A rise in enthusiasm for racquet sports during the pandemic is leading properties to up their game
Not all hotel amenities have met the same fate during the pandemic. While the indoor pool or the lobby bar may not be the see-and-be-seen spots these days, there’s plenty of action elsewhere—in particular, on the tennis court.
Take The Broadmoor, a Colorado Springs luxury hotel that reopened to the public in July 2020 and immediately saw its five outdoor courts deluged. Director of tennis Karen Schott, who has worked at the property for 27 years, says she’s never seen anything like it: “We were often doing seven days a week and 14-hour days, scrambling to find additional pros to come in.” The hotel responded with a raft of tennis-oriented programming, reintroducing previously phased-out complimentary round-robin tournaments; selling out new lifestyle events such as Tennis with a Taste of Tuscany, which bundle pasta and prosecco meals with court time; and bringing in former world number one Mats Wilander to lead clinics and invitation-only events this August.
Many other resorts are taking similar steps. A few miles north, Garden of the Gods Resort and Club has added myriad new camps and later this year will unveil three new courts, bringing its total to nine. In the San Diego area, meanwhile, Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa—which is already considered one of the world’s best tennis hotels thanks to its 14 hard courts and two clay courts—is responding to a crush of renewed enthusiasm for the sport by creating new fitness-minded tennis classes, such as Cardio Tennis and Live Ball, in which players put both their stamina and racquet control to the test.
The trend has also made its way to the Caribbean. The Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino has long counted two courts among its amenities, but when the resort recently hired Jerry van Dijk, the founder of Tennis School Aruba Palm Beach, to lead clinics and teach lessons, it saw a 60 percent rise in participation in on-property tennis.
As life begins to inch toward normal, it remains to be seen if tennis will continue its rally, but these resorts have no plans to take a break now. “We’re riding the wave,” Schott says, “and hopefully we can keep it going.”
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