momstown writer: Marianne Wisenthal
Unlike most all-inclusive that focus on sun, sand and umbrella drinks, Florida’s Sandpiper Bay is all about getting your game on. Set on the banks of the St. Lucie River, Club Med’s only North American property (so far) houses professional tennis, golf, fitness and beach volleyball Academies (the National League trains here) so coaching and facilities are top-notch. Here’s why your sporty family will have the time of their life:
Kids and adults can take early morning tennis lessons on hard or clay courts, play afternoon rounds at the 18 hole PGA golf club or perfect their serves on one of the eight sand championship volleyball courts. There are private and group lessons and teaching is geared to both amateur and expert levels, so no one will feel left out. For those who are a little less competitive there’s plenty of solo activities like paddle boarding, sailing, Pilates, and a flying trapeze run by circus pros. Watching a four-year-old do a back flip while gliding through the air will be enough to inspire any adult into taking the plunge.
The Kids Club
Club Med was one of the first in the world to offer a kids club concept, and this is one of the best. Sandpiper Bay has its own water park, circus program, full arts and crafts room and a generous staff to kid ratio (3 to 1 for the under-3 set). Babes (from 4 months) have their own gym and a 24-hour bottle room with formula and toddler snacks. Kids will love the scavenger hunts, sandcastle contests and end-of-the-week talent show in the giant theatre. Too-cool-for-school teens can retreat to the Latitude 27 clubhouse, and the Pyjama Club will put wee ones to sleep so parents can enjoy a grown-up cocktail (or two) after dark.
The Spa & Pools
Never fear, some sloth-like resting is occasionally allowed. Reward yourself at the end of an activity-filled day with the Aromachologie Massage at the L’Occitane Spa (tweens can get their own). There are also four fantastic pools depending on your mood: for laps, for babies, for families (with pool-side games and synchronized dancing), and the glorious adults-only Calm Pool and Jacuzzi with swaying palms, river views and its very own bar.
Club Med takes a decidedly European approach to after-dark meaning there’s no kids’ curfew and the Slice Bar has plenty of virgin cocktails and funky beats. Crazy Signs is the resort’s very own choreographed dance routines. You may pooh-pooh it at first, but it’s addictive, the kids can join in and we guarantee you’ll all have your hands up before you’ve reached the bottom of your first bevvy.
There’s a ton to love about Sandpiper Bay but what will really make your week special is the staff (aka GO’s). They’re a friendly French-speaking bunch who’ll know your names by day two. You’ll find them eating, drinking and dancing beside you every night giving the whole place a kind of summer camp feel. The food is fab too. There are loads of healthy options including fresh cold-pressed juices, generous salad bars and plenty of kid-approved picks like burgers, pizza and grilled cheese. Another plus? The spacious Deluxe Family Rooms with terrace, large screen TV, fridge, and separate bedroom (with door!) Bonus: Everything is included (even tips) and doors are unlocked with wristbands (so no lost key cards). Hands up, Baby!