Club Med is one of those concepts you need to experience for yourself. You may read about it, or you may have heard stories about it, but it all comes together when you experience a Club Med holiday. I was in a small group of local media [I was representing Yahoo! Singapore - yes, I freelance for them!] recently whisked away to Club Med Cherating, which is in Kuantan, a mere hour away on flight via Firefly.
Speaking of Firefly, am I the only one who gets annoyed that the website is Fireflyz.com.my? Did the Malaysians running the airline not get the memo that adding a 'Z' at the end of the words does not make things cooler? Tsk.
I digress. Behold, Club Med Cherating:
Club Med Cherating is the first eco-tourism resort in Club Med's repertoire of resorts around the world. The Club Med concept is - you make an all-inclusive payment for your holiday. This includes your flight [or your ferry if you're headed to Club Med Bintan], your meals, your tequilafests by the pool, and entertainment for your kids. What it doesn't include is - shopping at the gift shop, the spa, and excursions outside of the resort.
You live in typical Malaysian wooden kampung-esque houses on stilts. The resort is not new - it was built in 1979 and the wear and tear that has developed over the years is obvious when you're in the rooms. If you follow me on Twitter, you would have experienced the 2am rampage I had online on the first night I was there. And me telling this to you here on my blog is proof that I don't glaze over details over a free trip.
Here's what happened: I took a warm shower and went to bed at 11pm shortly after the nightly performances Club Med has, while the rest of the media had drinks by the bar. At 1.40am, I flicked something off my face and realised - hey, THAT'S NOT MY HAIR!
I jumped out of bed, flicked on the lights and found that there were five, six massive roaches on my bed, and on the head of the bed. See, I'm no princess. I've lived in the ghettos of NYC where rats roam freely, I've travelled through Myanmar and India and I've stayed at $20 shacks by the beach - but I'm sorry I can't handle fuckin' roaches on my bed.
In my disgust, I tried to call the reception, only to realise that the phone in the room wasn't working. I threw on clothes on top of my jammies and literally ran to the reception. See, when you've travelled as much as I have, and done as many travel stories as I've done, you know one thing - you understand the true quality of service a hotel provides through their night staff.
The guy at the reception, a Malay man, did not even look up from the computer when I related the story to him, and I had to repeat myself a second time. When he finally looked up, he said, "It's only cockroach what. They never bite you."
I was fuming. I made him give me a new room for the night, and a night guard escorted me to my old room to help bring my stuff to the new room. Whilst packing my things at 2.30 in the dead of the night, I got the guard to move the bed and check whether there was some sort of roach nest there. Guess what he found? A lizard.
I showered for a whole hour when I got moved to the other room, kept the lights and the TV on and sat up all night waiting for dawn to break. At about 8am, the Club Med media liaison chick that was with us came to my room with the GM of the resort. They explained to me that the roaches were in my room because it was raining and the roaches were looking for a dry place. After discussing with the rest of the media group because they were up till 1am, I found out that it didn't rain between the time I went to bed and the time I found roaches in my room. It rained at 6am.
Of course, it may also just be my rotten luck. Malaysia hates me - the last time I was in Malaysia, which was two years ago in KL, I was also attacked by an army of roaches in the coach we were in. Never going back, man. EVER.
That said, after I was moved to another new room, on the third floor and reeked of bleach [which I didn't mind at all!], everything was peachy.
We went for a jungle walk, which I loved. I'm a big fan of the great outdoors even though I may complain prior:
The resort is right next to a turtle sanctuary, and turtles actually come right up to the beach of Club Med Cherating to lay eggs at night. These crop circle-esque things you see on the sand are actually turtle tracks from the night before:
Way, way cool.
The buffet at Club Med was mediocre, there were hits and there were misses. You do however, have to try the banana chocolate tart that they have. Totally yums. I did enjoy the barbequed seafood dinner they put together for the media. The setting was perfect for a wedding, no?
And because you haven't had photos of me yet, here's me in gorgeous light, and a gorgeous bling pink sapphire & diamond ring my folks got me for my birthday: