Interview

What meditation is like on Eat Play Renew weeks in Bali with Joannie Lemay

Joannie Lemay is a certified mind-body practitioner and a yoga therapist working at Club Med as a meditation instructor. Through mindfulness trainings, Joannie delivers tools and tactics to enhance your happiness and maximise your potential to live your best life.

Joannie recently took part in Eat, Play, Renew weeks in Club Med Bali where she guided guests through a workshop to carry out daily meditation practice and also gave nutrition advice.

Eat, Play and Renew program, an exciting and revitalising welness retreat. The retreat is designed with foodies in mind: experience fruit carving lessons, nutrition workshops, cooking lessons… Wellbeing does not mean boring: experience balinese gamelan music classes, kecak fire dance show, balinese koreo dance classes… his retreat is not your usual retreat - also experience meditation and laughing yoga!

Discover a bit more about Joannie’s experience at Eat Play Renew in Club Med Bali below.

Hi Joannie, can you please introduce yourself?

I am a wellbeing consultant and the co founder of In Bloom. My aim is to inspire people and businesses to thrive by delivering tailored health strategies that not only improve performance, but also optimise individual’s mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

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Congrats on participating to the first edition of Eat, Play, Renew – how did you find the experience?

It was an absolute pleasure to deliver some wellbeing workshops to guests. GM’s were really engaged with the topics and sessions, and created meaningful connections through their time at Club Med by interacting with like minded people and sharing some stories about their wellbeing journey.

Can you tell us more about your meditation and nutrition trainings during the event?

I hosted daily morning and evening meditations, which were simply a wonderful way to get more out of your vacation by being present to every moment of the day. People told me many times that they felt more connected throughout their days.

The nutrition seminars were delivered at lunch time, and really  gained in popularity throughout the week from world of mouth! This is the best way to know that people enjoy the sessions when they come back and tell other guests about their own positive experience! All the nutrition workshops have a different topics, such as Nutrition 101, achieve optimal digestion on vacation and understand one’s relationship with food.

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How did you interact with the participants, who were they and how did they respond to your training?

I am actually still in conversation with some of the participants! A sense of trust and support was created and I had people sharing powerful insights from what they’ve realised through the workshops and how they will change their approach to their everyday life back at home.

Describe your typical day in Club Med Bali during Eat, Play, Renew?

All days were blissful, healthy and truly relaxing!

From morning meditations, to interacting with guests at meal times, mid day water based activities to sunset yoga sessions, I felt like the days flew by! 

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Where were your favourite spots to relax?

Right under the Frangipani tree, overlooking the ocean! And the Zen pool, so enjoyable.

What did you pack in your bag for the event?

Yoga clothing, swimwear, books, sunnies and my hat!

How did you feel once the event was finished?

Fulfilled and relaxed, peaceful and joyful! Ready to come back and deliver more Eat, Play, Renew Retreats around the world!

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What Club Med would you like to try next?

Club Med Kani, Club Med Magna Marbella and Club Med Cefalu!

Don’t miss the opportunity to discover Club Med Bali and enjoy all different kind of activities! Eat, Play, Renew will be back in November 2020.

Interview : Emma Isaacs and her Bali Family Experience

Founder and Global CEO of Business Chicks, supporting Australian business women, and Author of “Winging It” book, Emma Isaacs is a busy entrepreneur. She is passionate about encouraging women to be bold, to be courageous and to take risks.

As a Mum of 5 (enough for a basketball team, she says) Emma Isaacs needed a break from her never-stopping schedule of Mum-Entrepreneur and chose Club Med Bali for her well-deserved me and family time.

Want to know more about Emma’s holidays in Bali as well as tips to disconnect and how to have a successful holiday? We had the pleasure to ask her a few questions about her relaxing stay.

Note: All images below are courtesy of Emma Isaacs, and have been shared with permission. 

If you could describe your family holiday to Club Med Bali in 3 words, what would they be and why?

🙌 I’d say “freeing” because to be able to choose how much I have my kids with me or away from me brings a huge sense of freedom.

🎉 Then “fun” because we always love the array of activities from circus school through to the nightly concerts.

😌 And finally “stress free” as I love how everything is included at Club Med and you don’t have to worry about receiving a massive bill at the end of the vacation.  

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Tell us about your Club Med Bali experience as a family with 5 young children.

It was awesome because of the affordable childcare for our baby. The local nannies at Club Med Bali are true dedicated to what they do and we always feel happy being able to leave the baby knowing she's in great hands. 

What were some of the activities your family did at Club Med Bali?

The kids were really into the Kids Club and they did the trapeze every day. They also made friends from other countries and spent a lot of time exploring the resort. 

Did you manage to find a balance between "us" time and "me" time while on holiday at the resort?

Yes that’s the beauty of Club Med! We found ourselves with many free hours during the day (guilt free!) and would congregate as a family over meals. 

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With such a busy work and family schedule, how do you find time to organise and take holidays? Any tips for fellow busy mums?

My advice would be to sit down and plan the year ahead. Even though you know there’s going to be an expense and lots of organisation, just rip the band-aid off and book a holiday in. Breaks like this one, to Club Med, keep you motivated to work hard knowing that there is a holiday at the end. 

What are your top tips to disconnect from business/routine while on holidays?

I’ve been en entrepreneur my whole life so there is no such thing as truly switching off and I’m absolutely ok with that. I actually find it less stressful if I can check in with the office for a tiny bit of time during the holiday and then I find I’m free to focus on recharging when I’m sure everything is taken care of back home (which it always is!) 

How does travel effect the way you work, your creativity, productivity and view on priorities?

I always find I’m far more creative and inspired when I prioritise vacation time.  

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What country / holiday has inspired you the most in your life and why?

I’m fortunate enough to have experienced a safari in Africa, exploring the raids in Morocco, sipping cocktails on Necker Island in the Caribbean and frequently visiting New York with girlfriends, but anywhere that I’m able to make sure the kids are having fun and I’m also getting a break will be top of my list. 

What is the next Club Med resort you would like to experience and why?

Cancun in Mexico! Living in LA means we often get to Mexico but I have not yet made it to Cancun so that’s next on my list. 

Discover more about this sanctuary for families and friends at Club Med Bali here!

Travelling with young children… without the stress!

Tizzie Hall is an internationally renowned baby whisperer and bestselling author of Save Our Sleep. With experience and expertise working with babies, toddlers, and their parents for over 22 years, she gathered for us some precious tips to make sure you and your little ones make the most of their holidays!

💼 Before you go

1. Establish a good routine a couple of weeks before you go. Travelling with a baby or toddler is very different to travelling alone. The main difference is you will need to plan things well in advance. I have clearly observed over years of sleep consulting that children in a routine adapt faster and more easily to any new environment. This applies equally to children that are travelling across time zones or within their usual time zone.

2. BYO Sunscreen. Pack a sunscreen from home that you have tried on your baby or toddler. This way you know it will not react with their delicate skin and that the SPF works. It’s a good idea to bring two so you can leave one in your pool bag or at the Kid’s Club.

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3. Plan your feeds strategically. As far as routines for babies go, I generally recommend giving your baby a milk feed two hours before the plane is due to take-off or land so they will be hungry enough to take breast or bottle on the plane (a sucking baby’s ears will also be more comfortable during take-offs and landings). For example, if you are booked on a 4pm flight, feed your baby at 2pm rather than the usual 3pm feed, so when you offer your baby milk after take-off at 4pm they will take it.

4. Always sit your toddler further away from the aisle than you. This is for two reasons. First, it avoids hot drinks or meals having to be passed over your toddler to you and ensures you can open the meals and only pass them on when the food is not too hot to burn them; second, if you have two children, it is much easier in an emergency to drag two children behind you than to push one and drag the other.

 

⛱️ When you get there

Photo taken at  Club Med Bintan Island

Photo taken at Club Med Bintan Island

5. Learn the local time-zone. On the first morning, put your baby or toddler straight back onto their normal routine at local time if you have crossed time zones, regardless of how often or how early they woke the previous night or that morning.

6. Have them socialise. Holidays are a great place for little ones to learn some confidence when interacting with others. By taking advantage of Kids Clubs at Club Med, my kids have met other children from all over the world and participated in mentally-stimulating activities. They always leave with a happy face!

Want to know more about family holidays? Discover how Club Med can be your family’s happy place.

Multiverse; Fusions by Club Med. Testimonial by Kiara King at Club Med Finolhu

Kiara King, Art Director and owner of lifestyle blog Lion In The Wild, chose the Maldives to spend a memorable pre-wedding trip with her soon-to-be-husband. While staying at Club Med Finolhu Villas, Kiara experienced the first Club Med Fusions event; Multiverse, mixing food, light and sound during a magical evening ✨

We chatted to Kiara to find out about her experience…

Hi Kiara, it looks like you had an incredible time in Club Med Finolhu! What were the highlights?

Well, put simply, you cannot beat waking up to the view of the ocean, can you? The Overwater Sunrise Villa was by far one of the best accommodations we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. We could’ve easily spent the entire 5-nights in our villa if not for the beautiful island and amazing inclusive activities.

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We really loved how social the vibe of Club Med Finolhu was, especially after the sunset at the bar where many guests gather for pre-dinner drinks, including the night of Fusions. What I love is that Finolhu caters to what you want whether you want to be social and meet other guests or enjoy a private experience. Overall, Finolhu seems more intimate and relaxed than many other resorts.

 

Sounds like the perfect balance! Can you tell us more about Fusions by Club Med?

Club Med Fusions was what brought us to the beautiful Club Med Finolhu Villas in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and we’re sure glad it did. In its essence, Fusions is a collaboration of senses and, on this particular inaugural Fusions event, we were delighted by the partnership of Michelin Chef Jozef Youssef and award-winning composer-pianist Tze Toh. As we experienced umami flavours across three key elements – water, fire and air – the evening was further enhanced not just by the storytelling, light show and wonderful company, but also the music that elevated our senses and enhanced the flavours of each course. It truly was a multi-sensory night of enchantment, indulgence and connection.

