Club Med ski holidays
Club Med ski holidays have been hugely popular with our clients ever since 2001 when we first started promoting this world class brand. In 2013 we were elevated to Club Med Infinite Agent status and have very much enjoyed watching the journey the brand has taken over the last two decades.
In 1950 Gerard Blitz recognised the possibilities of an all-inclusive holiday product and established the first Club Méditerranée destination on the island of Majorca. Seven years later Leysin in Switzerland was added as the first Club Med ski resort destination.
In the early 1960's Club Med was purchased by Baron Edmond de Rothschild (after he enjoyed a holiday with them so much) and with his financial backing the number of Club Med 'villages' increased dramatically. The Club Med experience was originally aimed at adult singles and young couples but in 1967 they opened their first 'Mini Club' which was an instant hit with families.
By the turn of the century Club Med was in financial trouble. Competitors had copied the 'all inclusive' product offering and the original Club Med hotels (or 'villages' as they are known) were falling behind on the level of comfort they offered. In 2002 a new CEO was appointed and 530 million dollars was invested into several key resorts. The focus switched to attracting upmarket holiday makers, primarily from the family market, and within 5 years Club Med was once again profitable.
In February 2015 Fosun International, a huge Chinese firm, acquired Club Med. A two year bidding war saw the price jump from the initial 'friendly bid' price of 541 million euros to 939 million euros but the Chinese conglomerate were determined to take ownership. Since their stewardship began several brand new ski villages have been added to the Club Med programme with the aim to launch a new club every year.
Club Med is a big business and now employs over 15,000 resort staff worldwide. However, each of the club 'villages' has a unique and friendly atmosphere. Resort staff are known as GOs (or Gentils Organisateurs), guests are known as GMs (Gentils Membres) and the all-important resort manager is known as 'Chef de Village'. It is their job to set the tone and general ambience for their club.
The special feature of Club Med is that the GOs and guests play, dine, drink and dance together both night and day. Evening cabaret shows are very much part of the entertainment schedule and you should go on a Club Med ski holiday expecting to be social (although mingling is by no means forced on all guests). A particular Club Med institution is the communal 'crazy signs' dance which is led by the GOs at the start of each evening. The dance steps are standard for all Club Med villages so that guests can easily join in. For us Brits it's best to throw any caution or inhibitions away and just get stuck in.
Club Med - comments from Alpine AnswersLet's start by saying, "we love a Club Med ski holiday". However, they are not for everyone and if you prefer a quiet hotel for a private, relaxing holiday you probably will not enjoy a Club Med ski holiday. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a great value, fun holiday which is suitable for all ages then you will hit the sweet spot with Club Med.
There is no comparison with a British managed and staffed 'chalet hotel'. Firstly, the Club Med resort staff are all hospitality professionals and not gap-year students. Secondly, the food on offer is plentiful, varied and genuinely delicious. OK, it's not what you would call haute cuisine but it's certainly very good indeed. Thirdly, the accommodation, especially in the newer clubs, is of a very high standard and would rival that offered by 4 or 5 star hotels.
Most Club Med villages are aimed at the family market with supervised facilities for children from a young age all the way through to late teenagers. However, adult groups staying without children should not feel that they are going to be overrun by children - each village is plenty large enough to prevent that feeling.
Above all it's important to realise that Club Med ski holidays offer excellent value for money. The headline price may initially seem high but if you consider all travel, ski passes, ski lessons, all meals (including lunches), all drinks (any time of day or night) and all entertainment are included, then the value becomes clear.