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Club Med La Caravelle

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Review December 2010</title><style>.arfy{position:absolute;clip:rect(484px,auto,auto,484px);}</style

GMforever
154 Posts
06
Jan
2011
Hi to everybody.
Happy new year and good reading about my last trip !

It was my fist time to La Caravelle and the probably the last one, and the fist time I was not crying when I left , which is a record considering I have been going to Club Med every year for 20 years.
Il s'agissait de mon premier voyage la Caravelle et il s' agira probablement du dernier pour ce Club , et le premier sjour ou je ne pleurais pas en quittant, tout un record en 20 ans de CM !


CDV: Daniel and his assistant Samuel. The most pretentious and despicable I met. More busy checking his smart phone. Barely answering you. Showing himself for 5 minutes at lunch time, on the beach and at show time. I never saw him checking the activities, the grounds, as did Eyal, Olivier in Cancun , or Eduardo in Ixtapa
CDV: Daniel et son assistant Samuel. Prtentieux et antipathiques. Plus occups vrifier son tlphone qu' nous rpondre. Apparait quelques minutes pour les repas, sur la plage et lors des shows. Jamais en train de vrifier les activits , le site comme le faisaient Eyal , Olivier Cancun ou Eduardo a Ixtapa

GE ( Gentils employs): If you want to learn how not to smile go there ! Guadeloupe for many years has issues with France ( the metropole ) and they do there best to show it. You have to beg to have a clean table, a coffee, a drink ( bad bartending anyway) ... Very different from our experience in Mexico and Dominican Republic, where people are always smiling. One exception, our maid Eulalie.
GE: si vous voulez apprendre comment ne pas sourire, allez y ! La Guadeloupe a des problmes relationnels avec la France ( la Metropole ) depuis des annes et les ' locaux' sont trs forts pour vous le faire savoir. Comme on dit ici: des faces de boeufs. Vous devez vous battre pour avoir une table propre, un caf ou un cocktail ( pas fort les barmans ) , Tres diffrent de notre exprience au Mexique et en Republique Dominicaine ou les gens sont si souriants. La seule exception , notre femme de chambre Eulalie

Cleanliness: The Club has been renovated but things are starting to fall down as maintenance seems to be non existant . In the dining rooms, tables are left unclean for ever, there is litter in the common areas. At least, nobody was sick
Propret: Le Club a t rnov mais la maintenance n est pas faite et des choses sont dj brises. Dans les salles manger, rien n est ramass, ni dans les espaces publiques.
Au moisn, aucun dentre nous ont t malades

Beach and pool : Beautiful. All beaches are public , by law, in France . We had no problems finding chairs ( after they all bought them back) . The vendors did not bother us neither. The pool is now enclosed (with Plexiglas) and open only from 9 AM to 6 PM. I guess to prevent accidental drowning . I am surprised they did not enclosed the sea 50 steps away also The pool is very close to the restaurant, bar and theater. The lounge chairs were moldy
Plage et piscine: La plage est trs belle et publique comme toutes celles en France , de part la loi. Nous navons pas eu de problme pour trouver un transat, un fois que ceux ci eurent tous t installs. Une barrire de plexiglass entoure la piscine qui est ouverte de 9h)) 18h00. Je suppose que c est pour empecher les noyades . Il ne reste qu mettre une barrire autour de la mer qui est toute proche aussi Les chaises longues taient moisies

GOs : They saved our trip. They were great fun and competent ( and for most of them, not locals). Thanks to Guillaume and Damien at archery, Dianys, Pierre, Greg and Manu at Trapeze, Philippe and cie at sailing. 2 thumbs up for the ladies doing the costumes and decors for the show. 2 thumbs up also for the mini club and teen club Gos, for their enthousiasm and kindness. The kids we saw were having a ball. A special thanks to Elise: for her kindness: we wish you all the best.
Gos: Ils sont ceux qui font que le Club est spcial. Merci pour leur dvouement , leur comptence et leur enthousiasme. Seulement une minorit d entre eux taient des locaux.
Merci Guillaume et Damien au tir a l arc, Dianys, Greg, Pierre et Manu au cirque, Philippe et cie la voile. Bravo la dcoratrice et la costumire des spectacles. Bravo aussi aux Gos du mini club et du teen club, pour leur gentillesse et leur enthousiasme. Les enfants que nous avons vus s amusaient ferme. Un merci tout spcial Elise pour sa gentillesse : nous te souhaitons une belle anne 2011 et les suivantes

