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“Beware: Do not go if you don't understand French”

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Club Med La Caravelle
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Sainte-Anne
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Boston
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Beware: Do not go if you don't understand French”
Reviewed December 16, 2013

Spent 12/7 to 12/14 at La Caravelle.

Cons:
Language - Everything is in French
Not understanding and being an American we were lost, missed so much!! Do not go to La Caravelle if you do not understand French. Americans do not seem to be welcomed. Most of the guests were from France and most did not speak English. I asked if the GOs could use English, especially when introducing shows and other events. They said they would but never really did make an attempt. No wonder only about 14 Americans were there! Some GOs did attempt to speak English one-on-one, but some GOs (especially females at reception) were actually rude and were not happy about having to speak English, some didn't know English at all. Did meet some nice guests who translated for us!

Accommodations: Awful - Do not take rooms in Basse-Terre: room smelled like mildew and there was mold in the bathroom. Mentioned this many times and their answer was to spray the room this awful smelling stuff. They also changed the filter in the AC, but none of this helped. They actually painted over the mold in the bathroom on our last day!!

Food: OK - could have had more fresh fruit, hoping for papaya and mango, but I guess not in season.

Pros: Beach

Would not go back. If you are an American do not go here, got the feeling they didn't like Americans much.

Room Tip: Do not choose Basse-Terre - room awful, smelled like mildew and mold in bathroom.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
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3 Thank KnitOne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (90)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Geneva, Switzerland
Level Contributor
54 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed December 16, 2013

I only spend one day at La Caravelle before heading back to Europe but had a very nice time there. The beach is really beautiful - as you imagine the Caribbean. Although it's a public beach, you never feel unsafe. Lots of activities: sailing, aérobics, circus, etc. The buffets at La Caravelle are delicious. The CDV, Mathias Maria, is really everywhere and his GO team is friendly, super efficient and helpful. There is a nice boutique with a lot of choice. Some of the buildings hosting the rooms may look "ugly" from the outside but don't stay on a "1st bad impression". I would definitely recommend this Club Med, especially for families with children as the facilities for kids are very well organized.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank ChrisS74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2013

We went to Club Med 09/11/2013 - 16/11/2013. Everything, absolutely everything was perfect. Our kids, 10 and 8 years had a blast... They didn't want to come back. We went to few places (Beaches in Turks and Caicos and in Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Cuba,Tahiti) and this is our best vacation!!!

The weather was perfect. The Club Med offers a lot of activities, excursions and shows (every night). The food was delicious (only 1 buffet, 1 restaurant, but the menu was different every day).
The GO's are amazing and very nice beside manners. I would like to thanks Saida, Eddine and Fabrice (Decouverte), Karima (Sport), Nabil and Nicholas (they were so funny), the GO of the AquaGym and special thanks to Guillaume at the reception desk (we forgot my son's special box and he was there for us to send FEDEX). And of course Thank you Mathias (Chief of the village) and PJ. Both of them have an incredible energy.

We would definitely go back...

Je vous remercie infiniment... Grace à toutes cette equipe, nous avons passé d'incroyables vacances.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Naima_Boukouiss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Level Contributor
74 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed November 13, 2013 via mobile

With 2 boys , 11 and 13, the task of keeping them busy and happy felt challenging.
Between windsurfing, kitesurfing, archery, swimming and scuba diving, tasting the delicious creole food, there was never a dull moment. The staff were friendly and efficient. The tour to the Cousteau reserve was disappointing. The spa is actually just a massage center.
We'd like to extend a very special recommendation and thanks to Hervé at the Noa diving center who patiently and kindly initiated our 11 yr old to the great joys of scuba diving through the Padi scuba certification .

Stayed November 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Lisa D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beijing
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2013

The flight was sold as 'direct' but had a refueling stop in Haiti. The Club has two wings that are in need of renovation. Basse Terre being one! As a family of 5 we took 2 interleading rooms. Spacious but with mould and mildew. Housekeeping was aware of the problem in the a/c units and scrubbed the walls and sprayed some air freshener. We asked to change rooms. The suite was lovely but the 2nd room was very small.
This Club is not on a private beach. You will not/do not have the same peace of mind with your children or personal belongings. (We lost flip flops which were returned to the beach after approaching the locals that came every day to the beach). We did not bring kindles or other valuables to the beach which changed the relaxed atmosphere associated and experienced at other Clubs in the Bahamas or Asia.
The staff don't make a big effort with the children to engage non-French speakers (it's very different in Asia - all children are accommodated).
After the shows - the GO's leave the stage and do not actively encourage guests to go to the bar / beach and so the atmosphere is quite 'meh'.
The kitchen is accommodating of special needs but you do feel like you are putting them out! I challenge the head chef Carole, to go gluten free for a week to better understand that the choices offered are very poor. Other guests made the same comment when we chatted.
My daughter was hit on the head by a garbage pickup truck as it was reversing. It did not stop to see if she was ok. Why do the trucks run in the front of house and not back of house ? Easier for the staff, but not the most pleasant for the guests.
The front office staff were super and as helpful as they could be. The Club Chef, Julien was visible but not so available (unless you went to him at the end of your tether).
Not our best Club Med experience. We will not return here. There are many other clubs tht are more inviting.
(Note: the pool has little to no shade and is enclosed by glass which ensures no breeze. Killer hot!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank ChineseAdventurers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
127 reviews
111 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 262 helpful votes
Reviewed August 18, 2013

