As the plane comes in for landing on the narrow island of San
Salvador in the Bahamas, it looks as though it will touch down on
the sandy beach below or maybe in the waves themselves. The site is
enough to make anyone’s heart skip a beat and as we arrive at Club
Med, Columbus Isle, I realize this will not be the last time.
Part of the Club Med collection since the early 1990s, Columbus
Isle has been a favorite of scuba divers. It is also the first Club
Med to debut as a new upscale boutique resort in the Americas.
After a $5 million upgrade, the resort joins Le Riad in Marrakech,
Morocco, and Cherating Beach in Malaysia, in Club Med’s new upscale
“Columbus Isle is truly our jewel in the Club Med crown and an
important part of our new upmarket strategy,” said John
Vanderslice, president and CEO of Club Med Americas.
Once off the plane, it’s a short five-minute ride to Club Med,
Columbus Isle, and the same sandy beach we saw from the air. With
the ocean at my fingertips, I was ready to find out what Club Med’s
new Total All-Inclusive vacations were about.
We checked into a deluxe oceanfront room and happily devoured the
fruit basket left for us as a welcome gift, part of the new
enhanced amenities at the resort, and we quickly popped a
complimentary music CD into the stereo. Other new features include
a Rise and Shine amenity that includes a different gift everyday.
We received a kite on a windy day and bottle of sunscreen on a
particularly sunny day during our stay.
There is never a lack of activities at any Club Med resort. Our
first day started with poolside water aerobics taught by a Crunch
fitness instructor. Club Med has teamed with Crunch to offer
fitness classes at several of their resorts. The energetic
instructor got almost everyone sitting poolside to participate in
In addition to the typical sailing, tennis and water skiing
programs, a Jet Ski tour has been introduced at Columbus Isle. The
tour, one of the highlights of my trip, takes guests to an offshore
coral island where the only inhabitants are about 400 friendly
iguanas. As you walk around and explore, iguanas peak out from
behind the shrubs and sometimes walk right up to visitors. After
about 20 minutes exploring the island, it’s back on your Jet Ski
for a heart-pounding return.
Guests can also learn new skills with beginning classes for
sailing, water skiing, wakeboarding and windsurfing. There’s even
an archery range offering classes for beginners.
Columbus Isle is particularly well known for its diving programs
with some of the best dive spots in the Caribbean. Indeed, I
noticed that many of the people in our group were experienced
divers and after one morning of diving, they couldn’t stop talking
about their adventures. The resort also offers PADI training
classes and certification for aspiring divers.
After a busy day of activities, it was time for a massage. Club Med
massage therapists can help guests choose from several different
options, including couple’s massage, Club Med detox, aromatherapy
reflexology, hot stone, Swedish and anti-stress muscle relief. I
chose to enjoy a massage outdoors in a private area overlooking the
To make dining at Columbus Isle a truly memorable experience, David
Rockwell, the man behind many famous Manhattan restaurants, has
provided his expertise to create two new dining experiences. During
our stay, we dined at the Brazilian Churrascaria-style restaurant,
Berimbau and Watlings Fresh Catch, a Bahamian-fusion restaurant
with delicious monkfish and grouper delicacies. Christopher’s, the
buffet-style restaurant next to the pool, was open for breakfast,
lunch and dinner and served a delicious range of food from pasta to
seafood to burgers and fries.
After dining in all the restaurants, sailing, jet skiing and water
skiing there was only one thing left to see, the green flash.
According to Isle lore, as the sun sets over the ocean and the sky
is clear and if you are really lucky, you may see the legendary
green light. The myth says those fortunate enough to see the green
flash will be blessed with the ability to see into their heart and
the hearts of others. The best way to see the flash is at the
Beacon Bar, located at the diving dock and with a drink, named
after the event, in your hand.
Try as we might, we were never able to see the green flash. I guess
that will have to be saved for our next trip to Columbus Isle.
Club Med, Columbus Isle
San Salvador, Bahamas
Seven-night Total All-Inclusive rates start at $1,260, based on
Airfare and annual membership fees of $55 per adult are
Agents can book using Club Med’s new travel agent booking