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Wow! A very unique experience. What was your favourite part?

I will always remember the burst of emotions I felt as we were sitting at our table with the chefs working meticulously in front of us preparing each course, the theatrical light that moved above us, the storytelling of Chef Youssef and the beautiful music of composer Toh in the middle of Motu Restaurant, knowing that we’d never experience an event so unique again.

As a self-confessed foodie, we thoroughly enjoyed the eight-course gourmet menu that shaped our evening. My favourite dish? Without a doubt, the tuna tataki paired with watermelon and pineapple. It was simply a heavenly combination, which seemed to be the theme of the night.

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What would you like to see at the next Fusions by Club Med?

The Maldives is simply one of the most beautiful places on Earth, so I can only imagine how amazing it would be to have a Club Med Fusions event that celebrates the beauty of nature; sea and land, flora and fauna. It could perhaps incorporate film, touch, sound and light to enhance the emotions of the event and educate guests in an exciting way about the island and the Maldives.

 

Apart from Fusions, what are the Top 5 things you experienced in the Maldives?

1.      Explore Club Med Finolhu. What do you do when you find yourself on a private tropical island? Explore it, of course! If you manage to pull yourself away from your own luxurious villa (it’s worth it, I promise!), you’ll discover the huge resort pool and bar, palm tree-lined walkways, Insta-worthy ocean swings, secret hammocks and pristine white beaches. If you get a chance, you should also get the quick speed boat to Club Med Kani.

2.      Enjoy a night to remember at Club Med Fusions. We thoroughly enjoyed our unforgettable evening immersing ourselves in the first Fusions event, which combined our passion for exemplary cuisine and beautiful music.

3.      Go on the Blue Lagoon Cruise. Wow, wow, wow! I believe that is the best way to describe our experience on the Blue Lagoon Tour as we discovered a tiny sand island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, snorkelled with lots of colourful fish and met friendly locals on a residential Maldivian island. Needless to say, it was so much fun!

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4.      Swim with the friendly sharks and stingrays. One of the most incredible experiences we had was swimming with the reef sharks, stingrays and fish around our very own overwater villa. While they were very shy and rarely approached us, it was one of the most magical moments I’ve ever had. We also swam with a sea turtles on one of the inclusive snorkelling trips we went on too. Pinch me!

5.      Relax, relax, relax. There’s no better place to chill out than by your private pool overlooking the sparkling turquoise lagoon, immersing yourself in the natural beauty of Finolhu. Order room service, grab a book and rejuvenate in your very own paradise.

Sounds like the trip of a lifetime! What makes the Maldives stand out from other dream destinations?

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to travel to some truly beautiful destinations, but the Maldives tops the list for me with its clear turquoise waters, rich marine life and tropical islands. The all-inclusive delicious meals, free-flowing champagne, incredibly friendly staff (it was such a pleasure to get to know everyone!), fun activities and luxury of Club Med Finolhu are not to be missed. I mean, we’re already dreaming of our next visit! It truly is paradise.

And finally, any packing tips for anyone heading to the Maldives on their own amazing holiday?

Since you’re going to be spending your time by the water, make sure you fill your suitcase with plenty of swimsuits and beach cover-ups. For the evenings by the bar, take up the opportunity to have a little fun and pack a daring yet lightweight dress or jumpsuit. And don’t forget sunscreen…SPF50+ is my choice! Footwear, optional.

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Discover more about Fusions by Club Med.

5 minutes with Rachael Harding, Club Med AU & NZ New General Manager

We have been thrilled to welcome Rachael Harding to our Club Med family as the new General Manager of Australia & New Zealand! Armed with 20 years in the industry, the title of 2018 Sales Woman of the Year, a passion for travel, and love for the brand – we’re excited to be joined by such a talented and inspiring woman.

Discover our 5 minutes with Rachael to get to know her more personally:

1. How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

❤️ Passionate

😊 Loyal

💪 Tenacious


2. What’s your motto?

If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.

3. The person who inspire you the most?

My mum! Despite life throwing a lot of curve balls, she continues to inspire everyone in her way.

4. What are you the most proud of?

I recently completed my first half marathon, I just wish I started running earlier in life!

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5. How do you find the balance between your busy professional life and your personal one?

I have to admit, I don’t do this well. If I find a focus (this year 1/2 marathon) and have to train toward a goal that takes care of me physically and I try and be present at home and always have a holiday to look forward to with the family for good quality time.

6. What has been your favourite family vacation?

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Definitely – Club Med Kani. 

Amazing island and activity options to make it an individual holiday for all of us to recharge and allowing us to have true quality family time. 

7. You travelled to 93 countries, which one impacted you the most and why?

Most recently, Jordan!

The juxtaposition of deep beauty, history, jaw dropping ancient ruins and the current political and social crisis, this country is fascinating!

8. If you would have a superpower, what would it be and why?

The ability to stay awake 24/7 so I could get everything done!


9. Finally, what excites you the most about being part of Club Med Australia and New Zealand?

I am truly excited to be a part of this iconic and innovative brand who pioneer amazing work across the globe – both in offering unique all-inclusive holidays, and in their pursuit of global environmental sustainability and social responsibility. We have an amazing team in Australia & NZ who works tirelessly to create seamless experiences for our trade partners and guests and I feel energised to be working alongside them.

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Want to discover more about Club Med? Head to our website www.clubmed.com.au

Grant and Chezzi Denyer's well-deserved family holiday at Club Med in Mauritius

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A few days after his Gold Logie triumph, Grant Denyer, his wife Chezzi, and their 2 daughters, Scout and Sailor, escaped to Mauritius for a well-deserved family holiday at Club Med La Plantation d'Albion. We chatted to Chezzi to get the inside scoop on their Mauritian getaway and gathered a few travel tips and adorable family snaps along the way!

1. What attracted you to a holiday in Mauritius?

Grant I and have always had Mauritius on our list of must see places. I’ve known a few people who have travelled there over the years and they have always said it was incredible. With its French history and rich local culture, we thought it would be an ideal location to visit with the kids. Also it’s incredibly exotic and tropical; and considering the winter weather in Bathurst (minus 5 the morning we arrived home) why wouldn’t you want to go to somewhere as warm and sunny as Mauritius!

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2. What’s on your packing list when travelling to an exotic destination like Mauritius?

Because Grant and I had the Logies a few nights before we left for Mauritius, and things were so hectic preparing for that, I was really relieved that we didn’t need an extensive packing list to head to Mauritius.. Also that really is a big plus when travelling to Club Med - they ensure they have you covered if you forget to pack something..

First thing I got out and dusted the cob webs off was our swimmers. And a few spare pairs for the girls and their goggles. I wanted to pack light so put in two dresses for them to wear to dinner one night, a few t-shirts which they could wear to kids club, a few pairs of shorts, one light jumper or jacket for them each, and p.j’s (a sleep suit for Scout). For Grant and I, I packed two nice dressier options for us to wear to have a special dinner together, and the rest was very causal! One thing I remembered to pack was a small bag for each of the girls to take to Kids Club each. I learnt that the first time we went to Club Med.

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3. Describe Club Med La Plantation d’Albion in 3 words:

Tropical 🌴  |   Restorative 🔋  |   Fun 😂

 

4. Describe your typical day at the resort:

 🌞6:30am

The girls would wake  and would be hungry straight away… So we would all get up and would head outside to have our breakfast beside the pool. We had a fabulous butler named Sandy in the villa and the girls were obsessed by him. They would follow him around for the first hour while Grant and I would try to wake up, asking him if he had children, if he had a girlfriend, if he liked dogs and ice cream. Sandy put together the most extraordinary breakfast, and we would all sit down to enjoy it together. This was such a beautiful way to start the day. Then we would get dressed and call for a buggy to take us to the main resort.

🏖️9am

Most days we would head straight to the beach until Kids Club or Mini Club opened up. On the beach, we would go for a gentle walk and collect shells, or just play in the sand for a while with the girls. We would head up to Mini Club as Sailor wanted to go every single minute of every day and night, however Scout wasn’t as convinced. She would go every second day.

🎾 11:30am

On the days when we were kidless we would really try to live it up. We would go for a walk around the resort, or we would go to Archery or play tennis, then we would head over to have a luxurious long lunch followed by some cocktails by the pool.

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 💆2pm

Some afternoons we would hear back to the villa and have an hours nap, and in the afternoon we would head to the spa for some relaxation treatments which was heaven! We then met up with the girls and would join in the afternoon activities with Mini Club and the kids.

🛀 5:30pm

We would all head back to the Villa to bath and get ready for dinner.

 💑 7pm

Some nights the girls would do activities with Mini Club where they would be fed dinner too, so Grant and I could have a date night! We would meet up with the kids again about 9ish. We had a few really lovely and romantic dinners with the kids enjoying their time with Mini Club. And some nights the Mini Club put on shows for the parents. It’s just such a great experience!

5. Did you enjoy your experience in the luxury private villa, why?

The luxury private villa was just absolute heaven. When we first arrived at the villa, Grant thought it was the lobby for the entire resort it was so grand and flash. And it was so private. We felt like we were on our own tropical island it was so private, which suited us perfectly at this point. It’s not like anything I have ever experienced before. It was just so special. Both the girls had their own room and extravagant bathrooms in separate wings of the villa. We also had Sandy on call 24/7 and that was wonderful to know, as he really helped us find out feet and discover some unknown parts of Mauritius. Sandy would arrive about an hour before breakfast each morning and you wouldn’t hear a thing, he would just be working away in the kitchen and you’d start to smell delicious fresh croissants being made before you knew he was there.

The villa had a sparkling plunge pool however I have to admit the water wasn’t warm enough for us to swim in unfortunately. Whilst Mauritius is tropical and warm, we didn’t realise we were visiting in winter until we arrived, but the beach was warm and lovely and really salty to swim in, the villa pool was just too cold unfortunately.

