Fact: the better you get at a sport, the more enjoyable it becomes.
Second, more meddlesome fact: actually getting better at a sport requires time, patience and excellent coaching. So consider heading off to a training camp for your next vacation. And we don’t mean drill sergeants and college dorms. Know where to look, and you’ll find bistro-level meals, high thread counts and coaches who coaches who push all the right buttons without incurring any unintended psychological breakdowns.
Here are seven such places.
Surfing: Kalon Surf
Dominical, Costa Rica
Lessons: Small group training based on skill, four-hour daily sessions, video analysis
Accommodations: Ocean view-rooms and suites in a jungle-backed mansion
Perks: Yoga, pilates and all the surf gear is provided on-site
Golf: Sea Island
Sea Island, Georgia
Lessons: PGA instructors, video playback and digital monitoring equipment, large variety of workshops
Accommodations: Stately five-star rooms, three 18-hole courses and beaches aplenty
Perks: Multiple bars on the property, and a service that ships your clubs to and fro so you don’t have to travel with them
Mountain Biking: Enchantment
Lessons: For novices and advanced riders alike, they cover everything from rollovers to rock-hopping. Small groups of six per guide, and cutting edge gear on hand.
Accommodations: Five-star adobe-style casitas that blend into the red rock surroundings
Perks: Gorgeous pool and spa area
Tennis: The Broadmoor
Colorado Springs, CO
Lessons: Intensive training with only 12 players at a time and a 4:1 ration of students to instructors, along with video analysis of performance
Accommodations: Best-in-class resort with views of the front range of the Rockies near the Garden of the Gods, and you have choices between hotel rooms, suites, cottages and brownstones
Perks: 10 different dining options on-site, a world-class spa and wilderness excursions
Skiing and Snowboarding: Fairmount
Whistler, British Columbia
Lessons: All levels, but the advanced Extremely Canadian is the one you want. Trainers take small groups through hidden chutes, steeps, trees and couloirs.
Accommodations: A distinctively French chateau with elegantly appointed rooms and great views of the surrounding mountains
Perks: spa, close proximity to Whistler town center
Quadrathlon: The Bodyholiday
Lessons: 13K bike ride, 4K run and 1.5-mile kayak along the north coast of St. Lucia, along with nutritional instruction
Accommodations: Modish rooms that open to ocean views, all-organic food
Perks: Spa treatments, on-site nutritionists
Martial Arts: The Samurai Experience, Ritz Carlton Kyoto
Lessons: Learn kenbu, the Japanese art of preparing for battle. It’s a series of sword movements that were designed to keep the samurai focused.
Accommodations: Zenned-out architecture with stunning rooms and views of the Kamogawa River and Higashiyama Mountains
Perks: Close to Kyoto’s myriad cultural attractions