Imagine a staycation that offers 5-star luxury, whilst granting it’s patrons access to 19 acres of top-notch sporting and wellness facilities. It almost sounds too good to be true, right? Well, venture to the immaculate grounds of the Hong Kong Golf & Tennis Academy (HKGTA) and we guarantee you’ll not want to leave.
From luxurious rooms for a weekend escape to top-of-the-line sports facilities and spa sessions for an afternoon retreat – it has it all! KARL WOODBURY and family visit this sports and wellness retreat on the outskirts of Sai Kung and discover that is has everything you need to get the blood flowing and to recharge the batteries!
On arrival, we were shown to our gloriously spacious three-bedroom suite. The separate dining alcove to the side was an impressive introduction and the entrance flowed into a bright airy lounge that whispered “We have arrived” in more ways than one. Stunning green Asian ceramics dotted the room and the glass-topped side tables on black iron “trees” just made us smile.
The king-size master suite and two double bedrooms, all with a wall mounted television, looked very inviting. The luxurious mattresses were so comfortable, ensuring a fabulous night’s sleep after a day of sport. The two bathrooms were stylish and stocked with lovely potions, and the rainforest overhead shower was especially rejuvenating. The small kitchen was also well appointed, with the addition of a cooking hob for a quiet night in.
Outside, the secluded village of Mediterranean-style architecture is breathtaking. Row houses, apartments and villas side by side in the welcome greenery. Each residence has been individually designed and decorated, with every small detail taken care of so the athlete inside you can focus purely on sharpening your sporting prowess!
Time for tennis
Now to the action, and we were warmly greeted by head tennis coach Bastien and his team. There’s one indoor court at HKGTA, but on this lovely day it was nice to be out on one of the seven rooftop courts. The coaching was instructive but relaxed – family fun was the main focus here. The vast bucket of balls seemed to empty so quickly as we worked our forehands and backhands. The nice rhythm of hitting with an occasional pointer from the experts made for such a fun learning environment that the hour passed by in a flash.
The Bruguera Tennis Academy takes a holistic approach to coaching; all aspects of a player’s life are considered and nurtured. It’s not just about hitting balls or being super fit; mental health is also an essential part of the game. Luis Bruguera is the founder of this total teaching method. He coached his son Sergi, who won back-to-back French Open singles titles in 1993 and 1994. They have both also captained Spain in Davis Cup tennis so their credentials are there for all to see and admire.
After lunch, we headed to one of the 75 golf Hitting Stations for some family tuition. Here at the HKGTA, you hit onto greens complete with water hazards and bunkers; so, it’s no regular driving range! It’s not only much more fun but also focuses your mind more on your shot and choosing the right club. Plus, Toptracer Ball-Tracing Technology provides instant shot replays and feedback. Director of Golf, David Freeman’s relaxed style made this an hour’s experience we never wanted to end.
The PGA of America Learning & Performance Institute method of coaching is employed here, with in-depth analysis and training tailored to players of all ages and abilities. Along with the Hitting Stations, there are Climate-Controlled Coaching Studios with high-speed video analysis, a pressure/balance plate and an integrated radar launch monitor.
If you make a reservation, you can also train on the Nicklaus design Signature HKGTA Short-Game Course; it’s available for five-hole or nine-hole rounds. The Topgolf Swing Suite simulator is another fun golf learning tool. Amazingly, you can also use it for practicing soccer penalties, American Football touchdown plays, and even basketball and ice hockey shooting.
Recipes for success
Aside from a great training routine, good nutrition is also key in sporting success. The Academy has you covered on this front, too. For example, Cafeteria offers all-day concept dining to give you the right fuel. The perfect start to any day, breakfast includes a stunning selection of five-star Asian and Western wholesome goodness. Meawhile, Cafeteria offers healthy lunch and dinner choices with vibrant salads, pastas, curries and more for all the family.
Fan Guan is the HKGTA’s contemporary fine-dining Chinese restaurant – and a perfect oasis of calm. We were treated to a wonderful menu of elegance and opulence in equal measure. The standout dishes were the sinfully sticky barbecued Iberico pork with organic honey sauce, and the melt-in-the-mouth braised beef ribs in Japanese style. There’s also has an extensive range of fresh seafood and vegetarian delicacies.
Academy Lounge is another elegant option. With its wood-panelled walls and British-inspired atmosphere, it’s a top spot for a delicate afternoon tea set, perhaps leading into a beverage from the extensive drinks list, and some more nibbles – the charcuterie board looked especially appealing. Whatever you choose, the HKGTA caters for all the family spectacularly, whether it’s a pre-training meal or a post-match celebration.
Aside from fostering an appreciation of sport, HKGTA is also all about family togetherness. So along with all the activities and facilities mentioned above, you’ll also find the Academy Library, Botanical Walk and Butterfly Garden, all offering some welcome quiet time. There’s an indoor and outdoor pool, too – so, plenty for everyone to do. The Kids Academy, meanwhile, offers a games room, indoor and outdoor Kids Zone with soft play areas, an outdoor water play area, as well as learning rooms for other activities.
While the kids are engaged, why not take time for yourself to workout in the Fitness Centre, take a cooking class in the Gastronomy Lab or indulge in a rejuvenating massage in the Wellness Treatment Room? HKGTA also offers a state-of-the-art Sports Wellness experience called Joint Dynamics. It’s a multidisciplinary studio that combines bespoke personal training, physiotherapy and massage therapy in line with the Academy’s total wellness philosophy.
See more in our Things To Do section