Last week, I spent 4 days & nights at the Club Med Quebec Charlevoix. I was a paying guest and this review is in no way sponsored. I have read several mixed reviews about the resort so I wanted to share my own experience. It should be noted that this was a vacation for me, so my photos are limited.
One of the best articles I’ve ever read is called “Vacation or Trip? A Helpful Guide for Parents.” The point of the article is that most “vacations” with kids are hardly vacations at all – they’re trips, and they’re usually a bunch of work for parents. If you’ve ever skied with children, add on the layer of “ski trip” where parents have not only their children in tow but also their children’s ski gear. By the time everyone is on the hill, everyone is already tired.
Unless you’re at Club Med. For years, I’ve turned my nose up at all-inclusive resorts because when I travel, I want to eat local food and have local experiences. That said, when I’m on a ski trip, skiing is what I care about most. I don’t want to think about anything except whether I’ll try to squeeze in one last run before I move on to the important job of apres-ski. My experience at Club Med le Massif de Charlevoix was completely hassle-free.
Upon arrival, we were given our room number and then a locker in the ski area that matched our room number. We kept our gear in the locker and never had to take anything up to our rooms. It was great. The kids’ gear was sometimes in our locker with us and other times at Mini Club. See “Mini Club” below for more details.
I’ve skied at 23 different ski hills across North America and Europe (including St. Moritz, Whistler, Zermatt and Lake Louise, to name a few). I love to ski, and I really enjoyed skiing Le Massif. We lucked out and got just a little bit of light snow nearly every day we were there. When there is fresh snow, Le Massif doesn’t do a lot of grooming. Some people will find this to be a downfall, but as an aggressive skier, I love the challenge this brings to the hill. Club Med is located right on the hill, so it was a ski-in, ski-out situation.
Food & Drink
The food was excellent. There was a wide variety of food and it was high quality. It’s all buffet style and it takes some getting used to as I am not used to elbowing strangers for my meals, but if you can handle the buffet style, the quality of the food is really great. There are plenty of beautiful desserts and plenty of healthy options, too. There was a morning snack as well as an afternoon snack. I’m the kind of person who gets hungry a lot, and I was never hungry. The highlights for my family were the crepes at breakfast, the fish options for lunch, and the pizza station for dinner. I did eat in the restaurant one evening but I would not necessarily recommend it – I caught wind of what was being served at the buffet that night and found myself wishing I was back at the buffet!
Because Club Med was located directly on the hill, I never stepped inside a Le Massif lodge even once. Why would I when I could come back at lunch and have a feast instead of standing in line for some fries? What made it even better was that, when I stepped off the hill and into Club Med for some lunch, there was a guy standing there with mulled wine and hot chocolate (along with a few alcoholic options for the hot chocolate), just waiting to pass me one. It really elevated the experience for me!
Although there’s the option to pay for some high end wines (instead of drinking what’s included with your all-inclusive), even my snobby sommelier husband didn’t purchase any wine as he was very happy with the quality of the house wine served.
Please note that I have a child with a peanut allergy and it was no problem at all. Every night, the chef volunteered to give us a private tour of the buffet to point out what was safe and what wasn’t. There was hardly anything she had to avoid.
Kids (Mini Club)
The main reason I booked this trip is because my husband and I really needed a vacation. Not a trip – a vacation. Mini Club made this a vacation for us. On the first night we arrived, we registered our kids for Mini Club and took their ski gear to the “Mini Club” area, located right beside our locker room. We put the kids in ski lessons (which were included with the price) and all we had to do was drop them in the morning and wave goodbye. The staff got the kids done up in their gear and got them onto the hill. Talk about a dream!
I noticed there were quite a few kids in the 4-6 year old range who were quite tentative to go to Mini Club. And by that, I mean many of them did not want to go, my own 6 year old included. As a result, I usually kept him in ski classes for the morning only – and if he skied with us in the afternoon, I’d have to take his gear back and get him dressed with me. This was only a slight inconvenience. Once Ewan (my 6 year old) was forced to participate, he had a good time and advanced from the bunny hill to blue square runs in four days. Amelia, our 11 year old, really enjoyed her ski lessons and went quite happily every day. She is a shy kid but was able to make a couple of friends and have fun.
