Travel: La Manga Club
Originally published on: 01/04/13 00:00
I'd been to La Manga Club once before. There had been major excitement at the prospect of a trip abroad, only to pick up a gastric bug en route which meant my over-riding memories feature the interior of the bathroom I spent the best part of two days locked inside. Not surprisingly, I was keen to go back to see more than just white tiled walls. This time the experience was completely different.
As a premium golf and tennis destination on the south-east coast of Spain, La Manga Club’s facilities have developed significantly since its conception by the visionary Gregory Peters back in the 1960s. Huge growth in the 90s saw the addition of the five-star Hotel La Manga Club Principe Felipe and in 2004 Spa La Manga Club launched, offering guests a high-end wellness experience with jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms, indoor pool, state-of-the-art gym, relaxation area, fitness studio and 13 treatment rooms and deluxe spa suites.
The resort is best known for its tennis academy. Twenty clay, four hard and four artificial grass tennis courts are available to guests, along with a wide reaching coaching programme that caters for all standards and ages, delivered by Director of Tennis James Rose’s multilingual, experienced and highly qualified team. If tennis is your thing, there really is something for everyone.
I’ll admit I was nervous ahead of my first session on the academy’s show court – I’ve always found tennis a real mental struggle and it’s the one place where time and again I’ve lost confidence and performed below par. But besides James' obvious talent on a technical and tactical level, he’s a people person, has bags of enthusiasm, a great sense of humour and his easy-going manner and subtle confidence-building techniques quickly put me at ease.
After some practice, combined with James' interesting and effective approach, I soon found myself hitting solidly from the forehand side with gentle and regular reminders to prepare early, get into a good position around the ball and to commit to each stroke. By focusing on the fundamentals of each stoke – decision making, preparation and execution – even my backhands started behaving themselves. True miracle work.
My stay wasn’t all about the tennis (and breakfasts) though, and after an outdoor lunch spent browsing friends’ photos of deep snow back home (Smug? Moi?), I was transferred by free shuttle up to Spa La Manga Club which from its elevated position boasts views across the resort and beyond to the nearby Mediterranean.
I pounded out a few miles on a state-of-the-art treadmill, before a stretch and a gloriously powerful shower. Afterwards, I padded about the comfortable changing room in complimentary robe and slippers while listening to a soundtrack of zen-like
music. It was all so peaceful – something I don’t experience even at my beloved gym back home. This is how you roll at La Manga Club.
As well as leaving with a much-improved baseline game, it will be a powerful memory of complete indulgence that will be associated with my second trip to La Manga. The quality of the facilities, the small – but noticeable – touches of luxury throughout the resort, the hotel and spa’s décor and lighting, combined with the respectful quiet deference of the hotel staff make you feel cosseted and thoroughly looked after. My tennis – as well as mind and body – had been given a total re-boot. And the memory of that flu bug? Completely erased.
Need to know
La Manga Club
Cartagena, Murcia, Spain
Murcia Airport is a 20-minute drive from the resort. Alicante Airport is one hour by car from the resort.
Week-long 10-hour Adult Academy (£255-300 depending on season)
Week-long 25-hour Gold Adult Academy (£370-465 depending on season)
10-hour Weekend Warriors Adult Academy (£220-260 depending on season)
Junior Academy and Pro Academy packages are also available
To see the full feature, get your hands on the April 2013 issue of tennishead magazine.