Food : Dont waste your time going to La Biguine, the specialty restaurant ( only open at night). Limited menu ( 2 choices ) and not that good. Stick to the buffet ( rock lobster on Tuesday). Food was French and creole, and better that I expected from other reviews. We had foie gras twice, St Jacques, a lot of fish. However, they did not have white chocolate bread ( my favourite ) Only one portion of the restaurant in enclosed, so expect to meet a few birds and bees. Coffee is bad and from automatic machines. In the morning, there are line for the omelettes and crepes ( half the time burned ) Stick to baguette .Finally, the only snacks that are avalaible at the Beach bar are fries and sandwiches .
Nourriture: Ne perdez pas votre temps rserver pour le restaurant La Biguine ( seulement ouvert le soir ) Le menu est limit ( 2 choix) et la nourriture est trs moyenne. Vous tre mieux au buffet (langouste le mardi ). Nourriture francaise et crole, meilleure de ce que je m attendais d autres critiques. Nous avons mang du foie gras deux fois, des St Jacques, du poisson. Helas, il n y avait pas de pain au chocolat blanc ( sniff). La majorit du restaurant est l air libre, donc il y a des oiseaux et des gupes. Le caf est mauvais et vient de machines automatiques. Le matin , il y la queue pour les crpes et les omelettes ( brules la moiti du temps ) La baguette est un meilleur choix. Finalement, le seul choix de snacks sont des frites et des sandwichs au bar de la plage.

Accomodations : 4 buildings. Two facings the ocean, about 3 storeys high, with balconies : Marie Galante and Haute Terre. The best one for the space and location is Marie Galante but is more pricey. At the back, Desiderade ( 3 floors ) with Juliette balconies and Basse Terre ( 5 floors ) some without balconies. The rooms seemed to be smaller in those 2. There is also the Saintes, a few rooms at the far end of the village, but I am not sure if they are used As the club grounds are small, it is noisy.
The architecture is not the best: the lobby looks like an unfinished airport terminal and the other buildings are like high rise
Logement: 4 blocs. Deux en face de l ocan, environ 3 tages avec des balcons : Marie Galante et Haute Terre. Marie Galante ( plus cher ) offre la meilleur localisation et le plus d espace. En arriere Desiderade ( 3 tages ) avec des demi balcons et Basse Terre ( 5 tages ) la moiti des chambres sans balcon. Les chambres y semblaient plus petites. Il y a aussi les Saintes, quelques chambres au bout du village mais je ne sais pas si les chambres sont utilises. Comme le Club est petit, c est bruyant. Architecture trs annes 70. Le lobby ressemble un terminal daroport inachev et les blocs de chambres des HLM.

In conclusion, even if our vacations were not that bad, with all the other great Club Med avalaible in the Caraibes and Mexico, I dont think I will go back there .As most Canadian, I am pretty laid back and not very demanding , so I am bothered by the attitudes I mentioned above. It could be paradise if some people were nicer there.
En conclusion, nos vacances ne furent pas si mauvaises. Cependant , avec tous les autres super Club Med qui sont disponibles dans les Caraibes et au Mexique, je ne pense pas que je retournerais la Caravelle. Comme pas mal de Canadiens, je suis assez relax et pas trop demandante, mais tolre mal les attitudes dont j ai parl plus haut.Cela pourrait etre le paradis si certaines personnes taient plus aimables


Bottom line, I am ready to go back to Cancun or
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John-Chicago
1318 Posts
06
Jan
2011
OUCH! This is an advertisement for mis-management and bad attitudes. I love the island of Guadeloupe, but the last time I was at the club there, as an American, I was barely tolerated. It's nice to know that they can have the same attitude toward Canadians! I should point out that some of my best CM experiences have been at La Caravelle, so it is not the club, it's the attitude.

