12 of the world’s best hotels and resorts for a game of tennis
It’s that time of year again when the Pimm’s flows freely, and the scent of strawberries hangs in the air. Wimbledon is back, and it promises to be an ace fortnight as tennis fans descend on SW19 to see how the promising new young stars will do and whether Novak Djokovic can defend his title. Inspired to pick up a racket? We’ve curated the best tennis hotels and resorts around the world that promise state-of-the-art facilities and first-rate coaching, all in stunning, sun-drenched surroundings. Anyone for tennis?
Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Tanzania
Game drives, sundowners, sitting around campfires swapping wildlife stories … Everything you’d expect on safari. Picking up a racket to play a game of tennis? Less so. But at Singita Sasakwa Lodge, you can do just that. Set within the 350,000-acre Singita Grumeti Reserve in Tanzania, with views across the Serengeti Plains, the Lodge is built in the style of an Edwardian manor house. Expect polished parquet floors, vintage furnishings, huge en suite bathrooms and French doors leading out onto breezy verandas with private infinity pools. But do make time for a visit to the Lodge’s tennis court. After all, how many chances will you get to play a set or two while being watched by elephants, zebras and giraffes?
Curtain Bluff, Antigua
Rather than tick all the corporate boxes by being uniform and greige, Curtain Bluff is packed with charm and character – old school glamour at its best. The iconic family resort is packed with repeat guests and it’s easy to see why. There are two private beaches, a spa, open-air restaurants and 72 spacious sea view villas. The hotel is rightly proud of its tennis centre, which has four championship hard courts, a shop and resident pros on hand, each trained to teach aptitudes right up to 5.5 (nearly a pro). Having firmly established itself as one of the world’s finest tennis hotels, aficionados of the game flock here for events including Antigua Tennis Week in Spring and the hotel’s Tennis Challenge Week, which this year takes place 29 October to 5 November.
Bawah Reserve, Indonesia
If Robinson Crusoe was to play tennis, he’d do it at Bawah Reserve. The luxury private island retreat in Indonesia, only accessible by seaplane, is an off-grid idyll, with its pristine beaches, crystalline waters teeming with parrot fish and turtles, and thatched eco-conscious villas. We love the sustainably minded lodges on the island of Elang, which have been built into the cliffside. Guests come to Bawah to explore the marine life in the lagoons (reputedly ten times more diverse than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef), hike in the lush forest… and play tennis. Located amid the permaculture gardens, channel your inner Raducanu on the 78ft grass court before taking afternoon tea in the Garden Pavilion.
Foxhills Country Club & Resort, Ottershaw, Surrey
Set in 400 acres of sweeping parkland, you’d never guess that Foxhills is a mere 25 miles from central London. This is a place that’s made for outdoor pursuits, with every type of activity on offer. The Tennis Club is a particular draw with its eleven courts – five acrylic, three synthetic clay and three all-weather (so not even rain will stop play) – available for use by Country Club and Full Members, as well as hotel residents. Looking to improve your serve or work on your volleys? Book in for a lesson with one of the pros – all of whom are LTA qualified. Take note: tennis is a serious business here and guests are expected to abide by the court etiquette.
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Antibes, France
Retro chic is most definitely the vibe at this Riviera hotel set on the southernmost tip of the Cap d’Antibes. Follow in the footsteps of former guests – the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Picasso, Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor among them – and spend long languorous days lying by the saltwater infinity pool and dining on fresh fish and Nicoise salad on the wraparound terraces. For those looking to up their BPM, there are five impeccable clay tennis courts set in the shade of Aleppo pines, palms and olive trees. A team of top-level coaches is available upon request, whether you’re a beginner or pro. Cooling down afterwards with a chilled glass of Champagne is de rigueur.
Carlisle Bay, Antigua
Guests stay at Carlisle Bay for many reasons: its idyllic setting, nestled in a crescent of sand overlooking a clear, glassy bay; the 87 exquisitely appointed suites, each with a balcony or covered terrace; the diverse choice of restaurants, from toes-in-the-sand casual to authentic Italian poolside. And, of course, its extensive facilities. The Caribbean hotel particularly prides itself on its tennis. There are nine beautifully maintained courts, including three that are floodlit, meaning that you can play in the cool of the evening too. Guests are quick to praise head tennis pro Ken Gonsalves and his team for their professionalism and patience, whether you’re just getting started or looking to improve your game.
