Destination: Tennis—The Top 50 American Resorts
Because getting away can be difficult in these challenging economic times, it’s more important than ever to choose your vacation destination wisely. And there’s certainly no shortage of options with resorts continuing to sprout up around the country, joining a vast array of established top-tier tennis destinations from coast to coast. Some of the properties on this list will be familiar to jet-setting tennis lovers—but even if you know them well, check out our summaries for the latest developments, whether it be new tennis programs or a complete resort renovation to make an old stomping ground feel like a new experience.
The criteria for inclusion in our list is the same as in past years: The number of courts and the quality of instruction, clinics and game-matching are paramount, but we also consider lodging, dining and other amenities and diversions. One change for this year is that we’ve divided the list into 10 regions in an effort to help organize your planning efforts. We hope you get a chance to enjoy one or more of these destinations, if not in 2012, then sometime in the near future.
1. The Lodge at Pebble Beach
Courts: 12 (2 Clay; 10 Plexipave)
The sunken center court at Pebble Beach’s Tennis Pavilion draws year-round tournaments while the Beach & Tennis Club’s robust calendar of mixers, game-matching and clinics is topped off with A-plus facilities, including a beachfront lap pool and pilates studio. Your ocean-view room at The Lodge places you in a front-row seat to one of golf ’s most exciting spots: the 18th green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links. There’s also a new old-fashioned barbershop experience at the spa.
www.pebblebeach.com; (800) 654-9300
2. Carmel Valley Ranch, Monterey County
Courts: 9 (7 resurfaced hard; 2 clay)
A 2010 renovation added a hilltop yoga platform, organic garden and beehives to an already beautiful setting in the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains.
www.carmelvalleyranch.com; (877) 583-0052
3. Silverado Resort & Spa, Napa
Courts: 13 (Plexipave; 3 lit)
This is Napa Valley, so of course there’s wine and cheese served with Friday Twilight Tennis. Among the many tennis programs are cardio clinics and advanced drill sessions for 4.0+ players.
www.silveradoresort.com; (707) 257-0200
4. Northstar at Tahoe, Truckee
Courts: 10 (Nova-cushion hard surface)
Home of September’s Northstar Open tournament, this tennis center is located near a clutch of luxury lodging. The center’s heated outdoor pools and saunas take the sting out of a tough game.
www.northstarattahoe.com; (530) 562-0321
5. Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Courts: 6 (lit)
You can polish off a session at the Peter Burwash International tennis facility here with a Segway tour, horseback ride or drive along the Northern California coast. Wine tastings are a must.
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/HalfMoonBay; (650) 712-7000
1. Rancho Valencia, Sante Fe (California)
Courts: 18 (Plexipave)
This San Diego-area resort is all about high-end intimacy, with just 49 suites. But the tennis program looms large, and it includes a tennis fan’s dream stay, called the “Champions” package (which includes a two-night stay, daily clinics, private lesson with game analysis and a sports massage). Expect even more luxury once the resort unveils a six-month renovation this summer.
www.ranchovalencia.com; (858) 756-1123
2. JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, Palm Desert
Courts: 20 (15 hard-surface, 3 clay, 2 stadium grass)
This three-surface facility hosts a weekly PBI Tennis Show, an hour of entertainment that pokes fun at the ways we all complicate our games.
www.desertspringsresort.com; (760) 341-2211
3. La Quinta Resort & Club, Palm Springs
Courts: 23 (includes hard-surface and clay)
La Quinta’s sunken center court was the one-time home of the tournament now known as the BNP Paribas Open. Tennis remains a priority and the resort’s spa is sparkling from a recent update.
www.laquintaresort.com; (760) 564-4111
4. La Costa Resort & Spa, Carlsbad
Courts: 17 (includes hard-surface and clay; 7 lit)
This retreat, the beneficiary of a recent $50-million facelift, has stadium seating for 1,000 and is hosting the Mercury Insurance Open Women’s Tournament from July 14–22.
www.lacosta.com; (800) 854-5000
5. Rancho Las Palmas, Rancho Mirage
Courts: 25 (hard; 8 lit)
This Palm Springs-area resort boasts a 27-hole golf course and a large PBI tennis facility. The on-site tennis concierge will make sure you have all you need to succeed on the court.
www.rancholaspalmas.com; (866) 423-1195
1. Fisher Island Club, Fisher Island (Miami)
Courts: 18 (includes Har-Tru clay, grass and hard; lit)
A breathtaking location, year-round outdoor play—day and night—and a choice of three surfaces makes Fisher Island popular with players of all levels, including pros seeking pre-tournament practice. Staying at the Fisher Island Hotel & Resort places you in the middle of one of the wealthiest communities in the country—even Hollywood star Christian Slater trains here.
