Posts Tagged “clubmed”

because we had such an awesome time at club med @ bintan last june (and i needed another tan), we decided to try out club med @ cherating which my brother suggested, and as a surprise for mum, we brought her along.

the kids were very happy just to be together. never mind that they had to wake up at 4.30am to get ready and be at the meeting point by 6am. never mind that they had to sit their wriggly butts on the coach bus for 8 hours to reach the destination. never mind that they were frozen half to death from the blasting air-con by the end of the journey. :D

bright and early @ newton pick up point

thankfully, we were greeted warmly by the international cast of friendly and energetic GOs, who had us swiftly settled in our rooms and served a late lunch.

of course, the first thing the kids wanted to do was to jump into the pool. and because holidays are all about the kids, into the pool we went…

work that body!Untitled
jacuzzi

other than the pool, the kids also spent a lot of time hanging around the bar getting drunk… on mocktails. :p

kids at the bar

they guzzled down syrupy concoctions by the dozens, like they were in a desert and just discovered an oasis. my brother joked that even mum was at risk of turning into a barfly by the end of 4 days. well, “free flow” is something us singaporeans like to take full advantage of after all, yes?

another thing we spent a lot of time on was, you guessed it – eating. a dizzying array of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. AND hot snacks in between at the lobby, which is especially good for kids who prefer to nibble throughout the day rather than have big proper meals like us adults. and again, “free flow” being the operative word, we pigged out. majorly.

our last buffet spread, sob!
all her favourite foods
eggs eggs everyday

(this morning when i stepped into a work dress and tried to zip it up, i actually had to suck in my breath. which is BAD. and the first thing a colleague did when she set eyes on me was puff up her cheeks, either indicating that i had visibly ballooned in a few short days, or she had turned into a squirrel storing nuts in her mouth while i was away. i believe she meant the former. bad, BAD, club med.) (ouh, speaking of squirrels..)

spotted

there’s a different theme every evening, which extends to the decor, the dress code, and even the stage shows at night.

Asian themeAll-white theme
Michael Jackson theme

it still amazes me how much effort their teams put in to transform the place, and the abundance of talent they have double-hatting day-time duties and preparing for performances at night. the GOs are so seemingly tireless and full of energy, it’s like they’re each on their tenth can of red bull every time. i don’t know how they do it, a few hours sitting at my desk in the office and already i’m pooped.

a fantastic show!"Slash" makes appearance

we dumped the kids (heh heh) at the Mini Club some of the time, where they got to try out archery…
kids' archery

go for a rainforest walk…
rainforest walk

play beach games…
Mini Club beach game
Mini Club goes to the beach

make cookies…
Mini Club cookie-makingMini Club cookie-making

do a treetop challenge…
treetop challenge

fly on the trapeze and bungee jumps…
bungee jumpbungee jump

they simply CANNOT get bored! just as well, since my sis-in-law and i had laid down one rule for them from the beginning: no asking for iphone or ipad or iwhatever games. the same went with the adults. (well, easy for me anyway seeing as i do not own an iphone or ipad or iwhatever.)

hot lady instructortrapeze practicetrapeze practice
first attempt

i even managed to get 3 family members to try the beginners yoga. :p

sun salutation

i was especially pleased at my first attempt at archery. gave it a go partly thanks to my recent Hunger Games obsession ha ha. ok no, seriously, it was thrilling! to get your arrow hit *some* surface area of the target. sure, i suffered a MAJOR bruise on my left inner elbow as a result of pulling the string of the bow wrongly, but my mantra is always – come, say it with me – “pain is gain”. *inner masochist talking*

archery tournament

and little did we know, there was a sports tournament that afternoon, which we’d unwittingly entered, with scores and medals given out to winners for all events in the evening. izad and my brother got 2nd for the men’s archery competition, and i, err, got 3rd for the women’s. which was really a fluke because there were only 5 girls, and izad will tell you it’s “beginner’s luck”. ok whatever, i won! me, hana! for a sports event! miracles! call me katniss! now! :p

winners of the archery tournament

the one thing about club med cherating we were a little disappointed with was that the beach is not as accessible as it is in bintan. you have to wait for a shuttle every half hour to get to the beach, which takes about a slow and rumbling 5-7 minutes to reach, via a narrow road through the forest. you can choose to walk, but we didn’t try, because we’d probably take half an hour finding our way and fighting the muggy rainforest heat. on one of the days, the shuttle didn’t show up even though we waited quite a bit, so we gave up. we managed to get one afternoon of kayaking, although i wish i’d had more time at it.

