The pickleball event we participated in recently was held at the Club Med in Turks and Caicos. We had only been to one Club Med in the past, and that was the one in Port St. Lucie. We have been there twice and liked it very much. Unfortunately, the Club Med in Turks and Caicos does not measure up to the Club Med in Port St. Lucie.
We arrived at about 1:30 PM. We knew that the rooms were not necessarily ready until 3, so odds were that we had to wait. The reception desk has a display that tells you what rooms are ready, so I checked it every half-hour or so.
Our room number was 1143, and the display showed that 1142 was ready, 1145 was ready, 1146 was ready, and then that 1144 was ready. In fact, all the 11xx rooms were ready except ours. When I asked the reception desk what was going on, I was told, “It will be ready any minute now.” It seems that “It will be ready any minute now” is a relative term, because we didn’t get into our room until 4.
When we finally got to our room, we found our luggage sitting outside of it. Making the situation more annoying was the fact that it had rained in the afternoon, sometimes heavily, and our luggage had been out in the rain. Just about everything was wet inside our luggage.
That was bad enough, but we also discovered that we had only two bath towels – no other towels. I asked the person who cleaned the rooms if we could get face/hand towels and she said, “I will bring them by later.” “Later,” it seems, is also a relative term that means more or less means “never.”
The towel situation became a running joke amongst the pickleball players. Everyone, it seemed, had a story. In one Instance our next-door neighbor complained to the cleaning person that she did not have a face towel. Well, the cleaning person went into OUR room, took the one face towel we had and gave it to our neighbor. What made this situation bizarre is that my wife was just about to go into our room and saw the cleaning woman taking the face towel out.
So, we began to horde and hide our towels as, apparently, did everyone else. That, of course, made the towel situation worse.
I said to my wife that Club Med needed a system by which you could say, “No service,” “Bring only water,” “Face towels, please,” and so on. Well, it does have such a system. It is the My Club Med app.
All you have to do is put in your reservation number, first name and last name, and you have access to the system. Unfortunately, we could not sign in to the app. We tried everything. I asked at reception about the app and they shrugged. “Sometimes it just doesn’t work,” was the answer I got. I’m not sure that if we used the app it would have worked anyway.
Each room has a notebook, though, that didn’t seem to do much of anything except allow phone calls. Club Med could easily put room service instructions on it and avoid having people try to sign into the app. I suspect most people would (assuming they had enough towels) say, “Just bring water.”
How about food? Port St. Lucie is head and shoulder above Turks. Breakfast was great, but lunch and dinner were mediocre at best. The choices at lunch were not what I was interested in, even though there were many choices, so I wound up going to the most uncrowded section of the buffet line and got pasta with Bolognese sauce. That was excellent.
Another problem is that the Club Med apparently has one-night events, so a couple of times the buffet area was PACKED and NOISY – so noisy we just about had to shout to be heard across the table.
After a couple nights we gave up on dinner and went to the outside bar, Sharkies, where we could get burgers and fries and sit at a picnic table on the beach. Sharkies has great drinks to choose from as well. If you go to Club Med Turks and Caicos, I suggest Sharkies for dinner.
Speaking of meals – the service was hit and miss, and mostly miss. If you were lucky, you had water glasses either on your table or brought to your table. If you were lucky, you had salt and pepper shakers on your table. If you were lucky, one of the staff attending the area would notice that you did not have those things and bring them to you. We were mostly unlucky and had to scrounge around for the basic stuff, like glasses and napkins.
Also, there were only two ice dispensers in the entire place, each of which was located at a soda dispensing machine. One of those machines was inside the dining area, so you only had access to it when the area was open. The other was outside by one of the bars and it was hit and miss if it had ice.
There was something else I objected to. We wanted to go on a snorkeling excursion advertised on the Club Med electronic billboards. The cost displayed was $99. What they didn’t tell you was that if you used Club Med to make the reservation, they tacked on another $20 per person. I consider that to be cheesy.
The plus side to the Club Med Turks and Caicos is the location. The beach is phenomenal and the water a beautiful blue color.
Will we go back – no.
One final note – my wife researched Club Med and discovered that it was purchased by a Chinese company in 2015. Perhaps that has something to do with the service we encountered.