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One thing you notice too while staying in the villa is the exceptional service you get all around the resort. The villa have their own exclusive buggy’s for travelling to and from the main resort and these come at lighting speed.

On the days that the girls stayed with us, we would hang out in the villa and have afternoon tea or aperitifs around the pool on the glorious day bed. The girls thought this was so special - crêpes with real melted chocolate on a luxurious day bed in our own private outdoor setting.

6. Tell us about your girls’ experience in Kids Club

Sailor loved everything she did at Mini Club or Kids Club. She had tried her hand at trapeze while we were at Cherating Beach last year, and so was keen to improve on what she learnt back then. And she nailed it first go. She was so proud of herself that she was able to do swing up so high and turn around and then swing upside down and finish with a somersault onto the mat. I think this was a highlight of her trip!

The other thing that really stands out is the fabulous shows that Club Med put on with the Kids Club. Our first night there Sailor was up on the stage in a Moana show that the kids had rehearsed during the day for. Scout also got to do a dance and thought she was so special. They have full costumes and makeup too. And the shows are fully choreographed and loved by all the parents watching in the audience. Even Daddy Grant got to play a part in the Daddy daughter dance.

Overall I think what we love about Club Med the most is that the kids have such a phenomenal experience. Sailor learnt French words, she participated in specifically designed group activities for her age, she learnt about different cultures, she swam, painted, played dress ups, met friends from around the world. In fact she has so much fun she cried when we said we were leaving. She made three really good friends from South Africa and Perth that we’re staying in touch with.

7. What is your favourite thing about Mauritius and why?

Mauritius feels untouched. It’s not spoilt or overpopulated like other holiday destinations we have been to. There’s a real sincerity amongst the locals. There is also really rich culture, and Club Med definitely allows that to shine through. Mauritius is surrounded by volcanic rock and we loved getting out of the resort and visiting different parts on day excursions. Our favourite took us down south to visit the local zoo and the girls got to feed the giant tortoises and the baby tortoises. This was an incredible experience. There were so many and they were just gorgeous. We also went to little shopping villages and got to buy some local arts and craft which was really interesting. Especially seeing how they weave baskets. We got to see sugar cane and the produce created from the sugar cane which was more interesting for Grant and I than the girls. And we visited some temples and religious statues which was very intriguing. We bought a lot of gifts for family and friends because the Mauritian products were so unique, we had to purchase another bag to fit everything in to come home.

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8. Would you recommend Club Med La Plantation d’Albion and Albion Villas to others and why?

Without a doubt I would recommend Club Med La Plantation d’Albion and Albion Villas for a wonderful holiday. I think it caters so well for all different types of holidays depending on the person or family. If you want to relax, it’s perfect. There’s plenty of nice quiet spots near the beach or private beaches for you to lay and read.

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If you want full Adrenalin and activity, they’ve got you covered with golf, tennis, archery, trapeze and circus skills plus also they have water sports and an extensive range of aerobics and fitness classes too. If you want to have spa treatments looking over the magnificent ocean view you can. They have a great gym.. apparently haha! No, I did see it and it looked full of equipment to tickle your fitness fancy. If you’re more like us, and want to take time out, this Club Med is perfect because it’s not overpopulated like other resorts. As with all Club Med’s you have incredible spreads for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you pay for the level of inclusiveness you want before you leave so there’s no surprises. You can have a trillion cocktails each day if you wish, and you never have to pay a thing while you’re there so there’s no worry about going over your budget. You have plenty of GO’s available to help. You have a fully stocked shop with anything and everything you might need or want on hand. A great excursion office covering some really interesting excursions like walking with Lions, exploring a deep sea submarine, atv tours around the island, cultural trips, deep sea fishing etc...

everyone who worked at this Club Med loved it, and this love shone through in all our dealings.

There’s not a lot of Australians at this Club Med either, well there wasn’t when we were there. So you really feel like you’re on the other side of the planet.

9. What was the highlight of your trip?

The highlight of our trip was definitely swimming with the Dolphins. This was incredible. We had asked at the excursion office about something we could all do as a family, and we decided to go with this one. It sounded fun, but we had no idea what we were in for until we got out into the ocean on our boat with another 10 people from the resort. And then in the water we saw a pod of Dolphins swimming towards us and we were told to jump out. So Grant and I holding our girls with life vests and floaties on, jumped out into the water and watched and felt the pod of Dolphins swim right up to us and around us. It was amazing. I was able to see them underwater for a bit, however the girls just watched from above the water. It was such a special moment. Grant and I kept looking at each other as we realised this was a once in a lifetime experience.

Holiday tips:

10. How do you ensure you spend time with your family but also have time for yourself (and as a couple) while on holiday?

I think Club Med has this covered. As mentioned above, we were able to spend quality time together at points and then Grant and I could spend quality time alone without the kids all because of Kids Club and the activities provided by Club Med. We chose to put our girls into kids club every second day (Sailor fought us on this though) so we could spend time together as a family, which is rare with our work situation at the moment, but it also allowed us a break from the kids which is also important on holiday.

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11. What are your top tips for travelling with a family?

Just relax. Try to savour everything. Every moment together. If you have a long flight with little kids take plenty of things to try keep them occupied and entertained with. Books, things to draw on and with, video games if you have them, iPads with movies, plus things for kids to chew on when you’re descending on the plane. Also If you’re travelling to another time zone and you have little kids, be prepared for some bumps. We weren’t even contemplating jet lag until it hit, so we weren’t prepared at all and it was exhausting when we got home and the kids wouldn’t sleep for 5 days.

12. This is your second Club Med holiday as a family. What keeps you coming back?

They say that Club Med is addictive and I have to attest it is. We can’t get enough of the whole experience. It’s not just one thing, it’s the collective that makes it so great for us. And as our kids get a little bigger, we want to try out even more Club Meds because they are fantastic holidays and you can feel like you’ve had a month off just in a week.

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I love the fact that they’re easy more than anything. That everything had been thought of for you, and you just need to turn up and decide each day how you want to spend your time. There’s no worries about being bored as there’s heaps to do. There’s no stress about blowing the budget accidentally because it’s all inclusive. There’s a mix of activities to cater for everyone. The kids have a blast with kids club. The adults get to try different meals from around the world and you come back at least 3 kilos heavier each time you visit, which just shows you how much you enjoy yourself. It’s also safe and you feel supported and welcomed by all the staff.

13. Which Club Med resort would you love to go to next?

Without the children - I would LOVE to go to the Maldives because it looks sensational!

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With the kids - I would love to try maybe a ski Club Med next or I think there’s one opening up in Vietnam soon? That’s definitely on my list of places to see with the family. My girls would also love to go to France now they can say some French words, so who knows!!!

Photo diary: the Club Med family experience by @MumPackTravel

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They are quite the travel duo! Evie, family travel blogger of @MumPackTravel and her daughter Emmie, 8, have been travelling the world for two years now and are filled with the memories of their incredible experiences and encounters.   We chatted to Evie about her recent holidays at both Club Med Bintan Island and Kabira, two amazing tropical island destinations in Asia.

"One week-holiday to get a taste of Kabira and Bintan Island was a pure bliss! Discovering these destinations by experiencing water sports, getting lost in wonderful landscapes and immersing ourselves in the Asian culture was made perfect to re-energize and spend memorable moments with my dearest daughter," Evie.

The pastel colours of Bintan Island 🌅 

"It’s so peaceful here. Bintan has a certain calmness about it. The sunrises and sunsets are so soft and magic. Thus was our first visit to Club Med and we couldn’t have asked for more," Evie, MumPackTravel.

"I made lots of friends at the Mini Club Med and I even got to have breakfast with my friends, and sign myself in and out of the Mini Club. It was the best fun. At Bintan, we had a foam party and mum and I danced in the foam for ages. I love it when mum is having fun with me at Club Med,"  Emmie, 8 years old. 

Discovering Kabira's Hidden Treasures 🔷

"I think Kabira is the most beautiful resort…our time here was perfect. The resort and staff are wonderful, the water is incredibly clear and temperate and the guests are so much fun. We made so many friends from Japan, Korea and Taiwan. We will always treasure our memories from our stay at this beautiful resort," Evie, MumPackTravel. 

"There are so many sweet little nooks at Club Med, whether overlooking the water, surrounded by flowers or hidden away from the beach. I love that if you feel like you need some quiet time, it's easy to find your own space and just zone out (while the kids are having the time of their lives in Mini Club)," Evie, MumPackTravel.

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The ocean is your playground 🌊

"I feel safe in the water at Club Med because it is so blue and clear, and there are lots of lifeguards around me. Club Med is all about family and I love how everyone here is so happy playing in the water with their mums and dads. I love how the ocean makes me laugh like when my mum falls off the paddle boards. It’s so much fun," Emmie, 8 years old. 

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"Stand Up Paddleboarding was so much fun, I had a race with some Japanese boys we made friends with and I won! Mum kept falling off," Emmie, 8 years old. 

"The snorkelling at Kabira is amazing. There are so, so many fish and delicate corals and sea grass. We would swim out to the buoy and float back in on the current, over so many colourful fish and corals, spotting the clown fish that live in the anemones. We also loved the water sports and tried wind surfing, standup paddle boarding and kayaking," Evie, MumPackTravel.

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"We were here every day for aqua fitness and pool games. It was the highlight of our day because Emmie and I had such a great time together…we had so, so many laughs with other guests and the vibe is just so warm and positive. Exercising is meant to be fun, right?" Evie, MumPackTravel. 

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Fun-filled days with activities & the Mini Club 😄

"One of the things I love about Club Med is how infectious the fun is - you are quite literally smiling all the time! Dancing around the swimming pool in my bikini, jumping in and playing team games - I never would have thought I’d be doing this! But it’s just so much fun and everyone is so happy - you can’t help but be part of it," Evie, MumPackTravel.

