12We visited Club Med Columbus Isle (San Salvador Island, Bahamas) in late April, 2015. This was our 7th visit to this Club Med and something like our 30 visit to Club Med overall, so we knew what to expect and how things work.
The Spirit Airlines “charter” flights between Ft Lauderdale and San Salvador were surprisingly on time and organized compared to past flights. This is in welcome contrast to past visits using Spirit. Room assignments were made at the airport and buses were waiting to load up all the incoming visitors. Instead of waiting for the bus, we decided to make the 15 minute walk to the village so within about 30 minutes of landing we were in our room and getting comfortable.
Several days prior to our departure I had come down with some kind of cold, with a sore throat and coughing and such. A couple of days after arrival Susan also came down with the illness, so we were somewhat under the weather the whole visit. While not ideal, it was not so bad “recovering” by laying on a lounge along a beautiful beach and occasionally hopping on a Hobie-Cat for a run across the beautiful waters. Because of the congestion and such we did not do any snorkeling and were a little less active than normal and we skipped some of the evening shows but we definitely made the best of it.
The Club Med village uses a central air-conditioning system that then distributes cold water across the entire very dispersed village. On the day we arrived a key piece of the central system apparently failed. The cold water in the system kept things slightly cool for a day or two, but then things warmed up. Since we had grown up in Florida without AC, we were not especially uncomfortable, but some people were. A couple of nights when the wind was blowing the right direction we opened our sliding glass doors, closed the screen door, and let the fresh air blow in and we were pretty comfortable. Before we left, Oliver, the Chief de Village, announced that Club Med would give credits toward a future visit for each day that the AC was out of order for a significant part of the cost of the land part of our trip. We felt it was a very generous arrangement.
The food was very good, as expected at Columbus Isle, both in quality and selection/variety, although we could not fully appreciate it with our illnesses. The dining room had been rearranged (again) since our last visit but the basic layout was similar. The included wines were drinkable, but not as good as in past visits to this village. There were the usual nightly themes (Caribbean, Italian, Mexican, etc.) and one night the tables were set all around the pool area.
Sailing is our primary activity and we were again disappointed to see that Club Med is degrading the quality of the sailing equipment at villages in the Americas zone. While we prefer the standard Hobie 16s, there were none at all. There were plenty of Hobie Waves and a couple of the larger Hobie Getaways and one rather well used Hobie 15 (a Club Med specific boat). While the Hobie 15 is almost as much fun as the 16, the Waves and Getaways just are not in the same category for having fun. One of the sailing GOs did mention that the standard sailboat in the European villages is the Hobie 15 and a quick review of the Club Med “catalogue” pictures appeared to confirm this. We have seen this same problem at Turkoise, Cancun, and now Columbus Isle. I’m not sure just why Club Med is degrading the equipment in this zone, but it is bound to impact guest satisfaction.
The sailing GOs were all good and we got along with them well. Momar, the chief of sailing, is very tall, slender, but surprisingly strong and is from Senegal. The other sailing GOs were Sonja, Guillaume (“Jackson”), and Toma. If you happen to meet either Guillaume or Toma, ask them about the little silver haired woman who could do more push-ups than they could.
The evening shows we did get to were somewhat mixed. Most of the entertainment was very geared toward the French GMs and occasionally left the English speakers out altogether. The “gospel show” featured a couple of outside singers who were very good, but the GO dance numbers did not reflect “Gospel” style in either the dance moves, costumes or skin color.