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“Pretty darn good trip”

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Club Med Columbus Isle
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in San Salvador
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 26 July 2014

This was our 8th Club Med experience and our first at this resort. My wife and I spent 2 weeks at this great location. It was just about the perfect island retreat we were looking for. Getting off the airplane we encountered one of our more unique customs and baggage claim experiences, all I can say is that it set the tone for the rest of the trip - very laid back. The GO's were waiting for us on the other side of the fence with a cool drink, cold towel and room keys. After a short bus ride we were greeted by more GO's, then given a short tour on the way to our room. When making our reservation, we requested and received a room halfway between the scuba and pool area. It was a room that was dated but functional. Like many other reviews our A/C just barely worked. The wife was really worried about the reports of the sand fleas but we followed the recommended procedures and did not have any issues. As an extra precaution we did not go on the beach before 10 am and got off by 4pm and stayed away from the beach grass. That still gave us ample time to be on the most beautiful - postcard perfect white beach - to get suntanned. As for activities, we are not the most athletic, but we go on vacations to just unwind, relax and this was the place for us. The resort was about 90+% full, but it sure did not feel like it. I would guess that the mix was about 80% French speaking and 20% English. Most everyone was polite and respectful. We had only one evening rain day that postponed the outdoor pool dinner to another day, but otherwise it was warm and sunny. We found the Boutique to be very expensive when compared to the other Club Meds (CM) we have visited. We actually found out that CM has started to contract out their stores - as a result the prices have substantially increased, so be prepared and bring enough insect repellant and sun lotion. The food was pretty good, but unfortunately not the best we have had at CM. Presentation was good but for us but the food lacked the quality taste we had become accustomed to. Thinking back it probably has to do with the limited flights and fresh produce they provide to the resort. Christopher, the Chief of the Village, did his rounds with visiting people, but his heart does not seem to be into it. His english speaking is about as good as my French, so I have no room to complain, but he tries. Being part of the english speaking minority of 20%, it did not phase me. My wife and I found it fun communicating with the French speaking couples from Quebec and France during dinner. The resort overall needs a little TLC and shows wear. A remodel is scheduled, but I am curious to hear how comprehensive it will be. Overall I would give the resort only a very good rating because of the A/C issues and the food. Would I go again...yes.

Room Tip: For a more quiet evening experience when making reservations request a room near the scuba area.
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Kenai-Flyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 July 2014