"I love how when you fall you get this feeling that is really good in your belly because you know you’re safe and that you did your best. And it feels so good to know you’re capable of doing tricks. Doing the batman where you hang on your toes is really fun. Everyone cheers you on and I love how all the people are really nice on the trapeze - the Circus Team is my favourite," Emmie, 8 years old.

"We made tie dye t-shirts, played slip and slide and did trapeze and so many other fun things at Mini Club. I love that at Club Med I can have fun with my friends and with my family. It feels like a home, but even more fun because you don't have to unload the dishwasher or clean your room," Emmie, 8 years old.

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"I love how the Mini Club always has exciting activities like the Mini Club Show. You get all dressed up and perform in the theatre. I like how everybody has a chance to do something in the show. It’s really fun and makes you confident. Sure you get stage fright but you complete things that you never thought you could do, like singing and dancing in front of a big audience," Emmie, 8 years old.

And...safety first of course! 👌

"Emmie had such freedom at Club Med because I felt so confident in the staff at Kabira. She checked herself in and out of Mini Club and ate meals with her friends. It’s so empowering for children to be able to make decisions for themselves, and it’s a super safe environment to let them take their first steps towards independence," Evie, MumPackTravel.

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"These lifeguards here make me feel so safe, they are always watching me at the beach and the pool. The ones at the pool are lots of fun too and they make funny jokes and make me laugh," Emmie, 8 years old.

Planning on a family holiday in Kabira or Bintan? Visit our pages Club Med Kabira Ishigaki and Club Med Bintan Island to discover more about those incredible destinations. 

The Tribe in Paradise series, Part 3: Three Generations Reunite in Phuket

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The Brown family from Melbourne had the time of their lives in Club Med Phuket, Thailand with days packed with activities, discoveries and even a sports tournament for all 18 family members! While the kids loved competitive sports, the adults enjoyed spending well-deserved carefree time together. The family also has a love for dancing and made the most of the lively evenings on the dancefloor.

1. Why did you choose to go to Club Med Phuket?

We have been to other Club Meds previously and loved the resort locations, facilities and activities and felt that the weather in February was perfect for Phuket.

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2. Who did you travel with during your stay?

My husband and 3 children, my husband’s 3 siblings and their families, and my mother- in- law.

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3. What was your typical day in the resort?

I started with the early group walk, met my family for breakfast then joined the Zumba and Pool Aerobics, often joined by other members of my family. After lunch I would relax by the pool. My husband and children loved the competitive sports and competitions. After dinner, we enjoyed the evening entertainment and of course the crazy signs and dancing each night. We also had our own table tennis tournament with all 18 family members. For a large family group of 3 generations, there was something for everyone and so many ways for us all to enjoy being together.

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4. What was your highlight from the trip?

I loved the dancing each night and seeing our family member enjoying their time together

5. What do you love most about Phuket as a destination?

The weather is consistently warm, the beaches stunning and the people so friendly.

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6. What did you enjoy the most in the resort?

The GO’s were amazing and really enhanced our experience. The central focal point of the pool, fun activity area and restaurant meant there was always a place to go to meet others and have fun.  The quality and variety of cuisines was a delight. The beautiful beach and the town are at your doorstep if you choose to explore It is perfectly located.

7. What is your top tip for a successful family trip in Club Med Phuket?

Participate in the activities offered – the GO’s are great and make the holiday much more fun

8. What were your favourite activities for a perfect family holiday in Club Med Phuket?

Zumba, Table tennis competition, pool aerobics and pool games

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9. What could you pack in your suitcase for a family holiday in Club Med Phuket?

A good camera to capture all the fun memories 🎥

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10. Which Club Med are you going to next or would you like to try next?

Finding a future date and coordinating all the family is a big challenge but maybe Mauritius would be exciting.

Answers by Nicole Brown from Melbourne, thanks for your participation!

Planning on your next holiday? Discover more about Club Med Phuket here.

And if you’d like to send us your Club Med experiences, feel free to drop us a note on hello.au@clubmed.com

Tribe in Paradise Part 2: A 50th birthday to remember in Bali

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What’s better than a special birthday surrounded by loved ones in paradise? With her group of 15 family members and friends, Jane Hamill celebrated her 50th in style in Club Med Bali, Indonesia. Her relaxing days consisted of sunrise walks with her mum, yoga by the beach, lazing by the pool and cocktails of course! The Zen pool was a big hit for adults while kids enjoyed the Junior Club. It was a perfect balance and successful time away for all family members!

1. Why did you choose to go to Club Med Bali?

I had been to Club Med Bali 5 times already and always loved it. The whole family enjoys being there and as a mum it is a true holiday for me as I can just relax and don't need to think about a thing. What better place to meet up with friends and family to celebrate my 50th Birthday!

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2. Who did you travel with during your stay?

We had a group of 15 including my husband, 13 year-old son and 10 year-old daughter. We met up with two other families, my best friend from school and my parents.

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3. What was your typical day in the resort?

Meeting my mum at 6:30am for a sunrise walk, yoga by the beach, breakfast and lazing by the pool, watching trapeze, lunch, more lazing by the pool, archery, afternoon pilates, cocktails by the beach. My son hung out with the junior club and enjoyed trapeze, archery and pool games. The child free couples were able to take advantage of the beautiful zen pool. Each night we met up for dinner in the restaurant and the staff made sure we had a table that could accommodate our group.

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4. What was your highlight from the trip?

My birthday dinner in The Deck restaurant. The staff were fantastic with our booking and I received the Club Med rendition of Happy Birthday! Spending relaxing time with my family and friends was the best gift of all.

5. What do you love most about Bali as a destination?

🌴 Beautiful spacious grounds

🌞 Gorgeous weather

😊 Lovely people

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6. What did you enjoy the most in the resort?

The food and the friendliness of the GO team.

7. What is your top tip for a successful family trip in Club Med Bali?

Just let everyone go their own way and meet up for meals. It is a safe environment for the kids to experience some independence.

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8. What are your favourite activities for a perfect family holiday in Club Med Bali?

Archery, table tennis and pool games are great for all the family, plus watching the shows at night.

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9. What could you pack in your suitcase for a family holiday in Club Med Bali?

Yoga pants, bathers and something white for White Night.

10. Which Club Med are you going to next?

We are looking forward to our first Club Med ski holiday to Pragelato Vialattea, Italy and coming home via Club Med Bintan.

Answers by Jane Hamill from Perth, thanks for your participation!

If you like to hear more about this destination, head to the Club Med Bali page to plan your next holiday.

And if you’d like to send us your Club Med experiences, feel free to drop us a note on hello.au@clubmed.com

Tribe in Paradise Part 1: Family holidays in Cherating

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From Perth, all 17 members of the Lim family stayed in Club Med Cherating Beach, Malaysia for some well-deserved time away together. They enjoyed the exotic jungle surroundings, indulged in all-inclusive food and drinks - perfect for a group full of super energetic and hungry teens and extra-easy for everyone to enjoy their holiday! Discover their full interview and photographs below.

1. Why did you choose to go to Club Med Cherating Beach?

My family had been fortunate enough to have stayed at Club Med Bintan 5 years ago or so and we had always said we would love to go to another Club Med. We were also keen on going on a holiday with our good friends and my sister in laws family before all our kids grew up.

So in planning for this holiday we needed to stay at a place that was hassle free, full of activities for everyone and was also good value for money which is why Club Med was an obvious choice. We decided on Cherating Beach specifically as it was relatively close to Perth.

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2. Who did you travel with during your stay?

I have a family of six (kids aged 7,9,11,13) and we travelled with my nephew (aged 15),  our good friends ( kids aged 14,16) and also my sister in laws family (kids aged 9,11,13,15).

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3. What was your typical day in the resort?

Although the Kids Club was available, our children just loved spending time with their friends and cousins and even us adults! Our typical day in the resort started out with a fantastic breakfast over which we would plan out what everyone wanted to do for the day.

With activities being held at various times for different ages and at different locations,  and also having to cater for our group of 17 people,  we had to sort out the logistics of who was going where to do what and when !

After busy mornings, lunch and afternoons - we would then return back to our rooms, freshen up and meet back at the bar and Orchid lounge for pre-dinner drinks before having dinner.

After dinner, some of us would stay back to enjoy some more cocktails and watch the evening shows which were always entertaining.

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I would often head to the futsal pitch with most of the boys to kick the soccer ball around under lights as these facilities were actually available to use even at that time.  This was a great way to burn off any leftover energy from the day and definitely a fantastic way to burn off the calories consumed over dinner

4. What do you love most about Cherating as a destination?

Cherating is actually set amongst a really beautiful natural lush environment which is lovely. I would also say the staff (from the reception staff to the Chief of Village) really made our stay a very memorable and enjoyable one.

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5. What were your highlights from the trip?

There actually were plenty of highlights from the trip rather than just one single thing or event. Just seeing the families really enjoy their time together, relaxing and having fun was more than enough of a highlight. The activities were made even more enjoyable because of the staff who were in charge of them.  In fact, it was the staff and their pride in their job to make guests feel welcome that really made the trip a fantastic one.

Special mentions to go to:

  • Gitish who leads the circus team (Ray, Pascale, Candy and Ally). They were all so encouraging and friendly and our kids (and some of us adults) just loved going to the trapeze every day.

  • Gerard really hit it off with some of the kids at the Archery range and also thanks to Chico, Adam and Kuga who made our time at rock climbing and the tree top course lots of fun.

  • A personal impromptu dance class kindly organised for us by Mike, the Chief of the Village, was another highlight from the trip.

  • Guilherme the CM choreographer can truly move and his passion to teach has also inspired our kids to keep dancing.

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Participating in all the activities helped us meet lots of amazing people, create precious lifelong memories and we even made some new friends along the way! (A big hello to Andrew, Janelle, Kaitland and Molly Smith from South Australia!).

The food at Club Med Cherating was fantastic and another stand out highlight from the trip. There was always such a huge variety to satisfy everyone in our travel group and the attention to detail and quality of food was second to none.