I have been going to Club Meds all around the world for 16 years. A huge part of the success of the experience is the Chief of Village and his staff the GO's. Julien Thivet is doing a great job running this village. Where else can you have the manager of the hotel pack you bags in the taxi when you are leaving the hotel and to greet you every day with a smile. His team of GO's that I met were great. A couple of them made an effort to talk to me everyday in English and were super nice.(Kudos to Jeanne E. and William F.) Most of the clients were French in August and the main language in the village is French. I participated a lot in the sports and the whole land sports team was great. Loved Pierre's pool exsercise class and Elodie's yoga, zumba and pilates. They were super nice too. Club Med works for our family because I like to participate in all the activities, my husband likes to relax on the beach and our teens like to hang out with the other teens. The teens had their own GO Cedric. He is a really nice and engaging guy that the teens love and a great dancer and showman too. Every night the GO's stage a show in the theatre. "Le spectacle" It was mostly very entertaining. The chief of sports and entertainment Theo did a great job.
I was planning to dive every day, but the diving was off-site and you had to leave with a taxi at 7 a.m. so I could not be bothered. There is a dive shop at the hotel, but they do free introductory dives for people who are not certified, I did one beach dive with them, which was OK. There is a lot of reef fish underneath the pier. This Club Med is on a beautiful beach. You can walk to the nearby village of St. Anne in about 15 minutes. Overall it is a lovely place for a vacation.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank givemesunshine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wellesley, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
15 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed July 21, 2013

Just back from 12 days at La Caravelle - this was our third Club Med and it absolutely met our high expectations. We're a family of 5, including a 9-year-old and two-year-old twins, and we've found that the family-oriented Club Meds are ideal for this stage in our lives: the twins have a wonderful time at the Petit Club and there are plenty of activities for us to enjoy with our older son. This was no exception.

Highlights for us included, in no particular order:

(1) The Petit Club. Absolutely stellar staff and facilities. Our toddler twins are a handful, and there's honestly no way we could relax on vacation if we didn't have high-quality childcare for them at least part of the time. The Caravelle Petit Club (immediately adjacent to the Mini Club) is a lovely facility: it's open-air facing the beach, but it's completely shaded (even on the terrace) so we didn't have to worry about our little ones burning in the Caribbean sun. It's very well supplied with toys, books, etc. and the staff regularly take the kids on excursions around the resort. Every day has a different theme (pirates, clowns, etc.) - one day they had even set up a mini-carnival on the lawn with bouncy houses and little rides. We had absolute confidence in the staff: they are warm and accommodating but also (appropriately) rigorous about health & safety issues, which we very much appreciated. They do *not* take the Petit Club kids to the large pool or to the beach, which I'm very glad about, but they do offer water play and a very small splash pool (with a couple of inches of water) at the club. We would often see our boys with the Petit Club during the day - walking around the resort, watching the circus activities, eating lunch or snack at the restaurant, etc. - and they always seems happy and comfortable. While La Caravelle does not offer a "pajama club" like at Ixtapa, they do offer a program through which you can drop your kids off with Petit Club staff and children between 7 - 9 pm, to eat dinner and engage in some sort of activity (watching part of a show, etc.). This is included in the cost of the Petit Club and is a great way for parents to enjoy a relaxing dinner. The only issue at all we had with the Petit Club was that it was fully booked for the last two days of our vacation (which we knew at the time we made our reservation). However, the director Juliette recommended that we hire a babysitter to bring our boys to the Petit Club, use the facilities, play with their friends, etc. - they just had to return to the room for naptime but otherwise were allowed to spend the day with the Petit Club at no extra cost. (The babysitter was a former GO who had experience in the Mini Club - she was on a list of Club Med-recommended sitters and was excellent - and the fact that she was there allowed the Petit Club to maintain the required adult-to-children ratio). So that turned out to be a great solution. Every single Petit Club staff member we encountered during our stay was fantastic, particularly Isa, Kelly, Alicia, and Vicky. Our boys developed a genuine affection for them and we were completely confident that our boys were safe and happy in their care.

