I’m a city girl. Always have been. Other than our honeymoon in Mexico where we barely left the beach for a fortnight, almost every single other overseas trip that James and I have taken as a duo in the 15 years we’ve been together has centred around my obsession and love for being in the thick of it.
It’s as if I’m not satisfied until I’ve downed 10-lattes-a-day and walked the entire length of Manhattan (or wherever) on repeat for the duration of said vacation. And I’m only exaggerating that a smidgen – the hustle and bustle of city life just does it for me and from Miami to Las Vegas to Paris to Prague to Rome I feel like I’ve marched James around one city after the other since circa 2002.
So when earlier this year he said a very determined ‘No!’ to my pleas for yet another few days in New York, in favour of a family-centric sunshine trip where we could put our feet up, and toast a swimming pool and a scenic sunset as opposed to blistered feet and an urban skyline – I knew he was right. A holiday is supposed to be time that includes the chance to unwind, de-stress and if you’re lucky, catch some rays along the way. In fact the more I thought about what James wanted from our next getaway, I realised that actually I really wanted and needed that too.
Enter Club Med
Even though Club Med have specialised in all-inclusive holidays for decades, I only became aware of them earlier this year thanks to a friend posting photos on Instagram from her family trip at one of their beautiful resorts. I knew there and then that if we were going to do a U-turn on our usual city escape style break, then this is the holiday company that I wanted to do it with. They just looked and sounded like the whole package, from the food to the resorts, to the facilities to their destinations – Club Med without a doubt, were the real deal when it came to all inclusive holidays – that much was obvious to me from the get go. With this in mind, when they agreed to partner up in the name of showcasing their resort, Opio en Provence, James and I thought all of our birthdays and Christmasses had come at once.
Around a 40 minute drive from Nice airport, Club Med Opio, is a dream of a place to holiday as a family. We had the most glorious week, nestled in our downright huge resort in the French countryside. A place where you really feel away from it all, and yet in close proximity to being in the thick of it too if that’s what you so wish (good news for me!!), with cities on the French Riviera like Cannes, Antibes, Monaco, and of course Nice – all within day-tripping distance.
Think Pina Coladas practically on tap. Stunning landscapes. Daily poolside activities for families. A Baby Club and Petit Club, plus a Mini Club and a Junior Club, which cater for children aged four-months to seventeen years, so that parents can get some down time too, while safe in the knowledge that their brood are having a whale of a time and being cared for by professionals.
Think delicious food served morning, noon and night – I ate pastries or pancakes for breakfast every single day! Think a resort that has its very own olive grove… I kid you not!
As a fully fledged family resort which has recently undergone a substantial renovation, I cannot recommend Club Med Opio enough. It was the ideal location for us to spend a week holidaying with Oscar, with plenty to entertain him and the swimming pool of his dreams to boot.
At two-years-old Oscar had the time of his little life, and I could not help but imagine us all returning there when he is a tad older, as the amount of activities available to children, grows with age. It is the kind of resort that you could happily come back to every single summer and be certain that you are going to be giving your children not just a holiday that they are going to love, but a bank full of happy childhood memories that they will look back on fondly for the rest of their days.
Call me crazy, but pre-trip the south of France had never made it on to my must-visit list. It’s since dawned on me that I’ve in fact been missing out on a pretty special part of the world, not all that far from home, for my entire life.
Here’s some highlights in motion, from our week-long adventure with Club Med Opio.
Club Med conveniently arranged transfers for us to and from the airport, and when our driver told us on the way to Opio that there would be no reason for us to leave the holiday resort for the duration of our stay I raised my eyebrows, inwardly disagreeing with him. I just couldn’t imagine staying pool-side the entire week.
But he was absolutely right. So long as you travel prepared and bring everything you need, there really is no reason to leave. You are fed, watered and have all the facilities around you that you could ever want for or need. Club Med Opio is a pretty big place, therefore feeling bored or hemmed in is simply not on the agenda. And while we did end up leaving twice, the first time for a half-day guided tour of Antibes organised by Club Med, and the second taking a taxi to a nearby village – we could have just as easily and happily stayed put.
Giant pool aside, there are walks and activities in place ensuring that there is always, but always something to do.
The resort is in a privileged pocket of Provence, surrounded by olive groves and pine forests, while as aforementioned, it also has an olive grove of its very own, that guests can access (and even sunbathe in!) on site. We loved going there for walks at sunset with Oscar after dinner.
I wouldn’t be giving you the whole story if I didn’t tell you that eating was a huge part of our trip. I found myself looking forward to and indeed clock-watching for every meal… each day’s lunch and dinner time showcasing a whole new smorgasbord of hot and cold cuisine. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten so well (or so much!) over a sustained amount of time!
One thing which really stood out for us was the staff and how every single one that we encountered was so diligent, courteous and proud to represent Club Med. They lived and breathed and loved and believed in the company, and it showed in their work ethic and manner. They were faultless, and they made me love Club Med all the more as in my experience it takes quite the employer to have a workforce like that!
From golfing to archery to volleyball to the brilliantly impressive Creactive by Cirque du Soleil, where you can experience acrobatic and artistic activities inspired by Cirque – the facilities and activities on offer to guests, all-in as part of your stay – are testimony as to why Club Med has a reputation for being a cut above.
While very much a family-friendly resort, Opio en Provence knows that adults need some quiet time too and have a number of grown-ups-only facilities which I thought was a really nice touch and not what I expected from an all-inclusive holiday site. There’s a spa complete with a relaxation area and Roman bath, while neighbouring the olive grove is the rather lovely Zen Pool.
Did I mention the food?
Where we went
We treated ourselves to a resort excursion and took a half-day guided tour to the beautiful city of Antibes. With a stunning Riviera coastline, the Picasso museum, a famous market and prettiest, narrowest and loveliest little streets I ever did see, we were in heaven. And I was in Instagram heaven! I’ll let the photos do the talking.
A treasure chest of a village, when we drove through Valbonne – which means ‘the good valley’- on our way to Antibes, both James and I gave each other a look, which we both knew meant that we’d be going back to visit before the week was out. Just five minutes in a taxi from Club Med Opio, I’d recommend to anybody staying there that they take a couple of hours out to walk the streets of this tiny, beautiful storybook of a place.
This blog post is in partnership with Club Med, who gifted us our seven-night all-inclusive stay, plus transfers at their wonderful Opio en Provence resort. As always, all words, opinions, photos and footage are my own.
Thank you Club Med, for an incredible week. It was magic – we truly loved every minute!