December 3, 2022

  • My family of four recently returned from vacation at Club Med Sandpiper Bay.
  • It is the only all-inclusive family in the United States and has undergone renovations 12 years ago.
  • The resort felt overwhelmed but we would have gone back in a heartbeat to take care of the kids only.

A week ago, my wife and I returned from vacation with our family. Not a trip, a vacation.

The difference is simple. Trips are great experiences: they take children on adventures and experience fun times. We recently took a family trip across Virginia, featuring beaches, zoos, aquariums, water parks, and more. Every day was something new and interesting. The kids had a blast, and by the end of that trip, my wife and I needed a vacation. We were exhausted. Beyond the natural dentures and the energy of being a stay-at-home dad, the trips take a tremendous amount of extra energy. Unfortunately, hotel coffee is usually awful. We’re back from our trip ready to sleep in for a solid week. However, the two alarm clocks—one a 6-year-old and one a 3-year-old—had other thoughts.

So, my wife and I searched for vacations.

We found the only all-inclusive family in the US

We’ve been looking for some kind of experience where we can all have fun, but that includes childcare. We wanted to relax, but we also wanted the kids to have fun. We wanted the whole family to enjoy: a resort with childcare that was great for everyone. Add to the difficulty the need for vegan and childcare options for a 3-year-old, and the list of possibilities was small.

Club Med Sandpiper Bay has been known as one of the “Only all-inclusive resorts for familiesIn the United States, the only resort is Club Med. The resort has been renovated 12 years ago He has an excellent reputation for childcare. We were excited.

So we got there.

The resort felt deteriorated

The resort felt like a luxury lodge. The rooms overlook what can only be described as a dump – an area of ​​sand, weeds, some rubbish and some pipes. The room itself felt like it had been left untouched since the 1980s. Peeling paint, cracked fixtures, and a desk that looks like it was designed by a high school theater troupe.

The entire resort felt overwhelmed, or one early guest described it as “tired”. Broken golf clubs and crumbling mini golf, nothing to do inside, loud music playing until midnight at a resort full of young children. The spa was rude and fully booked, despite telling our travel agent there was no need to book in advance. The front desk could not have been better.

View from Christopher Manino's room

Courtesy of Christopher Manino

In the children’s crafts area, there was a giant Connect Four wooden game. It was the perfect metaphor for the place. From a distance it looked interesting, but up close, the toy was broken, and there were spikes protruding on the sides. All this led me to leave a file 2 star review on Tripadvisor.

We will go again

However, we had a great time and will be back in a heartbeat.

They did amazing kids programmes: our kids were delighted while they were there. We gave them a choice in several days, and they begged to come back with their new friends. They did crafts, spent time in the pool, did dancing, make pizza, and even tried the swing. Their leaders were exceptional.

Despite the rest of the resort, the food was also amazing.

Christopher Manino's baby plays mini golf

Courtesy of Christopher Manino

We weren’t in luxury, but that didn’t matter. We spent vacation. In fact, we were able to enjoy the tropical weather with delicious food and silence at lunchtime. We’ve almost forgotten what that looks like.

We met a family from London who was only traveling between 71 resorts in Club Med. In the father’s words, “Sandpaper Bay is the worst Mid Club, but the only one we go back to annually.” Amazing statement, but I understand.

Vacations are essential, and childcare makes all the difference.

Christopher Manino Up At Home, authorAnd theRelance writer. He writes fiction books for children and adults and lives in Delaware.

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