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ITTN at Club Med Magna Marbella – “The Purpose of Life is to be Happy…”

The all-inclusive Club Med Magna Marbella resort is hosting members of the European trade and media for a 3-night fam Andalusia, Spain.

Set at the foot of the Sierra Blanca mountains on 12 acres of terraced gardens with commanding views of the mountains and the sea. It is less than a 10-minute drive to the old town of Marbella and 15 minutes by car to the beach (cycle in 10 or walk in 30 minutes). Transfer time from the airport is 45 minutes and the flight is c. 3 hours with multiple options daily.

The Purpose of Life

“The purpose of life is to be happy. The time to be happy is now. And the place to be happy is here.” stated Gérald Blitz, who officially founded Club Med in April 1950. Interestingly, he was the inventor of the “all-inclusive” holiday concept.

Club Med today operates 71 resorts, two-thirds of which are 4T and Luxury 5T Resorts (T for tridents like the logo rather than stars). The range also includes cruising on the 5-mast Club Med 2 sailing ship and inspired luxury tours with Circuits Dcouverte by Club Med.

Club Med is a global leader in premium all-inclusive holidays for families and active couples and has over 70 worldwide resorts in stunning locations including Mauritius, Brazil, Bali, the Caribbean, Japan, China and the Maldives.

Interview with Nicolas Bresch, Managing Director, UK, Ireland & Nordics, Club Med

ITTN’s Shane Cullen interviewed Nicolas Bresch, Managing Director of the UK, Ireland & Nordics for Club Med. Nicolas explained, “So we’re here in Club Med Magna Marbella, we’ve reopened it in 2020. It’s actually a resort that Club Med operated back in the ’70s. We came back and now about four years ago and we really wanted to get back to Spain.  Andalusia is a great destination for everybody both in terms of culture, but also in terms of sun, and, of course, the beach is 30 minutes away.”

“Happy Kids Make Happy, Happy Parents”

Nicolas continued “We opened four years ago with this magnificent resort. It has about 500 rooms and a range of activities and it’s really what Club Med is about. It’s about being able to deliver to every member of the family, a wide range of activities. Of course, for the kids, we always say, “Happy kids make happy happy parents.”

“We really want to lighten the mental workload from the parents. Here in Magna Marbella, we have the full range of kids care from four months to 17 years old with different programs according to the kids’ ages.”

“For the parents, we also have a wide range of activities if you’re active. So we have Padel tennis, which is a very trendy sport. Also, flying trapeze which is really pushing your boundaries but also the more traditional sports.”

From Tennis to Flying Trapeze and now Padel

Nicholas describes their approach, “We really aim at tapping into each level so whether you’re a beginner intimate yet expert passionate. So let’s take the example of Padel tennis. Every day you have a time slot with a coach – for beginner, intermediate and advanced [players]. We also organised tournaments throughout the week so you can compete with others. It’s really about learning, either learning a new sport. Padel is an example – it’s a trendy new sport that’s coming out. Also getting better at the sports you’re already practising, for example, tennis. Each sport is taught by professionals who are experts and actual professionals of coaching in sports”.

The group was tasked with trying Padel during the stay – equipped with the outfits and equipment, the instructor brought everyone through the basics of the sport and participants caught on fast. It’s an energetic, fun game and I enjoyed myself so much that I volunteered to play in a resort tournament the next day.

Origins of Padel

Padel as a sport originated in Mexico in 1969. It was properly launched in 1974 by Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, who was friends with the inventor of padel, Enrique Corcuera. Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg was known for turning the Spanish fishing village of Marbella and the Costa del Sol into a holiday resort destination. 

The prince loved the sport and set up the first padel club. Padel then grew in popularity in the United States. Since 2014, Padel has been managed by the French Tennis Federation.

Discover Padel at Club Med Magna Marbella

Padel is an energetic and intense sport which features elements of tennis, squash, badminton and pelota. In fact, Club Med explains that a one-hour padel game can burn over 600 calories (and given the exceptional quality of the food, that’s another positive).

Club Med Magna Marbella has 6 padel courts and a training centre. The facilities are designed for the beginner, the expert, the passionate one, the occasional one and the traditional – so you’ll fit perfectly somewhere.

Guests have unlimited free access to the training centre and courts. With Club Med’s family focus, this too is an all-ages sport with kids able to play too. The resort offers Mini Club Med (from age 6) and group lessons for kids aged 11 upwards as well as adults. Padel rackets and balls are provided so all that is needed are suitable shoes.

The group enjoyed a Padel lesson (lessons are part of the all-inclusive offering) on Thursday morning in glorious mid-20s heat. It is lots of fun and our rep, Megan Copnell and I teamed up along with a few other brave souls to try our hand at the tournament on Friday morning. Clearly up against seasoned players at the hotel, we can’t say we won our matches but we put up a decent fight.

More than Padel

This resort offers more than just Padel, there is also tennis, golf, archery and flying trapeze – the latter I tried at Club Med Da Balaia in the Algarve many moons ago which is lots of fun (and probably an even better experience for those that do not have an intense fear of heights like myself but worth trying at least once in your life).

Club Med offers fitness classes for all levels along with group lessons in golf, tennis, padel, trapeze, swimming, fitness and archery.

Make a Splash with Five Pools at the Resort

There are five pools to enjoy at Club Med Magna Marbella. The main Lagoon swimming pool stretches 900m2 and is at the heart of the complex. There is a freshwater indoor and outdoor pool next to the Club Med Spa, which offers a terrace with deckchairs. From May to November it is adult only.

The Zen Zone is an adults-only pool – an idyllic spot to enjoy a fresh fruit smoothy under the Spanish sunshine.

Club Med Spa by Cinq Mōndes

Each of the group were treated to a 20-minute taster session in the luxurious and spacious Club Med Spa. With the choice of facial, leg or back massage, I opted for the latter and felt the strain of lugging camera gear through the airport melt away – I loved the 20 minutes of relaxation.

The Spa is by Cinq Mōndes from Paris which, they explain “offers deep regeneration of the body and mind with treatments and products inspired by beauty rituals around the world”.

Happy Kids make for Happy, Happy Parents

It is worth remembering that children under 6 stay free at Club Med sun resorts and those under 4 stay for free at Club Med ski resorts. Club Med prides itself on its family focus with its aim to make it easy for families to gather together on holidays – activities very much for all ages, dining options for little ones, rooms designed for families and extensive kids clubs.

  • Baby Club Med™ For ages 4 – 23 months (added charge)
  • Petit Club Med™ – For ages 2 – 3 years
  • Mini Club Med + – For ages 4- 10 years
  • Teens Club Med – For ages 11- 13 years
  • Chill Pass Club Med – For ages 14- 17 years

At the resort there is a very sizeable family fun zone, showcasing how families are at the heart of the offering, there is a paddling pool and shallow pool (from April to early November) and an extensive kids club area with family excursions, family circus, mini club med shows.

There is even baby-sitting on offer as well as stroller loans.

For More on Club Med

Stay tuned to ITTN for more on the Club Med Magna Marbella fam trip including their accommodation types, exceptional food offering, the choice of restaurants and bars plus entertainment. In addition, find out what is in the pipeline for Club Med across the globe as well as their strategy for the Irish market.

Shane Cullen
Shane Cullen
Shane Cullen has been managing director of a media production studio for nearly 20 years working on projects for a global clientele. He has worked in the travel industry for over a decade and as a travel journalist since 2015. He is passionate about travel, film & photography. He also has a keen interest in emerging technology.

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