6. What did you enjoy the most in the resort?

We managed to participate in all the activities during our 7 nights at CM Cherating and they were all enjoyable so it is really hard to pick out just one thing. If I had to choose,  I  probably enjoyed the Trapeze and Tennis (coached by Annie from Brisbane) and also of course the food the most. I think it really depends on your own interests though with regards to how one can best enjoy the resort. Some of our friends really loved going to the adults only zen pool to relax or having a massage ( not included in the package). Some of our kids really enjoyed the archery and trapeze whilst others enjoyed sailing and playing volleyball. The great thing about the resort was there was so much to do and everyone had ample opportunities to do whatever they preferred.

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7.  What is your top tip for a successful family trip in Club Med Cherating?

I would suggest staying for long enough (7 nights) to be able to try everything at least once or twice. Get involved in the activities on offer and interact with the fantastic GO's who are there, see what is on every day and then plan your day and night according to what you want to try and which part of the resort you want to spend time in.

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8. What are your favourite activities for a perfect family holiday in Club Med Cherating?

I would have to say the eating and drinking are definite favourite activities for a perfect holiday in CM Cherating, followed closely by the Trapeze, hanging out at the sports activity area or going to other side of the resort to enjoy the beach and water activities available there.

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9. Which Club Med are you going to next?

We are actually heading back to Club Med Bintan next year to celebrate my mother in law's 75th birthday with all her children and grandchildren. So for this trip, we will have 8 adults and 10 children in total and I am very keen to see how Club Med Bintan compares to our wonderful CM Cherating experience.

Hopefully in the future I can also look at visiting one of the Club Meds in Japan for a snow holiday with my family but that is just a big dream in the pipeline at this stage!

Answers by Stephen Lim from Perth, thank you for your participation!

If you’d like more information about Club Med Cherating beach, discover all activities and about the destination here.

And if you’d like to send us your Club Med experiences, feel free to drop us a note on hello.au@clubmed.com

Life in Snowy Hokkaido: Singaporean Mama Merlin Chelliah

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Home away from home in Hokkaido, we hear about this mama’s love for Japan’s beautiful food, people and four seasons

Merlin Chelliah, GM of Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido is a Singaporean mama to 6-year-old Noah. She lives with her son and husband in Hokkaido. We catch up with Merlin to hear about life in the snow and how she juggles motherhood and her career as a woman in authority.

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Can you tell us a little about yourself, your career and your family?

I currently serve as General Manager at Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido, managing the resort and its 341 rooms, sprawled across 145 hectares of land on Tomamu Mountain. Apart from overseeing the day to day operations of the resort, I’m often seen cooking curries from Singapore and Sri Lanka, preparing Dorayaki on Japanese-themed days, and even hosting and dancing on stage for guests’ nightly entertainment. I have a total of 26 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. Prior to my stint at Club Med (where I’ve worked for the last 15 years), I was with Westin Singapore as Guest Relations Manager and worked my way up from my first job as luggage coordinator, to concierge, then Resident Manager in Westin Stamford Crest.

What brought you to Hokkaido? How long have you been living overseas?

Having the opportunity to manage the second Club Med in Japan was truly a dream come true for me. First of all, I love the country, the culture and the people; and to top it all off, it presented me with the biggest move in my career to date – how could I say no?! I’ve been away for 15 years now, and have travelled to more than 11 countries around the world since.

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What do you like best about living in Hokkaido/Japan?

It’s difficult to pin down any one reason! The food is amazing – the freshness and complexity of flavours is unmatched anywhere else. The culture is also incredible – everywhere you go, people are friendly, polite and considerate. I’m also a big fan of the vast natural landscapes that Hokkaido has to offer.

Did you give birth to your child in Japan?

I actually gave birth to Noah in Singapore, which was great because I got to be surrounded by my family and close friends, who were my pillars of strength throughout the entire experience.

Can you talk us through your career pre- and post-baby?

The biggest difference for me was the change in my management style. Post-baby, I was more heedful, more gentle in my mannerisms, less directive and more motivational in the way I led my teams.

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How have you found holding a position of authority as a woman in general, but also in relation to being in Japan?

It’s natural that some people might still hold on to preconceived gender stereotypes (plus I’m quite petite in size, so it doesn’t help), but as long as you keep a positive mindset and focus on delivering your best work, your guests won’t see gender come to play, but they will see the effort that goes into making their holiday experience as wonderful as it is.

Just remember to never take any negative comments personally, but as an opportunity to grow and better yourself.

Any tips on balancing the juggling act as a mum and in a career?

At first it did take a bit of adjusting, but I think it’s about prioritising your responsibilities. As much as I love the work I do, my family is incredibly important to me, and I would never compromise spending time with them. I’ve also learnt that it’s not just about the quantity of time, but the quality of time you spend with them. So even if it’s small things, like reading with Noah, or just talking to him about his day, it really makes a difference because he knows I’m not just physically present, but that I’m emotionally there for him as well, even when the days get busy.

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What are your favourite places in Hokkaido that you would recommend to parents traveling with kids?

  • Sapporo Snow Festival

    1. Asahiyama Zoo

    2. Bear Mountain

    3. Horse-back Riding

    4. Hokkaido Farm Activities

    5. Shintoku Soba Hall – a wonderful restaurant that allows guests to try their hand at making authentic soba noodles using locally-produced soba flour from Shintoku – and they get to enjoy it right after with the help of professional chefs!

But many of these can be done as excursions with Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido, so maybe Club Med should be number one!

What do you find is the hardest part of being a mother living in a foreign country?

Parenting away from home can sometimes be a challenge, as you’re constantly having to adapt to changing variables, like different lifestyles, environments and cultures – and of course, living in Japan, language differences can also be a barrier at times. But I always try to keep a positive mindset, find a routine that works best for my family and just try to ensure an easy transition for us all.

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What is your favourite holiday destination as a family?

A couple of destinations immediately come to mind – the first is of course, Singapore, because home is where the heart is. The second is Kani, Maldives – a perfect amalgamation of rustic and modern lifestyles that offers peace and serenity unmatched anywhere else.

What languages does your son speak? How have you managed to raise a multilingual child – any tips for other parents?

Noah can speak English, Japanese and French. My advice would be to not force your children to learn something they don’t want to, because if the interest isn’t there, it’s truly an uphill battle. Help them find something they’re genuinely interested in, help nurture that passion, and fluency and proficiency will come naturally after.

What mementos/local goodies do you always bring back from Singapore when you visit?

Laksa sauce kits, frozen Prata and Chicken Rice paste!

What’s the one thing you would miss about Hokkaido if you moved away?

The people, the food and the beautiful four seasons – without a doubt.

nteresting in hearing more? Discover more information about Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido, Japan here.

Article originally posted on

SassyMagSG.com

Want to discover our Facebook Snow Squad Group? Join us here!

Meet Jen Dugard, Body & Soul instructor at Club Med Bintan Island

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Jen Dugard, personal trainer, founder of mum-focused fitness business Body Beyond Baby and creator of Fitness Professional education Safe Return to Exercise, took part in Body & Soul 2018 in Club Med Bintan Island just a few weeks ago! She tells us everything about her experience and top tips for an amazing Body & Soul experience.

Body & Soul is a two-weeks wellness journey where participant can come at any time to revitalise mind, body and soul in Club Med Bintan Island, near Singapore. On top of the Must-Try Experiences, you can look forward to additional activities, specially curated by our wellness instructors and partners. Whether with friends or family get ready to Eat Well, Move Well, Play Well and Feel Well to your heart’s content at Club Med Bintan Island, just a one-hour ferry ride from Singapore.

Interested on hearing more about Body & Soul? Head over to our page explaining the concept and stay tuned for the 2019 edition!

Hi Jen, can you please introduce yourself? 

I’m a mum of two, Personal Trainer, founder of mum-focused fitness business Body Beyond Baby and creator of Fitness Professional education Safe Return to Exercise. I am a self-confessed adventurer, love taking part in challenging fitness events and exploring the world. Within my mission to ensure women are exercising safely and effectively after becoming a mother I hope this gives them the strength within to go out there on their own adventures, connect with their family and partners and accomplish all the things they dream of.

Congrats on participating in the Body & Soul 2018 event, how did you find the experience?

Thank you! I had a ball and it’s such a beautiful place to be ‘working’ in. I found all of the Club Med staff and guests to be very welcoming and enthusiastic about Body & Soul. I also gave the classes of some of the other international trainers a go and loved them!

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How did you interact with the participants, who were they and how did they respond to your training?

Interestingly, I actually met a lot of Australians along with those from other parts of the world. Energy within our classes was great and I loved spending time with the guests. I especially loved being able to spend some one on one time with a few of the mums that came to my classes and we could talk about their own unique postnatal experiences and follow ups they might do once they got home.

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Describe your typical day in Club Med Bintan Island during Body & Soul?

My typical day involved getting up anywhere between 6.30 am and 7.30 am depending on what I had planned; a run or my own training session followed by sampling one of the other trainers classes; yoga or beast move for example. Then heading to breaky to enjoy the amazing Club Med buffet! I would then work for a few hours on my computer (it wasn’t all a holiday for me) though I did take the weekend off and on these two days I relaxed and read by the pool instead of keeping up to date with my computer work. I would eat lunch around 1.30 and at 2 pm it was time to get ready for my mums-only class at 3 pm. An hour’s downtime in-between sessions and then set up for my Bootcamp / Circuit class at 5.15 pm. After this a quick swim, then shower and time for dinner! Some evenings we would then catch the show and others jump in to bed for an early (kid-free) sleep!

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What were your highlights of Body & Soul?

Definitely the amazing people I got to meet and the beautiful location!

Where were your favourite spots to relax?

I LOVE spending time by the pool (but with the sun lounger facing the ocean rather than the pool ;) and also on the beach. I also found a couple of quiet hide spots where I could both sit and work but also take in the beautiful surroundings.

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What is your top tip to enjoy an active yet relaxing holiday – whether with the family or not?