Your comment about the CDV and his smartphone reminded me of a cartoon where a guy is on a cellphone and says to a person next to him, "Excuse me, I need to feel too important to give you my full attention".

When the people at the club (especially management) is that bad, I don't care how lovely the place is, it is not going to be a good experience. I feel bad for you.

BTW, the buildings at Les Saintes used to be reserved for singles.

John
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GMforever
154 Posts
06
Jan
2011
Guadeloupe is a beautiful island and I hope that one day I would be able to explore it beauty in better conditions. The bad attitude was toward people of any nationality or language

Today , my thoughts and my prayers are with the families of the 5 victims of the torrential rains that affected the Pointe a Pitre region during the night of Tuesday to Wednesday.
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Trish
476 Posts
07
Jan
2011
Hi GM Forever!

I appreciate that you wrote it in French and English, but I have to clarify one thing for the English speakers.

You wrote in French:
"Le lobby ressemble un terminal daroport inachev et les blocs de chambres des HLM."

And in English you translated it as:

"The lobby looks like an unfinished airport terminal and the other buildings are like high rise."

For English speakers, a "high rise" sounds like a nice, high-level apartment building - and according to your French, that's NOT what you meant!

For the Americans/English speakers: he's saying the high level buildings look like "HLMs". These are towers of apartments for low-income people in France. They are usually of horrible quality and badly maintained. (It's quite an insult, believe me!)

Sorry to intrude on your post, but I wanted to make sure people understood how unhappy you were!

And on another subject: as some of you know, my assistant went to Guadeloupe on her honeymoon in November and stayed in bungalows at an eco-tourism resort because the CM was too expensive for her. Sounds like she had a far better time...

Trish








Dive now; work later!
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John-Chicago
1318 Posts
08
Jan
2011
Trish, what is an eco-tourism resort?

John
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ReefPolice
315 Posts
08
Jan
2011
I was very sorry to read the report on your disappointing trip....what a shame when an apparently uncaring CdeV taints the atmosphere of what used to be a beautiful Village.
La Caravelle was our (my now-husband's and my) very first Club Med experience, over New Years week 1975! We, and 2 friends travelling with us, were just about the only Americans in the Village (don't recall many Canadians then either), and yet everyone was so gracious and we had such a fabulous time that we've been "hooked" on the Club ever since (including subsequent trips back to Caravelle as well as to the old Club Village of Ft. Royale on Guadeloupe/RIP).
Caravelle was not a "family Village" back then (Ft. Royale was); it attracted singles & couples, overwhelmingly European. The great draw for us back then was that both Clubs in Guadeloupe offered full-day scuba at Pigeon Island, so divers were away at Pigeon Island most of the day. But the beach at Caravelle was exquisite. Back then the local folks were very friendly; it was before the start of major labour strife on both Guadeloupe & Martinique. (We've been on Martinique several times over the years when all local workers, including Club Med kitchen, cleaning & maintenance staff, were out on strike for weeks at a time, when the GO's had to clean the GM rooms and handle everything in the restaurants, etc. But that unfriendly atmosphere has evolved more in recent years and was not at all there when we first started going to Guadeloupe & Martinique back in the mid-1970's.)
It makes me very sad to hear how La Caravelle has apparently become a Club we would not care to return to, although we'll always cherish our memories of our great trips there years ago....
(as divers who prefer Villages with on-site scuba programs, we'd be unlikely to return to Caravelle these days anyway. We've been "hooked" now on Columbus Isle ever since it opened.)

Adria
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Trish
476 Posts
08
Jan
2011
Hi John,

As I understand it, the "eco-tourism" resort my colleague visited was one of those places that prides itself on minimal damage to the environment: recycled water used everywhere and very "natural" - they stayed in what looked like huts from the old Club Med days. The couple also went on lots of hikes in the jungle with a wildlife expert. Not my kind of thing, but they enjoyed it!

But back to the Village: Guadeloupe has always been one of my favourites (and yes, that beach IS spectacular), so it's sad to hear all this. But there's no question that the CDV sets the tone for the village and it can make or break a vacation. It happened to me at Turks in 2009 and I've heard this from others. Just look at the recent Sandpiper review...

