Some travellers like to plan for their holiday and trips from start to finish, while others prefer to let the professionals handle things. This is certainly the most convenient option, because all you need to do is to check out the packages offered and the suggested travel itineraries, then pay to a single company or vendor.
Yes, sometimes this may cost you a little bit more but it saves you a whole lot of time and energy. And headache, too.
This is probably why, according to a consumer survey by Club Med late last year, more Malaysians these days are seeking all-inclusive holidays that prioritises family bonding. Of the 1,000 respondents in Malaysia that took part in the survey, 80% noted that they would return to the all-inclusive resort brand, which has properties all over the world.
In fact, Club Med Cherating in Pahang is the brand’s first property in Asia, opened way back in 1979; Club Med itself started in 1950. The property in Cherating is also one of the largest Club Med resorts in the world, measuring at about 80ha.
Throughout the pandemic, the resort keept itself busy with upgrading and maintenance works, as well as corporate social responsibility and fundraising initiatives via its Club Med Foundation.
One of these initiatives is a partnership with the Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia, a non-profit organisation dedicated to increasing the dwindling freshwater turtle population in the country. Volunteers hold workshops for guests at the resort, educating them about Malaysia’s freshwater turtles and what we can do to help increase their numbers. Guests will also get the chance to make DIY natural soaps, which they can then take home as souvenirs.
Club Med Cherating is still the same fun resort it has been for four decades. It remains committed to helping create meaningful experiences and memories for guests, especially families, through a series of curated activities and shows.
Almost all Club Med resorts around the world will also have a kids’ club called the Mini Club Med +, suitable for young children and teenagers. Some properties even have a club for babies and toddlers. This gives parents the chance to spend some quiet, child-free time at the resort ... In fact, Club Med Cherating has an adults-only Zen Pool at an adjoining beach located about 15 minutes away on foot (you can also take the “shuttle train”).
When interstate travel was finally allowed in Malaysia, many families took the chance to book stays at Club Med Cherating (based on data from the resort), which helped boost the country’s tourism industry recovery.
“The Malaysian market rebound has been swift and powerful, enabling us to double the domestic business in 2022 ... (as well as) to surpass the occupancy rate pre-pandemic, allowing more people to discover the beautiful shores of Kuantan with us,” Olivier Monceau, general manager of Club Med Singapore and Malaysia said in a statement.
Before the pandemic, Club Med had plans to expand its portfolio and open up more resorts, particularly in the Asia Pacific. When Covid-19 hit, some of these plans were put on hold, though a few did manage to get built or remodelled. These include Club Med La Rosiere in France (opened December 2020), Club Med Seychelles (March 2021), Club Med Lijiang, China (September 2021) and Club Med Quebec Charlevoix, Canada (December 2021).
But what’s most exciting to Malaysians is of course the brand’s plan to open up a second resort in the country – Club Med Borneo Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, which will be a collaboration with a local company called Golden Sands Beach Resort City. This greenfield project – a development that starts from scratch – has an area of 16.5ha, which is significantly smaller than its Cherating counterpart, but no less impressive, at least based on the description given.
For one, it is the first large-scale sustainably built beach resort in Asia Pacific that is BREEAM-certified (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). This is said to be the highest certification for sustainable construction.
Secondly, it is located in Kuala Penyu, a small coastal town not too far from the city of KK with a long stretch of beautiful beaches. The resort will be a 4-Trident resort (equivalent to a 4-star hotel/resort rating) with a 5-Trident Exclusive Collection space.
The resort’s design is inspired by traditional Bornean patterns, while its structures will intergrate with the surrounding rainforest. It is scheduled for completion at the end of 2024.
“Looking at the future, Club Med entered the crisis strong and despite the impact on the tourism sector, we accelerated on development globally and in Asia. By 2024, we are going to have 17 new resorts opening globally, and 13 extensions and renovations,” said Monceau.
While Malaysia has had a handful of new hotels and resorts pop up in the past few years despite the pandemic, this development has gained some interest among international investors, industry experts and travellers from around the world. This is a good thing not just for Sabah’s tourism scene but also for the country’s economy.