Game, set, relax! These are the best tennis hotels in the world

From the famous Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc to The Maldives' Cheval Blanc Randheli, these are the top hotels for honing your backhand...

For years now — decades, in fact, probably since the 1950s — the supreme-reigning status symbol in Western culture has been the swimming pool. At home or abroad, in drone shots or Insta stories, a shimmer of eerily-blue pool water was long the highest bauble of modern society — a byword for a life of leisure; an implication of some endless summer; a vision of fine towels, tanned bodies, European sunglasses and flirtatious splashing. 

But in the last year or so, the pool has found itself unexpectedly gazumped. In the architectural status symbol leagues, it has been leapfrogged; put out to pasture. Sure, a piscine’s fine and all, so long as you lose the chlorine and add some infinity. But in this new era of sportif aesthetics and health-at-all-costs, it just doesn’t quite cut the mustard — and the thing, these days (if my Insta feed is to be believed) is a tennis court.

Green and white is the colour combination of the hour. Racquet chic is all. Everything is a sporting club of some kind, even if it’s not. Tanned is fine, but tanned and toned is better. Thwack, grunt; game, set and match. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the six best hotels with tennis courts in the world — things of beauty, of course, but also of sporting pedigree. Places to dole out status anxiety, sure; but also to master your backhand. One love.

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Antibes, France

Surrounded by ancient palms, pines and potentates, the burnt orange clay courts down at the Grande Dame of the Riviera look almost too pretty to play on. But you must force yourself, if you can, because tennis forms one third of the holy trinity at the Hotel du Cap — sliding in neatly between a sea dip from the famous rock-slung cabanas, and a club sandwich inhaled on the sea-front terrace. Hell of a day.

Game, set, relax! These are the best tennis hotels in the world

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Antibes, France

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The Headland Hotel, Cornwall, UK

Set on a dramatic, rocky outcrop amongst the bracing blue Atlantic, the Headland Hotel looks like something plucked from an Agatha Christie novel, only one where Hercule Poirot has a bewildering drop shot. The hard courts here have near-360 views of the ocean, and are cooled by a gentle sea breeze. Just don’t overcook your serve return, or you’ll be heading for a dip.

Game, set, relax! These are the best tennis hotels in the world

The Headland Hotel, Cornwall, UK

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Cheval Blanc Randheli, The Maldives

Do tennis players go to heaven, or do they just book in for an eternity at Cheval Blanc Randheli? There’s not much of a difference, save for all the harps. A chain of five glorious islands in the Noonu Atoll (a 40-minute ride by seaplane from Malvides’ capital, Male), Randheli is about as close to paradise as any of us is likely to get.

It’s where Roger Federer, incidentally, is rumoured to spend his down time — and if it’s good enough for the King, it’s good enough for us. The tennis courts on the islands, built to US Open and Paris Masters standards, are perhaps the finest spots in the world in which to get straight-setted. (And a pre-game coconut at Wimbledon just seems showy.)

Game, set, relax! These are the best tennis hotels in the world

Cheval Blanc Randheli, The Maldives

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Gstaad Palace, Gstaad, Switzerland

The Palace has long been one of the Jet Set’s traditional bastions of leisure — and the famous courts at the esteemed mountain retreat have played host to innumerable short-shorted, golden-skinned playboys and their pals over the years. (Nothing like working up a sweat before working up a sweat.)

Nowadays, the much-acclaimed Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks here offer invaluable personal coaching to those in need, while the gloriously peaceful Alpine backdrop is the ultimate antidote to racket rage.

Game, set, relax! These are the best tennis hotels in the world

Gstaad Palace, Gstaad, Switzerland

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Il San Pietro di Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Positano seems an impossible place for a tennis court — a higgledy-piggledy, nigh-on-mountainous coastline, characterised by winding lanes, rock-clinging houses, and steep blue coves. But Il San Pietro has somehow managed to squeeze one in, and down on the water’s edge, no less — a dream-like apparition. Bordered on three sides by striking, ancient rock faces, and open to the gentle buffeting breezes of the sea, it is one of the most dramatic places in the world in which to double fault.

Game, set, relax! These are the best tennis hotels in the world

Il San Pietro di Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

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Il Pellicano, Tuscany, Italy

Il Pellicano, tucked away on a sapphire blue cove on the Tuscan coast, has long been the Italian hotel for those in the know: an understated but utterly luxurious outpost, characterised by its gorgeous stepped terraces that cascade down to the rocky sea. The tennis court here, then, is the best kept secret within the best kept secret — a handsome, lone grass court, set back from the sea (but still swaddled in that salty air), and lined in harmonious symmetry by proud cypress trees. 

Game, set, relax! These are the best tennis hotels in the world

Il Pellicano, Tuscany, Italy

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Want more globe-trotting travel? Here’s our list of 50 hotels every gentleman should visit before he dies…

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Further Reading