Travel Agent recently had the opportunity to visit Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Stretched across 216 acres, this all-inclusive, river-front property is the ideal spot for active couples and especially great for families with kids and teens looking to get out of their rooms and into the water, on to the green golf course or tennis courts, or even try their hand at the flying trapeze. (Yes, just like at the circus).
Multiple accommodation styles are available at Club Med Sandpiper Bay throughout the 307 rooms, including Club Rooms, ideal for couples or small families, offering large bathrooms and spacious walk-in closets. Family Club Rooms are a bit larger and can cater to families with multiple children as the master bedroom is sectioned off for a touch of privacy with an adjoining “kids room” on the opposite side. These rooms come equipped with bunk beds and attached trundle beds, while cribs are also available upon request, allowing for plenty of sleeping space.
We stayed in the largest option, a Deluxe Family Room (room no. 148), which offers a large master bedroom and king-size bed that opens to a waterfront patio. The space can be completely separated from the front hallway by a door leading to a large master bathroom with double sinks, a second smaller bathroom and a separate guest or children’s room complete with two twin beds and a flat screen TV. All three accommodation styles have either private patios or balconies.
There are myriad opportunities to get outside and play. Set at the center of the property is the main pool, great for kids to splash around and parents to watch from a distance while they soak up some sun in one of the poolside lounges. For grownups looking for a more tranquil setting, there is an adults-only infinity pool and hot tub located on the edge of the resort. Hint: Next to the infinity pool is Infinity Bar, great for a cold cocktail on a hot afternoon.
On-site water activities include paddle boarding, sailing, waterskiing and wakeboarding on the St. Lucie River, all supervised by lifeguards and trained supervisors.
For fun on land, Club Med Sandpiper Bay offers both open access and organized play for beach volleyball, basketball, bocce ball, table tennis and soccer. We tried our hand at a beach volleyball lesson with one of Club Med’s professional instructors, Sergio Rios, on one of the resort’s several championship courts and can safely say it was quite the workout. In fact, Club Med Sandpiper Bay has partnered with the National Volleyball League (NVL) to establish the world’s first professional Beach Volleyball Academy. Note: Professional instructors are also available for lessons of all levels for tennis, golf and fitness.
Golf enthusiasts will delight in the onsite 18-hole golf course, complete with an outdoor driving range, putting and chipping greens. Need some gear or apparel? The Proshop, located next to the clubhouse and lounge, is stocked with golf necessities for purchase and basic equipment is provided, including Nike golf clubs for rent. Golfers of all ages and experience levels are welcome to hit the green. Bonus: Through October 31, 2016, Club Med Sandpiper Bay is offering free green fees and group lessons for all guests ages 18 and older, staying in any room category. Booking must be made on-site, and optional extras include cart rentals priced at $20 for two people, and equipment on loan for $30 per player.
We should mention that one of Club Med Sandpiper Bay’s most unique offerings is the flying trapeze and circus school. Experienced supervisors lead group lessons six days a week, with each class focusing on a specific movement or skill, such as walking the tight rope, juggling or learning the basics of the flying trapeze or trampoline. Guests of all ages are welcome to participate, and volunteers may even be chosen to take part in one of the evening performances in-front of a crowd.
Looking to stay fit during your stay but not exactly a seasoned athlete? Club Med Sandpiper Bay also offers a range of toning and cardio classes for both beginners and the more experienced, such as stretch-and-tone, power walking, running, swimming, Cardio Fusion, Zumba and Cardio Splash programs, among others. We participated in an hour-long yoga class at sunset in the property’s window-lined fitness center, and were pleasantly surprised by the patience and flexibility (no pun intended) with which the instructor guided the class of mixed experience levels. Yoga and a variety of other fitness classes are also held in the property’s tranquil gardens, outdoor pavilion and on the beach. A 2,500 square-foot gym complete with Life Fitness and Keiser equipment is also available 24/7.
Needless to say, after a full round of sports and activities, we were in need of a bit of pampering. The L’Occitane Spa at Club Med Sandpiper Bay, the only one in the U.S., has five treatment rooms, two dual-treatment rooms, a manicure/pedicure room, Zen area and plenty of relaxing and rejuvenating treatments on offer. We recommend the 60-minute “Deep Tissue” massage, perfect for releasing muscle tension after an intense work out. We especially loved the accompanying lavender massage oils, scented to help relieve stress and aid in relaxation. Afterwards, guests are invited into the open-air Zen area to sip on a detoxifying tea blend and nibble on almonds to re-energize. The space is surrounded by lush greenery and tropical flowers, creating an especially calming atmosphere.
In keeping with the resort’s dedication to all-around wellness, nutrition is also a major focus during a stay at Club Med Sandpiper Bay. We enjoyed sipping refreshing cucumber water and munching on fresh fruit while getting a “mini lesson” on some of the basics of nutrition from Sarah Gauvreau, a certified personal trainer, sports nutritionist and certified balance trainer. She coaches weekly, 45 minute nutrition classes at the resort, educating guests on the best ways of eating to stay healthy and which options are best, based on individual dietary restrictions and activity levels. She even escorts guests to the resort’s Marketplace buffet to help them choose the best options. For those looking for a more intense and immersive nutrition/fitness regimen, Gauvreau also hosts small group classes at a cost of $125 per person for two hours, or for especially focused guests, private classes are available at $125 per person, per hour.
For dining, Club Med Sandpiper Bay offers several options. The Marketplace, situated in the center of the resort, offers a range of cuisine served up buffet-style. Everyday options like pizza, pasta and salad are available throughout the day, along with a variety of other international dishes such as Mexican and Italian, as well as low-fat options. We loved the variety, and throughout our stay never had the same meal twice. (Try the mahi-mahi with some mixed steamed veggies at dinner, and during breakfast be sure to make a stop at the omelet station). Additionally, a wine room is located near the Marketplace entrance where a dedicated sommelier can assist guests in choosing the best vintage to accompany a meal. Note: The Marketplace is open for breakfast from 7am-10am, lunch from 12pm-2pm and for dinner from 6pm-9pm.
Soleil, situated adjacent to the Marketplace, is the resort’s all-day (9:30am – 10pm) casual waterfront restaurant, offering views of the St. Lucie River. Here, guests can come straight from the pool to dine al fresco while catching some sun. There is also the more formal Riverside Grille for dinner, and the Slice, the poolside bar.