Food with everything

I didn’t want to like it, honest. I thought I would skim over the top of the activities, spend the entire weekend avoiding people, stay in our room, sunbathe in private on the balcony, make full use of the food and then come home again. I didn’t expect, when we booked another last-minute weekend break to cover a public and school holiday that I would spend my time learning Pilates, sailing on a boat steered by my son, going on a jungle walk and even getting some work done, but I ended up doing all that. It’s like that at #clubmed (there, I said the C word), you can’t help but get stuck in.
There would have been absolutely no point to NOT make full use of the facilities on offer: heaps of activities day and night; the best white-powder beach I have seen since Western Australia; the bowls of fresh curry, trays of fish, platters of carved fruit, mountains of puddings on tiny dishes and exquisite little salads on individual plates that changed on rotation every day, with a choice of four flavours per sitting – that’s four at lunch, four new ones at dinner, different ones again the next day, etc – yes, I counted. Plus free-flow cocktails at every bar you visited (three) whatever time of day, as well as snacks at regular intervals if you hung out at the right kiosk. All manned by the kind of hardworking, smiling staff you only see in the movies, ready to see to your every beck and call. Plus blue skies, white sands, warm sea. Yuk, horrible holidays, who needs all that?
Guiltily booked just a month after our flight back from Tokyo, what a change from Japan was this trip – far from Kyoto’s creaking teak temple floors, Nara’s sacred woods, Shinjuku’s sky-high neon, the point of this lazy ferry flop across the waters south of Singapore to an Indonesian island (no carbon footprints, just sandy ones) was all about leisure, aggressive pampering of every guest until we could do nothing but smile as we lay back on massage bed, beach lounger, Pilates mat, getting up only to head back to the buffet for seconds, even thirds.
Knowing that’d be me, I wisely packed my running gear and signed up for Pilates as soon as we arrived, happy to learn a new health technique since it was all paid for. This was a whole new string to my fitness bow, and while I wasn’t able to find my core, I did love how the instructor gave me an encouraging little squeak for doing good press-ups. I didn’t even know I could do press-ups. For the boys this was bliss. While I bent myself into interesting angles in the fitness block, they threw themselves into every single sporting event they could pack into three days. When I was chopping up and down in the sea, they shot arrows into targets. While I laced my trainers and went running along the sands, they climbed a tiny ladder and lunged forward on the trapeze, and while I signed up to an organised power-walk, they took kayaks out to the far buoys and back. My power-walk was a little under-subscribed, just me and the sports rep, so I got to hear all about life at CM, and I’m not sure whether I’m either completely gullible or just a bit stupid, but it really does sound like a great place to live and work. Or maybe by then I’d just been zen-ified into such a trance that I couldn’t tell fact from fiction. They all seemed happy enough.
SM avoided the kids’ club (wisely for him, those sorts of things not being everyone’s cup of tea) but signed up for everything he could with Mr PC happily taking him round in a sporting corona of happiness. A nightly football tournament took place on the gardens out front. We had to badger SM into taking part on Day One, but by Day Three he was hurrying to join. I’m told he enjoyed it; sadly the closest I came to watching was trotting past on the way back from the spa, and I also grabbed a(nother) cocktail one night and sat on the pool steps to catch the last 5 minutes. I did hear the comments afterwards, though, and one rep’s passing remark (“That boy’s got skills”) was just about the best going-home gift the boy could get, giving him some much-needed confidence to take back to his hugely competitive sporty school. Better than any candy-wrapped certificate (although he did get one of those, too).
Evening entertainments for two nights out of three consisted of stuffing our faces and then heading back to the room for family Netflix time. We caught the hotel show on day one – a Circus act, amazing, with beautifully toned bendy staff performing unbelievable swinging trapeze tricks that you would usually buy tickets to see. Until, that is, they grabbed SM and got him up on stage for the closing song. If you know SM, or even bothered to catch sight of his stony face as you pulled him by his skinny little arm onto the top stage under those spotlights, you would know that this was perhaps the worst thing you could do to an almost 11-year-old kid who likes football, fight scenes, ninja warfare and parkour. But there you go, it was about the only fault I could pick with the place, plus one portion of rather chewy lamb.
This is a good place to reroute yourself, away from the busyness of crazy old SingSong. You’re still busy here, just busy in a selfishly, fatly, utterly spoilt sort of way. Despite all the sports, two of us came back a bit larger than before. SM was glum on the ferry home. He said it was one of the best holidays he’d ever been on and let’s face it, he’s been on a lot. If this sounds promotional, I apologise. It was good, is all. Really very good.