To hear Xavier Mufraggi, President and CEO Club Med North America, put it, a lot of things must fall into place before the company opens a new resort.
First, there has to be a long unspoiled beach situated in a remarkable location, then the spot has to serve as a good base for experiential experiences and excursions, and finally, it has to be low density yet manage to also be in close proximity to an airport.
This is perhaps why the soon-to-open Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda is a project some five years in the making.
“This story started five years ago when we started thinking about a place where we could build a new Club Med,” Mufraggi said at a preview event for the resort, which is slated to open on Nov. 30, last night (Jan. 24) in New York City. “Everybody is always watching where we go because it may be the next trending destination for the future. We were the first hotel in Cancun, we were the first hotel in Punta Cana… In Asia, Europe, Africa, we really have the same approach: amazing location, low density, and truly experiential.”
Once opened, Club Med will be the first resort operating in Michès, a still untouched tourism region in the Dominican Republic, where the property sits on a 2,000-foot-long beach. Thanks to new road access, travel time to the $100-million project will be 75 minutes from Punta Cana.
The eco-chic resort will consist of four boutique villages, including Archipelago, which is geared at honeymooners with self-contained suites each with their own pool.
Club Med is also working with the local government on the sustainability of the region, and maintaining it as a high-end location even once more development gets underway.
“I think Michès for us, it’s our vision for the luxury all-inclusive for the next 15 years,” Mufraggi told PressToday on hand for the event. “We really believe that people are more and more in search of amazing experiences, in a sustainable way. Michès is an eco-chic project, it’s in a place which has never been discovered before, and we’re going to make people discover this amazing region. Of course, it has an amazing beach, opportunities for watching whales, riding horses on the beach, and really having a way that we have 335 rooms, but in reality, we have four boutique villages inside that resort, so you can really feel the exclusivity of that experience.”
As Punta Cana is easily accessible from main gateways across Canada and Canadians already have an affinity for the Dominican Republic, Carolyne Doyon, Senior Vice President Canada & Mexico for Club Med believes the property will be an easy sell for travel agents.
“This is the first new resort that we’re doing in the Caribbean in 40 years,” she said, noting it will also mark the company’s first Exclusive Collection resort in the Americas.
Meanwhile Mufraggi sees the property as an opportunity for many Canadian clients and travel advisors to discover a different Club Med.
“The fact that we decided to have our first Exclusive Collection, so really a luxury product for an all-inclusive, is going to be an opportunity to rediscover Club Med as a whole because this category of resorts is going to be 20% of our clients in the coming years,” he told PressToday. “For us, the sustainability of this category of business is really the affluent and wealthy clientele because you need a lot of staff to have the quality of food we want to propose, to have the level of activities we have. You need a certain level of ADR (Average Daily Rate), people paying for it, so we really believe that moving forward and the beauty of it is there’s really a shift of trends worldwide from the wealthy market towards the all-inclusives, which we didn’t have in the past, but the expectation is getting higher and higher.”
Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda will have 335 guest rooms across four areas: Caribbean Paradise – a village for every type of traveler; Explorer Cove – a village dedicated for multi-generational families – an adventurous getaway offering families a treasure trove of activities. Explorer Cove features four room types: La Perla suites, Ocean View Family Junior Suites, Deluxe Family Rooms, and Deluxe Rooms. La Perla suites are an exclusive area featuring 16 oceanfront family suites and four oceanfront penthouse family suites with a rooftop terrace. Emerald Jungle – an adult-exclusive village for wellness seekers – and Archipelago – an adult-exclusive village for romantics.
There will be various all-inclusive food and beverage options, including three distinct culinary experiences, one beach lounge, four bars, three wine cellars and a coffee shop.
Guests will be able to enjoy more than 25 different sports and activities, including fitness classes, tennis, pickleball, archery, indoor climbing, circus activities (including the flying trapeze), kayaking (including see-through models), snorkeling, aqua fitness, team sports, dance classes, a guided running trail, and various yoga classes.
The wellness program at the resort includes a scenic treetop yoga palapa and oceanfront platform, meditation classes and five different types of yoga classes: family yoga, gravity yoga, acro-yoga, aqua yoga and paddle yoga.
The resort will host six distinct iconic active experiences such as JetSurf (electric surfboarding), Hobie Eclipse (a stand-up pedal board), treetop yoga class, family paddleboarding, and horseback riding on the beach.
As the resort holds two boutique villages designed for families, the resort will offer rich family programming and a full range of children’s clubs with Baby Club Med (4 months to 23 months), Petit Club Med (2 years to 3 years), Mini Club Med (4 years to 10 years) and Club Med Passworld (11 years to 17 years).
Excursions will allow guests to explore places like Laguna Limón, a stunning nature reserve; the 170-foot-high cascading Limón waterfall; Samaná Bay, a bay featuring protected islands with native flora, wildlife, and a known site for whale watching; and Montaña Redonda, a “rounded mountain” with 360-degree panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, known for its photo-famous swing, which was incorporated into the event as a photo opportunity.
Booking reservations are now open.
Pictured at the preview event in New York City are Xavier Mufraggi President and CEO Club Med North America and Carolyne Doyon – Senior Vice President Canada & Mexico Club Med.