Hidden Dunes Beach & Tennis Resort – A Gulfside Gem
written by CARL DANBURY | photography courtesy of NEWMAN-DAILEY PROPERTIES
You all know the drill! Once Labor Day has passed, the focus of our weekends turns to college football, youth sports, ALTA’s fall doubles season and then more college football with an occasional NFL game tossed in. If you’re not tailgating, you’re rubber necking somewhere, or both. Those escapes you enjoy over spring break and during the summer months, particularly along the beaches of the Gulf Coast, are much more accessible and likely less expensive with wait times at your favorite restaurants a mere shell of what they are during high season. So, if your autumn sun doesn’t rise and fall with football, a Gulfside escape from mid-September through November could provide a perfect respite. So could some late summer bargains.
For tennis enthusiasts, an escape with their team members may provide the perfect salve for a season gone wrong, and the Destin area offers three of the finest resorts along the Gulf Coast and the Southeast. Some may be aware of the well-regarded TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort and Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, but for our latest tennis venture, we chose Hidden Dunes Beach & Tennis Resort, named a “Silver Medal Resort” by Tennis Resorts Online for the sixth consecutive year. The ranking places Hidden Dunes among the Top 50 tennis resorts.
One Tennis Resorts Online reviewer said Hidden Dunes is a fantastic tennis resort and vacation destination. “The resort is beautiful and the tennis facility outstanding. The tennis pros and entire staff continually give 200 percent each and every day. I have always enjoyed my time there and have met so many good friends,” wrote a Hidden Dunes tennis player in May 2017.
Tucked off of Hwy. 98 in Miramar Beach, this gem is just east of Destin and little more than one mile from Silver Sands Outlet, The Village of Baytowne Wharf, The Market Shops at Sandestin and Grand Boulevard. The 27-acre natural setting, with a large private beach, includes an enclave of spacious three- and four-bedroom lakeside villas, beachfront condos or Carolina-style cottages, which are available to rent for a perfect fall getaway with your tennis team, family or close friends chosen to assist in your pursuit of fun, sun and relaxation.
Our cottage came complete with a private screened-in porch, perfect for après-tennis refreshments. Our second floor unit included a generous kitchen, well-appointed living room and a full-sized dining area. A master bedroom with private bath, a second bedroom with adjoining bath and a smartly placed loft – available only in second floor units – to accommodate two more overnight guests made for a comfortable stay. We particularly enjoyed the shaded walkways, positioned under a canopy of trees a mere 20 yards from our parking spaces, leading to our unit. And, like many of these units, it was an easy walk to the tennis center, and a comfortable distance to the private stretch of sugar white sands at the renowned beach.
Renee Broxson, director of tennis, has been at Hidden Dunes for the past dozen years, the last six in her current position. She and her staff oversee six championship Rubico clay courts, which are nicely protected from the winds so prevalent along the Gulf. Along with tennis professional George Cobia and Pro Shop Manager Quy Tran, Broxson has created quite a following from snowbirds to Southerners alike, who enjoy friendly, personal service.
“I truly believe that the level of service we offer is unmatched in the area. If other tennis professionals are sending people [to us] on a regular basis, I believe they respect what we do,” Broxson said. And what Broxson and her staff do, perhaps more capably than many other resorts in the Southeast, is putting matches together for players of like competency levels.
“I would say 90 to 95 percent of the matches that are played here are put together by our front desk staff. A lot of clubs say they will match you up, but then just provide you a list of names to call. We never do that. We are not going to give away someone’s phone number,” Broxson said. “We put the matches together for our guests. We have a list of on-property and off-property players who enjoy the competition and conviviality.”
And unlike other clubs in the area, Hidden Dunes allows tennis players who aren’t staying on property to play at their facility. Hidden Dunes also offers private or semi-private lessons and clinics for larger groups. The tennis center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, except for Christmas Day. While March is historically the busiest month of the year, Broxson said October is a close second.
“October and November [are] just beautiful here,” Broxson said. “We should have no problem matching players up during that time.”
Once tennis is finished for the day, guests can enjoy the uncrowded beach under the warm autumn sun, and Hidden Dunes offers more private beach access per unit than any location in the area. Or, you can relax in one of the neighborhood pools or hot tubs. Other resort amenities include natural gas grills, onsite real estate sales and rental office, wireless Internet and 24-hour gated security.
Guests looking for a late summer getaway can take advantage of Newman-Dailey’s late summer value season at Hidden Dunes. Guests will enjoy 30 percent off the resort’s standard summer rates on vacation rentals, August 7 through September 4.