As a mom to an energetic toddler and an attention-hungry six month old, I’m a master juggler. It’s a circus in our house all day every day, and I play the role of ringmaster… So when Club Med in Punta Cana invited Momtrends to report on the new Creactive by Cirque du Soleil experience, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean, I already do serious acrobatics to get my son to go to sleep each night—what could they possibly teach me that I didn’t already know?
All kidding aside, I jumped at the opportunity for two reasons: 1.) My almost three-year-old son is obsessed with the circus. The idea of coming home and showing him photographic evidence of Mommy flying the trapeze and doing all sorts of Spider-Man-like stunts was absolutely irresistible. 2.) I really, really needed three blissful nights of uninterrupted sleep. Oh, and the fact that this was all set in a pristine tropical destination didn’t hurt one bit either… I packed my bag, and showered my babies with kisses (and tears!)… but, um, “Peace out, kiddies. Mama’s going to Punta Cana.”
To Club Med With Love…
I’d been to a Club Med once before. I was four and remember very little except for the fact that I refused to let my parents leave me in the kids’ club, and everyone who worked there called me “Laurén.” (Fast forward twenty-nine years, I still swooned every time the mainly French staff referred to me by name.)
The beachfront resort itself is sprawling and beautiful with a decisively Caribbean vibe—bright buildings and shabby-chic cabanas decorate the lush property like colorful jimmies on a delectable sundae. The main pool is sparkling and the lobby offers a dark and lovely retreat from the sunny palm-lined lawn and sandy surf. There are canopied beds and chaise lounges everywhere—and I think I may have tried every last resting spot… for the sake of journalistic research, of course. (Also, #mamaneedsanap.)
There are two main restaurants: Hisapnola and Semana. Guests can get their fill at the all-you-can-eat international buffets which boast everything from omelets in the morning to lobster at night. Additionally, the poolside Cielo bar offers midday snacks and nonstop "cocktailing" for thirsty guests (they make a mean mojito!), and Celeste, on the beach, is also open for a quick bite and a spiked sipper.
My room in the main section of the resort was comfortable, clean and functional. The large family-friendly pool was always hopping with activity—there were kids playing and grandparents doing water aerobics (lead by a Speedo-clad instructor, I might add.)
There’s a 5 Trident space for those seeking more luxurious accommodations. Guests require a special bracelet to access this area with a private pool and more modern amenities. It’s worth noting that a new adults’ only Zen Oasis section, complete with deluxe suites, will be opening in December.
Sun, Sand, and Awesome Activities...
In addition to sun bathing and pool splashing, guests can enjoy water sports, sailing, archery, and golf among other activities. Of course, drinks are included so cocktail-sipping is another popular choice for the kid-free 21+ set (which, for once, included me!).
The Creactive Side of Life...
I had one main goal for this trip—besides getting sleep—and that was to learn to juggle. My brother, who lives in Seattle, will juggle for my son over Skype, and it blows his little mind. He tries so hard to do it too—he’ll pick up three balls and throw them up in the air whilst humming circus music. It’s the cutest thing in the world. So, while all the other journalists immediately ran to the trapeze (there were 55 other writers from all around the world!), I went straight to Guillermo for private juggling lessons. In all honesty, I wasn’t anticipating success—I can barely walk and chew gum—but I wanted to give it my all for the sake of my son.
Guillermo had me start with one ball—practicing the perfect arc of tossing it from one hand to the other. Next, we added a second ball—throwing the right, then the left, and then catching on the left, and then the right—and then reversing the entire process. After a few minutes, he handed me a third ball—and I honestly don’t know how but I just magically started juggling. I think even Guillermo was shocked. It was only about a half an hour total, and I was doing it. (Seriously, watch the video HERE.)
With my first circus success under my belt, I moved on to the acrobatic bungee. I was so excited about this activity. A Creactive staff member harnesses you into a very tight and, thus, very secure, er, "crotch belt". You’re then suspended high in the air where you can swing, jump, and flip. It took a few minutes to truly trust that I wasn’t going to fall on my face, but once I got my confidence, it felt so liberating. You grab on the bungee cords and pull yourself up to get momentum and bounce—and then, they’re casually like, “oh, hey, try flipping backwards.” After a few failed attempts, I managed a flip and it was so fun! (Worth noting: my abs killed like crazy the next day from this activity!)
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Finally, I ended my training at the trapeze—where I needed to conquer my fear of heights and learn to let go. I was so nervous after getting hooked up to cords and gear and belts that I forgot to dip my hands in the chalk before climbing the ladder to the top—so I’ll conveniently blame my poor grip on that lapse of judgment! A Cirque staff member grabbed me by my belt, held me back, and had me reach for the bar—this was by far the scariest part. Before I knew it he was counting to three and I was jumping and soaring. “Now pull your legs up and hook your knees,” he called out to me. Despite the fact that I heard him say this to people before me (and actually saw some of them follow through!), this took me by complete surprise. I felt like I didn’t have the arm and core strength to hoist myself up. So instead I just enjoyed the ride—which was good enough for me. (You can watch HERE.)
The next day, a few writers went back to try again—one gal was so good she even managed to do “the catch” where a Cirque staff member caught her by the hands. Pretty impressive stuff, but I opted for another activity that works the core: stand-up paddle boarding. Seriously, these abs need strengthening before I try the trapeze again—and so I’m going to put them to work!
Additionally, guests can take clown makeup classes, learn to play the bongos, try the tight rope, walk the vertical wall, and engage in a multitude of other amazing activities in the Creactive playscape. It’s open to guests by age group—so there’s a separate session for adults as well as one for little kids, big kids, and teenagers.
I should mention that the Creactive staff includes a mix of Cirque du Soleil veterans and newbies who receive intense training before, you know, dangling you 20 feet up in the air.
The Spa Life...
In order to fully and accurately report on Club Med’s amenities, I had to visit and experience the L’Occitane spa (oh, the things I do for Momtrends!). I was treated to a 60-minute massage—and it was sensational. Granted, I spent the first 30 minutes obsessing about whether I froze enough breast milk back home (where is that darned off button for my brain?!?), but the second half of my massage was pure hypnotic, hallucinogenic, drool-worthy bliss. And the post-massage view—well, it took my breath away.
I Want to Be a Kid Again..
I have to say I was absolutely blown away by what I saw of the kids’ club program. It’s like summer camp to the nth degree. The facilities are phenomenal, the staff is amazing, and the extra programs would make any kid beg for another minute, an extra hour... ONE more day... "Puh-leeeease, Mom and Dad!"
As much as I enjoyed my solo trip, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much my little one would absolutely go bonkers playing in the kiddie pool, climbing the play structures, eating cotton candy and riding the animals at the weekly carnival, performing in the circus, and making friends from all over the world...
Come to think of it... I just made friends from all over the world too—fifty-five of them to be exact—in an absolutely dreamy destination. We ran away to Punta Cana, if only for three days, and joined the circus. It was better than sleep-away camp... It was Camp Creactive at Club Med. I can't wait to return and share the experience with my family.
And, next time, I will hook my legs.
This is not a sponsored post. Flights, accommodations, activities, and meals were paid for as part of a media fam trip. All opinions are our own.