Club Med Sandpiper Bay

Information - Details - G.O's - News - Gallery - Car - Flights - Map - Quote Request

Sandpiper renovations

cetonese
2 Posts
01
May
2011
Can anyone shed light on the progress of renovations -
1. when will the new fitness center be open - I thought it was planned for Spring 2011 but saw somewhere that it will not be open before early 2012

2.When will the new deluxe rooms be open?

3. Are they planning to heat all the swimming pools - Florida in Winter needs a helping hand .....

4. When will all the room upgrades / renovations be finished?

5. does Club Med take tripadvisor reviews to heart - wow, Sandpiper has made a lot of people upset - particularly quality of rooms etc

All comments appreciated - we are going there in December 2011..

Thanks
Please login or register to reply
crose
2 Posts
01
May
2011
I'm recently back from Sandpiper so here are my thoughts.

1. The construction of the new fitness center has not started. It keeps getting pushed back and I think they've decided to change the location so nothing has really been done as far as I can tell. However, there is a temporary fitness center and I was pleasantly surprised by its size and quality. A decent number of weight machines, 2-3 treadmills, 2-3 ellipticals, 3 exercise bikes, 10 spin bikes and free weights. The village was at capacity during my visit but there were never too many people in the fitness center. I didn't see anyone ever waiting for equipment. The temporary fitness center gets high marks from me, which makes me wonder if the new fitness center has been taken off the agenda for now.

2. Don't know the answer to this, but I'm guessing that deluxe won't be worth any added cost. More on this below.

3. Doubtful. I believe only the adult pool is heated, but even its water was cold some days during our recent trip (80-90 temps outside) when the wind was coming around that point. There is a hot tub by the adult pool. My first trip to sandpiper was in Dec 2002 and it was sometimes chilly, but I do remember spending time in pools (unheated) mid-day.

4. I'm not sure there is any date set in stone but I suspect it will be a few years. The only major things that seem to be left are completing the renovations of the rooms and building the new fitness center. The only current work I noticed was work on some of the public bathrooms. But they could have suspended work on more major projects during the high capacity spring break season.

5. They are very aware that people are disappointed in the renovated rooms and that there were bumps in the reopening. They are trying to work things out, but I'm not sure what they can do about the physical aspects of the renovation that have been flops. (Club Med, here's a hint - stop using words like "deluxe" and "luxury" and maybe people will be less likely to complain when they don't get deluxe and luxury). I've been going to sandpiper for years and I too was disappointed in the new rooms, but really only because club med built up expectations well beyond what it could meet. We never spend much time in the rooms at sandpiper so it didn't bother us. The old rooms are/were really run down but I knew what I was in for. As long as people's expectations were measured before they arrived, they generally seemed to be ok with what they got when they arrived. But then club med really touted this big renovation, and the new rooms are not up to the standard they set for themselves. The new rooms are brighter and less dingy, but they have cheap furniture that won't last. Some toilets were painted with red paint (and if you have ever painted a wall red, you can imagine how well it worked out on toilets). Cheap fixtures that already are broken. No soap dish or shelf in the shower. One of the more bizarre things is that there is no furniture to put your clothes in. You can put them on the shelves in the closet, but that can be a bit difficult to navigate with 4-5 people. And the beds are still rock hard. The rooms are still livable, but Club Med didn't handle the renovation well - in both execution and communication.

All that being said, we never went for the rooms before so it doesn't really impact my views on the place. I also feel strongly that if the rooms turn you off from sandpiper, it probably wasn't a good fit for you anyway because the rooms aren't what club med is about. It just frustrates me because I strongly believe in the company and what it stands for, but club med itself seems to have a hard time figuring that out for itself.

There are some great things about the renovations - the grounds are beautiful, the bar is much better now and all the new outside seating is nice (though I wonder if it will hold up). The splash park is great for young ones. Marketplace is nicer (but a lot of the community feeling is lost because there are a lot more smaller tables so people are more likely to stick to themselves).

