School’s Out!




By Bekah Wright WIN A 7-NIGHT ALL-INCLUSIVE VACATION AT THE CLUB MED PUNTA CANA. CLICK HERE TO ENTER. There's a resort with a sign that proclaims it's just for toddlers—Baby Club Med. The diminutive can be found marching in line down the beach singing, “Lo le, lo, le, lo!” at the top of their lungs, splashing up some fun in one of the many pools designated for their age group or learning circus moves for futures under the big top. It should come as no surprise that all this and more awaits youth at Club Med Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Indeed, Club Med resorts have made an art of out entertaining kids for the past 41 years, since the organization founded their first children's club. Club Med Punta Cana is no exception with its children's programs for as young as four months up to 17 years. There are some pretty nifty things for their parents, too. DIGS AND DINING Perfect for families are Punta Cana's 32 new family suites that seem more like private cottages on the beach. The luxury Tiara suites are painted cheery, tropical yellows, oranges, pinks and salmons accented by white, tin roofs. The porches overlook a lawn that trails to the Atlantic, where waves create a fun, spouting effect on a craggy outcropping that will delight young guests. Each cottage's living area has a flatscreen television, couch and lounge chair with ottoman. A mini-fridge is kept stacked with complimentary beverages requested from the concierge. In the main sleeping area is a king-sized bed with targeted lighting that will appeal to night readers. A favorite feature for those who like staying connected to the outside world is the computer with free Internet access on a desk footing the bed. The master bath has a double sink and romantic soaking tub just right for sailboats and sponge shapes, or parents looking to share a glass of champagne post baby's bedtime. A second bedroom has twin beds, a desk and flatscreen television. Its bathroom has a shower, but no tub. Ample closet space in both rooms makes for easy unpacking. Special baby equipment, from cribs to changing tables, can also be requested. Another perk—laundry service is available for a fee. There are other classes of rooms on the property, including Club and Deluxe Rooms, but none beat the view and convenience of the Tiara with their VIP concierge service, special amenities and private, shorefront infinity pool that's a lure to grown-ups. Though the room service menu is not extensive, the resort's two buffet-style restaurants are chockfull of healthy, international cuisine. Breakfast and lunch are served at the open-air Hispanola. La Samana is where guests convene at the dinner hour. Both venues have special “baby corners” equipped with high chairs and toys, along with mealtime necessities like milk, juice and food befitting young taste buds. Last, but not least, is Celeste Grill, which sits right on the beach and offers a casual menu. The nightly applause outside Samana is not a pat on the back for guests who've eaten their vegetables. Instead, it harkens a different show each night inside the resort's open-air theatre. Some fave performances are those from young guests showing off hip hop moves or vocals learned in the children's program. Not to be outdone are staff members displaying their aerial skills Afterwards, adult types in search of a nightcap can pop by Cielo, the main bar where an UN-worthy throng sips cocktails conversing in myriad languages that will have the adventurous twisting their tongues to learn.