Mini Club meant that we could see our kids as much or as little as we wanted to! We were usually happy for the morning time slot without them (drop at 8:30am and ski until 11:30, then meet the kids for lunch). The kids have the option of having lunch with their friends as part of MIni Club, and then there’s a kids show (of varying quality) in the evening that families can attend together, or you can drop the kids at Mini Club and they will take them. Overall, I was very happy with how much freedom Mini Club gave to both me and my kids.
Each evening, there are shows at Club Med. The kids show runs from 8:15pm-8:45pm, which in my opinion is just a touch too late after a day of skiing, but we still went most nights. The kids’ show is not quality entertainment but it’s kind of fun for the kids. On Wednesday night, the kids went to Mini Club to take part in a performance being planned for Thursday evening. There was more rehearsing on Thursday and then the big performance. It was a great time for both the kids and the parents. I was impressed how well it all came together!
There are nightly shows for adults that start just after 9pm. I got to see one of the shows and my husband got to see one of them. We were both impressed with the quality of the adult shows.
There is one pool and one hot tub on site. The resort really needs a second hot tub as there are too many people for one hot tub. I didn’t get in at all. The pool was lots of fun for my 11 year old but was too deep for my six year old, meaning either he was relegated to the baby pool or I had to swim with him. There is a spa on site and daily yoga sessions. I can’t speak to either of these because I was too busy skiing and eating.
The rooms were small but well planned. There was plenty of storage area to put away my clothing. The kids had their own bedroom so we didn’t have to lay around in the dark or go to bed at the same time as our kids. The bathroom was a good size and had a good countertop (it’s a pet peeve of mine when there’s not enough countertop for my various toiletries). It was a full 5 minute walk from our room to the common areas, but this just meant that I got lots of steps in every day, so I didn’t mind a bit. One frustrating part was that there was literally no good place to work. There was certainly no table in our small rooms, and the common areas were too busy to really get some work done. We were surprised that there was no separate “office” common area.
Each evening for dinner, there is a dress code. My experience at this resort is that most people didn’t really bother with the themes and mostly just wore a nice “ski sweater” to dinner. The exception was on “elegant” night where most people did elevate their attire. You are never out of place no matter how fancy or casual you are!
If you’re willing to walk about 8 minutes, there is outdoor free parking. Otherwise, parking is $25/day. We opted for the free parking, then moved our vehicle indoors for the last day to make our lives easier for checking out. The parking garage was tall enough to accommodate our SUV with a Thule on the roof.
This was the first year for Club Med Quebec Charlevoix and we booked in November so we were able to get a discounted price. I believe the price was less than half of the “retail price.” For our family of four, the cost was $1400 per night. This included all group ski lessons, ski passes, accommodations and meals. The only times we paid for something is when we paid for parking and when my daughter talked her way into a $50 t-shirt. It was great to be able to enjoy a wallet-free vacation. I would likely not book this trip for double the expense but we are already considering booking for next year while the price is still discounted.
Club Med Quebec Charlevoix is for you if:
- – you’re looking for some built-in childcare for your kids
- – you love good food and don’t mind a buffet
- – you don’t want to eat in a ski lodge or decide where to get your next meal
- – you love to ski
- – you want some entertainment for your kids
Club Med Quebec Charlevoix is NOT for you if:
- – you want all trails to be groomed
- – you don’t ski (there are plenty of other activities but many of them are an additional expense, making this an expensive trip)
- – you don’t care about the childcare options
- – you want a place with a ski village. There is no ski village and not really anywhere to go. We never left the complex except to ski.
- -you don’t want to hear French. Although the facility is bilingual (many staff members speak several languages), there is no avoiding French.
I loved the skiing and the food and the childcare. I also loved that I showed up for the breakfast and lunch buffet in my long underwear, and for dinner in my high heels and never felt out of place. Four out of four people in my family would return to Club Med Quebec Charlevoix. My son would prefer not to have to take ski lessons but he would still go back. After Club Med, we headed to Chateau Frontenac: a literal castle where they had a princess, balloon animals, hot chocolate, a scavenger hunt with prizes and a giant ice slide. My kids were still begging to go back to Club Med. Need I say more?
Here is the link to the great article I referred to above: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/vacation-or-trip-a-helpful-guide-for-parents_b_7789310