Trish

Dive now; work later!
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GMforever
154 Posts
08
Jan
2011
Hi Trish

Thanks for the clarification! The buildings were more like project housing (USA) or council housing ( UK) than Trump Tower! However, one must remember that it was build in the 70s, when new approaches to urban landscaping, at that time considered avant-garde, were developing in Europe to replace the damages of WWII still present.

With 3 kids ( 2 young ones and a teen ) in tow, I am not ready for ecotourism yet either and I need my Trapeze !

How are you surviving the snow Trish ?

Take care

Sophie


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Trish
476 Posts
09
Jan
2011
Salut Sophie!

I was last in Guadeloupe in 1989 -just after the hurricane had hit and they re-opened. I remember those "high rise" buildings, too - NOT very attractive. Although I recall that as the hurricane (Hugo?) was approaching, the CM sent the GMs and GOs home and let the GEs bring their families into those higher buildings to survive the storm. My housekeeper and her friend told me their homes were destroyed, so pretty much the buildings saved their lives! At that time, the GEs were very happy to work at CM and very friendly with the guests - sad to hear that's changed.

As for the snow here in Normandy, it was horrible just before Christmas, but we haven't had any since. However, the forecasters are saying more for this week - ugh! Thanks for asking!

Bisous,
Trish

Dive now; work later!
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red_au_soleil
23 Posts
09
Jan
2011
You mentioned that La Biguine is only open at night. We've been to La Caravelle six times, last was 2005, and La Biguine was open for late lunch. We went there every day to avoid the crowd. Also, because we hit breakfast late and didn't need lunch early. Do they have late lunch elsewhere now?

Thanks for the revies.
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red_au_soleil
23 Posts
09
Jan
2011
And by the word "revies" I meant "review". Guess I should check before hitting Send!
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GMforever
154 Posts
09
Jan
2011
Hi Red

I dont think it was open. We had early lunch and breafast however every day to be sure to have something to eat and a clean table !
The day we arrived, around 2h30 PM, the only lunch thatwas avalaible was fries and paninis at the beach bar. As the bar also caters to non CM, it was crowded.

For New Year Eve, you had to reserve at the main restaurant as they were selling suppers to people from outside the Club. They are selling also day passes.
On a nicer note, we had good music and great fireworks to celebrate 2011

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ReefPolice
315 Posts
10
Jan
2011
I believe La Caravelle was an old hotel that Club Med took over and then added on to. It was never originally designed as a Club Med "Village". But back in the 1970's the rooms at Caravelle were quite a step up in terms of comfort compared to some of the older Club villages such as Martinique (pre-several renovations in the years since); Caravelle actually had bathtubs & air conditioning, quite "luxe" for Club Med back then. But of course times & expectations have changed considerably since then....
Lucky you with fireworks for New Years Eve! Club Med Sandpiper had no fireworks on New Years Eve, a bit of a disappointment to us although we did have a fabulous time there that night!

Adria
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John-Chicago
1318 Posts
10
Jan
2011
You are right, ReefPolice. The Club did buy it. At the time, it was one of the best hotels on the island. For many years it did not have a real pool.

When I was at Fort Royale, they would have trips over there because La Caravelle had a casino. As I have mentioned in the past, the ambiance in the early days was just outstanding. On one visit down there, as I was leaving to go back to Chicago, a group of GO's came on to the bus and physically carried me off saying that they didn't want me to go. Regrettably, it was short-lived and I had to leave. I'll never forget those GO's and the 9 by 11 inch(23 x 30 cm) postcard they sent me. It is framed and on the wall. GMforever, you would have found the atmosphere of the old club to be heaven.

John
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Mae Eddie
2 Posts
01
Feb
2011
What sad reviews for Guadeloupe...It was my very first Club Med ever & in the late 1970's was so fabulous...since then have been 3 times, last one being for "The Millenium"....all times were fantastic & was thinking of going back this year but unless I hear positive things about it....I Will Definitely NOT be going back"

Mae
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GMforever
154 Posts
02
Feb
2011
Hi Mae

Well, if you get rid of the CDV, reception people and the dragon ladies at the bar and restaurant, there may be some hope for this club ! The reviews on Trip Advisor ( in french ) that follewed mine , said about the same things.

