory, such as staying to the left instead of right, greeting in French etc. some things I did actually made it worse! It seemed to be most prevelant in the younger crowd. After a while, it became a joke, and I would smile and still get met with a scowl.
I say all of this as a subtle warning, if this type of thing bothers you, and you would tend to focus on it for your trip, then avoid this place. I did my best to have minimum contact with others, and left the facility almost every day. The weather was junk, and it prevented me from using the place to its full capacity, still, I was reminded several times a day from the other patrons that I was the minority.
To be fair, there were several times where I was waiting my turn paitently for a drink at a bar or swome such, where pushy people of all nationalities would shout out their orders, or better yet, stand right in front of me, knowing I was next in line to be asked.
Here is the bottom line, Club Med must put more money into this place, it has suffered because of the world economy, however that is still no excuse. This place wasnt filled to capacity, but that only speaks partially to the current economic situation. Many of those we spoke to were return customers, and most said that they wouldnt return until the facility was rebuilt. This place was special to a lot of people, and it seems as though Club Med is "coasting" on thier reputation, relying on their reputation and overly friendly staff. A Warning: " Reputations are difficult to build and easy to destroy"
One last general thing: One of the features that really appeals to me about trip advisor is that the company being reviewed has a chance to respond. It is a fair and useful tool, in fact, I have stayed at a few places with less than stellar reviews because I thought that the owner was fair and directly addressed the situation, which I found corrected during my visit.
Club Meds coperate responses are insulting if you read between the lines, they basically say that "were sorry you feel you were ripped off because some of the items tha should have been operational, and which you paid a premium for, didnt work" and "why dont you take a stab at another facility and see if we can do the same to you again?" Many of these complaints hare the same ones that have gone on for years, with so many oppertunities to fix or repair as necessary. To apoligize is insulting to Trip Advisor and those who seek the most for their hard earned dollar.
Near the dive center? plan on doing lots of walking
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC