Plan Now for Springtime Tennis in Indian Wells
Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa provides a perfect home base for a trip to the BNP Paribas Open
Undoubtedly the tennis capital of the West Coast, Indian Wells has drawn tennisphiles from not just Southern California but around the world to the Coachella Valley for decades to witness top-tier professional tennis from the sport’s biggest names like Connors and Sampras, Navratilova and Graf to Federer and Nadal, Williams, Sharapova, and Osaka.
Deeply enmeshed in the area’s rich history with tennis is Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa. Itself a former host of what’s now the BNP Paribas Open — tennis’ annual spring men’s and women’s professional tournament and a veritable rite of passage for players and fans alike — from 1987 to 1999, it’s just minutes from the tournament’s current home, the venerable Indian Wells Tennis Garden (IWTG), and it remains an integral part of the feverish almost-fortnight of singles and doubles matches totaling in the hundreds.
The BNP Paribas Open’s timing entices visitors with a blast of desert sunshine while much of the northern hemisphere is still hoping to awaken from the chill of winter, making it an ideal destination not only for the most ardent fans but also those simply seeking an escape, and at just over the 100-mile mark from North County, it’s an easy road trip even on short notice. Which is not, by the way, advisable if you’re looking to go during the BNP Paribas Open, as it welcomes about half a million visitors over the course of the tournament. Hence this story now, at about the midpoint between the 2022 tournament and next year’s event, set for March 6 to 19, 2023.
As home base for a trip to what the BNP Paribas Open has aptly dubbed “Tennis Paradise,” Hyatt Regency Indian Wells offers much more than a spot to collapse after a day in the desert heat. Basic guestrooms are suite-like in size — a spacious 550 square feet — and actual suites (located on its all-suite floor) are even roomier. Elegant villas are truly home away from home, and the plunge pool some boast on a private patio offers a perfect invitation to soak away the day and take in the surreal starscape. Yes, at 45 acres, the property is pretty massive in scale, but that, along with the elimination of all but three of its original dozen tennis courts and its prime location adjacent to the Indian Wells Golf Resort, allows it to offer amenities on top of amenities. (A bonus for tennis fans wanting to brush shoulders with their favorite players: A healthy cross-section also prefer to stay at the hotel.) Ideal for family travel, a lazy river winds beneath two 30-foot water slides, while a nearby adult pool encircled with cabanas provides a tranquil respite from the bustle of IWTG and desert exploration. Speaking of tranquility, a massage at the property’s Agua Serena spa is well worth missing a match or two (there are hundreds more, remember?) in exchange for some indulgence in the desert-infused, Zen-like setting.
Next-door, the Indian Wells Golf Resort buzzes day and night for anyone wanting to trade the courts for some time on the turf. When the sun is shining, its two courses consistently rank among the top in the country and its driving range is soon to debut its transformation to a high-tech Toptracer Range, and hotel guests receive preferred rates when booking tee times. But beginning November 16 through April 2023, at sunset it comes alive with Shots in the Night, dazzling, outdoor, golf-based entertainment featuring a laser putting range on real greens, light show, glow-ball range, music, and to-order food from its restaurant as well as a food truck featuring upscale barbecue fare.
Off campus, a Red Jeep Tour is a must-do even for anyone who’s made innumerable trips to the desert. Its 15-Jeep fleet offers tours on a private, 830-acre expanse along the San Andreas Fault Zone. Engaging, knowledgeable drivers navigate a trip through slot canyons and rocky terrain, all the while providing just enough commentary on the geology and history of this incredibly unique landscape and the people who’ve inhabited it over the centuries. Our entire carload was rapt throughout this roughly three-hour education excursion.
Of course, the big draw next March will be the show-stopping tennis taking place just five minutes down the road at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. A world-class facility even in the off-season (no surprise, as it’s owned by billionaire and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison), watching professional tennis here is truly exceptional, with crystal clear blue skies above and purple-hued mountains that surround the valley as a movie set-worthy backdrop to the elite play on the courts. Grounds passes are a great and inexpensive way to see tons of action early in the tournament before the draw is pared down, though the showcase matches on Stadium One (the second-largest outdoor tennis stadium in the world) and Stadium Two may require a different ticket level. Suites in either of these, IWTG’s two largest stadiums, offer elevated experiences with customized catering options, optimal viewing, and sun protection during the day and fully enclosed indoor sections when things are either too warm or too chilly (though cozy blankets are at the ready, too). It’s a full-service place of “yes,” where attentive staff ensure you have everything you need to enjoy every match to its fullest, but be warned: You may never want to experience future tennis matches any other way. Once the last ball is tossed, you’ll be happy to head back to the Hyatt, among the few resorts offering complimentary regular shuttle service to and from the tournament, to rest up before waking up to another day in Tennis Paradise.