Domaine des Etangs, Massignac, France
Have you ever played a game of tennis on the water? At Domaine des Etangs you can. This 13th century chateau-turned five-star hotel sits within 2,500 acres of peaceful countryside and set atop one of the many picturesque lakes and ponds in the grounds is a floating tennis court. It is overlooked by the chateau and a tiny private chapel and as you rally, you’ll likely spot the many species of birds and wildlife that reside across the pond and nearby forests and fields. Guests can enjoy a friendly match or have the option to improve their game with daily sessions with the Domaine des Etangs’ instructor. Either way, it’s an ace way to spend an afternoon.
Villa La Massa, Tuscany, Italy
Villa La Massa is a 16th-century Medici palazzo, set amidst fragrant lemon trees, rolling olive groves and Cypress trees on the banks of the river Arno. While away sunny Tuscan afternoons by the stylish pool, over a lingering lunch on the shaded terrace of L’Oliveto, with its classic Tuscan menu, or marvelling at Renaissance masterpieces in Florence. Or you could practice your backhand at the nearby Match Ball Firenze Country Club, which offers guests complimentary use of 16 clay tennis courts. This summer, guests can take part in a two-night tennis clinic, which involves lessons with a dedicated pro and video analysis of your game to hone your skills. Soothe aching muscles in the Arno Spa, with its traditional Turkish bath and hydro-massage pool.
Puente Romano Beach Resort, Marbella, Spain
Puente Romano is so much more than a sun-drenched five-star resort in Marbella. It is also home to one of the most famous tennis clubs in Southern Europe, which was opened by none other than Bjorn Borg in 1979. Since then, the likes of Novak Djokovic and John McEnroe have rallied here – the hotel even hosted the Davis Cup in 2018. These days, the ten pristine courts (8 clay and 2 plexipave) are available for guests and there is a team of first-rate professionals on hand if you’re looking for expert coaching. The Club also has a gym with the latest generation of ARTIS Technogym machinery, activity room, massage room, sauna and Turkish bath, restaurant, pro-shop and 4 Pádel courts.
Gstaad Palace, Switzerland
For a slice of Swiss charm, Gstaad Palace has it all. The storied hotel, which looks like a fairytale castle, perches amidst lush green meadows and hills, overlooking the Bernese Oberland. This is a place for alpine views, impeccable service and understated luxury, whether you’re dining in one of the restaurants or being pampered at the spa. On sunny days, be sure to book one one of the four clay courts – there can be nothing more pleasurable than playing tennis surrounded by the majesty of the mountains. Raining? There are three indoor courts too. Reward yourself with fondue and raclette at La Fromagerie.
Cheval Blanc Randheli, Maldives
Cheval Blanc Randheli is one of the most exclusive resorts in the Maldives, where the villas perch over turquoise waters and nestle amongst sandy coves and exotic gardens, each one a private sanctuary. Everything here is geared towards luxurious self-indulgence. The dining experience, described as a “culinary art”, consists of five restaurants and three bars, there’s a Guerlain spa, infinity pool, overwater yoga pavilion… If you want to rally with a resident pro or play a friendly, you’ll need to take the boat to Randheli’s jungle island Maakurandhoo, which is home to two US Open and Paris Masters standard courts, plus there’s a clubhouse and terrace lounge. Little wonder the tennis-loving Duchess of Cambridge has stayed here.
The Boca Raton, Florida
This sprawling multi-hotel resort and private membership club, set around Lake Boca Raton, doesn’t do anything by halves. Billing itself as the “New Golden Era”, the decor is glamorous, service is slick – and the facilities are astonishing. There’s a Beach Club, Harbourside Pool Club, Yacht Club, Fitness Club, Spa, every manner of restaurant and accommodation, all under glorious Florida sunshine. Naturally there’s a Racquet Club with 16 Hydro-Grid courts (this means they’re 20 percent cooler than regular hard courts), a team of expert instructors for clinics and private lessons and a two-story clubhouse with viewing deck. There’s even a dedicated tennis concierge who’ll arrange everything from scheduling court times to pairing you with a player of the same skill level. That’s game, set and match to The Boca Raton.