The best four sports to experience in style
We’ve put together some ideas for luxury-hotel stays that offer the opportunity to try your hand at a variety of sports. Don’t worry, we’ve chosen some of the most relaxing activities (it is your well-earned holiday, after all!) that can easily be incorporated into your plans. We’ve reviewed every hotel recently, too, so that you can decide whether they are right for you.
Fancy learning to play golf like a pro? Sandy Lane’s Country Club course in Barbados has hosted the World Golf Championships Barbados World Cup, so playing a round here means you’ll be following in the footsteps of golfing legends. The resort is also where the greats of the game choose to chill out: Tiger Woods married here, and Rory McIlroy has holidayed here with his wife. Superb views of lush greens, sparkling lakes, immaculate fairways and the Caribbean add to the pleasures of playing the highly regarded, 72-par, 7,060-yard Country Club course. And with a 450-yard driving range onsite to practise hitting against the trade winds, a fully equipped clubhouse offering shoe and club rental, caddies (mandatory), and golf carts with a GPS system capable of showing you distances to the greens and tips for each hole, you have every chance of great success.
If you love horses and being outdoors, equestrian jumping and dressage could be a wonderful new pastime for you. The Marbella Club Golf Resort & Spa on the Costa del Sol offers guests access to a state-of-the-art equestrian centre that is home to well-trained Arabian, Spanish, German and French horses. With two modern geo-textile riding arenas too, it’s no surprise that many prestigious competitions, including the Spanish National Show Jumping Championship, are held here. It’s the perfect place to experience horse riding, and whether you are a novice or an experienced rider, there are activities and lessons to suit. Enjoy a dressage or show-jumping class, or take a trek through the countryside amid peaceful forests and mountains. If you have children in tow, there are ponies suitable for little ones to master mounting and riding, and if they seem to be a natural, they can try riding or even jumping in one of the centre’s professional show rings.
At Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned player, you can take advantage of two hard-surface tennis courts, both lit for night play when things might be more comfortable temperature-wise. If you’re serious about improving your game, the resort offers professional instruction from the Peter Burwash International tennis-management company. This includes the Tennis for Life® programme, which features private and group lessons, daily clinics, social mixers and Quickstart kids tennis, so there is something for everyone. If you need to get kitted out, the pro shop sells tennis wear and equipment, but complimentary use of shorts, T-shirts and tennis shoes, as well as rackets, balls and towels is available.
If you’d like to do a spot of sailing on your next holiday, Antigua is one of the best destinations. As one of the country’s favourite pastimes, the sport is celebrated in all its glory during the annual Antigua Sailing Week in April. It’s a fabulous time to visit the island, not just to watch the drama of the regatta unfold but also for oodles of party atmosphere. If you’d like to learn to sail, at Carlisle Bay you can take a three-day Royal Yachting Association course offered through On Deck Racing, where you will be taught the ropes on board a 40ft keelboat. If that’s not quite what you had in mind, let someone else do the hard work and charter a yacht, such as The Inn at English Harbour’s Xenia & Faye. It’s a wonderful way to explore, and Bird Island or Green Island make excellent excursions where you can enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach, a spot of swimming and some superb snorkelling.
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