September 11, 2012
September 11, 2012
By: Joyce Shulman
I visited Club Med Sandpiper in 2003, when my son with barely two. As a lifelong Club Med fan, I confess I was under-whelmed. So when Macaroni Kid was invited to check out the results of a recent $28 million dollar renovation, we jumped at the chance. And we say, Club Med Sandpiper Bay should be on your short list.
It’s Club Med. Sure, there are “all inclusives” all over the world. But Club Med was first, a visionary when it was founded in 1950 and the unique spirit that defines Club Med has never been replicated. This is the original vacation camp for families, where the enthusiastic team of “GOs” keep the party going for guests of all ages and where organized activities (all optional of course) start with yoga at 8:30 in the morning and don’t close until after “crazy signs” in the bar at 10:00.
Golf, Tennis & Trapeze, oh my. You can play 18 holes of golf onsite and, if you time it just right, catch your kid on the flying trapeze as you make the turn. Need a tune up? A stellar team of golf pros has you covered. Want to fly yourself? Flying trapeze for adults is every afternoon at 3:00. If your idea of vacation involves working on your backhand, that’s covered too with daily tennis lessons. Can’t make it a week without your workout? The new fitness center is no typical resort gym and, if you ask nicely, Tommy will design a workout just for you that will make you sorry you asked. (Group activities are included, one-on-one sessions are an additional charge).
L’Occitane Spa. Several months ago, French L’Occitane took over the onsite Club Med spa. Yup, the products are fabulous and the spa smells wonderful. But it’s the quality of the therapists that make or break a spa. While I can’t vouch for all of them, I am seriously considering flying back to Florida for the singular purpose of spending another hour in Julia’s competent, compassionate care. She relaxed my unhappy back, soothed my ever-jangled nerves and fixed my troubled shoulder. In an hour.
Families. Club Med Sandpiper bay is committed to the family experience and to making your vacation as easy as possible so that every member of the family can enjoy. There is baby food in the restaurant, both jarred and freshly prepared each day. Refrigerators and two daybeds for the kids in the room: no rollaways required here for a family of four. An included kids club that breaks children into age-specific groups (you won’t hear your 11-year-old complain about being stuck with a “bunch of babies” here) and delivers up a daily dose of activities from splash pool to art projects in the Britto-inspired art room, plus circus training and daily trapeze for kids 4 and older.
White Chocolate Bread. Okay, if you’ve never had Club Med’s white chocolate bread, suffice to say that white chocolate bread alone is worth the visit.
Is it perfect? Nope. The family pool can be crowded. The main restaurant does not lend itself to a relaxing meal, though there is a quieter option just next door. And I confess to missing the ocean on vacation.
But one afternoon, while I was picking my daughter up from a splash pool party, I looked to my right and saw a very happy dad at the driving range. In front of me, a teenager swung on the trapeze. In the distance, the weekly doubles tournament was underway at the massive tennis center. A couple walked by with Pina Colidas in-hand and I overheard a conversation about the upcoming evening circus show. It’s everything a vacation should be.
The author was a guest of Club Med for 3 nights for the purpose of facilitating this review.
© 2013 Macaroni Kid, LLC