Tennis in Cancun…at the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre! That made our decision to go to Cancun, Mexico, easy. Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre had opened a new tennis academy in Costa Mujeres, Mexico…a short distance from the resort zone in Cancun! We decided to stay at the Ritz-Carlton, Cancun (one of our favorite Ritz-Carlton resorts) and then drive over to the Tennis Center during our stay.
Flight to Cancun, Mexico
Flying to Cancun from Newark, NJ airport (EWR) was ideal (United, or airline, has many daily nonstop flights to Cancun). (Travel tip: when flying, download the airline’s app before your flight. This will provide an opportunity for viewing movies, tv shows, access to WiFi, etc. We have been on many flights when passengers do not realize that they cannot download the app while flying). We knew from past Cancun travel experiences that it was best to book private transportation to your hotel, for a worry free arrival (we booked our private transportation through the Marriott Bonvoy site, but you can also book through Viator, etc). We packed lightly, so that we just had carry-on luggage, and we were able to get on our way quickly, to our hotel in the hotel zone of Cancun. For first timers to Cancun, the Taxi scene can look very chaotic. After our first visit, we do try to book transportation prior to arrival. Usually, you are booking round-trip, and it has worked flawlessly every time. (in case you are not very comfortable about the return booking!)
Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, Mexico
The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, Mexico is a beautiful ocean front property in the hotel zone. We stayed on the club lounge level of the resort, so our check in was with the club lounge concierge. We were warmly welcomed with glasses of champagne, and offered lunch from the daily presentation. (the Club Level at a Ritz-Carlton property gives you access to a Lounge that serves several small food and beverage presentations during the day. They also provide wine, beer and cocktails!) The Club Level Lounge also has a concierge, who was very helpful in making our tennis court reservations, on property. (tip: reserve tennis court 1, at 8:00 am in the morning for shade). The fitness center provides tennis racquets and balls, for anyone needing tennis equipment. The Kaynta Spa offered a tranquil environment for steam, sauna and treatments. After our morning tennis, I enjoyed the signature relaxing massage, with a hot stone enhancement while William took advantage of the steam room. The resort fee did not include use of the spa; however, the large fitness room included steam and sauna rooms for use! Outdoors, there were two swimming pools to choose from, or the white sandy beaches, lined with casitas. You could participate in water sports or just soak in the sun until dinner time!
We found it unique and special, that the resort offers culinary classes a few days a week, where you cook your own specialty meal with a chef, and then enjoy your creation! We couldn’t decide on a culinary class and dinner, dining in one of the oceanfront Casitas (very romantic), or at one of the few restaurants on property. We were very pleased with our decision to dine at the Club Grill Jazz and Supper Club for a special birthday dinner. The service and food presentation was excellent, as was the live jazz music. After dinner, there was music in the main lounge, with music and dancing. We had everything we needed or desired for a perfect vacation. We only left the property on one day!
Transportation while in Cancun, Mexico
Renting a car is easy if you do venture off the resort property to go to a tourist attraction, a local restaurant or the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre. (Travel tip: We rented a car from National Car Rental, through the Ritz-Carlton using the Club Level Lounge Concierge). It was simple and painless, because an agent from National Car Rental brought the rental car to our resort and then picked it up at the end of our rental. You may also choose an excursion which can be found on web sites such as viator.com or assistance from the hotel concierge will help book an excursion to fit your needs. Once we were set up with our rental car, we drove north of Cancun to Costa Mujeres, Mexico, to the Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy. Later, because we had the car for the day, we made our own excursion down to the Mayan ruins at Tulum.
The Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre
The Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre was a 20-30 minute drive from our resort in Cancun to Costa Mujeres. We were warmly welcomed when we arrived at the Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy. We were nicely surprised that three of the tennis courts were covered with a large canopy. It was a comfortable lesson, in the shade, but outdoors and on red clay! Our tennis instructor’s name was Ruben. He quickly engaged us in our tennis instruction, the Rafa Nadal way! We loved the high energy of our session. Before we knew it, it was over. We realized that we need to come back because we had such a wonderful time. Not only was it comfortable to hit under the canopy on the soft surface, but the instructors were fantastic.
The facility has eight tennis courts, a paddle court and a soccer field. Outside each court there are inspirational Rafa Nadal quotes. The beautiful facility is located on the grounds of the Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort. Campers can stay at the resort, and take a quick shuttle ride over to the tennis courts, or walk. Another option is to stay off property, and drive to the resort for each session. We noticed that the tennis center had a “tennis special” posted on their events board, it included a tennis lesson and massage, as a package deal. The staff was welcoming to us and encouraged us to view the Rafa Nadal museum on the second floor of the main building after we finished our tennis session. This high performance academy for juniors, as well as adults, would be the perfect venue for a couple, or girls / guys tennis weekend excursion.
There is something to be said about experiencing the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre. You can sense the spirit of the great tennis player as you walk through the tennis courts and facility. Although the museum in Cancun is much smaller that the one in Mancor, Spain, it has several of the trophies, his outfits and gives you greater appreciation for Rafa’s amazing accomplishments. Truly a bucket list item for any tennis player or Rafa Nadal fan.
Some final thoughts and notes about Cancun
The Ritz-Carlton Cancun resort has everything on property for the entire family to enjoy…even two beautifully groomed tennis courts. We were very impressed with the resort’s effort to provide the best experience possible. We can’t wait for our next visit to beautiful Cancun, Mexico.
A local pro was available for the courts at the Ritz Carlton as well. The close proximity to the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre adds to a perfect place for a tennis vacation!
Other activities that we had researched in the Cancun area:
Isla Mujeres (a ferry ride from Cancun or Costa Mujeres)
Chechen Itza. 3.0 hours away from Cancun in the Yucatan. offered as an all-day excursion via the Hotel or online at Viator.
Camera roll (photos from our amazing trip):
We fully fund our own trips, so all our reviews are from the heart!
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