Kata Beach Paradise26/02/2013
By Tracey Mehrtens
Lounging on my deck chair on the fringes of Kata Beach I was, as they say, ‘as happy as a sand boy’ – although as yet unfortunately devoid of a cold beer that put many a smile on the faces of sand boys at the end of a day’s hard slog. And while the heat was demanding cold beer, my watch was protesting a little too much on the wrong side of midday for me to oblige, even on holiday.
As with many phrases that transcend the centuries the 2009 happy go lucky definition of ‘happy as a sand boy’ pares away the dust and hard work, retaining but a Chinese whisper of its original meaning. As the story goes, the prime characteristic of sand boys was beer and their inexhaustible desire for the malty brew and the resulting smile it brought to their faces.
Ok, so there wasn’t any lugging of sand involved for me at Club Med Phuket, or beer for that matter, the only sand to be found was between my toes after cooling off in the tepid Andaman Sea, with cocktails beckoning in the late afternoon – but at least there was some analogy with sand boys; relaxing drinks and plenty of smiles!
Located in Kata Bay on the island of Phuket, southern part of Thailand, the Club Med Phuket resort stretches its long length under the palm trees opposite the beach over a meandering 60 or so acres. With 299 traditional Thai style bungalows looking out to Kata Beach, the resort creates a Zen ambience in an idyllic tropical garden setting.
The spacious accommodation rooms are finished in hues of cream and white accented with teak wood floors and furniture, traditional Thai silk pillows and bed throws and touches of marble.
Accommodation rooms transpose into the poolside restaurant and bar, moving onto the flying trapeze site and Kids Club with more accommodation nestled alongside the archery base, squash courts, a 9-hole golf course and tennis courts; the resort landscape is endless.
While Club Med is a tranquil and spacious sanctuary of its own, Kata Beach life bustles outside its borders, vendors selling knock-off bags and sunglasses line the roadside and more tout their wares on the beach, its roadside bars beckon with cheap, ice-cold beer to cool a shopping thirst and proffer the perfect bar stool to perch and absorb the sights and sounds of Kata Beach life drift by.
Club Med has evolved over the years since welcoming its first guests in Spain nearly 60 years ago but has firmly held onto its world leading concept of offering guests a truly all-inclusive holiday. Its 80 resorts around the globe offer a unique holiday that’s all paid before even boarding the plane to leave home; Kids Club, all day dining and snacking, open bar, activities and sports, nightly shows – it’s all included in the package price so there’s no need for guests to even open their wallet.
Once known as a rowdy party place for singles, with guests herded together into groups every waking minute of the day for organised activities and seated at large dining tables and encouraged to mingle, Club Med has elegantly shed its persona of old emerging as the sophisticated, all-inclusive holiday destination that it is today.
Club Med is now a place to do ‘as little or as much as you please’ with each resort reflecting the look and feel of its surrounding local culture. Activities still abound (but at your leisure), spas are an intrinsic part of the resort and dining can be intimate or shared with others, you choose.
And while on the subject of dining, at Club Med meal time is as sumptuous as the resort’s setting and accommodation. The buffet meals feature international and local cuisine, its buffet like you’ve never known it, more resembling fine dining with as many courses as you desire. And of course making for even a better holiday free flowing food is complemented with free flowing wine and beverages, all of which are included in the Club Med package price.
Activities at Club Med Phuket are wide and varied, with choices including; aqua fitness, power walking, flying trapeze, snorkelling, tennis, squash, golf and cooking classes. Outside the resort check out the local sights; bustling Patong Beach is but a few hills away by Tuk Tuk, Kata Beach shops are on the back doorstep or book an excursion; an elephant safari, Phang Na Bay on a junk, Phi Phi Islands by speed boat, follow the paths of the Forgotten Temples or take in the Phuket Fantasia show.
And while the little sand boys of old worked hard to appease their masters I strived to forget mine – my children. Admittedly at Club Med this wasn’t hard. Soon after arriving the kids were enveloped by Kids Club and its fre nzy of activities, gone after breakfast not to be seen again until after the evening meal, friends in tow and begging to be allowed to stay up to watch the nightly show, a simple request to oblige. With the children entertained bliss ensued and some much needed ‘adult’ time, swims at the beach, leisurely walks, tennis and relaxing evening drinks.
Families are a key focus at Club Med. It is the founder of ‘Kids Club’ in a holiday resort concept and each Kids Club caters for children of different age groups, ranging from babies through to teenagers – guaranteed to keep them entertained for hours.
Club Med Phuket will soon cater for children of even more ‘ages and stages’ with its new Baby Club – the first in the Asia Pacific Region – due to open in mid December 2009. This new service means that parents with children of all ages, from 4 months old up to 17-years-old, have quality child care available.
Club Med Phuket is a great family resort featuring not only the new Baby Club but also a renovated Mini Club for 2-11-year-olds including its own pool with a shade sail. 12 to 17-year-olds have their own Kids Club space with plenty of room to ‘chill out’ with their peers, watch a movie or challenge a friend on Playstation.
With the kids entertained and off our hands, plenty of sunshine and relaxation for my husband and I, we’ll be back with the rest of our merry team of little sand boys for another large helping of smiles and cocktails!