If yours is a group looking for a tennis vacation, look no further than The Resort at Longboat Key Club in Sarasota, one of Florida’s top tennis resorts.
What’s not to love about tennis vacations to the Sunshine State, where manicured courts sit seaside, surrounded by natural and cultural attractions? While there are plenty of tennis resorts from which to choose, only Sarasota – and The Resort at Longboat Key – prepares the full package for players, from the fabled Tennis Gardens and paddleboarding to shopping St. Armands Circle and exploring the Mote Marine Aquarium. Tennis players will find their games elevated to a new level, and their vacation needs answered in every aspect.
Where to Stay
Sitting on a long stretch of sugar-white sand in Sarasota, The Resort at Longboat Key Club has 223 beachfront accommodations, ranging from oversized guest rooms to two-bedroom suites; all include furnished private balconies and contemporary tropical decor – not to mention flat-screen TVs and Bose Wave radios for tennis players who might want to tune into a Grand Slam tournament in between their own match play. Tranquil lagoons, an award-winning golf course, marina, pool, and fitness center round out the amenities, and groups of tennis players can book a block of rooms or a number of individual suites.
With 20 Har-Tru courts set between palm trees and landscaped acreage on Sarasota Bay, the resort’s Tennis Gardens earns rave reviews from the USTA, Tennis Magazine, and Tennis Resorts Online, among others. Tennis groups that book all the courts on the north or south side ensure everyone is playing in close proximity to each other. Events include Daily Strokes & Strategy, Advance Live Ball, Tennis Rockin’ Round Robins, Tennis Mixed Doubles, Tennis Doubles Clinics, Beginner Tennis Clinics, and Tennis FIT. Pros on staff are available year-round for group lessons; there’s even a Tennis Concierge who can help arrange games, string racquets, and more.
Sipping on Smoothies
In between matches, tennis players can head to 21, a cafe and lounge which overlooks the Center Court and blends fresh fruit smoothies made with pineapple, citrus, and other tropical flavors. Or, choose from premium coffee drinks and a menu that includes tomato-and-cucumber gazpacho, curried chicken salad and broccoli, and bacon-and-cheddar quiche.
Paddleboarding Sarasota Bay
Tennis requires good core strength, which can be enhanced by trying out the sport of stand-up paddleboarding. It may seem like the work comes from the arms, but balancing on the board tests the abdominal muscles. Enjoy the aquamarine waters off The Resort at Longboat Key, which rents stand-up paddleboards, along with kayaks, beach lounges, and more on the beach. You’ll also find yoga, tai chi, and beach boot camp classes here for even more challenges.
Shopping St. Armands Circle
Imagine an island unto itself, filled with a marketplace of more than 130 shops that range from A Savory Palate to Lilly Pulitzer – that’s St. Armands Circle, a property originally purchase by fisherman Charles St. Armand in 1893. Wander along John Ringling Boulevard, marveling at the statues and the relics from Ringling’s time – it’s a great break from all that time on the tennis courts.
Visiting the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Enjoy a dose of local marine life during the downtime at the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, which features more than 100 species of marine life. Meet resident manatees, Hugh and Buffett, half-brothers who came to the Mote in 1996, during a narrated training session at 1 p.m. daily. Or visit the Shark Zone, a 135,000-gallon shark habitat in which guests can observe several species of sharks both above and below water.
Getting Facials at the Spa
Even with all that SPF, the Florida sun can sizzle tennis players’ faces. Soothe the skin with a signature 80-minute facial at the spa, which uses natural and antiaging technologies to increase firmness and elasticity. Other options include a custom 50-minute facial, dermal rejuvenation, derma peels, and more. Add a paraffin treatment for tennis-worked hands and feet for $20.