Annual Visit to Club Med, Turkoise

Sept - Oct 2015

The Set-Up

As we have done the past several years, we timed our visit to coincide with Helene and Bruce from Long Island. Steve at Mill Travel did his usual efficient arrangement of the Club Med part of the trip while we arranged the airline part, using Delta vouchers that we got from volunteering to change flights on our return flight last year. The Club Med part was largely paid by a Club Med voucher that we got this spring because of broken air conditioning at the Columbus Isle village, so this turned out to be a relatively inexpensive trip.

Atlanta airport International concorse F is quiet on a Monday morning.

Getting there and back

We had non-stop flights from Atlanta and since the vouchers covered almost the full cost, we splurged for first class seats and were relatively comfortable. All flights were on time with no significant problems. Since we arranged our own air travel, we had to pay for the transfers between airport and Club Med at $20 per person per trip.

The upstairs departure lounge was a pleasent place to await a flight.

One Overriding Factor

Our trip this year was flavored by one overriding factor: hurricane Joaquin. We arrived on a Monday and Joaquin"s influence was felt through the following Saturday, interrupting most of our activities. I have said numerous times in the past that we are very seldom impacted by storms on our Caribbean trips in hurricane season, but this was a major exception.

Sometimes the rain poured and the wind blew.

As an example, take our sailing activities: sailing is usually our primary activity and although the quality of the Club Med sailing equipment has gone downhill the past few years, we still like to sail whenever reasonable. Well, for a day-by day review of our sailing this time: Since we did not have time for a sail on the morning of our departure, Sunday was the only day we got out on the water at all.

Joaquin flavored all activities around the village that week. Every day had a "rainy-day" list of activities. There was no snorkeling or diving at all, tennis on the recently resurfaced courts was severely limited, for much of the time the new palapas around the pool were disassembled and stored under cover in the "reading room" behind the theater. Even the restaurant was affected because the dining room that is usually used (closest to the pool) had too many leaks in the roof and you had to be careful where you sat during meals or you would get wet.

Here is a sample of the rain and wind.

With all that said, I"ll cover some of the other topics around the village.

Around the Village

There were several changes around the village and more in process. As mentioned above, the tennis courts had all been recently resurfaced and looked very nice. Of course they spent much of this week underwater. The annex restaurant, the Lucayan, was completely closed and did not even open a couple of nights a week as in past years. Sharkies was closed and was undergoing a major renovation and expansion. From what we could tell, the new deck will be three to four times the size of the old one and will have a small stage in one corner for live performers. I could not tell what they were doing to the kitchen and bar area, but the new deck area certainly looked nice.

Sharkies was undergoing a major renovation and enlargement.

While Sharkies was closed they opened a temporary snack bar, named Dolfin"s, just the other side of the sailing shack. While they could provide food and drink as a reasonable replacement for Sharkies, there were no restrooms along the beach at all, which was somewhat inconvenient. I did not see any other significant work going on around the village and there are still plenty of rumors as to what will happen to this Club Med in the future.

The Sports Equipment

Unfortunately, the quality of the sports equipment, other than the tennis courts, has continued to decline. We see this mainly in the sailing and windsurfing equipment. Whereas Club Med used to have better equipment than other resorts (Hobie 16s instead of the more basic Waves and Getaways) the clubs have now regressed to the same level as other resorts so no longer offer us a reason to come to Club Med. We are now looking at other resorts that do offer the better sailing equipment, such as Nnesuch Bay resort in Antigua. What is really aggravating is that Club Med continues to offer better sailing equipment at the villages in Europe, but not in the Caribbean zone.

Food and Drinks

We had noticed a decline in the general variety/selection as well as quality of food over the past couple of years. This time we felt the quality was definitely improved with more nicely done offerings and more flavorful dishes. The overall variety/selection was only a little better, but what was offered was definitely better. The meat selections were definitely better with a carving station with nice beef, pork or ham each evening. The only area that I thought went downhill was the deserts which did not seem as nicely presented or as flavorful

The restaurant is rather quiet a lunch.

The wine was only slightly better. The white wine was bad: we tried it the first night and avoided it the rest of the week. Perhaps we got a bad bottle, but I am not a fussy wind drinker and I considered it undrinkable. The red was drinkable but we all agreed that Trader Joe"s "Two-Buck Chuck" would be a definite improvement. The procedure for getting (and paying for) better wine was different and a bit strange: you had to order the wine at the main bar before going in for dinner. I"m not sure what you would do if you decided you wanted a second bottle.

The evening appeizers and snacks that are put out prior to dinner were better this year, being both more flavorful and fresher.

Evening Entertainment

The evening shows seemed better arranged and rehearsed than the past year or two, with more of the GO"s attention directed to the audience rather than to the other GOs in the show. They still had the same basic shows with nothing really new or different this time. The after show partying and dancing was a bit impacted by the storm (no beach parties) and the closure of Sharkies (no parties at Sharkies).

The evening of our arrival everything is quiet around Villege-Center

"Parting" Comments

Because of the storm, the whole village was somewhat toned down the whole week. Although the GOs tried to offer alternate activities and get people involved, shooting pool on old tables with poor cues, playing ping-pong, reading books and such activities just go so far. I can no longer say that we have never been seriously impacted on our trips by a storm.

I will include a few additional photos below.

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Some additiional photos

Our room, complete with welcome ornament made from towels. Nothing fancy, but clean and comfortable.

People were out walking the beach although getting sand blasted with 30 - 40 mph winds.

One of the many brief numbers in the Music Factory evening show.

This was White Night when many people wore all white clothing.

On White Night they decorated the restaurant entrance with white drapes and girls in white dresses.

The desserts did not see quite as good this year. Probably a good thing for my waist-line.