My family just got back from a mediocre hotel. We would definitely stay there again just because of the babysitting.
- My family of four just returned from vacation at Club Med Sandpiper Bay.
- It is the only family all-inclusive in the United States and was renovated 12 years ago.
A week ago my wife and I returned from a holidays with our family. Not a trip, mind you, a vacation.
The difference is simple. Travel is a wonderful experience: you take children on adventures and have fun times. We recently took a family trip through Virginia, complete with beaches, zoos, aquariums, water parks, and more. Every day was something new and fun. The kids had a blast and at the end of this trip my wife and I needed a vacation. We were exhausted. beyond normal adventures and the energy of being a stay-at-home parent, traveling consumes a lot of extra energy. And unfortunately hotel coffee is generally awful. We came back from our trip ready to sleep for a good week. However, our two alarm clocks — one 6 years old, the other 3 years old — had other ideas.
So my wife and I looked for a vacation.
We found the only all-inclusive family in the United States
We looked for a type of experience where we could all have fun, but that included babysitting. We wanted to relax, but we also wanted the kids to have fun. We wanted the whole family to have fun: a resort with a daycare that appeals to everyone. Add to that the difficulty of needing vegan options and childcare for a 3 year old, and the list of possibilities was miniscule.
Club Med Sandpiper Bay was known as one of the “Only all-inclusive family resorts” in the United States, and the only Club Med. The resort has been renovated 12 years ago and has an excellent reputation for childcare. We were excited.
Until we got there.
The resort felt run down
The resort immediately looked like a fancy motel. The rooms overlook what can only be described as a dump – an area of sand, weeds, rubbish and pipes. The room itself felt like it had been left untouched since the 1980s. Chipped paint, cracked light fixtures, and a desk that looked like it was designed by a high school theater troupe.
The whole resort felt run down, or as one guest we met at first put it, “tired”. Broken golf clubs and a crumbling mini golf course, nothing to do inside, blaring music until midnight in a complex full of young children. The spa was downright rude and totally booked, even though we told our travel agent that advance booking was not necessary. Reception was no better.
In the children’s craft area, there was a giant Connect Four wooden game. It was the perfect metaphor for the place. It looked fun from a distance, but up close the game was broken and there were nails sticking out of the sides. All this led me to leave a 2 star reviews on Tripadvisor.
We would go back
And yet, we had a wonderful time and would definitely come back.
They offered amazing programs for children: our two children were thrilled during their stay. We gave them the choice over several days, and they begged to leave with their new friends. They did crafts, hung out in the pool, held dances, made pizza, and even tried the trapeze. Their leaders were phenomenal.
Despite the rest of the resort, the food was amazing too.
We weren’t in luxury, but that didn’t matter. We had a vacation. In fact, we were able to enjoy the tropical climate with delicious food and silence at lunchtime. We had almost forgotten what it looks like.
We met a family from London who only traveled among the 71 Club Med Villages. In the father’s words, “Sandpiper Bay is the worst Club Med, but the only one we go back to every year.” An astonishing statement, but I understand.
Vacations are necessary and childcare makes all the difference.