Family all-inclusive hotels in the U.S. are limited, so it is always a good idea to make sure that the one you are choosing is as fresh and up-to-date as possible. Club Med, Sandpiper Bay on Florida’s St. Lucie River (the only Club Med in the U.S.) is just a few weeks away from closing its doors to undergo a $25 million enhancement, beginning August 20. Here are a few things you need to know for the family-oriented resort’s grand reopening in December.
A New Look
Upon renovation, the 216-acre Sandpiper Bay resort will add a 7,000-square-foot fitness center, championship tennis facilities and an 18-hole golf course onsite. Note: The resort will also provide access to more than 16 other golf courses in the area.
Guests will have a choice of new accommodations, including Deluxe Family rooms with two separate bedrooms. Three new restaurants will also be added and enhancements will be made to the children’s programs.
Plans are still being finalized on many of the resort’s details. Two out of the three restaurant concepts have been completed. The first will feature buffet-style dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The second, set on the river, will offer table service, “beach café” style. The third dining option has not been completed yet.
The fitness center will be 10 times its current size. The now 700-square-foot center will reopen with 7,000 square feet of space, including cardio dance and yoga studios and outdoor meditation areas. Clients can hit the spa after a workout to indulge in treatments, massages and facials in one of seven treatment rooms (with both indoor and outdoor options). The spa will also include a mani/pedi station.
Tennis School Onsite
When learning about the renovations, one of the plans caught our eye—the creation of a tennis academy, The Club Med Sandpiper ITA, in conjunction with Florida’s International Tennis Academy. We spoke with Managing Director Kevin Batt, who shed more light on the plan.
“The tennis academy will be powered by Gabriel Jaramillo and Scott Del Mastro,” Batt tells us. Jaramillo, a 30-year tennis veteran, has trained the likes of Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova and Pete Sampras. Del Mastro is the current tennis expert at the International Tennis Academy. Greg Breunich, former senior vice president of IMG, also played a major role in the project’s ideation. The three combined have put together an elite program that matches the all-inclusive style.
The tennis training program fits in perfectly with the resort’s family theme, as the training environment will cater to juniors, adults, families and even professionals. Included in the hotel package, it will be available for players as young as four, offering daily group classes. Private lessons can be scheduled for an additional cost.
The ITA at Sandpiper will offer competitive junior players intensive weekly programs year-round as well as elite summer camps and annual boarding for those training for a professional competition. (Visit www.itausa.com for more information about the International Tennis Academy USA.)
Guests will have access to six clay courts, 14 hard courts, one stadium court, a new pro shop, training facilities and a 12,000-square-foot clubhouse.
The aim is to expand this type of service to other Club Meds. “This is our first of, we hope, many other Club Med academies,” says Batt. “We could take this to our Punta Cana property, where we have great space to possibly open a soccer academy. Our French Riviera location would be great for another tennis destination.”
The Club Med Experience
With the all-inclusive package, guests are entitled to Club Room accommodations; all-day dining; open bar; tennis lessons; programs for children of all ages; group classes; sports; access to any of the five pools; and evening entertainment.
Sandpiper Bay’s location also puts guests at the doorstep of many of Florida’s attractions—a cruise on the St. Lucie, for instance, or a trip to the Kennedy Space Center, Universal Studios or Walt Disney World.
Although Club Med, Sandpiper Bay, is the only Club Med in the U.S., the dream is to increase their footprint in the future. “Right now there are no concrete plans because our focus is on Sandpiper,” says Batt. “But we have a lot of hope.”
Club Med handles all travel agent inquiries via its web site or at 1-888-CLUB-MED.