It's only fitting that Club Med's renaissance is beginning in Italy.
The resort company welcomed the world to southern Italy's Club Med Cefalu this week, where the property hosted media from June 2 to June 6 for a private soft-launch opening celebration.
Originally opened in 1957, Club Med Cefalu was a beloved resort up until its closing in 2006. Now, after the property has gone through what Club Med President Henri Giscard d’Estaing calls "a period of magical, mythical rebirth," Club Med Cefalu will officially open later this month as part of the company's brand-new Exclusive Collection.
Once open, Club Med Cefalu will be the brand’s only 5-Trident property in Europe. Club Med’s move to embrace a more upscale aesthetic was directly influenced by its clients.
What makes Club Med Cefalu special?
Club Med Cefalu rests atop cliffs that jut into the Mediterranean Sea. From the main buffet restaurant, La Rocca, guests can revel in panoramic views of Cefalu’s medieval town. The new design uses sustainable building practices, like adding plants to the roof, to better cool the suites. Earthy tones like chocolate browns and creams pay tribute to the natural environment, so the resort itself feels at one with the Mediterranean landscape and historic Sicilian culture.
There are three aspects that make Club Med Cefalu truly enchanting, according to Sylvain Rabuel, CEO for France, Europe, and Africa markets.
“The first are the sights, because you’re utterly surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, but at the same time, you’re a 15-minute walk from Cefalu village, a 16th Century town, letting you enjoy and discover the Sicilian heritage,” Rabuel said. “Secondly, is the amazing work done by our architect (King Roselli) and interior designer (Sophie Jacqmin), who have seamlessly combined historical buildings with modern realizations, all harmoniously integrated into the natural setting of this place. Last but not least, this resort offers you multiple experiences, with everything from electric surfing to pampering at the spa.”
The new Exclusive Collection was the topic of conversation during a roundtable discussion at the resort. Taking part in the talk were Henri Giscard d’Estaing, president, Club Med; Sylvain Rabuel, CEO for France, Europe, and Africa markets, and Janick Daudet, CEO for Latin America; and Italian television host Federica Panicucci.
“To change nothing, you have to change everything, and what we did with Club Med in the last 10 to 15 years, was to change everything, but still keep the elements that make Club Med what it is,” Giscard d’Estaing said.
“When you speak of Club Med Cefalu, especially in Europe, many people have been there, and had the full experiences,” Giscard d’Estaing said. “To see it completely transformed, for us, it’s a symbol of the bumpy road we’ve been through in changing Club Med and changing it to its very best.”
The revitalized Club Med Cefalu mimics the cozy accommodations one might find in their own home, which makes guests more comfortable, but doesn’t shy away from the Club Med spirit.
“We’re trying to achieve an extraordinary combination of upscale luxury, environment, and accommodations, and presently at Club Med, we are doing three things,” said Giscard d’Estaing. The first, is to be upscale – 85 per cent of our resorts are now 4-and-5-Trident resorts. The second thing is to be global - 68 per cent of our clients are coming from all around the world. The third thing is to be happy digital - the world is changing and Club Med is always changing. This is Club Med today and it’s a new chapter we are opening here together in Cefalu.”
Janick Daudet, CEO for Latin America; Sylvain Rabuel, CEO for France, Europe, and Africa markets; Henri Giscard d’Estaing, president, Club Med; Italian television host Federica Panicucci
A new chapter
With locations all over the world, a strong team of architects, and a very loyal clientele, Club Med’s pursuit of upscale service is being met with great affection from guests.
“We have just two Exclusive Collection villages around the world,” said Daudet. “One is in the Club Med La Plantation D'Albion in Mauritius, and for the first time, the one here in Cefalu. We have several villages around the world where we are inside the villages as an Exclusive Collection space, where a specific area [in the resort] is dedicated to this category. Around the world, we have seven of those spaces.”
The following properties are part of Club Med’s Exclusive Collection:
- Finolhu Villages in the Maldives
- La Plantation D'Albion in Mauritius
- Valmorel Chalets and a 5-Trident space in the French Alps
- Cancun Yucatan, Mexico (5-Trident space)
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (5-Trident space)
- Club Med 2 (Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises)
In an exciting announcement, Giscard d’Estaing declared a brand-new resort in Seychelles will join the Club Med Exclusive Collection in partnership with Beachcomber Hotels. The company’s CEO, Gilbert Espitalier-Noel signed the official agreement alongside Giscard d’Estaing.
Additionally, a new property, Les Arcs Panorama, will be unveiled in December 2019. Plans have also been announced for a new Exclusive Collection property in Indonesia, next to Bali on Lombok island.
What does a Club Med Exclusive Collection client look like?
The Club Med Exclusive Collection is best-suited for active travellers, and frequently, the brand’s Exclusive Collection is popular for couples or multigenerational family travel.
“These people expect to disconnect from their hectic daily lives to reconnect with one another,” said Rabuel. “They expect a place to do both of these things, while living a privileged moment altogether. Multigenerational travel is a growing phenomenon all over the world. With upwards of 15 people travelling together, they need an adequate place to share moments separately and together. Sixty-three per cent of our Exclusive Collection clientele say that they are very satisfied with their stay in those resorts.”