the shuttle service

the beach itself, well, it wasn’t as clear as bintan’s waters, which had fishes swimming in some rocky areas. otherwise, it’s quite a nice secluded cove, hidden from view from the shuttle drop-off point, so you have to walk a bit more to get there.

the little beach cove
pour me a drink!
a bit of shade
chill
kayaking

mum had a few firsts here – before this, she said she’d never been in the pool! because she’s scared of the water. she’s scared of a lot of things, actually. like snakes, driving, taking taxis alone, etc. but oh, while we were there, we’d met aniq’s soccer coach who’s also a teacher at his school, and he remembered mum as his teaching mentor. “you have such a wonderful mother,” he told me while chatting with mum, “she is such an inspiring mentor.” wow. that definitely trumps everything else she can’t do.

Untitled

anyway, think we’ve had enough of club med? well, i doubt i’d venture another 8-hour drive up malaysia, like, ever again. (i hate malaysian toilets! and traffic!) but yeah, we’ll always have fond memories of club med and if there’s a good deal elsewhere (bali? maldives? mmm), we’ll definitely consider it. for one thing, we can be assured of excellent service, good food, and great activities for the whole family.

meanwhile, let’s dream a little more about our december holiday adventure next…

the izadnhanas

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Baywatch, originally uploaded by izadd.

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we really have to thank Is for suggesting club med ria @ bintan for the june holidays. as it turned out, we had such a wonderful time that we decided to extend our 3D2N trip to one more day, and the deal was made sweeter with the resort’s general manager’s persuasion (and generous offer).

the GM's welcome
there, that’s the GM, with the GOs. she is truly an amazing person, but more on her later.

you might think, “meh, bintan? what’s so great about it, it’s so near, and for that amount of money, it’s surely not worth it.” well we did spend over $2k for a family of four for a resort merely 45 minutes away from sg. it included not just the hotel rooms (we had two adjoining rooms – one for the kids with twin beds, and one for us parents with a king bed) and ferry ride, but well, almost everything else on the resort. food, drinks, kids’ and adults’ activities were covered. and i think most importantly, the superb service from every staff on the resort made the experience especially worthwhile.

let’s begin with the food and drinks: FREE FLOW. the spread of food? REALLY GOOD (especially the desserts, OMG). and with breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea breaks, and supper served continuously, you and your kids NEVER go hungry. there are two restaurants, one with a sumptuous buffet (where GOs randomly sit in, dine and have interesting conversations with you); and the other where you order from a menu (overlooking the beach for a more quiet, romantic ambience).

all the desserts were superb! THE most scrumptious pecan pie EVER.

the thing we liked very much about the resort was that it’s very child-friendly. everything seemed to be designed with the child in mind, even their toilets. the bar too had a special section for kids only…

kids' mocktail bar
kids ordering at the bar

they go to lengths to ensure that kids are well taken care of, so that parents can choose to go do their own things without worrying about the kids. there are scheduled activities if you sign them up at the kids’ clubs (they have different age categories), and you do feel safe with them under the GOs. plus, they’re all so high-energy and entertaining, the kids were simply drawn to them.

Petit Club
the Mini Club-bers
really enjoying themselves

aniq was in the Mini Club (4 – 7 years old), and they had activities like swimming (in the kids’ pool, which is separate from the main pools), tennis, basketball, games, movies, beach soccer, circus theatre… if your kids like socialising, they’ll fit right in. we were pretty surprised by the large number of kids, from toddlers to teens at the resort.