My top tip would be to make sure you also relax and enjoy yourself and ALLOW yourself some down time as well as activity time. I think we sometimes forget to allow ourselves to just STOP, have fun, read a book or simply do nothing. I’m a big advocate for continuing activity or training on holidays but I like to make sure there’s relaxing too.

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What did you pack in your bag for the event?

My bag was FULL of training clothes - both for training myself AND for running sessions. I also had a great book with me for down-time. My computer and notes to stay up to date at work. Ear-plugs and my own pillow - if I can’t sleep I’m grumpy and frustrated so these two things have become a vital part of my travel pack!

How did you feel once the event was finished?

I felt satisfied; excited from the awesome time we had and also a little tired. I was also pretty excited to be heading home to my family too by the end!

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What Club Med would you like to try next?

This is a tough one - if it was just my choice I’d be off to the Maldives or Mauritius but I also know my husband is super keen to head to Japan for the snow!

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Interested in knowing more about Club Med Bintan Island? Hear over to the resort page for more information!

Five things you didn't know about Mauritius

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Recently visiting Mauritius, our Design & Content Specialist at Club Med Australia, Marine Raynard shared a bit more about her discovery of the incredible Mauritian culture. This article was written by Marine Raynard and reposted from The Frenchie Escapes' original story. (@thefrenchieescapes). Note: All images below are courtesy of Marine Raynard, and have been shared with permission. For more information about Club Med in Mauritius, discover our two resorts here. 

Five things you didn't know about Mauritius

A tropical paradise located in the Indian Ocean, near Madagascar and the French Island La Reunion, Mauritius is a destination on the rise and has a lot to offer if you are looking to relax, explore diverse landscapes from lush nature to incredible blue waters and discover its amazing culture.

Going from North to South of the island will take only an hour and fifteen minutes but don’t mistake Mauritius’ tiny scale for not a lot to discover and do! With an incredible mix of culture, many different places to discover and even micro-climates following one region to another, it will surely surprise you as it did surprise me on my recent trip!

 Eureka House near Black River, Mauritius. 

Eureka House near Black River, Mauritius.

Here are five things which you might not know about Mauritius and which I hope will make you want to discover this beautiful place.

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Road near the Seven Coloured Earth, Mauritius

1. Mauritius has an incredible mix of cultures

I went to Mauritius when I was actually 2 years old but when I came back I didn’t realise how heavily French-influenced the island is. And not only! Mauritius proudly mix all of the cultures which have been present through its history from the early times to colonisation to the independence 50 years ago. You’ll discover the incredible Creole culture, full of flavours and colours, mixing both French and English cultures. For a French-speaking person, it’s quite funny to try to understand Creole language but it’s pretty hard! Mauritian kids have to learn French and English as a first-language and then can choose a third-language of their choice, often being Mauritian Creole.

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Another culture very heavily influenced in Mauritius is the Indian culture. Indo-Mauritians actually make up to 60% of the population which you can imagine is huge! You’ll see many Hindou temples around Mauritius and delicious Indian food as well. More than Hinduism, there are also Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Baha’is… An amazing melting pot of culture, all living in peace!

2.  It’s a small island but with so much to see

Mauritius has an area of only 2,040m2 – which makes it a whopping 3,795 times smaller than Australia! But with more than a million people living there and many many places to discover, there’s a lot to see on this tiny island!

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 The seven coloured earth, Mauritius

The seven coloured earth, Mauritius

Some famous places are Black River Gorges National Park with a stunning waterfall, the seven coloured earth, Rhum Distilleries to discover, Port-Louis for a day, L’Ile aux Cerf for the most incredible blue bay, Flic-en-Flac for some beach time, Grande Baie for shopping, Majestic Le Morne Brabant which you can hike… So much to discover!

 Delicious Chamarel Rhum in Mauritius. 

Delicious Chamarel Rhum in Mauritius.

 Me in Club Med Albion, Mauritius 

Enjoying Club Med La Plantation d'Albion, Mauritius

3. Tourism and Travel is the first industry among others

Being such a small island with no natural exploitable resources, Mauritius has managed to be a champion in many industries over the years. And tourism is now one of the biggest! Take anyone who’s been in Mauritius and they will tell you about the incredible Mauritian hospitality, how nice and helpful people are and all of the incredible places you can stay in! Mauritius is good to explore but also really nice to relax.

Other significant industries in Mauritius are textiles, agriculture with sugar cane (and delicious Rhum) and more and more Information Technology Services.

 Incredible sunset over the Zen Pool in Club Med Albion. 

Incredible sunset over the Zen Pool in Club Med La Plantation D'Albion, Mauritius

4. Mauritius has over 27 microclimates!

When talking with Mauritians during my trip, they explained to me how driving from region to region, we could experience very different climates and temperatures. Quite crazy for such a small island! I totally noticed it when we went from the west to the north, where it barely rained during our few days.

 Blue water and ski in Club Med La Pointe aux Cannoniers, Mauritius

Blue water and Waterski jetty in Club Med La Pointe aux Cannoniers, Mauritius

According to Mauritius Inside Out, there’s that much to know about the local weather as there is:

  • a tropical climate in summer
  • a subtropical climate in winter
  • a maritime climate throughout the year
  • a cyclone season
  • a rainy season
  • southeast trade winds from March to November

There are definitely ways to enjoy a sunny holiday in Mauritius but it could rain from time to time! Again according to Mauritius Inside Out, October is the best month to visit.

 Beautiful lush green in Mauritius

Beautiful lush green in Mauritius

5. The late Dodo bird is a national symbol

Fun fact, when I went to Mauritius for the first time as a 2-year old I was absolutely obsessed with the story of the Dodo bird. But the history on how the Dodo bird disappeared is quite sad actually.  The Dodo bird was a beautiful big bird (23 kgs) which couldn’t fly having any predators in over 4 million years. When the Arabs arrived as the first people to set foot in Mauritius and Portuguese as well in 1505, Mauritius was a big destination in the spice trade and the Dodo bird was hunted for its meat.

 The Dodo of Mauritius - it's about that big!

The Dodo of Mauritius – it’s about that big!

And later as the Dutch colons arrived, they brought other species with them: rats, monkeys, and pigs – which all ate the egg of the Dodo bird. Unfortunately, the Dodo bird was laying only one egg per year so its population quickly diminished and the last was seen in 1681.

However, the Dodo bird proudly remains in Mauritius’ culture as a symbol in the coat of arms of Mauritius and in pretty much everything that you’ll see in Mauritius.

 Myself in Club Med Albion, Mauritius. 

Enjoying sunset at the Zen Pool in Club Med La Plantation D'Albion, Mauritius.

Overall Mauritius is a great destination to explore and discover more about its history. I really enjoyed discovering different landscapes, tasting delicious Mauritius food and Rhum, and talking with the local. I must say thanks to my work with Club Med for sending me there, discovering both beautiful Club Med La Plantation D'Albion and La Pointe aux Canonniers and re-discovering the Mauritian Culture all over again!

#MeetOurG.Os - VIDEO: Incredible G.O stories from Club Med Bali

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This month people all around the world recognised World Heritage Day,  a celebration of unique cultural heritage, a value that Club Med encompasses every day in their resorts.

On this special day Club Med Bali interviewed a few of our amazing G.Os, allowing them to share insights into their unique and multicultural background - check it out below!

 

Want to become one of our passionate G.Os? Club Med is always on the look out for new amazing individuals to join our team! Discover all job offers now on clubmedjobs.com.au

#5MinutesWith…Maddy & Laura from the Club Med Australia office

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The 8th March is a big day for women all around the world, it's International Women's Day!  This date commemorates the movement for women's rights and is also used to highlight acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in history. Its also the perfect opportunity to showcase some of the incredible women in our own lives!

At Club Med, we're surrounded by countless amazing women with female Chief of Villages running our resorts around the world, G.Os teaching and running sports and activities and taking care of our little ones, and our office G.Es which help deliver all the amazing Club Med news to you! For this special day, we sat down with two extraordinary female managers in the Club Med Australia office to learn more about their career, history with Club Med and beyond! Meet Maddy, our General Manager and Laura, our Finance Manger...

Madeleine Clow-Suares

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General Manager, Australia & New Zealand

Nationality: British

Qualifications & professional career: Leisure and Tourism Management Degree

What's your history & current role at Club Med? I worked for Disney, Forte Hotel Group, Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle), Vodafone, and now Club Med as General Manager Australia and New Zealand.

Why did you decide to work for Club Med? They were the creators of packaged holidays.

What is your favourite thing about Club Med and why? Its values: Multicultural and Kindness are my favourite.  Plus, there are no glass ceilings for woman and its a company which truly invest in it's employees.

Would you encourage other women to explore career opportunities with Club Med within Australia and the resorts? If so, why & what advice would you share? Yes totally.  Travel is a very feminine market and we will always need female insight.  Plus, as a company, we are used to not having fixed office hours and believe in flexible working conditions  like non-restrictive hours and working from anywhere in the world.. these things help when we have a family!

Whats your personal motto? Work like you don’t need money, love like you have never been hurt and dance like nobody is watching!

Anything else to share? Yes  - woman often feel they have to know 70% of a role before applying for a position, for men it is just 30%!  This often comes down to a hardworking ethic, level of confidence and honest approach.  For me, this just goes to show how much this world needs more woman to be present and at every level.

Laura Barioz

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Finance Manager, Australia & New Zealand

Nationality: French

Qualifications & professional career: French Business School Masters Degree.

What is your history & current role at Club Med? I started my career at Club Med as an intern 6 years ago in Paris office, and was hired afterwards on a permanent position in the internal audit team. Two years later, I have had the opportunity to come downunder as Finance Manager for the Pacific, and I did not hesitate one second!

Why did you decide to work for Club Med? I enjoyed a few Club Med holidays as a kid. So, when I started to look for opportunities in the tourism industry, I was so impressed to see the evolution of the brand and the shift of strategy, that I wanted to be part of the adventure.

