When heading off on a honeymoon or romantic getaway, many couples opt to stay at an adults-only all-inclusive resort. Sandals and Club Med are two of the most popular and well-known brands for all-inclusive getaways, with gorgeous properties in a range of stunning locations.
Featuring all sorts of amenities, activities, and dining options, Club Med and Sandals both have plenty to offer, so it can be hard to choose between them.
We’re here to help with is a breakdown of Sandals vs. Club Med: what these resort chains both offer, what makes them unique, and which is the best choice depending on what kind of vacation you’re looking for.
Sandals vs. Club Med Quick Picks:
Best for Honeymoons: Sandals
Best for Family Trips: Club Med
Best for Food and Drink: Sandals
Best for Activities: Club Med or Sandals, depending on what you like to do
Sandals vs. Club Med: Location
Location is a big area of difference between Sandals and Club Med. They each have a portfolio of different resorts to choose from, but if you’re looking for worldwide variety, then Club Med should be your first choice.
Sandals resorts are located exclusively in the Caribbean: 3 in Barbados, 7 across Jamaica, 3 in St. Lucia, 2 in The Bahamas, and one each in Curacao, Grenada, and Antigua (with a new one coming in St. Vincent and the Grenadines). If you want a fabulous beachfront getaway in the Caribbean, Sandals is an excellent choice.
Club Med, on the other hand, has a far wider selection of destinations to choose from. While they also have resorts in 6 different Caribbean destinations, in addition they have 2 locations to choose from in Mexico; resorts in different countries across Europe, Africa, and Asia; several resorts in the Indian Ocean; and properties in both Brazil and Canada.
However, only some of these are adults-only resorts, so be sure to read the description carefully if you want a kids-free experience. Top adults-only Club Med resorts (or resorts with adults-only areas) can be found in Turks & Caicos, the Dominican Republic, Martinique, Mauritius, and Mexico.
Best for location: Sandals if you want to visit the Caribbean, Club Med if you want to go somewhere else.
Sandals vs. Club Med: Rooms and Suites
Sandals features a wide range of room and suite types, including some truly amazing luxury suites such as the Millionaire Butler Villa, beachfront walk-out suites, beachfront suites with private plunge pools, over-the-water bungalows, Skypool suites with infinity plunge pools, Oceanview Penthouses, swim-up suites, and many more.
With amenities like oversized soaking tubs for two, stylish interiors, minibars, and large outdoor spaces with beautiful ocean views–as well as 24-hour butler service in some suites–there’s little left to want from a Sandals room or suite.
Club Med also has a huge variety of choices with beautiful interiors and excellent amenities. While they don’t tend to focus as heavily on romance, they do offer a broader range of accommodation types, such as luxury cabins and lodges reserved for adults. Club Med also has family rooms at many of their resorts, if you’re traveling with kids or a group.
Sandals is constantly innovating and adding new levels of luxury to their suites every time they open a new resort. We’re also in awe of the diversity of rooms and suites available across the Club Med properties, from cozy luxury ski lodges to romantic overwater bungalows in the Maldives.
Best for Rooms and Suites: Club Med for diversity of choices, Sandals for sheer over-the-top luxury and romance.
Sandals vs. Club Med: Food and Drink
If you’re a foodie, you’ll be pleased at both Sandals and Club Med. Both pride themselves on offering excellent and delicious all-inclusive dining, focusing on local ingredients and offering healthy options when possible. No matter which resort you choose to stay at, you will have a choice of cuisine types at different restaurants.
However, Sandals tends to have way more restaurants per location than Club Med. Depending on the resort, you will also have casual cafes, coffee shops, and food trucks in addition to gourmet a la carte restaurants among the 9 to 16 options, while Club Med tends to have 2-4 dining choices.
Both resort chains also have a selection of bars, but again Sandals tends to have more choices per resort. While Club Med features elegant bars, wine bars, pool bars, and beach bars, at Sandals you can also find piano bars, swim-up bars, overwater bars, rooftop bars, beach bars, and English pubs.
Additionally, alcohol options vary by location at Club Med resorts and premium alcohol is not usually included. At Sandals resorts, all alcoholic beverages including premium liquor and Robert Mondavi wines are included.
Best for Food and Drink: While both offer good quality, Sandals has many more options for both restaurants and bars.
Sandals vs Club Med: Activities and Amenities
Sandals resorts are all located in the Caribbean, so you can find each of them sitting upon a beautiful beach, looking out over a vivid turquoise sea. Each Sandals resort also features multiple pools including infinity pools, free-form lagoon pools, and zero-entry pools, as well as whirlpools.
Sandals offers a wide variety of complimentary activities such as water sports, including scuba diving, paddleboarding, Hobie Cat sailing, kayaking, and snorkeling with instruction included (except for scuba diving). Some locations also have waterskiing, tubing, glass bottom boats, and wakeboarding.