Mini Clubbers pool time
circus theatre
tennis lesson at Mini Club aniq on trapeze balancing beam

and the best part, they sometimes prepare for performances at night. yes, there’s a show with a different theme EVERY night – one of the highlights of the day, where we kick back after dinner, sip on mocktails and be entertained.

check out the Fashion Show rehearsal…
strike a pose!

and on Show night itself…

aniq at the catwalk
smile!
fashion show
great fun and exposure for the kids to go on stage.

oh and so what DID the parents do while the kids were busy? hmm.. i had to admit i was a little lost for a while without the kids driving me crazy, so we filled our time by err, eating, exploring, siesta-ing, yoga-ing (we even did aqua-aerobics ha ha), chilling, and… ahem, checking out the GOs with their hot tans. :p
quiet breakfast for mummy & daddy siesta
yoga @ the Zen area chilling by the pool the super-tanned hot-bod GO

we had a beach party on one of the days, which was really for the kids. they had a tie dye event, danced with the GOs, played volleyball, and indulged in lots of finger foods, sweets and snacks (it’s okaaay, they’re on vacation…).

Petit Club Med special event
tea time

eating for the umpteenth time ice lollies P6212340

there were sea sports activities, which i admit i never thought i’d do. aniq and i had our first kayaking experience, and izad had windsurfing and sailing lessons…

kayaking
first kayaking experience
windsurfing lesson windsurfing 101 sailing lesson

the water was very clear, and deceptively shallow, so it was pretty safe for the kids at the beach. in the morning, we fed fishes with bread we pilfered from the buffet. i think the resort probably has the best part of the beach on the island.

feeding the fishes at the beach
swimsuit edition
she wore an itsy-bitsy..

and after the beach, we spent plenty of time at the pool. (it’s a month later and i still have them tan lines.)

their favourite part - the deep pool

being on an island, the weather swayed from super sunny to sudden showers, but the resort was always ready for wet weather. as soon as it poured, there was food set up indoors and GOs passing around board games to guests taking refuge from the rain. we were so impressed; the place was a well-oiled machinery.

within minutes of the rain, this was set up indoors beef tacos wet-weather plan - indoor games

and it’s all thanks to this lady, the aforementioned GM. not only does she manage the resort, she’s almost everywhere, popping up to talk to guests, hosting the show every night, and as you’d have it, she also dances on stage, in full costume and doing many complicated numbers. and this was the best part – on the Fashion Show night, she’d memorised the names of EVERY single adult and kid on stage who took part (and if you look, there were about 50 or so, some who’d just arrived). don’t know how she does it, she’s got super photographic memory or something. she didn’t even refer to any paper, just jumped right in to introduce everyone with a “give it up for [insert name]! give it up to the beautiful [insert name]!” so on and so forth. everyone was talking about it the next day.

with Merlin the GM
Latin Night

so, yes, our first club med experience was DEFINITELY worth it, nevermind that it’s only 45 minutes away and on a hardly-exotic island.

and the kids? they’re still talking about it. and i’m very sure this’ll rank high up on their list of favourite holidays.

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recently on our awesome club med holiday, there’s one thing that stands out in my mind. maybe not one thing but more of a collective bunch of people. more commonly known as GOs or Gentils Organisateurs (Gracious/Nice Organizers) they assist the resort manager or chef de village in running of the resort and boy, they really do a pretty mean job! they make the guests, called GMs, or Gentils Membres (Gracious/Nice Guests/Members) feel really at home with their warm and ever so friendly and approachable personalities. they even join us for lunch and dinner at random!

other than having good hospitality skills, they posses an incredible wow factor – talent. some can sing, dance, act and the chef de village can memorise more than 60 different names in 20 minutes, no joke! and this guy below, yep the AYAM man, can mimic the crow of the rooster.

ayam in action

don’t believe me, take a listen below.

the GOs really do have one of the best jobs in the world!!

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Untitled, originally uploaded by izadd.

a perfect beach holiday.

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