March is the time of year that people’s thoughts turn to their summer vacation plans and this year, I’ve had several of my clients ask me about Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Fort St Lucie, Florida. I was lucky enough to have spent a few days there during the end of February so here follows my honest Club Med Sandpiper Bay review. However, please enjoy the very first Grand Explorations video which is an overview of the resort.
Not only is this the only Club Med in the United States, it is the only true all-inclusive resort in the U.S. This means that not only are all of the food and drinks included in your cost, but there are lots of activities for children as well as for adults. Club Med is a French-owned company and because of that, there are more Europeans here than you might find at other resorts. I personally like the diversity and think it’s especially great for kids.
***Read through the end for a special offer for Club Meds through April 15 and exclusively through Grand Explorations!***
The GO’s are the Club Med staff and they were excellent here. They are mostly in their early 20’s and all live onsite at Club Med. Every GO that I came into contact with was very friendly and helpful - they even choose to eat their meals with guests. The GO’s that work in the Kids Club appeared to be great with the children in their charge and seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves.
Although there are only three restaurants and only two open for each meal (one being the buffet), I can’t say anything bad about the food. Because I was here for product training, my schedule was pretty full and I ate at the buffet for all of my meals. I have a problem with buffets where I can’t seem to say no to anything that looks good so I tried a LOT! There are many different stations - salad, cheeses, soups, a carving station, pizza, chinese, curry, vegetarian, burger/hot dog, italian and dessert. Each station had a different choice for lunch and dinner and there was nothing repeated during the four days that I was there. There is an adults-only room to eat in if you are without children and plenty of seating, indoor and out, for everyone. The other option for dinner is their steak and seafood restaurant, which I didn’t try, and requires reservations. One other thing - if you only remember one thing about the food, remember chocolate bread. A-mah-zing! You're welcome.
Club Med Sandpiper Bay is a place where it’s impossible to be bored. They have activities scheduled from morning to night, for children and adults. Whether it’s sport lessons, juggling, flying trapeze lessons for all ages (yes, even you mom and dad!), and much more. Their sports academies are all run by accomplished coaches who have previously coached olympians, tennis pros and the like. Because there is so much going on, you can choose to have as much or as little family together time as you want!
There are Kids Clubs for all ages, and the clubs for children 3 and up is included. The kids are busy all day with active and creative pursuits - I didn’t see any video games, even during the afternoons when it rained. They all looked like they were having so much fun. If your child is 4 months - 3 years, there are options for them as well at an extra charge per day. Have an older child? Club Med Sandpiper Bay has you covered there as well with their teen club for 11-17 year olds.
There are hobie cats, SUP and kayaks for use, and unlike some resorts, there are plenty for everyone to use. Not sure how to SUP or nervous about kayaking? Not to worry, there are lessons for that!
There are four great pools here. There is the main, all-ages pool in the center of the resort, a kiddie splash pool, a lap pool and an adults-only pool and hot tub with a bar located conveniently next to it.
The spa at Club Med Sandpiper is the only L’OCCITANE spa in the United States! L’OCCITANE is a luxury brand using all natural and organic ingredients in their products and based on aromatherapy. Their spas are an extension of their brand and it’s a lovely, relaxing spot in the middle of all of the activity of club med. As their site says, “Just as the Camargue is a resting place for migrating birds, Spa L’OCCITANE is a sanctuary of tranquility rejuvenating your body and soul.” Just reading that line makes me want to go back!
There is a good sized fitness center that is well-equipped with everything from free weights to ellipticals to treadmills - almost anything that you need to keep your fitness program on track. Since I currently have no fitness program, I didn’t personally use any of the equipment, but it all looked in good condition and the gym was clean. There is also a studio that has scheduled classes throughout the day, including yoga, zumba and step. Prefer the great outdoors? There is a guided walk in the mornings that takes you throughout the resort and into the neighborhood.
For the golfers in the family, the Golf Academy at Club Med Sandpiper offers lessons for all ages and group lessons are free. There is also a driving range and putting green to practice on. Looking to improve your swing? There is an indoor area where you can record your swing and then get tips and suggestions from the Pros.
The Not So Good
If you are expecting the caliber of show that you would find on a cruise ship, you will be disappointed. The shows that I saw were on the cheesy side and didn’t compel me to stay through the end. The younger kids seemed to like them and several of them were dancing in front of the stage along with the performers.
If you want a resort with an active nightlife and disco, this is not the place for you. Because this is a family-friendly resort, everything shuts down on the earlier side.
Number of Restaurants:
If you prefer a resort that has a dozen different restaurant choices, this is not the place for you. However, I was never bored with the offerings at the buffet as there were a LOT of choices from all different cuisines.
The liquor is medium quality and there is an upcharge if you want something better. I’m typically a vodka drinker and the included vodka they were pouring was Smirnoff. Not terrible but for a resort saying they are 4 out of 5 tridents, I would expect more top-shelf liquors to be included.
There is a small beach area here but the biggest turnoff to some people is that the resort is on the St Lucie River and not on the Atlantic Ocean. This is not all bad if you have children who want to learn some of the water sports - the water is definitely calmer here - and Jensen Beach is only a 10-minute drive away.
The Buildings are Dated:
This resort was opened about 30 years ago and although most of the rooms have been updated, there are several levels of room and the lower tiered rooms are disappointing. I stayed in a B-level room (with A-level being the highest) and it was nice but there were some details that could have made it much better. For instance, there was mold spots in the caulk lines in the shower and the refrigerator was old and rusty. I was shown an A-level room and it is much nicer - these are the most recently renovated. The buildings themselves are old and tired looking and again, if some details were updated (doors being repainted, etc), it would make a positive difference.
Club Med ranks all of its resorts with tridents, which is their logo, and gives rates this resort as a 4-trident property. Based on my Club Med Sandpiper Bay review, I would give it a 3.75. This is not a luxury resort however the rooms were clean and have plenty of room for a family and the amount of activities there are for everyone makes this a place worth visiting. Also, this resort is about 1 ½ hours from Orlando, so it’s easy to add a few days relaxing here after the fast pace of a Disney vacation.