Talk Tennis

Talk Tennis (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php)
-   Tennis Travel (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/forumdisplay.php?f=20)
-   -   review: total tennis vs newks vs saddlebrook (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=237258)

vinouspleasure 12-30-2008 06:04 PM

review: total tennis vs newks vs saddlebrook vs clubmed sandpiper
 
my wife and I have been to all three of these. She is trying to get to be good enough to get her teaching certificate. I'm not really looking for improvement, just an active vacation where I hit a ton of tennis balls. Here are my thoughts:

Total Tennis
The tt experience is very dependent on your pro because IMO, they have the widest range of ability with their pros. This is especially true in the summer where they bring pros from colleges and other areas. The setting for the outdoor courts is beautiful and peaceful, especially in the fall. Lodging is somewhere between rustic and spartan but the rooms are clean. I believe the chef may be CIA trained and the food is very, very good. I've always been in the strongest group there and I've never seen anyone stronger than a strong 4.0 though I'm sure they get 4.5s from time to time. I should add that TT, with the right pro, is a great value.

Newks
Newks is all about fun. The pros are fun, they have a great attitude and they make sure everyone has a good time on and off the courts. The food is solid, instruction is solid and the after-tennis is is the best of the three resorts. The rooms are very nice, the rates very reasonable, particularly when they have 2-1 for deals. I played with strong 4.5s when I was there. We had a fabulous time at newks.

Saddlebrook
We recently spent our anniversary at Saddlebrook. It was very expensive compared to the other two. We paid a little extra for a suite and it was beautiful, by far the nicest of the three resorts. The resort itself is beautiful, with lush palms, a beautiful pool, spa and outdoor hot tubs.

I had heard that the tennis is very demanding, meant to get some aerobics in before we went but just didn't have time. The first day was pretty easy, I was a little sore getting to the court for day 2. The 2nd day our pro really worked me. One of the things I noticed here were the lack of breaks...its non-stop tennis, two people picking up balls while the others hit. My wife and I were really hurting starting day 3 and the pace quickened right off the bat. For some reason, after lunch that day I started feeling better and I was good to go for the rest of the stay. However, the pro did get me to a point on the last day where in the middle of a drill I was so tired I could no longer hit a backhand over the net. I think they look for that moment and work with you once in you're in that state.

From what I could see, Saddlebrook has the best pros and they really care about your experience. They took the three other players on my court for privates with the tennis director. He worked with my wife on her backhand slice. At the end of the day, I had 3 balls and I was trying to help my wife with the stroke, he saw us working on it and he spent another 20 minutes with us, working with three balls. This was after everybody had left the courts. Then he offered to hit with me but I was too tired. This was above and beyond anything we expected or could imagine.

You have to pay for the food at saddlebrook but our package included breakfasts and two dinners. The breakfast were absolutely great, better than most nyc restaurants. We ate at the on-property steak house. The food was very good, again as good as some nyc steakhouses. Without the package, the steak house would have been as expensive as a nyc steak house. We ate in the sports bar one night, the food was very good and reasonably priced.

We went to saddlebrook for our anniversary, thinking it was a splash-out, expensive luxury vacation but given the level of instruction, commitment to excellence and the beauty of the resort, we're going back. btw, this was the only resort where I saw 5.0/5.5 level players. Unfortunately, I wasn't strong enough to play with them and ended up on the next strongest court, a 3.5 court. Our pro made up for it by working me very hard and he also played in against me, so in the end, it didn't really matter.


************************
updating with clubmed sandpiper

************************
sitting in the airport, flight delayed, thought I'd add this short review of sandpiper. If you're a tennis player with young kids, this is a nice choice. Lots of activities for the whole family, great staff (tennis and non-tennis) and the food and drink is good, not great.

we visited years ago, when our kids were much smaller and there was a basic tennis facility. This has been replaced with a full-fledged tennis academy, with beautifully maintained har-tru and hard courts. There are daily clinics included in the price. each clinic lasts one hour, people self-rate, I'd say advanced was anywhere from 3.5-4.5.

Additionally, they have a daily, 3 hour intensive clinic for $210, five hour junior clinics for $200 and private instruction for $100/hour. I dunno about you, but I think $100/hour is pretty expensive. I watched the tennis director of the academy give two lessons, one to a 4.5-5.0 and another to two young beginners and decided that $100/hour was a bargain for this level of instruction. My middle kid has been playing for a about year, we signed him up and he had an incredible lesson. My oldest did the 3-hour and 5-hour clinics and enjoyed them both.