www.fisherislandclub.com; (305) 535-6010
2. Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Amelia Island
Courts: 23 (Har-Tru clay)
Excellent instruction and a grand setting beneath north Florida’s majestic oak trees make Amelia Island a perennial favorite, including with the biggest names in the game.
www.omniameliaislandplantation.com; (904) 261-6161
3. Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, Ponte Vedra Beach
Courts: 15 (Har-Tru Clay; 8 lit)
Ponte Vedra’s extensive tennis program and facilities include computerized ball machines, a second-floor viewing gallery, an oversized practice backboard and an intensive summer camp program.
www.pontevedra.com; (904) 273-9500
4. Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami
Courts: 11 (1 hard; 10 soft clay Hydrocourts)
Cliff Drysdale’s master-planned tennis garden is minutes from South Beach and pairs expert training with tropical luxury. A charity event during the Sony-Ericsson Open pits regular folks against the pro stars.
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/KeyBiscayne; (305) 365-4500
5. Club Med Sandpiper, Port St. Lucie
Courts: 20 (6 Hydrogrid; 14 hard)
The newest addition to this Club Med—whose tennis academy is run by Gabriel Jaramillo, former trainer for Agassi and Seles—is North America’s first L’Occitane-branded spa.
sandpiperbay.clubmed.us; (772) 323-0625
1. Longboat Key Club, Longboat Key, Florida
Courts: 20 (Har-Tru clay; 5 lit)
A patented underground HydroGrid watering system ensures consistent playing conditions and eliminates downtime. A tennis concierge is on hand to arrange matches or restring your racquet, and the USTA-certified stadium court can seat up to 2,500 spectators. Away from the tennis gardens, this family resort puts you on one of the best beaches in the Sarasota area.
www.longboatkeyclub.com; (888) 237-5545
2. Naples Grande, Naples, Florida
Courts: 15 (Har-Tru clay; 5 lit)
This resort combines heavy hitters of both the tennis world (that would be Peter Burwash International) and the hotel world (Waldorf Astoria) to bring you the perfect blend of action and resort relaxation.
www.naplesgranderesort.com; (888) 722-1267
3. Saddlebrook Resort, Tampa, Florida
Courts: 45 (four different types of surfaces)
The Harry Hopman tennis program at this almost all-suites resort is not for the feint of heart. Demanding five-hour clinics are available 365 days a year, and training at Saddlebrook will place you in the most elite of company.
www.saddlebrook.com; (800) 729-8383
4. Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa
Courts: 10 (9 clay, one hard)
Each clay court has a watering system that creates an artificial water table beneath the court. Since optimum court surface moisture can be maintained uniformly regardless of the weather, the courts stay green and moist 24 hours a day.
www.marriottgrand.com; (251) 928-9201
5. Sandestin Resort, Miramar Beach, Florida
Courts: 15 (including hard and HydroGrid clay)
This resort set on more than seven miles of sugar-white-sand beaches gives its guests one complimentary hour of tennis per day. Clinics are also available and Sandestin hosts regular Ladies Challenge events throughout the year.
www.sandestin.com; (800) 622-1038
1. Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Courts: 25 (23 clay; Nova ProBounce; 8 lit)
Players of all levels and ages flock to this resort on Hilton Head—and now kids 10 and under will be able to play on the tennis center’s new shortened courts just for them (per new regulations for tournament play, the children’s courts measure 36 feet instead of 78). There’s a large array of condo and villa accommodations, and the tennis courts host at least eight tournaments between February and November.
www.palmettodunes.com; (866) 380-1778
2. Kiawah Resort, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Courts: 13 (The Roy Barth Tennis Center [9 Har-Tru, 1 lit; 3 hard, 1 lit; 1 practice court] and The West Beach Tennis Club [14 Har-Tru; 2 hard lit]
The sprawling facilities here are matched by the depth of the activities program, which includes a new guaranteed matchmaking service and two-hour Adult Tournament Tough Workout programs. Also in the works next door to the West Beach Tennis Club: a brand new pool complex.
www.kiawahresort.com; (800) 576-1570
3. Pinehurst Resort, North Carolina
Courts: 20 (18 clay, 2 Har-Tru; 4 lit)
It’s not all about golf (although it’s worth nothing that Pinehurst No. 2 reopened last year after a 12-month restoration project). The resort has three luxury, historic hotels and a full tennis program run by three full-time USPTA pros.
www.pinehurst.com; (800) 487-4653
4. The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, South Carolina
Courts: 8 (Har-Tru)
Residential-style cottages on immaculate grounds nestled between the river and the forest make this a magical Southern retreat. With pines and oaks overhead, these are some of the prettiest tennis courts in the region.
