People often associate vacations with lounging. But instead of spending most of my time poolside on a recent weekend trip to Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Port Saint Lucie (about 45 minutes from West Palm Beach), I soaked up the Florida sun while stand-up paddleboarding, playing tennis and golf, and even trying trapeze. (Okay, I did take a couple hours out to check out the new spa!) Here are some highlights from stay at the all-inclusive resort.
Stand Up Paddleboarding
I’ve read about SUP and its total-body toning benefits before, but I never realized how fun it would be. Before getting in the water, I got a short lesson on how to get on the board and use the paddle (it's similar to canoeing). The board is a lot heavier and more stable than I expected, so standing up wasn’t as much of a challenge as I thought it would be—that is, until it started getting windy and I found myself beached. But I quickly got back in position and paddled my way to the docking station.
Because I hadn’t picked up a racket since high school, I took the beginner’s class. Luckily, I got the chance to learn from Club Med’s top-notch coaches, who have trained the likes of Maria Sharapova and Andre Agassi. They led me through a few drills, like hitting from different spots on the court and playing two-on-two. The best advice I received: Use both hands for a backhand and always follow through on your swing.
I learned the proper way to hold clubs (for putting and driving—yes, they’re different) and exactly how to position my body for a Tiger Woods’ swing. (I can't say I’m PGA-worthy yet, but I’m on my way to at least holding my own with the boys!)
To sum up my circus-esque experience: the scariest part was climbing the ladder without being buckled in and the best part was the back flip dismount (not as difficult as it sounds because the Club Med instructors tell you exactly when to execute each move so it seems to happen naturally).
I had never had a massage or facial before this trip, and now I know what I've been missing—and I'm hooked! Before my treatments, I spent a few minutes in the L’Occitane spa’s outdoor “relax zone,” where they served water, hot tea, and snacks. Then I was treated to a relaxing footbath, followed a soothing facial—the scents, eye creams, and neck massage were so calming. Finally, I got a total-body aromachologie massage that left me feeling completely relaxed and renewed!