Today’s guest post is written by my cousin, Zachary Gruber, who is an avid tennis player and world traveler.

I’ve been playing tennis for most of my 15 years, and my earliest memories involve me running around on a tennis court sporting a toddler-sized racquet. Frankly, it was love right from the start; I’ve always felt completely at home on a tennis court. I’ve had the good fortune to attend the Wimbledon championships and several matches at the U.S. Open.

It is no surprise that when I travel with my family, it’s really important to me to find hotels with good tennis facilities. For me, this means well-maintained courts and tennis pros that I can learn from. I’ve experienced hotel tennis facilities that have run the gamut from courts that resembled beach volleyball courts, to state-of-the-art courts which could host grand slam events, and everything in between.

It’s always a pleasure to arrive at a hotel and find beautiful tennis courts where I can enjoy spending time. A few of my favorite hotels for tennis fans are:

Top hotels for tennis players -- Hotel Excelsior Venice Italy

1. Hotel Excelsior, Lido di Venezia, Italy

Just a stone’s throw from Venice, the Hotel Excelsior was a truly lovely hotel with a beautiful tennis club right across the street (note: the tennis club was not affiliated with the hotel). With six courts and several pros, this is a serious place to play tennis. The head pro, Paolo, was a wonderful instructor and one of the most talented players I’ve ever met. At the ripe age of 75 he had me (at 12 years old) running around the court, sweating bullets, while he was “fresh as a daisy”. He couldn’t have been nicer and it was truly an honor to play with him. I would recommend this club for all ages and levels of experience.

Read reviews and see pictures of the Hotel Excelsior!

2. Penha Longa Resort, Sintra Portugal

Located several miles outside of Lisbon, the Penha Longa is a beautiful resort complete with an on-site 14th century Monastery and grand-slam worthy tennis facilities. Having had the privilege to stay there when I was 14, I recommend the head coach for all levels of play, or one of the other pros for lower levels.

Read reviews and see pictures of the Penha Longa!

Top tennis hotels - Portugal

3. The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman

There are several beautiful and well-maintained hard courts right on the hotel’s property. The instructor I played with, Thomas was great. Although keep in mind, as with all Ritz-Carlton’s everything is pricey, including the tennis. However, this is definitely one of the better places to play on the island.

Read reviews and see pictures of the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman!

The King David Hotel, Jerusalem, Israel

A hotel famous for two things: (1) the important role it has played in Israeli history, and (2) a vast breakfast buffet with a staggering array of choices. There is a single well-maintained court, in the rear of the property, which I played on when I was ten years old. I felt it was definitely worth my time and the pro was very nice and I would recommend playing here.

Read review and see pictures of the King David!

5 Tips for Finding a Hotel with Great Tennis

Before booking a hotel, I always take a close look into the tennis facilities (most of which can be done online via the hotel’s website). Here are my five tips that will guarantee that you find hotels with great tennis.

  1. Photos of the tennis facilities

As they say “a picture is worth a thousand words”, so it’s a really smart idea to scour the hotel’s website for photos. Ask yourself the following questions: How many courts do they have (the more courts, the higher the likelihood that they take tennis seriously)? Do the courts look well-maintained? Do you see trees around the perimeter of the courts (if you want to be at least partially shaded, then you need to be on the lookout for trees)? Also, if you do not see any photos of the tennis facilities, then contact the hotel and just ask them to send you a few.

  1. Location of the tennis courts

Many hotels list tennis as an amenity, but the facilities are not always on-site. If there is no mention of the location of the tennis courts on the website, contact the hotel and ask. If the courts are not located on-site, find out how far away they are, and if transportation is provided.

  1. Tennis pros

Information about the pros is not usually listed on the hotel’s website. So for this one you will most likely need to contact the hotel. As the following questions: Do they have pros? How many pros (the more pros, the higher the probability that they take tennis seriously)? How far in advance do you need to reserve a pro? Make sure to communicate the level of your tennis, so they can recommend the best pro for your particular level of play.

  1. Tennis reviews

Look at reviews of the hotel (i.e. – Tripadvisor or a similar travel site) and see if you can find any mentions of the tennis facilities. An honest, unbiased review can be very helpful.

  1. Ask about the tennis facilities

Call the hotel and simply ask about the condition and quality of the tennis courts. Our family made a mistake by not doing this when we traveled to Mexico. We found courts that were covered in sand at the  JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, Cancun, Mexico. Although a really great hotel, with the kindest of staff who truly want to make you happy, do not stay at the JW if you want to play tennis. Although we inquired about the tennis beforehand, there was one key question that we forgot to ask: “Do you have normal tennis courts, like everyone else?” When I arrived on the courts, I was surprised to see that they were covered in sand. My first thought was that they were doing some sort of renovation or that they had spread sand on the court for a good reason (maybe to play beach volleyball) and just forgot to clean it up. But no, we were told that the courts are always covered with sand . . . that’s how they play tennis. For me, it was not remotely playable. By the way, that’s why I recommend seeing images of the tennis courts beforehand (see tip #1 above).

If you have any questions, or if you just want to talk tennis, feel free to email me at zgruber2@gmail.com.

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Top hotels for tennis players and tips on finding a great tennis hotel

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