www.palmettobluffresort.com; (843) 706-6500
5. Hilton Head Island Beach & Tennis Resort, South Carolina
Whether you stay in a one- or two-bedroom condo, an ocean villa, or a two-bedroom Tennis Villa you’ll never be more than a short stroll to Hilton Head’s stretch of pristine beach.
www.hhibeachandtennis.com; (843) 842-4402
1. Topnotch Resort and Spa, Stowe, Vermont
Courts: 10 (6 outdoor; 4 Har-Tru; 4 indoor hard)
Indoor courts mean you can play year-round at this classic Vermont resort. There are more than 30 tennis programs available, including a Junior Tennis Academy for kids ages 3–18. Topnotch is the only resort in New England to offer the USTA’s 10 and Under Tennis program. Other activities here include horseback riding and sleigh rides in the winter.
www.topnotchresort.com; (802) 253-8585
2. The Essex, Burlington, Vermont
Courts: 6 (Har-Tru)
Vermont Tennis Vacation packages at this culinary resort include meals at the award-winning restaurants and five hours of tennis instruction per day. From July 14–20, you can take private lessons or group clinics with tennis legend Mats Wilander.
www.vtculinaryresort.com; (800) 727-4295
3. Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, New York
Courts: 6 (2 red clay; 4 Har-Tru soft clay)
The 266-room Victorian castle on the lake was built in 1869, and the resort’s red clay courts date to circa 1910. But they’re well maintained and complemented by four new Har-Tru soft courts, and include workshops for both kids and seniors.
www.mohonk.com; (845) 255-1000
4. Oheka Castle, Huntington, New York
Courts: 6 (Har-Tru)
Experience the Long Island Great Gatsby life at this French Chateau-style resort. Tennis packages for four include a three-course dinner, two hours of group lessons, two hours of court time and lunch at the Cold Spring Country Club.
www.oheka.com; (631) 659-1400
5. Wequassett Resort, Harwich, Cape Cod, Massachussets
Courts: 4 (new, Har-Tru)
One of the chicest properties on the cape has new courts with custom trellises for privacy. A raised viewing terrace and BBQ are popular for summer tennis parties, and this year the hotel’s restaurant welcomes a new executive chef.
www.wequassett.com; (508) 432-5400
1. Sun Valley Resort, Sun Valley, Idaho
Home of the annual Nike Tennis Camp for adults and children (mid-July through mid-August), Sun Valley knows how to do both summer and winter vacations. One of the country’s original retreats, it’s been open since 1936 and now offers a range of lodging in cottages, condos, a lodge and an inn. Tennis is among a long list of activities to get your blood pumping.
www.sunvalley.com; (800) 786-8259
2. Snowmass Club, Snowmass, Colorado
Swap the nearby slopes of Aspen for match play surrounded by the Rockies. And prepare to sweat: The instructors at Snowmass are led by former U.S. Olympic tennis coach Gayle Godwin.
www.snowmassclub.com; (970) 923-5700
3. The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Courts: 6 (4 cushioned hard; 2 Har-Tru)
Don’t let the Colorado winter deter you: Two of The Broadmoor Tennis Club’s hard courts are covered by an illuminated, heated bubble during the colder months. During the summer, the center bustles with free mixed-doubles round-robins.
www.broadmoor.com; (719) 577-5770
4. Sunriver Resort, Sunriver, Oregon
Courts: 7 (3 indoor; 4 outdoor, plus access to 27 more outdoor courts)
Tucked into the dry side of the Cascade Mountains, Sunriver Resort has its own airstrip, so don’t be surprised if your fellow players on the tennis courts have their own jets. There are also regular drills, clinics and side-byside adult and kids camps.
www.sunriver-resort.com; (800) 801-8765
5. Vail Cascade, Vail, Colorado
Courts: 6 (3 indoor; 3 outdoor)
Located near downtown Vail, this mountain resort has a slew of on-site activities. Tennis players can also warm up and stay fit at Vail Cascade’s newly renovated—and huge, at 78,000 square feet—fitness center.
www.vailcascade.com; (970) 476-7111
1. Wailea Tennis Club, Wailea-Makena, Maui
Courts: 11 Plexipave (3 lit)
The largest resort tennis facility on Maui is also home to the popular Wailea Fantasy Camps, which include four days of top-level instruction and drills, doubles match play and social activities. Accommodations are at one of the four resorts surrounding the club, including the Four Seasons Maui and Grand Wailea.