I attended the daily clinic, played a little after the clinic and played in the daily doubles competition. the doubles comp is open to all levels, as such it was really social tennis rather than competitive. Still, we managed to setup some good matches.

If you're a tennis player with young kids, this is definitely a place to keep on your radar.

aldekeuk 12-31-2008 06:48 AM

Thanks for the post and great reviews!

I have been to Saddlebrook and totally agree with your assessment - Howard Moore, the director there, runs a fantastic program. Have always wanted to try Newks but the flights there are much more of a pain (no direct) compared to flying to Tampa for Saddlebrook.

I would be interested in any more info you have on Newk's, especially as compared to Saddlebrook (obviously Newks is less expensive).

Thanks!

vinouspleasure 12-31-2008 07:17 AM

Newks was almost like two different resorts for us, during the week there were only 8-12 people, so we got a lot of individual attention. Friday-sun the resort was packed with people from austin and the place really started hopping.

One of the unique things they did at newks was that they put a pro on each court teaching a different skill. You rotated through the courts and worked with each pro. It was a lot of fun and it seemed like they had the right pros teaching the right skills.After tennis, they had music and contests in the lodge. It was a little cheesy but a lot of fun.

If I were to compare the resorts, saddlebrook is a serious place where you work hard and you're likely to improve your tennis the most. Newks is a warm, welcoming place which combines tennis with a great, fun atmosphere. If you haven't been to Newks, I would say its worth the effort to get there. I will say that your experience at all the resorts is somewhat based on the people you meet at the resort. We met a great, great group of people at newks...but maybe that wasn't coincidental as newks reputation may attract the sort of people who align best with what we look for in our friends. At saddlebrook, we met very nice people but they were a little more formal/serious than the folks at newks.

The other point worth making about Newks is that if you like bbq , its striking distance to some of the best bbq in the country in the form of Kruetz Market, Smittys, Blacks and luling city market. I spend 4-5 weekends a year judging bbq contests, so the proximity of these shrines puts newks over the top for me.

aldekeuk 12-31-2008 07:23 AM

Thanks!
i really really enjoy Saddlebrook but don't have anything to compare it against. but since it so enjoyable i keep going back (if it ain't broke, don't fix it).
but your reviews on Newks mean i may have to make the effort some time to get there and try it out (as well as compare the Texas BBQ to NC BBQ!)

starsin47 12-31-2008 10:15 AM

Saddlebrook Experience
 
I have to agree with the OP assessment on SaddleBrook. I have been to two other adult camps / resorts. SB was the best of the three on all counts. First time I went alone, last year my wife went and my son joined the Jr. program.

If I have the time I will go back for my third time to SB in June. I always go in summer since the rates are lower, and I do like the challenge of working out in the heat. I go for 5 days, and by mid-day on day 2 I adjust to the routine. Even though I play and workout on a regular basis, I do try and work a little harder on my cardio, heat exposure, and legs about 4 to 6 weeks before I go.

Also, going off-peak you are in smaller groups, get more attention.

Also, I agree that Howard Moore has to be one of the best in the business when it comes to running such a program.

I agree it is a little costly, especially the food. I get a regular room, get a cooler, and stock up at the local supermarket, and only splurge a few times in the bar/restaurant.

vinouspleasure 12-31-2008 12:17 PM

the suite was about $15/night more than a regular room and included a full kitchen. well worth it imo.

starsin47 01-01-2009 06:25 AM

Thanks!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vinouspleasure (Post 2964390)
the suite was about $15/night more than a regular room and included a full kitchen. well worth it imo.

I guess I never considered a suite thinking it to be $$$. You are right, for just $15 more a night it is a bargin esp. if you can cook a few meals vs. restaurants.

vinouspleasure 01-01-2009 06:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by starsin47 (Post 2965878)
I guess I never considered a suite thinking it to be $$$. You are right, for just $15 more a night it is a bargin esp. if you can cook a few meals vs. restaurants.

in addition to the cooking/refrigerator facilities, the rest of the room is really beautiful. I did a little research before we went and read that some of the regular rooms were supposed to be not that nice.

