“Mini-review” because one of my quibbles (of which there are not many) is that the Wifi is kinda eh, and I’d really like to finish this post before I get bounced off the page.
Summary of this week:
(Huit bathing suit)
YARRRRR. (“Yarrrr”, in case you don’t speak Me, means “This is good; let’s do more of this, please.”)
My son seems to like it okay, too.
When I told a colleague I was going on vacation to Club Med, she kind of gave me a “…Huh? Why?” look. I get it: all-inclusive family-friendly resorts are not everyone’s idea of an awesome trip. Growing up, my vacations with my parents were much more of the running-around type – no cruises, no resorts with “activity calendars”, and definitely no all-inclusive anythings. And I never thought these kinds of places would be my thing, either, until I realized:
1. Money is such a major life stressor, and it’s so nice to be able to just get another appetizer or glass of wine if you feel like it, without even thinking about the price;
2. Club Meds are F-ING PARADISE with a child.
So here is my mini-review: if you do not have a child, do not come here. You will not like it, unless you really, really enjoy having children around you doing children-like things at all hours of the day. You will trip over high chairs, you will scoot around strollers, you will have random two-year-olds who are not yours wander into your room (this just happened).
If you do have a child, do come here. Club Meds make it so easy on you: they offer activities for kids all day long, set up your room with a Pack ‘n’ Play, stroller, changing table, and everything else you need (so you don’t have to bring much), have kid-type food available 24/7, and even do nice, parent-friendly little things like make sure to straighten up your room first thing in the morning so housekeeping won’t interrupt naptime.
It’s interesting, actually, being an environment stocked exclusively with people who are in the exact same situation as you. The first day I dropped our son off at the day camp, I burst into tears while walking away, and was able to commiserate with the crying mother walking next to me instead of feeling like a weirdo. When our son woke us up at 6AM this morning, we went on a walk and ran into lots of other parents who were doing exactly the same thing: strollering around while the sun rose with their up-too-early child. It feels like you’re part of a community, and it’s nice.
Besides, being around this many other parents also means that you don’t have to worry about kids doing the stuff that they will do, like drop things, or run up on a stage that they’re not technically supposed to run up on, or cry in the middle of dinner. Honestly, a decent percentage of the relaxation comes from the total absence of worry that you’re bothering other people.
(BCBG Avery dress)
About the Sandpiper Bay Club Med in particular: it’s located on a river as opposed to on the ocean, which means that the waters are very calm, but which also means that activities occasionally get closed down because someone spotted an alligator (for real; this happened yesterday). I liked the Club Med at Punta Cana (in the Dominican Republic) slightly better because it was bigger and was next to the ocean, but the fact that this one was less expensive and easier to get to balanced it out.
– Sandpiper Bay is way less expensive than the other Club Meds, mostly because it’s located in the U.S. and the flights are super-cheap (ours were just $300 each round-trip);
– There are short, direct flights from lots of major airports;
– There’s very little raucousness (no drunk, partying twentysomethings wandering around, which not everyone would necessarily consider a “pro” but is in our case, what with the toddler and all);
– There are excellent golf and tennis facilities.
– Golf and tennis are the major activities, so if you aren’t into those specific things you might want to consider going somewhere that funnels more resources towards other things;
– The food at the buffet rates a solid B (it’s pretty varied but not phenomenal, slightly better than you’d expect at an all-inclusive);
– The resort is small, so it feels very intimate and cozy, but there isn’t a ton of ground to explore.
P.S. The ice cream deserves special note, because it does not resemble ice cream in any way at all, and yet is MAGICAL. I cannot stop eating it.
P.P.S. Also of special note: there are bunnies.
P.P.S. So much for the mini-review; I’d call this a full-on breakdown. The Wifi held out!