www.waileatennis.com; (808) 879-1958
2. The Fairmont Orchid, Kohala Coast, Hawaii
Theme clinics, private lessons, tournaments—it’s all possible at the Fairmont Orchid. And so is a visit to the Spa Without Walls. Fairmont Hotels also offers a Lifestyle Cuisine Plus menu.
www.fairmont.com/orchid; (866) 540-4474
3. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Courts: 8 (Rebound Ace surface; 2 lit)
The Four Seasons reputation speaks for itself. What’s worth noting about this resort is Hualalai’s exclusive island-style cardio tennis.
www.fourseasons.com/hualalai; (808) 325-8000
4. Makena Beach Resort, Wailea-Makena, Maui
Courts: 6 (Plexipave; 2 lit)
The Makena Tennis Club has amazing views from its hill-top position. It’s fresh from a complete renovation, right down to the new nets.
www.makenaresortmaui.com; (808) 874-1111
5. Kapalua Tennis Garden, Lahaina, Maui
Courts: 10 (Plexipave, 4 lit)
This PBI facility sits in the hillside of the Kapalua development, which includes the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Kapalua Villas and high-end vacation homes.
www.kapalua.com; (808) 665-9112
1. The Phoenician, Scottsdale, Arizona
Courts: 11 (four types of surfaces; all lit)
Sitting between two fairways of this luxury setting is Scottsdale’s only tennis resort that can boast four playing surfaces—your choice is between two Rebound Ace courts; seven Plexipave hard-surface courts; one Wimbledon championship grass court and the Prestige Plexicushioned center court. Inside the hotel itself lives a $25-million art collection.
www.thephoenician.com; (480) 941-8200
2. The Boulders, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, Carefree, Arizona
Courts: 8 (5 hard, 3 clay)
Guests here can climb the resort’s 75-foot rock face or try the new tennis program. The hour-long “Light Touch” lesson teaches techniques to add quickness to your game.
www.theboulders.com; (888) 579-2631
3. Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Scottsdale, Arizona
Courts: 7 (Plexipave; 6 lit)
This resort is home to an outpost of the high-end Willow Stream Spas, where journeys begin at the Oasis rooftop pool.
www.fairmont.com/scottsdale; (800) 257-7544
4. Green Valley Spa and Hotel, St. George, Utah
Courts: 14 (all lit; 4 indoor)
Just a few miles from the Arizona state line, this resort’s Court Think Tennis Camps are what the tennis pro ordered: three days of video analysis, drills and on-court coaching.
www.greenvalleyspa.com; (435) 628-8060
5. Enchantment Resort, Sedona, Arizona
Courts: 6 (Plexipave)
Play alongside the dramatic red rock formation and gorgeous desert setting. The Miiamo spa serves health-conscious cuisine for fuel and sports massages to soothe tired muscles.
www.enchantmentresort.com; (928) 282-2900
1. Boar’s Head Inn, Charlottesville, Virginia
Courts: 26 (10 Har-Tru; 4 outdoor DecoTurf; 12 indoor DecoTurf)
The outdoor courts host some of the best players from the USTA spring tour, and there are the dozen indoor DecoTurf hard courts for year-round play. Boar’s Head’s six-court tennis stadium seats more than 1,500 for collegiate and tournament play. On the resort side, the property finished up a polish earlier this year.
www.boarsheadinn.com; (434) 296-2181
2. The Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Courts: 10 (5 Har-Tru; 5 indoor DecoTurf)
In July, guests will be able to take a new train service—The Greenbrier Presidential Express—from D.C.’s Union Station directly to this historic landmark.
www.greenbrier.com; (800) 453-4858
3. Sea Colony, Bethany Beach, Delaware
Courts: 34 (includes 4 indoor; 14 Har-Tru)
In the unlikely event that you can’t snag one of the 34 courts here, Sea Colony can offer up alternatives, including kayak tours, fishing charters, sailing lessons, parasailing and swimming—in one of a dozen pools.
www.seacolonytennis.net; (866) 732-2656
4. Wintergreen Resort, Wintergreen, Virginia
Courts: 18 (15 outdoor; 3 DecoTurf II indoor)
Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Wintergreen has two tennis facilities: Stoney Creek, open April through mid-November, and Devils Knob, which includes outdoor as well as indoor courts throughout the year.
www.wintergreenresort.com; (800) 266-2444
5. Keswick Hall, Charlottesville, Virginia
Courts: 7 (2 hydro clay, 3 Har-Tru; 2 all-weather surface)
Tennis here is part of a 600-acre estate that recalls living in the kind of grand manor when you could spend the day out on the hunt. On the courts, free cardio tennis sessions are offered on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
www.keswick.com; (888) 778-2565
Originally published in the March 2012 issue of TENNIS.