Club Med is the most famous luxury resort chain in the world. Specialising in the highest form of luxury in its exotic and stunning locations around the world, it has been tempting people from around the world to try its relaxing and luxurious resorts for over half a century.
But what is the history of this iconic resort operator and what does the future hold for the company? If you are thinking about joining Club Med to take advantage of a stay in one of its exclusive resorts, here is a quick guide to everything you wanted to know:
Club Med: The Early Years
The origins of Club Med go back to 1950 when Gérard Blitz, a former water polo champion, set up the first Club Med village in Mallorca. Despite its simple setup (the guests stayed in basic huts and shared communal washing facilities), it proved to be a hit.
More villages followed, including the first winter village in 1956. Located in Leysin in Switzerland, it provided a luxury retreat for skiers in the Alps, and proved to be just as popular as the beach resorts.
Club Med went from strength to strength and in 1961 Baron Edmond de Rothschild enjoyed his holiday so much that he decided to buy the company. Things went from strength to strength, and Club Med villages began to pop up all over the world.
Lows & Highs
Despite things going so well for Club Med, during the 1990s, things took a turn for the worse. At the end of the decade, Club Med began to provide a range of new services including restaurants and gyms, as well as a new ‘Oyyo’ resort aimed at young adults. Unfortunately, the company began to face difficulties and after the events of September 11th, 2001 things went from bad to worse.
Henri Giscard d’Estaing took over the company as CEO in 2002 and he placed the focus once again on luxury holiday villages. As part of the shift back to its core business, numerous villages were closed or renovated to make them more upscale and a greater focus was placed on families. Hundreds of millions of dollars were invested in the business, mainly dedicated to the upgrading of the resorts, with such resorts as Club Med Bali and Club Med Ria Bintan seeing huge renovations. Over the next decade, it added even more luxury resorts to its portfolio, including Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Florida, which included elite tennis and golf academies.
Where Next for Club Med?
Club Med has been through some difficult years, but it has come out shining. It has recently been expanding its portfolio into new destinations and now has two new resorts in China. These include Club Med Yabuli, a ski resort in the Heilongjiang province and Club Med Guilin in the south of the country. It is also planning to open more luxury villages in locations around the world.
With its sights firmly set on making sure it provides the best luxury village resorts in destinations all over the world, and after recently launching a huge new marketing campaign in 47 countries, Club Med is positioning itself as the company of choice for anyone who prefers the finer things in life, such as relaxing on a luxury holiday.
Alex Norman is a travel consultant who also enjoys blogging. His articles mainly appear in online travel publications.