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Day 7 and Final Thoughts – Club Med Charlevoix

No rest for the weary this morning – it’s time to get on the road. Up at 7 am and off to the buffet for breakfast. I devoured one last delicious turkey and cheese omelette, then dashed down to pick up a luggage cart.

How difficult could that be? Many of the guests were checking out today, and they might be in short supply.

Thankfully, it was a non-issue – I spotted one the moment the elevator doors opened to the first floor. I even managed to catch the same elevator back up to our room.

My wife wisely suggested that I put something on the luggage cart so that it wasn’t taken. So I did. But it might have worked a bit too well, as someone soon knocked on the door to accuse my son of taking the luggage cart!

Thankfully, he accepted my explanation that I had – in fact – picked up the luggage cart on the first floor. But I’m glad that I’d listened to my wife, or I’d undoubtedly have had my own cart pilfered in an endless cycle of luggage-based revenge.

With the cart claimed – and the rest of the family back at the room, packing up – I once more hiked the 1,000 metres or so back down to the parking lot, again wishing that I’d just paid that $25 for the final night of indoor parking. I then drove the car up to front of Club Med and positioned it as best I could past yet another tour bus and a pair of extra-large Mercedes vans.

I had to wait a bit for my wife and kids to arrive with the luggage cart. In the meantime, I spotted a young girl trying to shove a luggage cart through the front door. I pointed out the extra-tiny accessibility buttons that I’d initially struggled to find. Hopefully she too will pay it forward, because those buttons are difficult to find on their own.

Check-out wasn’t entirely seamless. There was some confusion on check-out as Club Med initially thought we were part of the large group that was heading out, so my wife stayed behind to sort that out while I loaded the rest of the items into the car. Not everything fit quite as neatly as it had on the way down, but we managed to squeeze it in. Then we were on the road once more.

Quebec City appears in the distance, about an hour from Charlevoix

The return trip took about 8 hours – an hour longer than the way down, due largely to the slush storm that hit us in the home stretch. We even stopped at the same McDonalds that we visited on the way down because we’re adventurous like that.

We’d debated taking our electric car, but hadn’t yet set up the roof box and we needed as much storage as we could handle. I was pleased to see that Club Med had ample charging spaces. Maybe next time.

A hotel charger and an empty spot? A rare treat indeed.

Which brings us to the big question… will there be a next time?

Club Med Charlevoix – Rating and Summary:

Overall, we’d give Club Med Charlevoix 4.5 stars out of 5.

The Best: A true all-inclusive experience at a world-class ski resort

The Worst: Children running rampant

Next Time: Visit in the summer for a change of scenery and excellent hiking, or continue to visit in December for a good deal. Also, consider adding in a trip to Montreal or Quebec City to break up the trip.

The 4.5 star rating might seem surprising given how much we’ve complained about various aspects of this resort – the check-in experience, children using the theatre furniture as a jungle gym, the layout, children screaming, inconsistent service, children without any regard for basic hygiene – you get the idea.

But the core elements of this vacation – the food, the entertainment, the hiking, and the skiing – were all excellent. And they were good value for money, too.

Club Med has its own infographic on its site, which I think is hugely informative:

Source: Club Med

But no matter how good of a value it is, there are still points that Club Med needs to improve before they get that last half star.

To sum up the main points to improve:

– Improve the ratio on childcare, both by increasing staffing in Mini Club and having some reasonable expectations for children’s behaviour in common areas.

– Continue to identify and address gaps in service, such as the lack of communication during check-in regarding the room being ready and the inconsistent table service in Le Chalet.

– Laundry is at the very edge of affordability / accessibility. $20 for a load is the absolute max, and at that price Club Med should be careful to ensure that their washer and dryers are fully functional (and that guests don’t have to argue for an extra token to finish a load.)

But there’s also a lot they should continue to sustain:

– Lots of children’s activities that are worthwhile, like the juggling classes and aerial circus lessons. Passworld (teen club) was also a huge hit.

– Food and drink were very good, particularly from the buffet or when ordered directly from the bar.

– Skiing experience is convenient and economical. Hugely civilized to be able to pull your gear from your locker, step outside and start skiing.

And will we be back again? That’s certainly the plan. We’re hoping to go back in the summer of 2025, where we’ll try out more of the hiking and mountain biking in the area. (To our surprise, our hike turned out to be one of our daughter’s favourite activities of the entire trip – and I expect it’ll be even more enjoyable when the weather is nice and we’re not sliding around everywhere.)

Thanks for joining us on this journey, and please don’t hesitate to post a comment if you have any questions.

Ready to check out the Club Med Charlevoix? Contact me at ryan.aldred@gmail.com for a friends and family invitation that will save $100 off the cost of your trip.

(Not available for Last Minute deals. Other limitations may apply.)

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