What is your favourite thing about Club Med and why? It is hard to pick only one! The diversity. From resorts to offices worldwide you get to meet so many different cultures, profiles, experiences... it is fascinating.

Would you encourage other women to explore career opportunities with Club Med within Australia and the resorts? If so, why & what advice would you share? Of course! The team is kind, fun and talented. It does not matter if you are a man or a woman or where you come from, everyone is welcome to bring new ideas and take initiative. It makes it such a great environment to work and learn. Club Med invests in employee’s development and offers great opportunities all over the world!

Whats your personal motto? Life is short and the world is wide.

A family holiday in Club Med Bintan Island

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Club Med has met the lovely Tara Morgan, a Melbourne-based Mobile Travel Agent, who travelled to Bintan Island with her family in October 2017. There, Tara celebrated her daughter's 10th birthday, relaxed and discovered new experiences! She was kind enough to answer our questions and share with us her experience at Club Med Bintan Island in Indonesia. Hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed interviewing her!

1. Why did you choose to go Club Med Bintan Island?

We needed a family holiday that wasn’t too far to travel from Melbourne which had a great beach and where everything was included (activities, food and drinks) and Club Med Bintan delivered.

2. What was your typical day in the resort?

My children couldn’t wait to go to kids club after breakfast each morning to do archery followed by circus school where they flew through the air on the trapeze. It gave my children amazing opportunities and they were able to meet children from countries all over the world as well as the incredible staff members who also came from countries from all over the world – it truly broadened their horizons.

We would then spend part of the afternoon at the beach. When we were there they had the most perfect waves which were just big enough to be able to body surf. And then in between swimming we would hop on a paddle board, kayak or catamaran with the children and go out on the water. There are so many activities on offer and to take part in if you want too. As a family we played tennis, badminton, family archery, basketball, water polo, water aerobics, golf just to name a few.

Then each night they put on different shows which were fantastic especially the white night!

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3. What was your highlight from the trip?

Celebrating my daughters 10th birthday whilst we were there with a specially made Club Med cake followed by the children performing on stage. Also, being located next to the Ria Bintan golf course was also fantastic as we had the opportunity to play at this first class golf course which was additional but worth every cent. Back at Club Med Bintan they have a putting green and also you can hit in the nets and be taught by a golf pro.

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4. What did you enjoy the most in Bintan Island?

Definitely all of the activities that were available, the beach, then the food – oh my goodness where do I start……the choices were incredible. Being such a multi cultural resort the food also represented this diversity. From Italian to Korean to Indian to Japanese and then American to name a few.

We were so spoilt for choice and then desserts….thank goodness we did so many activities during the day! I loved that my children had such an amazing variety of food and dishes to choose from and that they could go up and get it themselves. Being all inclusive made our family holiday so very easy. We didn’t have to worry when the children wanted another banana milkshake – they just went up and ordered it themselves. Or we wanted another Pina Colada - no nasty bill at the end of our stay as it is all part of our package.

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5. What is your top tip for a family trip in Bintan Island?

Always check the activity board for the next day so that you don’t miss out on any of the fantastic activities that are offered on each day.

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6. What are your must-dos for a perfect family holiday in Bintan?

Enjoy and try the activities and new experiences that Club Med Bintan has to offer and also enjoy the precious family time together.

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7. Which Club Med would you like to try next?

We would absolutely love to take the children skiing in Japan to Club Med Sahoro

My family and I have just recently returned from the most wonderful 7 night family holiday at Club Med Bintan.

This was the family holiday we needed and Club Med Bintan delivered! It has something for everyone – an amazing kids club catering to all different ages and activities. My children couldn’t wait to go to kids club after breakfast each morning to do archery followed by circus school where they flew through the air on the trapeze. There were so many activities for all children to choose from including being part of the stage production which was just fantastic. It gave my children amazing opportunities and they were able to meet children from countries all over the world as well as the incredible staff members who also came from countries from all over the world – it truly broadened their horizons.

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Then the food – oh my goodness where do I start……the choices were incredible. Being such a multi cultural resort the food also represented this diversity. From Italian to Korean to Indian to Japanese and then American to name a few. We were so spoilt for choice and then desserts….thank goodness we did so many activities during the day! I loved that my children had such an amazing variety of food and dishes to choose from and that they could go up and get it themselves.

Being all inclusive made our family holiday so very easy. We didn’t have to worry when the children wanted another banana milkshake – they just went up and ordered it themselves. Or we wanted another Pina Colada - no nasty bill at the end of our stay as it is all part of our package.

Club Med Bintan has the most beautiful beach and the water temperature is just divine. When we were there they had the most perfect waves which were just big enough to be able to body surf. And then inbetween swimming we would hop on a paddle board, kayak or catamaran with the children and go out on the water. Bliss!

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Being located next to the Ria Bintan golf course was also fantastic as we had the opportunity to play at this first class golf course which was additional but worth every cent. Back at Club Med Bintan they have a putting green and also you can hit in the nets and be taught by a golf pro.

There are so many activities on offer and to take part in if you want too. As a family we played tennis, badminton, family archery, basketball, water polo, water aerobics, golf just to name a few. Then each night they put on different shows which were fantastic especially the white night!

We absolutely loved our stay at Club Med Bintan and it definitely exceeded our expectations. It was the perfect holiday for us.

Thank-you to all the wonderful staff who made our stay so memorable.

We are now looking forward to planning our next Club Med holiday!

Curious to know more? Discover all what you can do at Club Med Bintan Island and plan your next family holiday!

Interview: Meet Mike Clarke, our first Aussie Chief of Village at Club Med Cherating

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Our G.Os are ambassadors of the Club Med spirit - they contribute to the premium service and lively atmosphere in our 70+ resorts and make the Club Med experience truly unique.

Last October, Michael Clarke, Australian G.O born in New-Zealand, became our first Aussie Chief of Village at the beautiful Club Med Cherating Beach, Malaysia. After graduating from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of International Hotel & Tourism Management, Mike joined the Club Med family in 2004. We asked him some questions about his Club Med experience.

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What is your history at Club Med?

I started in golf and moved to Sports Manager, Entertainment Manager and Leisure Manager. I was Chief of Village at Lindeman, Bintan Island, Turks and Caicos, Sahoro and now Cherating. I also did 18 months in the Miami Corporate office as a Human Resource Business Partner.

How do you think Club Med is different from other resorts or hotels you may have worked for?

The staff make it different. The vibe, the ambiance, the interaction between staff and guests in a friendly, international environment.

How and why did you become a Chief of Village at Club Med?

I like to think through hard work and results, I wanted to lead and inspire a team. Happiness is my business!

How and why did you choose Club Med Cherating?

I wanted to return to Asia, this place is a green paradise, combines the jungle with the beach, the location is stunning!

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What are you in charge of in an average day?

Management: Team briefing to begin the day, my goal is to unify the team to work on one goal – delivering an exceptional vacation to our GMs, happiness is our business, I believe in something called MBWA – Management By Walking Around –I am hands on, on the field and have a passion for what I do.

What are the most important qualities you look for in your Club Med Cherating Team?

To work as 1 team, to engage our GMs, to work in a friendly professional manner and to have fun!

What are your tricks to keep your team engaged?

You need to reward when need and also to simply say thank you to your team. I also like to be involved in the life of the resort.

A Club Med Chief of Village is much more than just sitting behind a desk... Tell us how you interact with guests?

I love mixing with other cultures, I have learnt some small phrases in various languages and get great joy out seeing the guests react when you can bust out some phrases in their language. I can guarantee the atmosphere will be very energetic this season.

Any favourite memory of being at the resort so far?

Becoming Chief of Village, it was a dream of mine. To be able to reach it was my career highlight.

How did your team welcome you to the Resort? Any funny ‘initiation traditions’?

Haha…. Not that I can share ;) kidding, I was greeted with a cold beer and a pretty awesome traditional dragon dance. The best welcome was the smiling faces of the team.

What are some challenges of being a Club Med Chief of Village?

We work quite long days and 6 days a week. Working for Club Med is a lifestyle. I like the saying “find the job you love and you will never have to work a day in our life” – I can tell you I love what I do. Also, this property is an older resort, we may not have the newest room or facilities but we do have the best atmosphere and location.

What is your favourite thing about Cherating? Why do you think Australians should visit?

The amount of activities here is awesome for active Aussies. From tennis lessons, trapeze, archery, rock climbing, treetop courses, sailing, kayaking, to relaxing at either of our 2 pools (family and adult-only Zen pool) you will always have something to do. We also have one of the best spas in Club Med so after an active day you can relax with a traditional massage.

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What is your personal motto?

"Work hard, play hard, party hard!"

Would you encourage other Australians to work at Club Med?

Yes for sure, it is an excellent training school, you will discover new cultures, meet new people, understand customer service – all while working in some amazing locations all over the world – what are you waiting for!

Anything else to share?

The only thing missing is YOU!

Want to join Mike for unforgettable holidays at Club Med Cherating? Stop thinking, start booking!

Luxury Travel in the Maldives by Eryn Krouse

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This article was reposted from Eryn Krouse(@erynkrouse). Read the original story here. Note: All images below are courtesy of Eryn Krouse and her photographer Trent Mitchell, and have been shared with permission.

Luxury Travel in the Maldives

After nine days of all-inclusive gourmet food and drinks, staying in two different overwater villa suites, having a personal boat to go to epic surf, and a whole lot of rest and relaxation, you can bet I got a taste of the good life.

Here is what a luxury surf trip in the Maldives looks like.

After a disorienting period of time where I reached the point where I felt as if I had spent my entire life confined to the cramped insides of an airplane, I finally began to spot the infamous atolls that make up the Maldives out the window. Bright, circular, marble-looking blobs surrounded by rings of different shades of blue that looked more like giant eyeballs than little islands, just floating on the surface of the Earth. I touch down on Malé and hear the pilot say, “Welcome to the Maldives”. Finally, I made it to paradise.