General: Date of visit – w/c July 12th. Us - repeat Club Med vacationers - been to Columbus Isle twice previously. Room: 614 upper level with sea view. Weather - great, mid to high 80’s, with some cloud – its rainy season in the tropics. Hotel occupancy rate– fully booked!
Quick summary:
• The Columbus Isle resort is relatively small and there is little else on the island, so this is definitely a resort for the get away type and not the down town disco/shop till you drop folks.
• The bay/beach/water color/ water clarity are all nothing short of spectacular.
• The rooms are quite large but quite basic and yes, there are some cracked tiles, stained tile grout etc.. Shower was great with lots of hot water. Good closet space. Maid did a great job of cleaning every day. If you can look past the surface flaws, the room is quite comfortable. However, If you insist on 4+ star accommodation, go some place else.
• GO’s/Chief Of Village: As always, very impressive – always friendly, enthusiastic, energetic, engaging etc. Incredible how they all work so hard and yet maintain this attitude.
• Gardens: Tropical but quite natural, with a lot of sandy areas in between the palms etc. No lush landscaping and multiple pools/lagoons.
• Water Sports: Great. More Hobie Cats, wind surfers and paddle boards available than I remember in the past. Water skiing always very popular.
• Snorkeling/diving: One of the best locations for both. Free snorkel trips available twice per day, with professional crew.
• No archery or trapeze/circus at this resort.
Clientele: About 80% French, which is higher that we found previously, probably due to our vacation coincided with European school vacations. Even the Fort Lauderdale flight included quite a number of French speakers, as they were also visiting Disney/Keys/South Beach etc.. Almost all the French/Quebec folks speak English though, as do the GO’s, so not a problem for us.
Food: The quality and selection of the food in the buffet is truly quite remarkable. It was very good on previous visits, but I think even better this trip! The specialty restaurant need work though as it enjoyed few customers on the one night we visited. Given its great view over the Caribbean and the ambiance of the setting, it should do better. The location way at the south end of the resort may be an issue for some. Reservations required to be made the previous day, combined with slow service and a limited menu may also be factors.
Room Air Conditioning: The AC struggled at best. Even when keeping the shutters drawn over the patio window to keep the westerly sun out of the room - which also eliminated the gorgeous sea view we paid extra money for - the temperature did not get much below about 80 degrees I would guess (no temperature readout on the thermostat). We asked for the AC to be checked out by maintenance, but this did not make any noticeable difference. As the bathroom area does not have a specific AC vent, relying on cooler air circulating in from the main bedroom vent, this areas was particular warm and sweaty. The AC on previous visits seemed to work better. We survived without real discomfort, but the “ice box” folks will need to beware, as inefficient AC seems to be a common complaint.
Charter flight out of Lauderdale: Departure from Lauderdale is mid-day and so arrival time at the resort is mid-afternoon. Result - most of day lost. Thoughtfully Club Med provided a late lunch for us all. On departure day, bags must be outside the room by 8:30AM and flight check-in completed between 9:30 and 10.30AM – for a flight that does not leave until 2:30PM. Result – most of the day lost. Surely some improvements could be made here? The incoming charter flight should departed/arrive earlier in the day. The return flight would then also depart earlier, which would also provide extra time for connections out of Lauderdale.
Tennis: A while back, the resort was seriously excoriated by a guest who was also a tennis pro, for the lack of safety and quality of its tennis program. Management appears to have reacted positively to the criticism. Roger was the head of the tennis program, with Kevin his French accomplice. Together they are one of the better tennis professionals you will find. Coaching was effective and fun and care was always taken to clear balls from the court etc. The tennis courts themselves are clay and there are ten of them! I assume that water must be at a premium on the island though, as the courts were always very dry.
Beach chair hogs: As always seems to be the case, it was often difficult to locate sun beds under the shade umbrellas, as most were preoccupied protecting towels from the hot sun. There was no shortage of sun beds, despite the hotel being fully booked, just a shortage of shaded areas under which to position them. A couple of new wood and canvas shade “tents” have been constructed at the south end of the beach and these significantly increased the available shaded area as well as allow more than just one couple to sit together under an umbrella. More of these tents should be erected.
Renovation: the big renovation planned for September/October is not to renovate the existing rooms, as most appear to believe. The pool and bar/dining room area to be renovated and a new spa and block(s?) of family rooms built - which will be available for purchase.
Pool side patio area: This imminent renovation may well address this issue, but currently the quite large under-cover wooden deck area by the side of the pool and bar, is significantly under-utilized in my view. It is furnished with dark wood, low and long tables and chairs. The look is quite elegant, but the result is an uncomfortable partially reclined sitting position with guests seated far apart. High top tables and bar stools would triple the available seating, as well as provide a more comfortable and convivial seating arrangement in this valuable undercover, outdoor sitting area.
Thrill of the week: Walk downs the road to the end of the runway by the beach (less than a mile) prior to 12 noon on Wednesday, to observe the Paris jumbo fly in 30 feet above your head!
Summary: We had a great vacation, hated to leave, but have already booked to return in April.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
5  Thank Florida5000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2014

Our group consisted of myself, wife two kids 16 and 12, mother sister-in law and her boyfriend. We went scuba diving daily which could not have been better, great visibility, beautiful healthy dive sites and a great dive team. As far as all inclusives go none really compare. The food at club med resorts is in a league all to it's own breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday with a new theme could not be better. The entire team is helpful and pleasant all of the time, you always feel comfortable and welcome. There are many activities everyday that you can chose to be a part of or just relax and sip cocktails. I have one complaint for activities though there used to be archery at this location that I was looking forward to, also trapeze should be at every club med. I have read some complaints about the rooms, if you are going on vacation to stay in a nice room this is not it. The rooms are clean and in good shape but you don't take a trip to paradise to sit in a pretty room. You don't have to research any further just book a trip here or any club med resort you will not be disappointed.

