Club Med Da Balaia Review
Club Med Da Balaia Review
From the moment we left the terminal the holiday began: a friendly, fast and efficient transfer took us directly from the airport in an airconditioned van to the resort. With a grand entrance, waterfall of steps and smiling Club Med employees to welcome you into the building you could have thought that you were royalty. We were given warm cloths to refresh our faces, iced tea and the Club Med bracelet that offers the assurance that everything is included.
While our bags were being unloaded and taken to our rooms, we were given a quick tour of the resort. There are two restaurants, two pools, a flying trapeze, archery arena, access to the beach, a spa and a children’s area with their own pool and activities. What struck me first was the sheer size of the resort, but although there were a lot of people you never felt cramped. You never had to queue, there were always sun loungers and sun beds, and a never-ending supply of drinks.
As the pioneers of the first all-inclusive resort, Club Med have got it right. A huge open plan restaurant spills onto terraces and verandas, with large and smaller tables filling the space. Inside there is a Baby Corner, where each table and chair is a suitable height for a child. There are lower buffet tables with child-friendly food, highchairs, and even a chocolate fountain for the children’s dessert.
For the adults there are various stations to choose from, including traditional wood-fired pizzas and burgers and chips. Then there's the gourmet food, which includes speciality pastas, smoked salmon salads, little jars of couscous, Waldorf salad pots, a table dedicated to just fruit and vegetables, a table for bread and cheese, a station dedicated to fresh fish and another with a variety of steaming casseroles, stews, soups and speciality dishes.
There's even an aperitif station before dinner which offers pancakes, smoked salmon, olives, crisps, mussels cooked in front of you, and olive tapenade on French toast.
The second restaurant offers late breakfasts, just in case you miss the first one, and also offers a menu specifically for fish.
The desserts follow the same pattern of incredible choice. Fruit pie, homemade cheesecake, a selection of ice creams (in a bowl or a cone), chocolate truffles, chocolate brownies, pannacotta, chocolate and hazelnut mousse, and much more.
Even if you were to stay two weeks, you would not get bored of the food.
There are two bars - a pool bar and one that opens when the nightclub opens. The pool bar offers fresh water and cooled iced tea, a selection of wines, fizzy drinks and a menu of cocktails. Each cocktail is presented beautifully, in the correct glass and adorned with lemon or mint and, of course, generous lashings of alcohol.
The main pool is lined with sun loungers, and there is also a little pool for children. There is a buzzing atmosphere as the Club Med staff run pool aerobic sessions, yoga, Zumba classes and more. The guests all succumb to the Club Med mentality and are chatty and sociable. You can choose to learn archery or take to the skies on the flying trapeze. For sun worshippers, you can head to the golden beach. After just a 5-minute walk you have access to a huge stretch of beach, with parasols and sun loungers for everyone to enjoy. There is a tennis court, children’s play area, and golf course with included golf lessons.
There are rooms in the resort that have been partially or completely refurbished. Mine was partially refurbished with a state-of-the-art bathroom, warm colours, modern toilet, two sinks and a huge shower. Club Med have thought of everything, with three large 'Club Med own brand' bottles of lemon infused lotion, shower gel and conditioning shampoo, so all you need to bring is your toothbrush and toothpaste. The towels were replaced every day and were thick and warm. My room had a sea view balcony and I spent my evenings sipping a cocktail and looking at the ocean. The room had a flat screen TV and one of the most comfortable double beds that I have ever slept in.
Nightlife & Entertainment
The Club Med vibe was palpable and infectious. With the Zumba teacher busting some “crazy signs” on the dance floor whilst his students followed suit. The Club Med dance floor looked more like a flash mob than a holiday resort! The bar plays music and when that shuts, the nightclub upstairs opens. The evening entertainment was absolutely incredible: tasteful, funny, impressive and suitable for all ages. The show we saw was “retro circus”, a silent and mimed sequence of impressive dances, performances and acrobatics. We watched a man swing from the ceiling, a lady perform a dance with a swinging hoop, a man balancing a table on his chin, and a magic trick. This was so much more than I had expected and it set the scene for a fun-filled evening.
I don’t have children, but if I was looking for a child-friendly holiday I wouldn’t look much further than Club Med. Upon arrival you can pick up a buggy so you don’t have to bring your own, the Baby Corner in the restaurant is perfect to feed your kids and you can ask for baby equipment in the rooms: cot, changing mat, baby bath and bottle warmer.
You can pay a bit extra for a babysitter or for your child can join the Pyjama Club so that you can have some time to yourself. Club Med children’s clubs are free from ages 4- 17, but you can pay a bit extra for younger children to join a specific children’s club. Each club has it’s own group by age, with relevant activities for the age groups. There are costumes for the carers to dress up in, puzzles, games, paintings, a pool and lots more.
Spa & Adult-Only Zone
Even though there were children in the resort, I never felt bothered or overwhelmed by them. They had a separate pool, the beach was huge and if I wanted to nap or quietly read, I went to the adult-only Zen zone. There was a bar that made healthy juices and a large pond-like a pool. The pool is all natural, cleaned by the forest of reeds and plants that were in the corners, and the pool brimmed over like an infinity pool. When you were in the water the greenery of the pool matched the green grass and felt so natural as opposed to the usual luminescent blue of most pools. This pool offers a great alternative to those bothered by chlorine and is a wonderfully serene experience. The landscaped gardens offered cushioned sun loungers and had a trickling waterfall. The spa is at extra cost but offers a variety of treatments by CINQ MONDES.
Overall, I was extremely impressed with my trip to Club Med Da Balaia. There was no compromise on quality or service, but it had all the trimmings of a 4* resort with the convenience of an all-inclusive holiday.
- 13th October 2017