Top 100 Tennis Resorts and Camps

May 12, 2009

Tennis Resorts Online has just published its annual rankings of the Top 100 Tennis Resorts and Camps. Kiawah Island Golf Resort on Kiawah Island in South Carolina returns to the top position among resorts, edging out last year’s No. 1 Rancho Valencia Resort in Rancho Santa Fe, California, and also took top honors two categories: “Tennis Programs and Instruction” and “Children’s Programs”. The top camp was once again the Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks program at the Palace Hotel in Gstaad, Switzerland, which also drew raves and the No. 1 slot for “Tennis Staff”.

As in years past, these results are based on the critiques submitted by vacationers themselves during the period from May 1, 2008 to April 30, 2009. An online form asks them to write reviews and to evaluate each resort or camp in more than 20 different categories. These range from the quality of the tennis staff, programs, instruction, and game matching to such amenities as accommodations, cuisine, overall recreation, spa and fitness facilities, children’s programs, and more. You can see all of the categories by looking at the form, which is available at Rate a Resort or Camp.

We use two different formulas to tabulate the results: one for resorts, another for camps. Both weigh the tennis aspects more heavily than the off-court amenities, but they differ in emphasis. At a resort, for example, lodging and cuisine matter more than they may at a tennis camp, because vacationers who choose resorts are typically looking for a broader experience than tennis alone. Whereas if a camp program is stellar, then players may be more willing to give up some creature comforts. Similarly, game matching is extremely important at a resort, since there’s nothing worse than wanting to play on holiday and not having an opponent. At a camp, however, you’re going to meet other players in the normal course of the group clinics, so you should be able to hook up easily during your free time if you want still more tennis.

To ensure that the final results are statistically meaningful, we require a minimum of 25 reviews to qualify for a ranking among the Top 10 resorts or Top 5 camps. Otherwise, we rank no resort or camp that receives fewer than 10 reviews. We disregard reviews submitted by members, staff, management, relatives, and professional colleagues, when these are obvious, and we ignore reviews submitted from the pro shop computer, since we have no way of determining whether these are valid reviews or were completed under the pressure of the staff looking on.

Our goal is to reward the resorts and camps that truly do provide an exceptional experience for tennis players, and I think we’ve succeeded. Like the professional tennis tour, the depth of quality runs very deep. Any resort or camp with a ranking has demonstrated a commitment to providing a high quality tennis experience—and it’s not me saying that but the vacationers who paid for their holiday and are thus the best judges of how well their needs were met. The are and should be the final arbiters.