Room Tip: Ask for a cheap room, why spend more money for a room you'll only be in to sleep and shower.
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Thank Johndell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 July 2014

This is our second time Club Med experience, last year we stayed at Turkoise – Turks and Caicos, we had a great time, Columbus Isle was even better. First I want a thank G.O. Christian J Ramirez, our Scuba Instructor Stuart Kyle and Monica. When we arrived, G.O’s were waiting for us outside the small airport of Columbus Isle (really small), check in is right there, we got our room key, they took care of our luggage , 5 min ride to Hotel, as always nice G.O’s welcome and first cocktail. No waiting for check in 45 min or more like in other All-inclusive Hotels. Hotel looks in nice shape. Christopher’s restaurant was still open for lunch, we had crab legs, very good, and wine is really good, Chilean. Very nice spacious well decorated room, fridge, TV, A/C etc. Nice Ocean view, although second floor has a better view. All rooms have an ocean view, we had a regular club room. If you want to learn scuba diving, this is the place to start. Ask for Stuart, he is a really good instructor, he was really patient with us and was concerned we were prepared before going into the ocean. Scuba Diving course “took” 4 days of our time, but we were most of the time out in the ocean or swimming in the pool and sometime in the classroom. (One morning and one afternoon). It would have been better to do the Padi online before arriving. Really beautiful diving spots, we went to 5 different spots (one new every day). Stingrays, sharks, lionfish, snapper and more. Wall is incredible. Watling’s is only open Saturdays, Mondays, Thursday and Friday if not mistaken, don’t forget to reserve, new dishes every night, nice ocean view. Disco is only open Monday, had nice time. In addition you can party every night at beach with GOs. When Watlings was not open they had a nice buffet next to the pool. Don’t miss breakfast or lunch at Christopher’s, there’s not too much to eat after breakfast and lunch time. Drinks where good, they had Sands Bahamian beer instead of Kalik, cocktails are good too, depends mostly on G.O. Beach is beautiful, there is no one bothering you, enough chairs, don’t forget to pick up towels, you won’t get them in the afternoon. Swimming pool is not too big, temperature is ok. Chairs are ok. You won’t get bored, Water skiing, sailing, snorkeling, volleyball and scuba diving didn’t try windsurfing because of lack of time. We did the island Tour with Snake Eyes, Lighthouse, Watlings castle or what’s left of it. Nice beaches around the island. Spot where Columbus landed, it took one afternoon. Shows at night are 90% in French, so be prepared to just watch if you don’t speak French like us, this tends to be a problem at this hotel. The chief of the village despite its limited English skills was really nice with us.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank josearey79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 July 2014

This was our second trip to Columbus Isle. We went last year and enjoyed ourselves so much we decided to return a second time. Another family joined us bringing our party to a total of 14!
The beach is breathtaking...there are no other words. As you fly over the water from Ft. Lauderdale you can feel yourself relax. The colors are unlike any other you have seen before.
The airport is small and it is painstaking to stand there and wait knowing that gorgeous beach is on the other side but you have to. As soon as you are done you can run right over to the sandy beach and jump in.
Yes, the rooms are dated, but, as others have said, you are NOT there for the rooms. The beach is why you are there. The rooms need an update but the women who clean them do a great job and they are spotless.
There are sand flies, bring some OFF, or bug spray, spray it on late in the evening and early in the morning. Don't bring the towels in your room or your shoes and you won't bring them in. Rinse our your bathing suits and hang them in your shower. You're in the tropics.
Food-it was great. There wasn't a bad meal. I should know, I couldn't fit in my clothes when I left. The chefs all make an excellent meal and take great pride in their work. Henrietta does a great job in the morning with her omelets, be PATIENT. In the evening the gentlemen are making art it takes time, be PATIENT. The food is worth the wait.
Drinks-There are some great bartenders and there are some great bartenders. Thank you again and again for all that you did for our families. Goodness knows we ordered enough drinks!!
Allan, Wendell, and Dembo you deserve a great big shout out for all of your tireless work serving us drinks. THANK YOU!!!!!
We did water ski this year and I must say the gentlemen out there were very patient and did a wonderful job. Thank you for all of your time.
While we did go over to water sports we did not spend as much time as we did last year, and, unfortunately, this is because the personnel was not as friendly as last year. Fred and Bryson were extremely friendly and helped us as well as our teens and this year the team did not want to seem to be bothered.
That seemed to be more noticeable this year than last. Last year, the group ate with us and were very friendly. This year they seemed to eat together as a group and not be as friendly as last year. One of the women even mentioned to my son that he should have put away the soccer net. I was taken aback by this since I thought the equipment was for us to use.
Lastly, Melissa from the gift shop was incredibly rude to my family. It was very surprising. I was shocked to be treated in that manner from an employee of Club Med.
Apart from those few mishaps, I must say the property, beach and food can not be beat. Fortunately, there are employees and locals that represent Club Med that are truly great people that deserve recognition.
Thank you for all that you do!!

