The Best kept Vacation Secret
Our house had sold and we needed a place to stay while we waited for the money to come in. Also, we were in need of a true vacation when you are taken care of and everything is done for you. In searching our options, we priced out renting a gite, food, and entertainment. Summer prices were high and the beaches did beckon us. We took a drive over to Grande Motte , the beaches near Montpellier and checked out a studio and one bedroom apartment to rent for the week on the beach. It looked small, felt small, and most of all made us all a bit claustrophobic with the crowds and small apartment. In addition, to save money we would have to cook, clean and well to be honest "have no real vacation."
Searching the internet I checked out all inclusive clubs to north Africa, Turkey and Tunsia, but after talking with Jean, we knew we wanted to make it easier and drive somewhere. Continuing my search I hit on to the Club Med site I vicariously visit every once in a while as I always think of them as expensive. However this time I went a little deeper and decided to check out what deals they might have available. Hitting the 20 % discount button I was given a list of a variety of clubs offered at a discount. Letting my fingers do the walking I soon realized that all the beach clubs wer out of our price range, but voila! the alps had some fantastic deals. Club Med has approximately 12 Clubs just in the French, Swiss , and Italian Alps. All similar and all a bit different. In the middle of France was a horse club priced fantastically if you want a horse vacation. Remembering where we went skiing two years prior i checked out and compared Serre Chevalier and saw the offerings, the environment and the value it would offer. Our decision now was about which of the 4 Alps clubs we wanted to go to, slight variations in activities and prices.
Another week passed and I saw the discounts continue. By the time we locked into Serre Chevalier it was two weeks prior to our arrival date and we had received a discount of 200 euro per person *(600 euro for 3 of us). All inclusive (sans transportation) including 1/2 or full day hikes with a guide and group of 10-12 people, VTT guides, escalading, rafting (for an extra fee), tennis, indoor and outdoor pools, spa (a bit extra) drinks, coffee, food, spectacle at night, and kids clubs the price was not to be beat- 1600 euro for three of us for the week. (about $2,400) with the ex`change rate at that time. If we went to the Club Med at the beach it would have been double.
My secret therefore, is if you are traveing to Europe and want a relaxing and invigorating week in the Alps, check out the Club Med- a perfect family vacation in the summer and less expensive than staying in a hotel and eating out or even renting a gite and paying for entertainment and food. If you are willing to wait untl 2-3 weeks ahead the discounts get better and better. From what I heard talking to the GOs their is usually space available if it is not during the high month of July 14-Aug 25 - and besides the prices are better before and after those dates as well.