(2) The two excursions we took: the Ecotour through Aquarium de la Guadeloupe (zodiac ride from Le Gosiers between the islands to Grand Cul de Sac Marin to snorkel at a coral reef) and the sailing trip to Iles des Saintes. The Ecotour driver (Romeuld? not sure about spelling) was very friendly, attentive, and informative. The water visibility at the snorkel site was fantastic, and there were plenty of fish and coral. It's not the most spectacular site for experienced divers, but it was an ideal family trip - a great intro to snorkeling for kids or even adults who haven't had the experience (and an interesting trip through the mangroves as well). The sailing trip to Les Saintes was fantastic in every way: the 2-1/2 hour trip (each way) was thoroughly enjoyable, the two stops (at a lovely seaside village and at an uninhabited island) gave us a good taste of the islands, and the crew (Laurent, Fred, and Jerome) created a delightful atmosphere. They were funny, friendly, informative, entertaining, helpful (and discreet) when one passenger became seasick) - and they provided plenty of excellent food and drinks.

(3) Sports: our favorite activities were windsurfing (which my husband did virtually every day), archery (shout-out to GOs William and Johanice, both of whom were extremely friendly, patient, and helpful), and trapeze (the entire circus team is incredible, both in terms of their personal skill and their willingness/ability to teach people of ALL ability and experience levels - Karen and Adeline especially). We would have liked to use the sailing equipment more often - either the small Hobiecats with our son or the larger catamarans - but they were frequently completely booked / taken. We heard other people complaining about how difficult it was to get a sailboat (and particularly to get a lesson with an instructor), so perhaps that's a small issue to address.

(4) Food -- For an all-inclusive, Club Med tends to offer good quality and variety of food, and I thought it was particularly good at La Caravelle. There are certain staples virtually any evening, but the themes changed every day and there were plenty of locally-inspired dishes (Caribbean fish fritters, fresh fish / lobster, baked plantains, etc.) I noticed some other reviews complaining about the relative lack of variety, but I was actually quite impressed with the variety, both on any given night and from one night to the next. No complaints about the food at all - and considering the format (it's a buffet at an all-inclusive, not a gastronomic restaurant), the quality is quite good.

(5) The GO team in general. The Chef de Village, Julien, is super-enthusiastic, positive, and engaged (we saw him EVERYWHERE - from arrivals/departures to MCing events to greeting people at dinner to performing the evening shows). His attitude seems to have rubbed off on the entire team -- they all seem to genuinely like their jobs and one another, which of course helps create the collegial atmosphere that Club Med strives for. Virtually all the GOs we encountered were exactly what you'd hope / expect: cheerful, personable, professional, positive. A few standouts: Joss (animation guru - you have to see him to believe him - he is a true force of nature), Theo (I don't know what else he does but he runs a killer aquagym and is hilarious onstage), William & Johanice (archery), Jeanne, Karen & Adeline (circus), Heloise (massage), Melodie, the windsurfing team (sorry, forgetting their names). Actually, I should acknowledge the entire staff and not just the GOs, because even the non-GOs such as the housekeeping and restaurant staff were unfailingly pleasant, friendly, and professional.

(6) The overall setting. The beach and sea are just gorgeous, and the club is very well laid-out and organized. You get your bearings quickly, and it doesn't take long to get from one place to another in the club, but there's so much to do that it never feels confining. (And if you do want to get out, it's an easy 15-20 minute walk along the beach to the town of Sainte-Anne, which is worth doing at least once). Love the fact that everything is oriented toward the sea: the restaurant, reception area, pool, bar, etc. are all open-air with plenty of sea views, so you're constantly aware and appreciative of the stunning setting.

We were very pleased with our experience at La Caravelle and would happily return. Thanks to the Caravelle staff for a happy and memorable 12 days!

Room Tip: We were very pleased with the Marie-Galante building: it's centrally-located, offers great ocean...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank brymel99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Club Med La Caravelle

Property: Club Med La Caravelle
Address: Quart Carvelle, Sainte-Anne 97180, Guadeloupe
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Guadeloupe > Grande-Terre Island > Sainte-Anne
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Sainte-Anne
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Club Med La Caravelle 4*
Number of rooms: 299
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An all inclusive resort on one of Guadeloupe's finest beaches. Located in the heart of the Caribbean, La Caravelle all inclusive resort is an ideal setting for a vacation retreat. Soak in the Caribbean sun on the golden beaches of Guadeloupe, experience island culture in the markets and shops of Point-A-Pitre, or treat yourself to the ultimate spa treatments at the resort's wellness center. With activities for both parents and children, La Caravelle is the perfect winter retreat for the entire family. Children, young and old, will be thrilled to take a class at the truly unique trapeze and circus school on the resort grounds. While the children try their hand at juggling, trampolines, or tight ropes, parents can enjoy a peaceful meal at one of the many beach side restaurants. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Club Med La Caravelle Hotel Sainte-Anne
Club Med Ste Anne
La Caravelle Club Med
Club Med Guadeloupe
Ste. Anne Club Med
Club Med La Caravelle Guadeloupe/Sainte-Anne

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