Room Tip: We had an upper level room last year and this year a lower level room. We opted for the lower level...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
4  Thank mcoppotelli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2014

Just back from a week at Columbus Isle where we had a great time... As a seasoned Club Med traveler (previously been 7 times to 3 other locations), I will comment on some relevant details of this resort:

1. gorgeous, gorgeous beach with plenty of comfortable chairs and available shade
2. excellent water sports (with good equipment available) including: water skiing (special shout out to Pierre, Annie and Johnaton), windsurfing (many thanks to Roger), sailing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, kayaking (did not dive this trip, but heard it was also good)
3. reasonably good and entertaining evening shows
4. nice overall feel of the resort with GOs who were engaging yet not overwhelming
5. this location is about 2/3 French speaking (1/3 France; 1/3 Canada) and 1/3 English speaking
6. although the exterior/location of the rooms are pleasing, the interior of the rooms are very dated (our shower really needed re-tiling and the water pressure was horrendous) and the AC functioned very poorly (even after being "fixed") plus we also had an ant problem despite reporting it several times.
7. food is pretty good, although have had better at another location. The vegetable and fruit selection could be improved upon.
8. there are some mosquitoes, but this is to be expected and it was tolerable even with the use of only "skin so soft"
9. we did not experience "sand fleas" during our stay, but did follow the written instructions given to us.

All is all, this a great resort. I would like to thank the GOs and locals who work hard to make the GM's vacations even more enjoyable. I would have given 5 stars if the room was just a little better. We spend almost no time in the room, but having ants, very poor AC and an unpleasant shower affected the minimal time we did spend there ( although mostly the ants affected the rating). However, we do plan to return to beautiful Columbus Isle next year!!!

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank m f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 July 2014

When my husband told me he wanted to get away from everything and enjoy a great beach, I thought about Club Med. They have the best part of beach wherever you go. They charter the air from FLL and it is from Saturday to Saturday. We had a great time, the beach is absolutely stunning, the colors of the water is hard to believe. Starting I believe April they have the water ski and it is included! We had a deluxe oceanfront room, beautiful view. Clean but can't call 5 star, we had small ants in the bathroom etc, but it is tropics! They tell you about the sand flies, which made me feel panicky but we got lucky no bites and I did not use any insect repellent, maybe the time of the year and we did all the suggestions that they wrote a paper they left in our room. Remember tough, Club Med is not for everyone, if you wish value, amazing beach, snorkeling, tons of activities and nice food, this is for you. Most people I talked to were there also for scuba. Lots of people are repeat clients, not small kids around. When we were there maybe 1/3 from Europe (mostly French), 1/3 Canadians and 1/3 Americans.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank CaTraveltheworld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Club Med Columbus Isle

Address: Cockburn Town, San Salvador
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Bahamas > Out Islands > San Salvador
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in San Salvador
Price Range: £326 - £640 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Club Med Columbus Isle 4*
Number of rooms: 216
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Discover the refinement of the Bahamas during your stay at Columbus Isle. The heavenly all-inclusive resort of Columbus Isle is a paradise for diving and honeymoon vacations. Travel to Club Med Columbus Isle as a couple and enjoy a carefree all-inclusive vacation in this secluded resort on the Caribbean Sea. Indulge in a massage* by the ocean or relax by the pristine beach. As one of the top 5 wall diving destinations in the Caribbean, this luxurious hideaway is also the best luxury resort for couples. This environmentally-friendly resort also offers a wide range of activities and sports for adults. No matter what your travel expectations are, you'll find the amenities at Columbus Isle to be more refined than anywhere else: premium oceanfront accommodations, oceanfront massage* palapas, and scuba diving* in one of the best diving spot worldwide. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Club Med Columbus Isle Hotel San Salvador
Club Med San Salvador
San Salvador Club Med
Columbus Isle Club Med
Club Med Columbus Isle Bahamas/San Salvador

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