Tennis Resorts Online
In This Issue: Northern California | Resort/Camp News | Specials/Discounts | Vacation Giveaway

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A Northern California Tennis Odyssey

"Secret Lives of Seahorses," Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, CaliforniaMany regions of the country can satisfy a craving for tennis, but only in Northern California can you supplement your time on court with three-star Michelin cuisine, wine tastings, one of the country's most scenic coastal drives, an exhibit of seahorses and sea otters, cable-car rides, and a vast, crystal-clear alpine lake, to name only a few of its more alluring attractions.
I used to live in San Francisco and Berkeley, so I'm always looking for an excuse to go back to visit friends, and earlier this summer I also found a professional reason to return: over the last few years there have been significant changes to the tennis landscape, including major resort renovations, new tennis personnel, enhanced programs, and the addition of courts to what had been primarily a golf resort. So I'm devoting this newsletter to highlighting the significant tennis changes, with links to more extensive reviews of those resorts and to one of the great attractions in this region, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and its current "Secret Lives of Seahorses" exhibit.

Carmel Valley Ranch, Carmel Valley. Geolo Capital, an investment firm, bought the 500-acre pet-friendly Carmel Valley Ranch in June of 2009 and promptly set about Carmel Valley Ranch, Carmel Valley, California. Roger Cox photomaking $35 million in improvements. That included renovating the lodge and all 160 suites, adding a 10,000-square-foot spa, and turning the area known as River Ranch, where the tennis courts are located, into an activity zone. Two courts were sacrificed to those improvements: the clubhouse court, which was replaced by a swimming pool and kids' splash pool; and a second hard court, which became a multi-sport court. That leaves seven hard and two clay courts, supplemented now by a large fitness center (whose extensive roster of classes are all complimentary) and a cafe. More >>>

The Lodge at Pebble Beach, Pebble Beach. Pebble Beach shares the local attractions with the Ranch, of course, but its seaside location and fabled golf The Beach & Tennis Club at Pebble Beach, Pebble Beach, Californiacourses make it a very different kind of property. Veteran tennis director Kie Foreman, who has been at the tennis center since 2000, modulates the programming with the season on the Club's 10 hard and 2 clay courts, adding junior tennis camps in summer and NIKE adult camps in spring and fall. There are two new developments, however: a tennis-only membership is now being offered to those living outside the Pebble Beach confines, with a boon to the club's game-matching abilities, and Foreman will be adding special Pebble Beach camps in January and February of 2012, the period when rates at the Lodge are at their most attractive. More >>>

Cordevalle, A Rosewood Resort, San Martin. Ordinarily, a resort with only four tennis courts does not show up on my radar, but it is news when what had otherwise been a golf-centric property with a boutique hotel not only adds tennis courts but also backs them up with a credentialed tennis director and a livingroom-like pavilion for players to chill out. Situated on 1,700 secluded and minimally developed acres in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, 27 miles southeast of San Jose, it is a Cordevalle, A Rosewood Resort, San Martin, Californiaconvenient hideaway for the nearby Silicon Valley crowd. Lodging consists of a mere 45 suites and three four-bedroom homes; however, there is a full range of diversions, including an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course, a spa and fitness center, a vineyard and winery, and several restaurants not open to the public.
Tennis director Benjy Robins played on the ATP Tour before going on to a multi-faceted career that included managing the ATP Tour, coaching college tennis, and founding his own sports marketing firm until settling here in 2010. He freely admits that the tennis program at Cordevalle is "a work in progress," though he has started a summer junior tennis camps and begun to introduce clinics as mixers as he feels his way toward that his clientele wants. If you're headed that way, check in with Robins to see what he'll have going on during your stay. More >>>