You can also find land-based activities including beach volleyball, basketball, bocce ball, pool tables, and day and night tennis. Each Sandals resort also has a state-of-the-art fitness center, and some have complimentary golf.
All Sandals resorts also feature a full-service Red Lane Spa as well as a selection of excursions and adventure tours, which can be booked at an extra cost.
And even though Sandals offers plenty of activities, Club Med resorts offer even more. They tend to have a more active focus than Sandals resorts, and you can find all sorts of classes in addition to what you might expect. Perhaps one of their most favorite activities is Circus School, where you can learn trapeze!
Since Club Med resorts are located in such a varied range of destinations, the available activities reflect this. Beachfront resorts boast stunning swimming pools and fun-filled watersports, but you can expect a very different experience at other resorts in the Club Med portfolio. For example, at the ski resorts, you can enjoy winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, as well as heated pools and relaxing spas.
Club Med even has a section on their website for active holidays, so if you’re looking for a unique experience full of fun and adventure, then a trip to a Club Med resort could be just right for you.
Best for Activities and Amenities: Club Med if you want a super-active holiday, Sandals if you’re happy with the usual range of water and land sports
Sandals vs. Club Med: Nightlife
Sandals resorts are not short on entertainment. At these resorts you can enjoy daily and nightly entertainment including theme nights, karaoke, live shows, beach parties, local music, piano singalongs, and talent nights. What’s available depends on the resort, however, with some resorts being known for a more vibrant nightlife than others.
Nightlife across the Club Med portfolio is also fun-filled, with a range of live shows and entertainment to be enjoyed no matter where you’re staying. Some of the family-friendly resorts can be a little quieter at night, however, and of course the entertainment options are aimed at all ages.
Best for Nightlife: It depends on the resort!
Sandals vs. Club Med: Inclusions
Sandals and Club Med both include a huge range of complimentary items and services in their rates. Here are the details of what is included at each:
What Is Included in a Stay at Sandals?
Sandals resorts typically claim to offer “more quality inclusions than any other resort in the world,” making them a real standout in this category.
These include gourmet unlimited dining, unlimited beverages (including premium liquor and Robert Mondavi wine); an in-room minibar (refreshed daily); watersports including scuba diving; entertainment; WiFi; land sports including golf when available; access to a state-of-the-art fitness center; roundtrip airport transfers; roundtrip shuttles to other resorts if nearby; tips and taxes; and even a free wedding when you stay for 3 nights or more!
What Is Included in a Stay at Club Med?
Club Med isn’t quite as inclusive as Sandals, as you’ll still need to pay tips and taxes on top of the standard rate. However, what is included is great accommodations, unlimited gourmet cuisine, unlimited beverages, childcare, sports and leisure activities and classes, daytime and evening entertainment, WiFi, and winter sports if you’re headed to a snowy destination. Premium liquor at Club Med tends to be extra.
Best for Inclusions: Sandals
Sandals vs. Club Med: Honeymoons
While both Sandals and Club Med have adults-only properties, Sandals is for couples only and emphasizes luxury and romance. All Sandals resorts are adults-only and focused on providing a top-of-the-line honeymoon or couples’ getaway.
Because of this, each Sandals resort has romantic features like cozy fire pits, private gazebos, oversized soaking tubs for two, heart-shaped pools, and relaxing swinging chairs or hammocks for two over the water.
Couples can enjoy a stay in a Love Nest suite, a private candlelight dinner on your balcony or on the beach, and a complimentary honeymoon package (if you visit within 30 days of your wedding date).
Club Med is not an adults-only chain, but they do have a few properties that are adults only or have adults-only areas. They also offer special honeymoon packages, private dining experiences on the beach, and beautiful and intimate accommodations.
Best for Honeymoons: Sandals
Sandals vs. Club Med: Family Vacations
If you’re looking for a family-friendly getaway, then Club Med is the better choice for you since no one under 18 is allowed at a Sandals resort.
Club Med, on the other hand, has plenty of choices for those looking for a family-friendly getaway. Whether you want to relax in the sun, make a splash in the pool, or hit the slopes with the little ones, there are plenty of unique resorts in the Club Med portfolio that your family will love.
Club Med also offers childcare as part of its all-inclusive rate, meaning that if you need a break from the kids, you can rest assured that they’re in great hands.
Best for Family Vacations: Club Med
After reading this comparison of Sandals vs. Club Med, which resort brand would you rather stay with? Let us know in the comments!
If you’re still weighing up your options, visit our travel planning page to get in touch with one of our trusted travel advisors. They are experts in all sorts of travel, including all-inclusive resorts, and can help you plan your dream getaway from start to finish.
Emily is a Freelance travel writer from the UK who believes that the discovery of culture, history, foods, and modern life is the most exciting part of travel. She loves finding great deals and experiencing great travel on a budget.
Emily graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom, with a degree in Asia Pacific Studies.