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CLUB MED KANI

So, picture this. You wake up on a king-size canopy bed with the sunrise peeking through white curtains lightly blowing from the sea breeze. You climb out of bed and step out on to the deck to admire the vibrant blue sheen of the water below you. You might even see a school of fish, or an occasional ray or reef shark swim by. The water looks inviting, so you jump in. Taking a few strokes before turning over on to your back to float, you close your eyes and relax. You hear your significant other calling out your name to let you know that room service has arrived, so you swim back to your dock, rinse off in the outdoor shower, and don a robe from the bathroom. A server is carrying two trays of breakfast items, and he asks you, “Where would you like to eat your breakfast today?” to which you respond “On the front deck, please”. You take a seat outside and uncover the lids to reveal plates of fresh croissants, steaming eggs, crisp bacon, maybe even some warm crepes, and it all smells so good that your mouth waters in anticipation as you pour yourself a hot cup of coffee…

It’s 7:30 am and the day has just begun.

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 Every day in the Maldives brought a new adventure. With the sun out, the water would shine as a bright, turquoise blue, and I’d eagerly admire the view as I waxed up my board. I’d walk the path from the overwater villa down to the dock with my surfboard in one hand, and my boyfriend’s hand in the other. Once in the boat, we’d speed away into the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. It was a common sight to see spotted, lone manta rays cruising by, or a pod of jumping dolphins. Every moment was a different adventure out at sea.

Surfing in the Maldives is a magical experience. The water is so clear that you can see fish swimming under you as you ride a wave of almost transparent looking water. It’s pure stoke. For a complete guide on surfing in the Maldives, click here.

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Salty, happy, and surfed out, I take a moment to soak in the sun. It feels so good to lay on the sand, feeling the warm rays on my skin while listening to the soft lapping of the waves onto the coquina shore. I close my eyes in absolute contentment, the kind of content I get only after spending blissful hours in the ocean.  This stretch of beach is quiet. The only visible signs of life are the little sand crabs bustling around, bumping into each other.

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Back at the villa… my body is sore and a bit sunburnt from surfing all morning. I run the water in the tub for an afternoon of rest and relaxation. On the walk back from the beach, I picked plumeria and hibiscus flowers to put in the bath to create a personal spa in the privacy of my villa. To really pamper myself, I open my brand new products from Malie Organics, including a plumeria scented body scrub and body polish moisturizer… the ultimate pampering experience.

CLUB MED FINOLHU

After spending a week at Club Med KaniClub Med Finolhu was just a short boat hop away; a continuation of our experience of luxury travel. Our new overwater villa was equipped with a personal pool, an outdoor shower and spa-inspired bath tub, a butler, and a chauffeur to take us to the various all-inclusive restaurants and amenities located at the resort.

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Tea time at Club Med Finolhu is an event in itself. Originally established in England in the 1800s by aristocratic British society, the concept of afternoon tea is the very embodiment of comforting luxury, every detail from the china to the atmosphere to the finger food, all adding to the overall experience of mid-afternoon pleasantry.

Wrapped up in soft, white robes, my boyfriend and I sat on the couch in the front room; floor-length doors opened up to the outside deck and the expanse of crystal blue ocean, smooth jazz softly playing through the speakers. Tropical rain quietly fell outside as our butler brought in a selection of Ceylon tea, specially packed in nearby Sri Lanka. Names such as Darjeeling Black, English Breakfast and Moroccan Mint labeled the cloth tea bags, all neatly stacked together in a wooden box. I chose English Breakfast, my personal favorite tea, and Michael chose Darjeeling black, carefully stirring in sugar crystals and organic milk until the tea was a rich, chocolate brown liquid. Bringing the cup of tea up to my mouth, a warm sensation runs through my body as the deep aroma slowly creeps up my nose, traceable hints of spices of the orient. The tea serves as a palette cleanser; the perfect balance of sweet and savory to go with the finger sandwiches, cookies, and tropical fruits.

One could argue that tea is just tea, but there is something special when it transforms into a whole experience; the feeling of being in your own world with no land for as far as you can see; just a muted turquoise ocean blending into the soft grey of the rainy sky. It became an emotional experience that transported me into a state of euphoria that comes only when I feel completely free, without a worry in the world.

It’s amazing the power tea can have, isn’t it? (;

Interview: Samantha Wills' girls trip at the Zen Oasis of Club Med Punta Cana

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Last July, jewellery creator Samantha Wills (@samanthawills), discovered the new Zen Oasis space of Club Med Punta Cana, alongside a fabulous turquoise lagoon in the Dominican Republic. We asked her some questions for a perfect relaxed girls' trip in Punta Cana.

Note: All images below are courtesy of Samantha Wills, and have been shared with permission. 

What was it about Club Med Punta Cana that made you want to visit the resort?

Being based in NYC, the Caribbean is so close! I had never visited the Dominican republic before, and when I saw the Zen Oasis private beach, my ticket was booked!

What was your typical day in the Zen Oasis?

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I would like to tell you I was up with the sun to join the 5:30am yoga class! But I don’t want to lie to you!

🍳🍊  About 9am, we would walk along the beach to the restaurant at the end of the property & get some fresh scrambled eggs prepared by the chef & freshly squeezed juice.

☕🌊 Grab a take away coffee to go and follow our footsteps back along the beach, to the private Zen Oasis beach beds. That is were you would find me most of the day. I loved the thatched umbrellas, and the beach team where never too far away with a cocktail or sparkling water! I packed my bag with a few good beach reads, so between those & ocean dips – it was the ultimate relaxation holiday!

🍤🍴 Lunch was always local seafood…and dinner we would go to the champagne bar, pop a bottle of our favorite bubbles (which grants you access to the private dining area!)  where the waves literally lap in underneath the deck. It was perfect.

🍸🎶 We stopped by the beach parties, and live music, but in the full relaxation mode we were in, we took our sun kissed bodies to bed before midnight each night.

It was definitely a holiday we returned from feeling refreshed & rejuvenated.

What was your highlight from the trip?

The Club Med Spa was INCREDIBLE. The massages transcended you to an out of body experience. Thatched huts with billowing white cheese cloth & just the sound of the ocean drifting thru. It was truly incredible.

What did you enjoy the most in the brand new Zen Oasis Space?

Access to the private beach. The gardens in the Zen Oasis where also really beautiful.

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What is your top tip for a girls’ trip in Punta Cana?

I think its great, if some of your girlfriends have families with young kids. There is so much stuff for kids to do, but also very separate from the private adult areas of the resort.

While there is buffet style catering for lunch & dinner, you can also choose to eat a la carte, which means there is always on option, because with groups not everyone runs on the same schedule.

What are your must-dos for a holiday to Club Med Punta Cana?

The Champagne Bar is the perfect dinner (and lunch!) spot. The massage in the Club Med Spa is also a must do, (daily if you can!)

Which Club Med resort would you love to go to next?

Morocco looks incredible, but Finolhu in the Maldives will always have my heart!

Are you craving for a peaceful hideaway in Punta Cana like Samantha Willis? Book now to discover the new Zen Oasis space, exclusively for adults.

Interview: Australian Photographer Trent Mitchell Captures the Beauty of the Maldives

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Surrounded by endless ocean, colourful coral and epic surf breaks. Its no surprise Australian photographer Trent Mitchell (@trent_mitchell_) produced some serious wanderlust-inducing photographs from his recent Maldives trip at the Manta Exclusive Spacewith model Eryn Krouse (@erynkrouse). Trent's deep love for the ocean and the Maldives settings made the perfect backdrop for his snaps. We asked him some questions about his experience as a photographer.

Note: All images below are courtesy of Trent Mitchell, and have been shared with permission. 

What makes the Maldives so 'photographable'?

As a passionate water-based lifestyle and travel photographer I’d have to say the water’s colour, clarity and diversity in colour! I’ve never seen so many different blues. I can’t wait to head back and explore and shoot more in the waters and on the islands of the Maldives. It’s just incredible.

What makes Club Med Kani in particular, so great to photograph?

The single best attribute islands have for photography is the flexibility of having a 360 degree field of view to work with. Putting a resort of Club Med Kani’s standards on an Island gives a photographer an unlimited canvas for creating beautiful images all day. There’s always somewhere incredible to shoot no matter what the day brings.

What separates the Maldive beaches from others?

I’d have to say the pure whites of the sand and the vibrant water colour. Everything just pops. Simply put, some days it feels like your living inside a postcard. It’s overwhelmingly beautiful.

What were your favourite activities at Club Med Kani when you weren’t shooting?

I was staying in the Manta overwater suites at Club Med Kani and I’m a morning person so my favourite thing was quite possibly the simplest thing given the seemingly unlimited activities available. Waking to the sun rising over the water, throwing on my board shorts and going for my morning swim in the crystal clear waters was without a doubt my favourite thing to do. Most people sleep in, so some days it felt like I had the resort to myself! I actually can’t think of a better way to start a day, anywhere.

Share with us your favourite shot – what makes it great?

I couldn’t select just one from my shoot so I picked a single image from three different perspectives of the resort. Eye level, above and below the water. The photos are all of Eryn Krouse enjoying her time in Kani.

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📷 The first shot reminds me of how beautiful and relaxing it is to live over the water for a week.

📷 The second photo is Eryn paddling out to the surf break named Ninja’s located on the outside reef behind the resort. I like the feel of the crisp blue waters.

📷 Lastly, the final shot is taken under the waves at Ninja’s. It’s a beautiful moment of Eryn gracefully navigating through the surf between waves.

Which Club Med resort would you like to photograph next, and why?

I’d love to revisit the Maldives to be perfectly honest! It’s a bucket list location for me and I’d love to indulge in the Club Med Finolhu Villas experience for the extreme luxury and the waters surrounding the resort offer endless photographic opportunities. If I had to choose a different country it seems so hard to choose but I’d have to go with snowboarding in Japan. I’ve never been to Japan and I can’t think of a better culture to experience, things to do and photograph! Let’s go!

Want to see more about the Maldives? Jump on to Trent Mitchell's official website.