By Cindy Wallis
This summer, my goal was to give my boys a different tennis experience than what they have had in the past, as well as have an enjoyable family vacation. We were able to accomplish both goals while visiting Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Hilton Head is a quick and easy destination to reach. We flew into Savannah, Georgia (only a 1 hour 40 minute flight from JFK!), and then rented a car. Door to door, the ride from Savannah to Hilton Head was a mere 45 minutes.
We stayed at the Westin Hilton Head Resort and Spa. This beachfront property didn’t disappoint. The rooms were relaxing, the landscaping manicured and plush and the beach views were great. It was 93 degrees and sunny everyday, but the thermometer always read “feels like 103F”. We found that if you spent time on the beach, you didn’t even feel the heat. Also, it was only a half mile away from the Port Royal Racquet Club, “the premier tennis facility in South Carolina”, the icing on the cake!
Hilton Head is traditionally known for golf, but there are four major tennis academies/clubs for kids and adults alike, one being Port Royal Racquet Club. Here, we took part in early morning clinics and one-on-one lessons with pros who have worked with some of the top ATP and WTA players around the world. We played mostly in the mornings due to the heat. However, the greenery surrounding the courts, provided shade for many spots.
The courts were beautiful clay/har-tru courts. Playing on them made us feel like we were professional players. (At least it made me feel that way ). My youngest son’s coach was one of Jared Donaldson’s coaches. You may have heard of Jared, he made it to round 3 in the US Open this year!!
When we were not playing tennis, we spent our time along a pristine stretch of white sand backdropped against the Atlantic Ocean. I have never swam in such a WARM part of the Atlantic Ocean prior to being at this beach! Every morning, lounge chairs and umbrellas were already set up and various activities were at our fingertips. We rode bikes on the beach, kite boarded, and lounged at three different outdoor pools. The staff was very accommodating, serving tropical drinks alongside palm trees and assisting us when needed.
Best of all, I used Starpoints for all five nights! (actually four, but when booking with Starwood points, the fifth night is free). The Points Mom should be proud!
All in all, it was a perfect family vacation. We were able to relax, enjoy the beach and spend quality family time. We did this while meeting “my summer goal” of having some alternative tennis opportunities for my boys. We worked with new pros, at a new location and even “ACED” the extreme heat.