The excitement surrounding spectator sports this summer has been undeniable, as the Olympics returned to our screens once again. In fact, The Guardian recently reported that, since its debut at this year’s event, surfing has seen a huge rise in popularity, with record numbers hitting the waves.
For those eager to unleash their inner Olympian, we’ve rounded up some of the most exquisite destinations around the world to practice; from surprising surfing in the Maldives, to tennis on one of the world’s most private courts.
Tennis: Play on the world’s most private court
At Thanda Island, the world’s only exclusive-use marine reserve
Following a hiatus last year, Wimbledon returned in style this summer, leaving us all dreaming of serving like Djokovic or Barty. Those looking to ace their serve while holidaying in a sun-drenched tropical paradise can head to Thanda Island, the world’s only exclusive-use private marine reserve off the coast of Tanzania. Home to an all-suite villa accommodating up to ten guests, two beach chalets, an elevated ocean-facing yoga pavilion, helicopter and superyacht, the island is complete with an outstanding tennis court surrounded by lush vegetation.
Available for tennis tournaments or lessons, the 16 x 35m artificial lawn has been built in total respect of the surrounding nature, and includes night lights to allow guests the ultimate freedom to play around the clock. The island is fully equipped with rackets and balls, while the resident chef can prepare healthy smoothies with the finest locally sourced fruits for players to refuel. Unlimited spa treatments on the deserted white sand beach await sports enthusiasts who wish to revitalise the muscles post-match and unwind before diving into the next adventure on this secluded gem, floating carelessly in the Indian Ocean.
A buy-out of Thanda Island starts from $45,000 / £33,000 per night. Minimum stay five nights. The rate includes domestic transfers, use of the 82 ft M/Y Sea Leopard, all meals and drinks, unlimited spa treatments, all water activities, yoga, volleyball, tennis, laundry, local VAT, Conservation Levy and Marine Park Levy. thandaisland.com
Surf: Swap Bali for the Maldives
At the New Kuda Villingili Resort Maldives
As surfing made its long-awaited Olympics debut at Tokyo 2020, aspiring and professional surfers alike can flock to the new Kuda Villingili Resort Maldives for an adrenaline-filled holiday that doesn’t lack in luxury or sophistication. The property guarantees its guests prime access to ‘Chickens’, one of the world’s top ten surfing spots, producing over ten second barrels and over 500m long waves.
A luxury retreat for adventurous souls, Kuda Villingili provides intrepid guests with surf boards, wetsuits and a host of certified teachers. Once back on land, travellers will be spoilt for choice thanks to the resort’s vast culinary offering – which includes the acclaimed informal restaurant The Hawkers and an upscale street food market that sits poolside and serves up soulful, sharing style options – plus exciting complimentary activities such as yoga, mixology classes and fitness bootcamps.
Nightly rates at Kuda Villingili Resort Maldives start from $1,000 (£720), including breakfast. kudavillingili.com
Cycle: Island exploration on two wheels
At CAYO Resort and Spa, Crete
Inspired by Team GB’s cross country cycling win at this year’s Olympics? Budding racers need look no further than Crete, where a network of over 50 dedicated cycle routes make it far more than a destination solely reserved for beach dwellers. Guests of CAYO Resort and Spa, a luxury design hotel in the fishing village of Elounda, can head out on two wheels through breath-taking mountain scenery, lush forests and enchanting villages, each with its own culture and tradition. The varied landscape provides experiences for all levels, from the great climbs of the Dikti Mountains to winding roads lined by herbs and olive trees, all offering spectacular views of the glistening ocean.
CAYO’s mouth-watering culinary offerings provide guests the chance to refuel after working up an appetite, with options ranging from the informal Stone Beach House on the resort’s private stretch of beach, to Kelari Gourmet Restaurant, which offers a menu of timeless Greek recipes with modern flare. Tired muscles can be eased at the tranquil Armonia Spa, a state-of-the-art wellness hub featuring a large heated indoor pool, steam room and sauna, with an expert team of practitioners at hand to offer relaxing and rejuvenating therapies.
Nightly rates at CAYO Resort and Spa start from £246, including breakfast. cayoresort.com
Swim: Dive into the Maldives’ longest infinity pool
At Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi
Following the GB swimming team’s history-making success at Tokyo 2020, those looking to improve their front crawl would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful destination to do so than Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi. The resort is a swimmer’s paradise, home to a show-stopping 200m infinity pool – the longest in the archipelago – perfect for practicing whatever your preferred stroke.
If threshold training in the expansive pool doesn’t take guests’ breath away, the stunning 600-hectare lagoon that surrounds the island might just do it. Perfect for those seeking a more leisurely pace, the lagoon is an ideal location for spotting marine life while enjoying a less intense doggy paddle.
For speedy post training recovery, swimmers can indulge in Asian-inspired therapies at Willow Stream Spa or reunite with their breath and regain focus at a sunset yoga session.
Rooms start from £660 on a bed and breakfast basis. fairmont.com/maldives