We applaud Club Med—even though we didn’t realize at first that this international resort brand is still in operation today!
The Club Med concept that began in Majorca, Spain, over seventy years ago is—sort of—where the idea of an all-inclusive vacation began.
But the very first Club Med in the 1950s was an extremely rustic version of an affordable all-inclusive.
The first Club Med in Spain catered to all ages, including families, singles, and couples… and everyone stayed in tents with no electricity, and they shared facilities.
Thank you, next!
Club Med still caters to all ages, and you may think that Club Meds are ONLY FOR FAMILIES. However, we checked it out, and that’s not true.
Club Med does offer “couples resorts,” and some properties do destination weddings and honeymoons. That’s why we’re reviewing and comparing Club Med vs. Sandals today.
Let’s start by answering the most-often-asked Club Med question:
What is Club Med Known For?
It is amazing to read through every kind of all-inclusive vacation experience offered by Club Med.
They specialize in ski vacations in Canada and The Alps, sun destinations, and even cruises. Some businesses design team-building trips at Club Med, and we chuckled a bit when we read about the Club Med circus school experience at their location in Punta Cana.
Since this is a review of destination wedding resorts, we were looking to compare Sandals-owned resorts and Club Med properties that are located in the same countries.
We only found several resorts that meet our destination wedding criteria. Here goes!
Surprisingly, the only place where there are both Club Med and Sandals resorts is the islands of The Bahamas.
A premier destination for lovers of all things exclusive, Sandals Emerald Bay offers a distinct enclave of refinement.
That said, all of these resorts are located on different Bahamian islands:
- Sandals Royal Bahamian is located in Nassau, a duty-free resort destination that’s close to North America with all the tropical romance and luxury your wedding deserves! Check out Sandals Royal Bahamian Overview for our official Wedding Pioneer review.
- Sandals Emerald Bay is renowned in Great Exuma, Bahamas for its PGA-rated golf course and a stretch of powdery sands facing electric blue seas. There’s a lot to explore in the Exumas including the world-famous “swimming with the pigs,” and our Sandals Emerald Bay review tells you all!
- Club Med Columbus Isle is on the remote Bahamian island of San Salvador. This is an all-ages resort, which should be great for family events, but keep in mind that you need to take a charter flight to get here and flights only run once per week.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly destination wedding resort in the Caribbean with easier access, we have the resort for you. There is also a Club Med located in this small nation of islands, so let’s travel there in our minds!
Turks and Caicos Islands
Sandals is family-owned, and as they’ve grown to become the most popular adults-only, luxury all-inclusive brand, Sandals realized that couples wanted a place to bring their families.
That’s how Beaches Resorts came to be:
- There is a Beaches resort located in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, and it’s a stunning, all-ages, all-inclusive resort that’s perfect for your family-friendly destination wedding. Check out our official Beaches Destination Wedding review!
- On the flip side, Club Med Turkoise is an adults-only resort and one of only three Club Med properties in the Caribbean offering a destination wedding package. It’s located on Grace Bay Road, which is also in Providenciales.
Experience the newly redesigned Club Med Turkoise in Turks & Caicos, an adults-only, all-inclusive paradise. Discover the true meaning of disconnecting as you indulge in breathtaking beachfront views, thrilling water sports, and vibrant entertainment.
Since we’ve gone into details with our Sandals reviews in The Bahamas and our Beaches review in Providenciales, we’ll take a closer look at the Club Med properties in those locations for you.
To be upfront, we scoured traveler reviews and compiled our own research for Club Med to answer your FAQs, including:
Is Club Med a 4-Star?
This is an interesting question to answer because Club Med historically began as a three-star resort brand.
As times changed and travelers sought a more modernized vacation experience, Club Med Turkoise has slowly been responding to demands for better amenities and accommodations:
- In May 2018, Turkoise announced it was moving from a “3 Trident resort” to a “4 Trident” after renovations. Trident is the hotel star system at Club Med, and renovations included newer bedding, Caribbean-inspired decor, and adding balconies to Deluxe-level rooms.
- Turkoise also upgraded its food and beverage offerings by adding the Blue Coral bar, and a terrace was built around the main restaurant. The resort also added a wine cellar five years ago.
- Redesigned amenities at Turkoise included an expanded cardio and fitness center, a better infinity pool, and the addition of a wellness spa.
Club Med Columbus Isle is harder to award an official star rating. We took a deep dive into reputable travel sources online and honest traveler reviews, and here’s what we determined:
- Columbus Isle is Tripadvisor-rated as the number one all-inclusive in San Salvador (but it’s the only all-inclusive in San Salvador). Travelers universally admire the stunning views here, but some travelers claim the food and rooms are “fair” at best.
- Online guidebooks (we consulted Frommer’s) rate Columbus Isle as a two-star property under its three-star rating system.
Both Turkoise and Columbus Isle are renowned Club Med properties for world-class scuba diving—but if you’re keen on a true 4-star experience, Turkoise is probably your better bet.
Wedding Pioneer Travel Tip: Check out the 11 Best Sandals Resorts for Scuba, and if you do end up at Club Med Columbus Isle for breathtaking scuba, we strongly recommend you take bug spray because the biting insects are apparently vicious!
