I have had the pleasure of staying at Club Med Columbus Isle twice and it is truly a hidden gem. Arriving on San Salvador is like landing on your own private island. The dirt strip and one room building that comprise the airport are in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Miami International Airport, yet unbelievably only a 45 minute flight away. Other than the thousand or so residents of the island, Club Med is one of 4 hotels and the only full-service resort there. As a single mother on a budget, I found the location unbeatable in quality and price for those looking to unplug for a week of sun and relaxation away from the throngs of tourists visiting island hubs like nearby Nassau.
In short, Club Med Columbus Isle is like a giant summer camp for both adults and kids and has a clubby feel with many repeat guests, some that return every year. Most of the staff and many of the guests are French, but this adds to the allure of escapism and gives the resort a foreign vibe. The accommodations are in Bahamian cottage style structures connected by walkways in a hue of primary colors that offsets the incredible gin clear sea and pink powder beach. The rooms are not luxurious but are well appointed with attractive island décor and stunning views.
The beach and water activities are the primary focus at the resort. Sailing, waterskiing, paddleboarding and kayaking are all available at no charge. A new kiteboarding school is also available for a fee. The beach is divine, private, and you will never struggle to find space on a lounge chair here. In fact, you may find yourself alone while taking your morning walk. Scuba divers from around the glob come to Columbus Isle, as some of the best diving in the world can be found just a short boat ride away. For those not interested in perusing the serious depths, the resort has a large, fully equipped snorkeling boat to take guests to a nearby reef. We saw barracuda, parrot fish, and even nurse sharks on our one trip out. Island excursions are available for a charge should you want to venture off the property. My favorite was the High Cay boat trip to a private island where a feast of grilled lobster, steak, and all the rum punch you could drink was served under umbrella and on white linen on the beach. Magnificent!
Land activities abound as well if the water isn’t your thing. Tennis with instruction, a fully equipped gym, and all manner of exercise classes, from Zumba to morning yoga are once again included in the price.
The resort was directly hit by Hurricane Joaquin in October of 2015, but there was very little evidence of it 8 months later when we arrived. A spa featuring L’Occitane products and a new pool deck with beach beds were added to the property, giving the resort a more luxurious feel. My lavender massage was so decadent, I went back for another. And let’s talk about the food! Who can resist Club Med’s signature white chocolate bread as well as the stunning assortment of desserts and pastries served with every meal? Afternoon tea was an added bonus…for my waistline. The main restaurant serves buffet style meals with rotating themes and there is a more upscale dining area that requires a reservation as well as a fee.
A week at this slice of paradise with an ocean view room ran us a little over $3,000, including airfare from Miami, for 2 people. The spa services were extra.