I don't want to discourage you on the renovations. We are going back - probably in Dec too. The only reason we haven't booked yet is because we haven't decided whether to book a renovated or an old room. They only reason we are considering booking renovated again is because our kids did enjoy the bunk beds.
Please login or register to reply
cetonese
2 Posts
03
May
2011
Thanks so much for the balanced view and detailed reply.

I think you are absolutely right about building-up expectations by using words like luxury and deluxe - and using photos and pdf brochures that are a far cry from reality. It would most definitely help if the Club was more transparent about the progress of the renovations - the fantastic new fitness center is a key part of their communication and they make it sound like it already exists - if it doesn't exist then they should be clear about what there is in the interim. The whole fitness accent was a key reason for my choice of Sandpiper - it is good to know that there is a usable, fairly decent gym but it is not the WOW fitness center I was expecting.

They also advertise deluxe category rooms as an option but they don't exist - apparently they are the only non-family rooms with a Bay View. So, to have a bay view, you have to book a family room - at least, until the deluxe rooms are built, whenever that might be. (This is from a reliable source)

From an unknown source, I read somewhere that the wine served is Bulgarian and terrible quality - not even the CDV will drink it. I don't know how true that is - but they advertise premium drinks. There is a lot of good wine around at very reasonable prices - so, it will be a shame to discover that the basic wine offered is really that bad and you have to buy anything that is drinkable....maybe you can comment on that one?

Not heating all the pools in a Florida climate is also strange - they will be mostly unusable in the winter months - what a shame after the investment they just made!

I agree that the Club is not just about your room but many features advertised about the new Sandpiper are just not valid - at least for the moment.

Still there are a few months to go before december - so perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised (yes, am managing my expectations differently now). Your review was encouraging, too, so thanks again.
javascript:insertsmilie('')
I will post feedback after I go there in December.
Please login or register to reply
kinners
52 Posts
03
May
2011
Crose, thanks for the detailed post. Have not been to Sandpiper in years and was a little curious about the changes.

Lara
Please login or register to reply
crose
2 Posts
06
May
2011
Yes, the wine is Bulgarian - hard to make that up. If Lionel said he wouldn't drink it, I wouldn't put too much weight on that. He is French, after all. He probably turns his nose up at California wine as well. The Bulgarian wine is not something I'd ever purchase, but it wasn't completely awful as a table wine. I should add that the current bar team is the best I've ever had at Sandpiper, both in terms of skills and management. They also are very active - there seemed to be some special display of drinks, bar event or instruction almost every day. The bar team also has access to more supplies (e.g., several different flavored vodkas) and fresh ingredients than I recall in the past.

Booking a room with a view isn't worth it in my opinion - very little time spent indoors during daylight. Also, one of the aspects of the renovation that was a success is that there is a lot of seating outside and around the property with nice views.

Based on the renovations to the buildings, I'm guessing that Club Med may have oversold the future fitness center. I imagine that the only thing that might be better in the future one than the current one is the view - the current one looks out into a courtyard. And don't forget that there are lots of opportunities for outdoor sports.

I give the same advice about Sandpiper post-renovation as I did pre-renovation: just keep you expectations in check and focus on the opportunities for fun, and you'll have a great experience.
Please login or register to reply
Trish
475 Posts
06
May
2011
"(Club Med, here's a hint - stop using words like "deluxe" and "luxury" and maybe people will be less likely to complain when they don't get deluxe and luxury)."

Nice comment Crose! You've got me ROFL!!

Trish
Please login or register to reply
JAMESSITE
1652 Posts
06
May
2011
UPSCALE is not high on my list either. Alot of the renovations are nice if you have kids and they can stay in a separate room. But if just a couple, then deluxe can be a waste of money, unless like to use free internet all day and have room service. That is not what CM was originally based on.

How many gold bar beads?
Please login or register to reply

© Club Med Planet - 2003-2014 - 4/23/2014 at 1:00:28 PM