Do You Stay 7 Nights at a Club Med?
It’s easy to confuse vacation length terms and conditions at Club Med because there are different rules for different Club Med properties and different “vacation experiences.”
For instance, Club Med Winter Ski Packages talk about a “classic Club Med package” which runs from Sunday to Sunday. So if you’ve heard about that, you might think you need to book seven nights.
We checked it out for you:
- We practiced using the Club Med booking engine, selecting a three-night stay at Turkoise in July 2023. The reservation system is not the most user-friendly, and only “Superior” rooms are included in the base price (Club Med calls this stage of the booking process a “proposal”).
- The good news is that Turkoise seems to allow shorter stays, but the not-so-good news is that Deluxe rooms are an additional cost (from $200 up to over $600 per night).
As we discussed, Club Med Columbus Isle is reached by a charter flight that is only scheduled once a week on a Tuesday. So we guess that the “classic” Club Med seven-night package applies here!
How Do I Get the Best Deal at Club Med?
Ah, the million-dollar question… and we can tell you that Club Med was offering a sweet deal online when we were researching it!
We also appreciate the Club Med booking terms which include:
- Best rate guarantees similar to Sandals’ top-notch (and frankly, unbeatable) Specials and Promotions
- A Flexible Payment policy
- A decent Cancellation policy
- Transport Assistance department and an add-on Trip Disruption Insurance policy.
That sweet deal we were talking about is Club Med’s “Flash Deal,” including:
- Half-off resorts in selected destinations
- Kids under 16 stay free (one kid per adult)
- A free room upgrade (this is good because even a basic room upgrade will cost you significantly more every night at Club Med)
- No single supplement for solo travelers.
The problem is… this “Flash Deal” was only available until the beginning of June, and we couldn’t locate other deals or promotions on Club Med’s website (again, it wasn’t the most user-friendly experience for us).
We know that our destination wedding couples want specifics on destination weddings at Club Med Turkoise and Columbus Isle.
Okay—we took another deep dive to see what we could find!
Destination Weddings at Club Med Turkoise or Columbus Isle
The destination wedding and honeymoon details at Club Med are under the “Couples” link on their website. If you click that link…. be patient and just keep scrolling down and you’ll find it eventually.
There are two additional links to click for “all-inclusive honeymoons,” or “find your perfect wedding.”
But when we were looking for more info on those links, they seemed to be temporarily broken.
So we did a browser search for “Club Med Weddings,” and we found additional information under “Meetings and Events,” and at least this webpage was live!
Another issue we had is, Club Med Columbus Isle is not listed as a wedding destination Club Med under the Meetings and Events link. According to traveler reviews, Columbus Isle was an adults-only resort and is now family-friendly, so maybe it’s not a destination wedding resort anymore (that is unconfirmed).
Weddings at Club Med Turkoise
Every Club Med wedding package includes things like a sustainable menu, a cake, a “romantically decorated” wedding suite, a room upgrade for the wedding couple, and Club Med t-shirts for the two of you.
There are three wedding tier packages listed under Club Med Turkoise on the “Meetings and Events” link, so let’s give you a rundown:
- Just for Us Wedding (Tier 1) includes ceremony decorations, a sparkling wine toast, and dinner reservations for up to ten people including the wedding couple. This currently costs $1,100 but a wedding officiant fee does not seem to be included.
- Dreams Come True (Tier 2) includes ceremony decorations and a sound system for your vows, a “get ready” room, a floral credit of $100, and a wedding officiant. This currently costs $4,500 for up to 20 guests (currently $65 per additional guest up to a maximum of 60 people).
- Moments That Last (Tier 3) includes a rehearsal dinner (limited menu), a one-hour cocktail reception post-ceremony, a wedding reception (maximum four hours for up to 60 people), two newlywed specialty cocktails, and a $300 floral credit. This currently costs $10,000 for up to 20 guests (additional guests $120 each).
There is apparently a downloadable brochure on one of Club Med’s wedding links on planning a wedding.
It might be a good idea to do a browser search as we did—hopefully, if you want more information, you’ll be able to track it down in less time with these tips!
How Your Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Compares at Sandals
There doesn’t appear to be a complimentary wedding package at Club Med. That’s unfortunate because your Free Tropical Wedding is a luxury included standard at every Sandals resort. Sandals also makes it so easy and user-friendly to find information online. You can plan your destination wedding wherever you are and on any device you prefer. It’s all available to check out at Your Sandals Wedding!
Here are quick links for your convenience:
- Wedding Inclusions (including a nondenominational wedding officiant) for every free Sandals wedding based on a three-night stay or more
- Five Easy Steps to Sandals wedding planning
- Catering menus for add-on dining, and menus are designed around your food preferences and dietary requirements
- An absolutely stunning Wedding Venues link including Over-the-Water Chapels with glass floors
- Destination Wedding Group savings
- An impressive list of Destination Wedding FAQs
- Wedding Inspirations to design your dream wedding
- A Wedding Catalog and Wedding Lookbooks
We can’t sign off without giving you a pre-wedding gift!