If ever there was a way to start a holiday, an airport transfer in a hummer limo complete with lights, music and drinks would be it.
Welcome to the Club Med experience - all singing, all dancing family fun, where there's never a quiet moment, unless you really want one, and there are plenty of sun loungers to choose from to make sure you're in the perfect spot for it.
Boasting the only all-inclusive resort in the States, Club Med Sandpiper Bay has recently had a bit of a facelift. A massive amount of time, effort and cash that has gone into transforming it into a must-visit destination, whether you have young children, teens or grandparents in tow.
Perched by the St Lucie River, this is a picture-perfect spot for week away from it all, with plenty to keep active families busy too. Expect a warm welcome, excellent food (whether you're watching your figure or not) and pretty impressive accommodation too. The family rooms house four, a double bed and bunks in a separate room with a large window into the double, with blinds for privacy and blocking out light.
Part of Club Med's ethos is to offer extensive sport and leisure facilities, including top-notch instruction (even this non-tennis playing guest thoroughly enjoyed a lesson), and the resort also houses an impressive children's tennis and golf academy for future-pros to learn their craft.
Even if you're not big on either of the two, make sure you take a stroll around the academies to see some very little people with some very big talent. Chances are you're looking at a future Wimbledon or French Open champ...
Best for little people:
Forget bog-standard kids' clubs with not a lot going on, there's a huge amount of choice for children of all ages at Sandpiper, whether you want to make use of the resort for a day with just each other, or stick together as a family during your holiday.
At the Kidz Village you'll find age specific programmes and activities split into different age groups, an extensive kids' splash pool, art centre, and best of all, Le Petite Tennis, Football and Golf, so the children on your trip don't have to miss out or any fun and games happening in the main tennis and golf academy for adults.
As you potter around the village, there are plenty of friends to be made, and look out for the Raggs TV characters. Famous in America (but we were rather taken by them as Brits, too) they are ready to give everyone a high-five as they pass, and host activities and workshops with children of all ages at different times.
Best for teens:
Aware there's a big difference between wanting your not-so-little-one to enjoy his or her holiday and letting them wander off on their own for hours at time, Sandpiper has created Latitude, a haven for teenagers who like their own space. While a youth club might sound cringe-worthy, it's actually a rather fabulous space full of pool tables, table footballs, video games and comfy sofas if you got them up too early to make it through the day without a nap.
Best for you:
Head to the newly revamped spa for a few hours of pampering. There's everything from pedicures to body wraps available, but try the Sandpiper Bay Signature Massage for top to toe relaxation in just over an hour.
Don't miss the adult-only pool over-looking the river for complete peace and quiet. There's plenty of sun loungers to go round, and a rather fancy hot tub to slip into as the sun goes down.
Try the riverside yoga, everyday at 8am for a relaxing start to your morning. Even un-flexible types won't fail to enjoy the hour-long session in the morning sunshine, and the lovely instructor is on hand to give you pointers if you want to improve throughout the week.
Make the most of your trip:
Munch on white chocolate bread
You can't go to Club Med without trying the delicious white chocolate bread. Served at lunch and dinner in the Market Place buffet-style diner, no meal is complete without a slice at pudding. Chances are you'll have withdrawal symptoms on your return, so you make your own with this handy (and mouth watering) video which shows you how to bake it yourself.
Try the trapeze
The flying trapeze is part of the extensive circus school at Sandpiper, and you can clamber up there from four years old (and, as expected, children are keen to race up the ladder much more quickly than the green looking adults at the bottom...). The trapeze is as safe as houses, and thanks to some very supportive staff, everyone who puts a foot on the ladder, gets to the top and has a blast (and it gives the lungs a good work out to boot, all happy screams, we promise...).
Snooze by the water
Keep your eyes peeled for the very comfortable four poster bed loungers dotted around the resort overlooking the river. There's loads about so you'll never have to look far, and all are in gorgeous spots for curling up with a book while topping up your tan.
Invest in the water sports
While the all-inclusive deals at Club Med cover an extensive range of activities, plus all your food and booze, there are a few extra additions if you really want to go to town. Don't miss the water skiing and jet skiing on the river. The jet ski route doesn't disappoint, and you take in some truly amazing houses as you zoom up the bay, and even if you've never seen a water ski in your life, your very encouraging instructor will have you in the water and attempting to stand up before you know it.
A week's all-inclusive at Club Med Sand Piper Bay starts from £916 per adult and £692 per child for a seven day holiday. The price includes return flights from London and transfers between the airport and resort, accommodation in a club room, all meals with wine, beer and soft drinks, bar drinks and snacks and a range of group classes and sports activities. For more information, visit Clubmed.co.uk.
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