My girlfriend and I chose this resort for a worry-free, all-inclusive, golf getaway.
We arrived at the resort on a Friday evening after a long day of travel, looking forward to the advertised cocktail welcome. We were offered water or lemonade and told to wait because our reservation could not be located. It turns out our reservation was for the following month. It took the agent at the front desk several trips to a back room, the purpose for which we could not discern, to figure this out. She finally emerged with a telephone number, advising us to call club med's toll-free reservation line for help. That number, by the way, was to what appeared to be a sex line. We accessed the internet from our phones to get the correct number. (Although the resort has wireless fidelity, it is not included in the “all-inclusive” package.)
After more than 10 minutes of listening to club med's tropical theme song, we were live with a defensive customer service agent. After several more periods on hold, the agent finally returned to say we were out of luck because the dates were confirmed at the time the reservation was made. Rather than arguing over fault, we asked the agent to check current availability, since we had traveled all the way from Chicago and were standing in the lobby. The agent informed us we could stay for an additional $161 per person in a "pre-renovated" room without a view (we had originally reserved a renovated room with a bay view). After threatening never to return to a club med and several more minutes on hold, the agent finally waived the $161 additional fee and we were in!
The "pre-renovated" room was, for lack of a better word, gross. Mildew and mold growing up pale turquoise tile, a 19” tube tv suspended from the wall, a buzzing window unit beside aluminum patio doors, water pressure not strong enough to rinse shampoo, and décor dating back at least three decades.
We left the room in search of food and that cocktail we were promised. We walked into MarketPlace, the buffet restaurant. No one greeted us and it was unclear whether we were to seat ourselves. Using our survival skills, we staked claim to an empty table for two, located utensils and hit the buffet. We could not procure fresh water or, more importantly, wine.
Still in search of that cocktail, we went to Slice, the only bar. The bartenders were great! I don't know if they were part of the "G.O. team," whatever that is, but we were finally getting our warm, cocktail welcome. The drink selection was poor (budweiser beer only, off-brand liquors and pina colada/strawberry daiquiris supplied by vats of partially solidified premix), but the bartenders were willing to mix on request.
I went to the yoga class the following morning. It was held outside on newly-laid, bumpy sod near the gazebo that overlooks the river. Towels, rather than traditional yoga mats, were provided. These conditions restricted the practice to stretching, and while I normally like a more intense workout, the sights, smells and sun made for a relaxing start to the day.
We went to Soleil, the a la carte restaurant, for breakfast. Again, there was no one to greet us, so we sat down at a cleared table. There was one server for about ten tables and no one to bus. It took about 20 minutes to be acknowledged and another 15 minutes for coffee.
With our clubs in tow (club storage is not included in the “all-inclusive” package), we headed for the course. The pro shop did not have our golf reservation in its system and directed us back to the resort’s front desk. The agent there could not tell us why there was a problem and would disappear into the back for several minutes at a time, only to return with no new information. It was as if there was a crystal ball in back that was slow to reveal whether we would play golf that day. After several minutes of waiting and confirmation that we had, in fact, paid for two days of unlimited golf, we decided to leave. The next time the agent returned from the mysterious back room, we asked her to resolve the issue with the pro shop and walked out.
We checked in with the starter and told him we were walking nine. He started us without incident. Two shots later, he approached and said walking is not allowed on the course until 2 p.m. My girlfriend headed back for a cart while I finished the hole. She returned a foursome later, having been redirected to the front desk to retrieve paperwork confirming our golf reservation for the pro shop. On a positive note, she received a ride from a pro shop staff member that time.
The course itself was unimpressive. The highlight was the wildlife. We saw an alligator, cool birds and a fox! On Saturday morning, there was a beverage cart on the course. Service did not extend into Saturday afternoon or Sunday and the beverages/snacks were not included in the “all-inclusive” package.
We returned from golf to see that a large group had checked into the resort. This must have prompted management to staff the place. We were greeted at dinner, seated, served, etc. The service died down again on Sunday, but not to the state of desolation we experienced during the first 24 hours of our stay.
I have vacationed at a handful of all-inclusive, 4-star resorts in Mexico and one in the Dominican Republic. The food at Sandpiper was on par with these resorts. The drinks did not flow in the same way. The room accommodations were the worst I have seen. The pool, restaurant and other primary common areas look nicer on the website than in person. The yoga program needs work but the fitness facility was well equipped and clean.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover the Floridian charm in our renovated all-inclusive family resort of Sandpiper, nestled by the Saint Lucie River which provides fun and excitement on the beach or on sailboats. Travel to Club Med Sandpiper Bay with your family and enjoy a carefree all-inclusive vacation amidst a full-amenity resort where families can discover incomparable sports and children's programs. Make the most of your vacation to discover tennis, golf and fitness with our top coaches in the Club Med Academies. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Club Med Sandpiper Bay Hotel Port Saint Lucie
- Med Sandpiper Club
- Club Med Sandpiper Florida
- Club Med Port Saint Lucie
- Sandpiper Club Med
- Club Med Port St Lucie
- Port Saint Lucie Club Med
- Club Med Sandpiper Bay Florida/Port Saint Lucie