There were two packages running when we went and the reservationist spent 15 minutes with me on the phone calculating the best deal. Really first class customer service from beginning to end.

Blask 01-01-2009 08:06 AM

Did you have to pay to valet park your car every time you went out? I heard that was an expensive drawback of Saddlebrook

Japanese Maple 01-01-2009 08:21 AM

In you do go to Saddlebrook for a week camp you better be in good shape or you will be miserable! Also, try to schedule several massages before you arrive to get optimal times-critical for recovery and to enjoy the tennis. Don't expect big changes in your technique/strokes because you tend to do mostly drills to aid your movement and conditioning.

vinouspleasure 01-01-2009 08:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blask (Post 2966019)
Did you have to pay to valet park your car every time you went out? I heard that was an expensive drawback of Saddlebrook

there is no mandatory cost but you should tip a dollar or two when they bring your car. We only left the resort once to get supplies from the grocery store so it didn't really matter.

>>
Don't expect big changes in your techniquestokes because you tend to do mostly drills to aid your movement and conditioning.
>>


Drilling to technique ratio was about 90/10. As I mentioned in my OP, they took people off my court for privates to work on stroke technique. My wife walked away with a bh slice (she hits a 2hbh) and the two other people on the court came back with much better volleys. I hit a 1hbh with topspin but I never saw anything like my pros ts bh so I asked him to spend some time with me on the technique.

aldekeuk 01-01-2009 03:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vinouspleasure (Post 2964390)
the suite was about $15/night more than a regular room and included a full kitchen. well worth it imo.

TennisResortsOnline.com also has a deal where you can get a free upgrade to a suite if you mention their offer when booking your room (having a full kitchen is great, especially with the grocery store so close by just outside the Saddlebrook grounds).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blask
Did you have to pay to valet park your car every time you went out? I heard that was an expensive drawback of Saddlebrook

there is a daily parking charge (think it is $5-10) included in your bill for the parking. but yes, you prob should either tip every time you get your car or just leave one bigger tip when you are checking out (tips are shared among the employees i believe). but the cost is only a couple bucks a day - not a real game changer in terms of the total cost of the great tennis experience Saddlebrook offers.

Blask 01-01-2009 04:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aldekeuk (Post 2966978)
TennisResortsOnline.com also has a deal where you can get a free upgrade to a suite if you mention their offer when booking your room (having a full kitchen is great, especially with the grocery store so close by just outside the Saddlebrook grounds).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blask
Did you have to pay to valet park your car every time you went out? I heard that was an expensive drawback of Saddlebrook

there is a daily parking charge (think it is $5-10) included in your bill for the parking. but yes, you prob should either tip every time you get your car or just leave one bigger tip when you are checking out (tips are shared among the employees i believe). but the cost is only a couple bucks a day - not a real game changer in terms of the total cost of the great tennis experience Saddlebrook offers.

Thanks for the clarification on this. Tipping is no big deal at all but I had read pervious posts on TW that mentioned absurd pricing for mandatory valet service. I am seriously considering this place for early in 2009. Is there anything for my non tennis playing wife do to while I'm hitting? Pool, spa, shopping, etc?

vinouspleasure 01-01-2009 04:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blask (Post 2967125)
Thanks for the clarification on this. Tipping is no big deal at all but I had read pervious posts on TW that mentioned absurd pricing for mandatory valet service. I am seriously considering this place for early in 2009. Is there anything for my non tennis playing wife do to while I'm hitting? Pool, spa, shopping, etc?

I may have misunderstood your question, you must use the valet parking and they do charge you for it, something like $10/day.

We mostly played tennis, but they have a fitness center, a big, beautiful heated pool, hot tubs, and a spa. Of course, they also have golf if your wife plays. We hit for 5 hours/day, you have the option of hitting for just the morning, it you want to spend more time with your wife. Honestly, I would have found it a little boring if not for the tennis. You might want to consider one of the beach/tennis resorts in fl.

I forgot to mention in my posts that they had a live four piece band on the weekend and they were very, very good. I also forgot to mention that we saw Derek Jeter at breakfast a couple of times.