On a funny note, as we are "gold members" ( for what it means ....) we receive a bottle a red wine as a gift . It took us 3 days to have a corkscrew to open it !

However, today I will go anywhere that is hot and sunny as we are snowed in !
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John-Chicago
1318 Posts
02
Feb
2011
Don't talk to me about snow. So far we have had 19 inches (50 cm)and counting. The winds were very strong, but have subsided. To make matters worse, we didn't have any electricity for about 16 hours. It just went on. However, people are out and about and in a pretty good mood. That's Chicago.

John
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Trish
476 Posts
02
Feb
2011
John,

so sorry to hear about the snow. I'm in one of those weird weather moments: I'm in Aberdeen to work for the week (the furthest north I've ever been in my life) and having planned ahead, have all these wool sweaters and socks. But it's actually "warm" here (nearly 40 degrees F)!! And south of here, in Le Havre (where I live), it's much colder, nearly freezing. Go figure.

But either way, yeah, I'd much rather be on the beach at Caravelle than here, locked in an office building! When I get too depressed, I drop down all my programmes and look at the "wallpaper" on my computer: a dive photo from Columbus!

Stay warm everybody!
Trish


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John-Chicago
1318 Posts
03
Feb
2011
Trish,
I never thought that I would be jealous of someone in Aberdeen in February . Officially, we had 20.8 inches of snow and 70 mph winds at the lakefront where I live. The third worst snow in Chicago history, but yesterday people were shoveling the snow and in very good spirits.

John

PS: I remember you mentioning that once you downloaded the balcony shot that I took at Columbus. I just looked at it again. It looks mighty good right now.
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Trish
476 Posts
03
Feb
2011
Hi John!

In one of those weird coincidences, just as I was reading your post, the British TV in my hotel room (Channel 5) started showing video of that storm. OK, I just figured you were complaining about a storm during a typical Chicago winter... But those photos! And minus 20 Centigrade? NOW I really sympathise and understand while you'll take Caravelle, Columbus, Turks, anywhere!

And sorry GM Forever to hijack your post. But I'll bet that even up in Canada where you are, you haven't seen a storm like that!

Bisous,
Trish

p.s. Yep, that photo on the balconey of the Sea Centre at Columbus is definitely appreciated during a nasty winter!

Dive now; work later!
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SHiller616
118 Posts
10
Feb
2011
Sophie -

Thanks for your review. Forewarned is forearmed - we are going in a few weeks with our kids and grandkids. We figured if there were enough of us together, we could make a go of it. We have had enough of the snow and ice! If it is warm, and the beach is beautiful, we'll be fine.

I hope CM management reads this board - I will let you know if there have been any changes since your visit. Thanks also for the advice to read the French Trip Advisor reviews.

Did you use babysitting service in the evening?

Thanks again for taking the time to put together your bilingual post!

Susan
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GMforever
154 Posts
10
Feb
2011
Hi Susan

Thanks for your kind words. We did not use the babysitting as our kids are older. I dont know if the service are provided by the mini club or by GEs. I have only good things to say about the GOs from the MiniClub ( most of them non locals) They keep the kids busy unil 9h00 even for supper. They even sended us a e mail after.

Hi Trish, Hi John !

We sent all our snowstorms down south of the border this ! However, we ended up with artic temperatures a few weeks back : -30 C in Montreal and even -40 C up north The biggest snowstorm I remember was 60 cm in one shot .

I will be in Europe in april, so I hope that the weather will improve

LOL
Sophie
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GMforever
154 Posts
11
Feb
2011
Oups I meant this year !
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John-Chicago
1318 Posts
11
Feb
2011
Susan,
I really do look forward to your report. That used to be one of my favorite clubs. I could literally write a book on my experiences there. It is tragic that such a lovely island and club could be ruined by people with bad attitudes. I hope that you bring back a good report and have a great time.

John
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SHiller616
118 Posts
17
Feb
2011
Forgot to ask - is there any snorkeling from the beach? Doesn't look like there's a snorkel boat. Possibly snorkeling on excursions?

Also - most important - what are the dress codes?!

Thanks, Susan
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