Club Med – Florida
by Michael Morcos
Sometimes you are allowed a glimpse of paradise, a taste of bliss; Club Med Sandpiper is one of those times! Being the only Club Med in North America, this is not your usual all-inclusive. It is a one-of-a-kind experience for the entire family filled with plenty of activities, excellent food and nightly entertainment in a self-contained and environmentally conscious village.
We were welcomed by a Village “Chief” who led us to our impressively decorated room. The rooms are quite luxurious and very spacious. With pull out bed and attractive furnishings, they are family ready and an ideal location to plan your stay or relax after an activity-filled day.
After settling in, we filled our Club Med branded water bottles ( a little welcoming gift) and headed out. The water bottles can be refilled at varied points throughout the resort – a key component in the village’s sustainable development plan and a convenient way to help guests stay hydrated.
In early afternoon, we had a delicious lunch in the spacious, marine-themed Marketplace restaurant, serving a vast menu of international dishes.
My wife and I enjoyed a spicy Mexican dish with a tangy salsa seated overlooking the “Juniors & Mini Club” , where our kids were enjoying having a meal with a dozen new friends. The restaurant is spacious and has larger tables if a family or group wishes to eat together.
Later that afternoon, as the kids were swimming and enjoying the beach, we planned our first few activities at the main bar called Slice. Ideally placed between the pool and the theater, the bar is open for kids and adults and provides a fun, family friendly atmosphere.
We asked for a guided familiarization tour of the resort, and were impressed by the size . The Sandpiper grounds are immense and include tennis courts, golf course, volleyball courts, weight room, exercise rooms, many pools, jet-skis, paddle boats, wind surfers, a private beach, countless nooks and crannies to relax….
That evening, we decided to unwind on the Sunset River Cruise through the nature preserve, comfortably enjoying the scenery as the ship meandered down the river. We saw a few turtles and many birds, but unfortunately we did not see any playful dolphins!
The next day started with a tennis match and a good breakfast in our room. A day at the beach followed and then after a dinner at the Marketplace – Surf Room, we were treated to a Circus Show and danced for awhile at the Slice Bar.
We did not stay up too late as the next day we had filled with activities!
The day was bright and shiny and we decided to start with a nice spa treatment. I chose a 45 minute detoxifying almond body wrap, which was soothing, calming and smelled like paradise!
The men and women at the spa are well trained, professional and know what they are doing. The experience was a genuine treat.
After a little free time, we again ate at the Marketplace, enjoying a filling Wedge Salad, made with a wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with roasted bell pepper, rosemary and bleu cheese dressing over a bed of sliced tomatoes. Delicious!
That afternoon, we also treated ourselves to a Mental Coaching session, part of the wellness package that is usually for athletes visiting for the Sandpiper triathlon.
It was an eye-opening experience and I made some surprising discoveries about myself. I was able to capitalize on this in the afternoon, when I was helped by Sandpiper specialists for some one-on-one training.
There are many and varied sports including golf, tennis, volleyball, triathlon or general fitness, just to mention a few. I chose one of my favorite sports – tennis.
For thirty minutes I felt like Raphael Nadal! My personal coach helped me with many aspects of my game and I even got my serve up 10 km/hour!
After this great afternoon, we enjoyed Cocktails on the Riverside Deck, a fantastic spot for a quiet drink or just to enjoy the views. That night we ate a wonderful Lobster meal with a hint of French spices – delectable – while we sat at a magnificent table overlooking the St. Lucie River.
That night we walked the grounds then watched the G.O. Show, where staff members perform gymnastic, dance and musical numbers. Once night fell, we walked through the well-lit gardens, watched our fellow guests enjoy the ‘Crazy Signs’ dance at SLICE, then we finally settled into some hammocks slung between palm trees, satisfied and tired.
After a great night’s sleep, we woke up on what we dubbed ‘Game Day’. My partner was in great shape and had been training for this day for the last few months. Apart from being a great resort, the Sandpiper is host to the 2575 Championship, an extreme race for tri-athletes who compete against each other by swimming 0.75 km (0.45 miles), biking 20 km (12.4 miles) and running 5 km (3.1 miles) in the beautiful setting of Sandpiper Bay!
I did my part by enjoying cheering-on the racers with a coffee and healthy breakfast!
The tri-athletes treated us to a great race with an almost photo finish between two people. The Club’s staff was on hand to help each person as they passed the finish line.
The night was a celebratory one with a fine dinner and some dancing, with a lively crowd, great music and the employees joining in the fun.
We had a great time as a family as well. One of my favorite memories happened when we were given private, VIP trapeze session!
A childhood passion, it took me back and we all soon found ourselves laughing it up!
After a delicious brunch of skewers and salad on the terrace at the Riverside Barbecue, we enjoyed another 30 minute personal coaching session. This time I chose to concentrate on my golf swing. The expert impressed me with his knowledge and precise instruction. I cannot wait for my next full game!
The family fun continued down on the water front for two exciting activities – the first was a ride on a Jet Ski and later we learned how to Paddleboard. Both activities were new to me, but after a quick lesson and some encouragement, I ended up laughing and being cheered on for my moves.
That night, the medals & awards were handed out and family pictures were taken. We were all treated to a great show and farewell cocktail on the Spanish Patio, after which we enjoyed a last dinner at the Marketplace restaurant in the Surf Room, where we regaled each other with tales of our victories.
After another exceptional GO Show, we decided to head to the ‘Crazy Signs’ dance at bar SLICE to really send us off with a bang.
Our last day we decided to just unwind and relax. After a stay filled with sports and a whirlwind of activities, it seemed like the perfect way to end our stay. We enjoyed a nutritional guidance session with special healthy breakfast while enjoying the views one last time. A last Spa treatment was our final goodbye to this wonderful resort.
A family friendly destination, the Sandpiper has something for any visitor’s inner athlete, both on and off the field!