A hot-ticket item
By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
A T-shirt is a T-shirt is a T-shirt, right? Not at Club Med Punta Cana, where one particular type of T-shirt is a souvenir more prized than a bottle of Brugal Papa Andres.
Turns out that when the French all-inclusive resort company celebrated its 45th birthday in 1995, they created a limited-edition line of “45” T-shirts – each branded with the name of the individual resort – that was sold in gift shops across the chain. Guests loved them, and started to collect iterations from the various Club Meds they visited that year.
But the crazy thing is that even after the 45th birthday had passed – and even when Club Med hit the milestones of 50, 55 and 60 years in business – guests still demanded the T-shirts. So Club Med complied, and now each resort sells its own branded 45 tops for men, women and children, even though the company turns 66 this year.
Now, if you stay at any Club Med in the world you’ll see vacationers proudly sporting their 45 tees from resorts as disparate as Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic to Wengen, Switzerland, and Cap Skirring in Senegal.
To seasoned guests, they’re a badge of honor and proof positive of their love for and loyalty to the company that invented the all-you-can-everything vacay that’s now so popular in the Caribbean. To the uninitiated, they’re a curiosity that once you start noticing you can’t help spotting everywhere you go. At first you think it’s kind of cheesy. But a few days later, the look starts to grow on you.
And then, before you know it, you’re in the gift shop buying your own.