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay. Built to resemble a seaside lodge, this 261-room stone-and-shingle Ritz-Carlton perches on a bluff overlooking a dramatic section of Northern California coast. Guests happily grab an outdoor table or Adirondack chair to sit and gaze at this magnificent view or stroll along the path leading down to the beach below. Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, CaliforniaAnother walkway along the bluff skirts one of the golf fairways to reach a cluster of six hard tennis courts, set behind a golf-course berm where they are protected from the wind and adjacent to an indoor swimming pool and fitness center. Peter Burwash International pro Kevin Harrington, who is from Half Moon Bay, had been away but has returned to preside over this complex, caring for the tennis needs of some 500+ members as well as those of any hotel guests who wonder over or stay in the adjacent guest cottages. More >>>

The Claremont Resort & Spa, Berkeley. The white, gabled-roof Claremont hotel, which dates to 1915, sits just high enough in the Berkeley Hills to have views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Tucked into a residential Claremont Resort & Spa, Berkeley, Californianeighborhood, roughly a mile from the University of California-Berkeley campus, it hardly seems like the sort of venue to have an exceptionally vibrant tennis program—that is until you meet director Rosie Bareis, a USPTA Master Pro and holder of 11 Gold Balls, whose infectious enthusiasm for the game and its players pervades the 10-court complex. "I live, sleep, eat, drink, breathe tennis," says the Hawaiian-born pro, something that is almost essential given that the Claremont is also a club for some 1,400 local families. Not all are tennis players, of course—the club also includes two 25-meter swimming pools, a fitness center, a 20,000-square-foot spa, and some 80 fitness classes (all of them free to hotel guests) among other benefits—but there are enough to field 42 USTA teams, support a summer junior tennis camp and multiple after-school junior programs, and provide opponents from 2.5 to 5.0 for any guest seeking to play. More >>>

Meadowood Napa Valley, St. Helena. Tucked into its own heavily wooded valley at the end of a road through vineyards, Meadowood promises that rare The Restaurant, Meadowood Napa Valley, St. Helena, Californiacombination of total escape and a full complement of resort amenities. Doug King, who arrived in 1984 after playing No. 1 for UC-Berkeley, is the only director the resort has ever known. His long tenure has resulted in a varied program that meets the needs both of members and guests and his own teaching methodology, which he calls "Acceleration Tennis" for its focus on fluid, dynamic body movement (check out www.tennisone.com for examples of his approach). But the big news is that The Restaurant at Meadowood earned 3 Michelin stars this year under chef Christopher Kostow, making it one of the stellar places to dine in a region renowned for outstanding cuisine. More >>>

Silverado Resort and Spa, Napa. Originally a private estate anchored by an 1870s mansion, Silverado has deep roots in the Napa Valley, and now it also has new owners, new tennis personnel, and new golf-course management, Silverado Resort and Spa, Napa, Californiaall of them intent on re-energizing this 1,200-acre landmark a 20-minute drive from downtown Napa. Dolce Hotels and Resorts bought it in 2010, and almost immediately brought in PGA Hall of Famer Johnny Miller, who is part of the ownership team, to renovate its two Robert Trent Jones, Jr. championship courses. Then early in 2011, Peter Burwash International was tapped to direct the tennis program on the 13 hard courts and assigned Jacob Hansen and James Rutherford to shepherd the turnaround. By the time I visited in June, they'd made progress in reactivating the member program and were looking forward a high-season influx of resort guests. More >>>

Northstar California, Truckee. With a large and almost entirely new base village, an on-mountain Ritz-Carlton, a Hyatt Residence Club, and new owners in Vail Resorts, Northstar has undergone the most sweeping changes of any resort in Northern California. Northstar California tennis clinic, Truckee, CaliforniaBrand-new three-to-six-story wood, shingle, and stone structures line three broad pedestrian-only streets, with lodging above and shops and restaurants on the main level. The centerpiece is a skating rink with artificial ice that attracted mostly kids on mini scooters or roller skates when I was there but doubles as a performance space for summer concerts. Unchanged are the enthusiastically-run tennis camps, clinics, and social round robins under longtime director Zeke Straw. More >>>

