WHEN TO GO: Club Med Mini Clubs for youngsters 2 through 11 operate summers, from June 15 to Sept. 6, on Eleuthera in the Bahamas and at Ixtapa in Mexico. The Mini Clubs also are open on Eleuthera from February through April, and on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. Ixtapa and Punta Cana Club Meds in Mexico operate Mini Clubs for ages 2 through 11 during the Christmas, New Year's, Washington's Birthday and Easter holidays. Copper Mountain in Colorado welcomes children 3 through 11 from mid-December to mid-April, and ski school starts at age 6.
The only year-round Mini Club in the Caribbean is at Fort Royal on the island of Guadeloupe. Fort Royal also has the only year-round Baby Club for children from 4 months to 1 year old, open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This past summer, for the first time, the organization sponsored an "international summer camp experience" at its Copper Mountain resort for ages 8 through 16. The camp will be repeated next summer.
WHAT IT COSTS: Prices change according to the season. Children are charged reduced rates depending on age, time of year, type of club and location. Where Mini Clubs do not exist, children 6 through 11 get a 25 percent reduction in adult land (accommodations, meals, activities) prices. The one-week rate for adults on Eleuthera in February is $950 for land and air, and $575 for children 2 through 11; for the same week in Fort Royal at Buccaneer's Creek, Martinique, the rate is $1,380 for adults, $270 for children 4 months through 1 year, and $810 for ages 2 through 11. In addition, there is a one-time membership initiation fee of $25 for individuals, couples or families, plus an annual charge of $25 for adults and $10 for children under 12.
GETTING THERE: Club Med arranges group departures from New York for all its resorts, and from Washington or Baltimore to all its Caribbean and Bahamian villages.
BEFORE YOU GO: If you are taking an infant, find out in advance what is available at your destination in the way of diapers and formula. Most clubs stock them in the village store.
MORE INFORMATION: Club Med's toll-free number is 1-800-CLUB MED, or see a travel agent.