Also, since it was our anniversary, we checked with the steakhouse in advance and they let us bring a special bottle of wine for a $15 corkage fee. If you choose to do this, I'd call in advance to ensure the wine you're bringing is not on their wine list.

tennisresortsonline does have a current promotion however the resort itself offered two better promotions. I would suggest asking about the resort promotions before mentioning the tennisresortsonline promotion.

aldekeuk 01-01-2009 05:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blask (Post 2967125)
Thanks for the clarification on this. Tipping is no big deal at all but I had read pervious posts on TW that mentioned absurd pricing for mandatory valet service. I am seriously considering this place for early in 2009. Is there anything for my non tennis playing wife do to while I'm hitting? Pool, spa, shopping, etc?

There is a huge pool area and (from what i hear) the spa at the resort is top notch. Last time i was there, a couple guys in my tennis group took the afternoon off to go get massages there. Not a lot of shopping though as Wesley Chapel is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Tampa is 30 mins or so away though. Also golf if your wife is into that, plus the food is not bad for lunches to help pass the time...

aldekeuk 01-01-2009 05:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vinouspleasure (Post 2967155)
tennisresortsonline does have a current promotion however the resort itself offered two better promotions. I would suggest asking about the resort promotions before mentioning the tennisresortsonline promotion.

vinouspleasure - how did you find out about the promotions? just ask the person on the phone or did they volunteer the promotion? was it someone in the tennis program reservation group or just the general resort reservation area? what exactly were the promotions you got (sounds like dinner also included?)

just ask because i am going next week and would love to get an even better deal if possible.

thanks for the umpteenth time for all your info.

Geezer Guy 01-03-2009 12:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aldekeuk (Post 2963709)
Thanks!
i really really enjoy Saddlebrook but don't have anything to compare it against. but since it so enjoyable i keep going back (if it ain't broke, don't fix it).
but your reviews on Newks mean i may have to make the effort some time to get there and try it out (as well as compare the Texas BBQ to NC BBQ!)

Yeah, I'm the same way but the other way around. I've been to Newk's 6 times and really enjoyed it, so I keep going back. At the same time, I've heard from several people now that Saddlebrook's is really good as well.

I'm sure Newk's is better for the amount spent, but I may just need to splurge a bit and check out Saddlebrook.

Thanks for the write-up Vinous.

starsin47 01-04-2009 11:40 AM

Saddlebrook Parking
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Blask (Post 2966019)
Did you have to pay to valet park your car every time you went out? I heard that was an expensive drawback of Saddlebrook

We paid for valet parking last time. However, we met others who parked in an area near the courts for free, and within about a 200 ft. walk to our cluster of condos.

So, next time I will ask about parking there.

Prior visits we flew into Tampa and used the Saddlebrook Limo. service, which is not a bad deal if you do not plan to leave the resort.

GeoffB 01-08-2009 03:29 PM

I've only been to Newks of the three. I went for a weekend.

The players were generally in the 3.0-4.0 range. My brother (who played college and opens for a while) didn't really find a challenge among the players, but fortunately many of the coaches were willing to hit with him. He didn't really care, he was just there to hang out with his buds and drink some beer.

Unfortunately, we showed up on a weekend when they had - get this - rented many of the rooms out to a women's church group. So the number of tennis players was like 1/4 of the usual. I wish they'd told me that when I made the reservation, because that probably had something to do with the paucity of 4.5+ players that weekend (I've heard that usually there are a handful).

But even so, the tennis players had a great time at the bar in the evenings and during meals. On the first night, after some round robin doubles, the coaches brought out a cooler and handed me a beer. Nice! Regrettably, the women's church group remained on its best behavior. Personally, I think an evening at the bar would be a great way to unwind after a day of... well, whatever women's church groups do during retreats. But alas, there were no takers.

As for accommodations... well, there is a small pool, and the rooms are comfortable but very basic. It's definitely not the kind of resort you'd just want to hang out at - and a non-tennis playing spouse wouldn't dig it. Personally, I'm there for the tennis anyway, and cucumber-infused water court side with lemon-scented towels actually gets on my nerves, especially when it's used to justify prices that are three times higher (or worse). I care about good facilities of course - and Newks has fine courts (including a few indoor). Once that's covered, I don't need much else.

I'll definitely go back to Newks, but next time I make a reservation, I am going to check to make sure there isn't a non-tennis playing group that has rented out the facility.

rasajadad 01-09-2009 04:40 AM

Thanks for the reviews! Very helpful.


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:54 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2006 - Tennis Warehouse