Monterey Bay Aquarium

"It looks like a dragon," a six-year-old exclaimed as something very like an elongated dragon swam through an underwater forest, seemingly obliviously Monterey Bay Aquarium, Kelp Forestto the dozens of pairs of eyes staring at it through the Plexiglas window. In fact, this aquatic sea dragon belongs not to children's fairy tales but to the family of seahorses, the featured exhibition at the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Cannery Row in Monterey, California. Seeing them this close reveals a creature seemingly put together from spare parts, with the head of a horse, the tail of a monkey, the pouch of a kangaroo, and the rotating eyes of a chameleon. And as that leafy sea dragon suggests, they are far more varied than those in the picture books of my childhood.
Although their special exhibits are always riveting—last time I was mesmerized by, of all things, jellyfish (theirs is the largest collection in the world)—the living kelp forest—which recreates the habitat in Monterey Bay just outside—frolicking sea otters, open-sea galleries with their tuna, sharks, and shimmering schools of fish, and numerous opportunities for kids (and adults) to touch sea stars, abalone, sea cucumbers, and more. It's a national treasure and a must-visit for anyone in the area.

Tennis Resort and Camp News

Myke Loomis is leaving Hidden Dunes Beach & Tennis Resort Renee Broxson, Hidden Dunes Beach & Tennis Resort, Destin, Floridain Destin, FL for Tarpon Cove Yacht & Racquet Club in Naples, FL. "After 26 years here, this job fell into our lap," she told me. After looking into it, she and Phil Landauer, who joined Hidden Dunes last year, decided "it would offer new challenges and it was time to make a change."
Guests will still see a familiar face behind the counter and on the courts, however, since Loomis's sometimes doubles partner Renee Broxson will be taking over her duties. Broxson herself has been there since 2005, having joined the staff after six years as assistant coach of the women's tennis team at University of West Florida, where she played her collegiate tennis, and stints at other clubs and resorts in the Panhandle. "I've told everyone that Myke Loomis [the former director] did such a great job that we're not going to change anything," says Broxson. "We're going to build on what she did."

Former world No. 1 Ivan Lendl has announced plans to open the Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy at Port Royal Racquet Club on South Carolina's Hilton Head Island. According to the website, Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy, Port Royal Racquet Club, Hilton Head Island, South Carolinathe academy will focus on "classic fundamentals, leading-edge biomechanics, strength training / fitness and mental preparation. In addition to strengthening strokes, footwork and essential mechanics, the Academy subscribes to a hands-on approach instilling dedication, focus, hard work, attitude, motivation and overall preparation." As director, Lendl himself plans to be intimately involved in developing each player. Participants will attend the nearby Heritage Academy, which offers academic instruction for those pursuing extra-curricular activities. Although being developed as a year-round training academy, the facility will also offer summer, holiday, and weekend options as alternatives to full time. The academy, which opens August 15, is accepting applications for Fall 2011. For information, phone 888-983-6647 or visit the website at www.lendltennis.com.

Peter Burwash International now manages Hayman Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef, Australiathe five hard-court complex at Hayman Island Resort in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The resort reopened on August 1 following five months of restoration work on the island and renovations to the hotel, both of which were damaged in two tropical cyclones earlier this year. John Ciarlegio has been tapped to direct, where he'll face stiff competition from the island's seven beaches, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Plans nonetheless call for offering daily clinics, junior programs, and social and competitive tournaments in addition to private and semi-private lessons.

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Vacation Giveaway

Tennis Resorts Online has again secured three vacation prizes—at Saddlebrook Tennis in Florida, TOPS'L Beach & Racquet Resort in Florida, and New England Tennis Holidays at Sugarbush in Vermont—to give away in our annual drawing among all of those of you who rate the resorts and camps you've attended.
The drawing will take place on May 1, 2012. To participate, fill out the Rate a Resort or Rate a Junior Tennis Camp form. Every review you file gives you another chance at winning.


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©2011 Roger Cox