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Club Med Lijiang: The ultimate family getaway at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

By in Travel on

Club Med is an iconic French brand with more than 70 years of history. Founder Gerard Blitz first established the "utopian bubble" in Alcùdia, a tiny fishing village on the Spanish island of Majorca. The original Club Med started with low-cost tents. Since then Club Med has grown into a worldwide tourism operators with all-inclusive resorts across the world. 

Yunnan province saw its first Club Med resort open last year in the idyllic city of Lijiang. It is Located right at the foot of the ever impressive 5.6 kilometers tall Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The exceptional location allows hotel guests an opportunity to explore historical old towns, ascend the mountain, explore the history of the local Naxi people and pay a visit to the old home of early 20th century explorer Joseph Rock

Like all Club Med resorts facilities for family trips are top notch. As increasingly savvy travelers nowadays expect more than luxury lotions and grand bathtubs, guests' overall demand has to be met in a plethora of ways. Club Med Lijiang fulfills these expectations by providing unique experiences to immerse into for all types of travelers.

Lijiang is now both accessible by air as well as by high-speed railway, with trips from Kunming to Lijiang only taking roughly three hours, or a bit over one hour from Dali, another popular destination. The short trip from the train station to the resort gives almost continuous vistas over the iconic mountain. 

The resort appears a bit otherworldly as a miniature town slightly isolated from the main city and old town. I arrived just in time for lunch – a very different experience than what I am used to. Club Med staff are called GOs (Gentils Organisateurs) and dine, drink, play and dance with the guests. Tables at the restaurant were shared by guests and GOs, chatting like close friends. A very different and homely experience unlike typical high-end hotels. 

GOs convey the hotel's distinct culture and spirit. The idea of GOs is to add a more personal touch that since has become the core of the brand's philosophy: "The aim in life is to be happy. The place to be happy is here. And the time to be happy is now." Many Club Med resorts have GOs from as many as 20 different countries that create cordiality and familiarity for guests from all over the world. GOs also organize the entertainment and activities at the resort, such as face painting and kite making. They also facilitate entertainment for kids, making Club Med the perfect destination for families. 

Club Med Lijiang Resort has a bar named after Lijiang's most famous old town, Dayan, and is extremely lively every night with both staff as well as guests. I almost forgot that there is so much to explore around the greater Lijiang area, as there's also a water park, a climbing wall, an indoor basketball court, an indoor slide, Ahava Spa - a high-end spa, tennis courts, a soccer field and a basketball court. The water park facilities in Waterland is definitely something you shouldn't miss for both kids and parents.

Mini Club Med can take care of kids for 4 years and above, from 8:30am to 5pm with a variety of activities so parents can enjoy their holiday and get a small break from parenting. For teenagers, there is Teens Club with all-day sports activities, including a talent show, and finally there's activities for the entire family together. 

It's difficult to explain the full experience I had, and all the things I did not end up having time for. While hanging from the Flying Trapeze looking at Jade Dragon Snow Mountain upside down I realized I should probably pay a visit to nearby old town Baisha, just 10 minutes away from the resort. Baisha, Dayan Old Town and Shuhe Old Town are all considered UNESCO world heritage sites listed under the Old Town of Lijiang.

Instead, I ended up taking a complimentary bicycle and cycled to the foot of the snow mountain, exploring the small village where Joseph Rock used to live. In 1922, Joseph Rock entered Yunnan from the Myanmar border as an explorer. He was an author and photographer for National Geographic magazine and a botanist, anthropologist and linguist. Although Yuhu Village is usually particularly quiet, nearby Baisha offers a few good restaurants, bars and cafes, and all on the same street. 

The whole journey at the Club Med Resort Lijiang was full of surprises that exceeded my expectations in all aspects; the time spent with the GOs is definitely part of what made my stay memorable. Staying in Club Med Lijiang will definitely be an experience you won't regret. Just remember to also see some of the incredible sites outside the resort. 

For bookings,visit the official Club Med website.

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