Seven of Our Favorite Hotels and Resorts for Tennis Lovers by Chadner Navarro

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

Seven of Our Favorite Hotels and Resorts for Tennis Lovers by Chadner Navarro, Bergen County Moms

The popularity of tennis soared during the pandemic. Here’s where to perfect your game.

Last year’s lockdowns may have temporarily shuttered professional tennis, canceling Grand Slams and leaving Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, and other champions tethered to their living rooms. But the sport itself didn’t draw a bye. In fact, according to the U.S. Tennis Association, tennis, in all its outdoor, socially distanced glory, thrived: More than 21 million Americans picked up a racket in 2020 – and of those, some 3 million were brand new to the sport.

Local courts and racket clubs stayed busier than ever, and as soon as travel restrictions eased, hotels and resorts with tennis facilities found themselves mobbed with requests for court reservations and lessons. Steve Halverson, director of tennis at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa, says that while the sport has always been a big draw at the property, in the last year demand has spiked like he’s never experienced. “Once we reopened, our team was inundated with lessons,” he says. Pre-pandemic requests usually had his staff spending a daily average of seven hours on court. “This year, especially during spring break, we were doing 11-hour days.”

The increased interest has spurred hotels and resorts to expand tennis programs. On Kiawah Island in South Carolina, The Sanctuary’s Roy Barth Tennis Center has hired more pros, staged activities later into the evening, and expanded events to accommodate more people. To wit: One of its annual tournaments for seniors, which previously pulled in around 130 players, registered 275 participants in its most recent installment.

“The Sanctuary stands out from other resorts for its extensive variety of daily drills, clinics, round-robin tournaments, and fantastic pros,” says Virtuoso travel advisor and avid tennis player Stephanie Reiner, who has arranged a series of women’s tennis getaways there this fall. “I’m most impressed with their coaching style, which focuses on actionable techniques to improve my strokes in conjunction with match strategy.” Director of tennis Jonathan Barth notes that camps that typically booked out three months in advance are now filling up six to nine months ahead of time. Barth feels the shift is a long-term trend. He’s hoping this rise in popularity is something resorts all over the world can sustain and is already planning on adding even more programs to accommodate demand. Here are seven resorts set to help you ace your game this fall.

Seven of Our Favorite Hotels and Resorts for Tennis Lovers by Chadner Navarro, Bergen County Moms
Carlisle Bay serves up tennis clinics with a Caribbean Sea breeze.

All Tennis, All the Time: Antigua

Nine courts tucked between a lush rain forest and blue Caribbean waters make Antigua’s 87-suite Carlisle Bay resort an idyllic locale for spirited rallies, friendly round-robin tournaments, and technique clinics. But if you want your vacation to be as tennis obsessed as you are, resort pros can create a personalized schedule based on your goals (volleying one day, beefing up return of serve the next), paired with recovery-specific spa treatments (such as soft tissue mobilization and sports massage rehab) to ensure you’re at your best on court. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast and afternoon tea daily and a cooking demonstration, a two-hour boat outing, and a $100 resort credit. Pack Your Tennis Whites: Bahamas

Tennis fans at the 237-room Rosewood Baha Mar can live out Wimbledon fantasies on a rare resort amenity: an authentic grass court. The nine-court center (six hard, two clay, one grass) recently brought in Cliff Drysdale Tennis to oversee its programs, from beginner-friendly 101 classes and intense drill sessions in the evenings to private lessons and more. The resort also hosts the Baha Mar Cup, a multiday tennis extravaganza featuring some of the sport’s biggest names. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 dining credit.

Seven of Our Favorite Hotels and Resorts for Tennis Lovers by Chadner Navarro, Bergen County Moms
Rosewood Baha Mar.

Have Racket, Will Travel: Boca Raton

Tennis has always been a big deal at the 330-room Boca Raton, where 16 palm-fringed clay courts test guests’ sliding skills, and star-studded initiatives, such as weekend clinics with Jimmy Connors, were the pre-pandemic norm. And according to director of tennis Erik Silver, the last year only amplified the sport’s relevance to the property. “We have repeat guests staying for ten days at a time just so they can play tennis daily,” he says, adding that the club has since expanded its social clinics, such as King of the Court (a speedy take on doubles) and Ladies’ Night, and resort pros are now giving 45 hours of lessons a day. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 resort credit. Southern Strokes: Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Players at the 255-room Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort get treated to more than just Lowcountry hospitality; they also gain access to one of the world’s top tennis programs, which started offering intensive coaching and strength conditioning for competitive juniors when it launched The Barth-Hawtin Tennis Academy in 2019. Surrounded by towering palmettos, live oaks, and fragrant oleander an hour south of Charleston, the 22 courts (including ten new Har-Tru clay courts lit for night play) feel more like a tennis garden, which imparts a relaxing atmosphere to group lessons, stroke-a-day clinics, and demanding doubles camps. Virtuoso travelers receive a bottle of sparkling wine on arrival, breakfast daily, and a $100 resort credit.

Island Hustle: Lanai

Last April, Andres Durandegui arrived at the 213-room Four Seasons Resort Lanai as its latest director of tennis and launched new activities for its courts. As a tropical paradise with two pools, seven restaurants, and easy beach access, the resort didn’t focus much on the sport previously. Under Durandegui’s guidance, along with private lessons, guests can now also sign up for shot-of-the-day drills (each class focuses on perfecting a specific stroke), cardio tennis (a fast-paced session geared toward improving footwork), and a 90-minute junior tennis program for kids ages 7 to 13. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 resort credit.

Seven of Our Favorite Hotels and Resorts for Tennis Lovers by Chadner Navarro, Bergen County Moms
Drills at The Phoenician.

Stretch It Out: San Diego

Last year, the 327-room Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa unveiled enhanced tennis programs and new dining venues as part of its comprehensive renovation. In addition to clinics and private lessons on its six courts, Steve Halverson developed new classes such as Swing Salutation, a 90-minute session split between yoga, led by a certified practitioner, and backhand lessons with a pro. “We know yoga targets strength, balance, and flexibility, all of which can improve your tennis,” says Halverson. “It’s a fun way to keep things interesting, and it’s beneficial to your game too.” Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 resort credit.

Drills in the Desert: Scottsdale

Temps at the 645-room Phoenician resort don’t deter tennis diehards: Head pro Daniel Kilen says the Athletic Club’s seven courts are usually full from 8 am to 6 pm, with bookings made months in advance. On top of private lessons and clinics, Kilen can also organize round-robin tournaments for traveling pods who want to add a competitive edge to their vacation. Just how popular has tennis proved during the pandemic? “One unexpected thing was the shortage of balls nationwide,” Kilen says. “We’ve had to do a lot more sourcing to keep up with the increased demand.” Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 dining credit.

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Elena Borrero, SmartFlyer Travel Consultant, is a lifelong globetrotter who has visited more than 40 countries. With an initial no fee consultation, Elena’s strengths lie in getting to know her clients and executing detail-oriented, completely customized itineraries for couples and families. She specializes in luxury hotels and resorts, and her extensive industry network allows her to negotiate amenities, upgrades and VIP status for her distinguished client base. Through her decades of testing out hotspots first-hand, her product knowledge of beach destinations, Europe and even African safaris, she is well-versed to take on creating a trip in practically any corner of the world. Learn more about the benefits of working with Elena via website or email: