As I prepare to leave for the US Open next week (so excited!) I can’t help but think back to the last tennis tournament I attended, which was the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA. This was the second year that my mother and I attended this tournament and it has quickly become our favorite overall tennis tournament but we’ll see if that changes if we decide to go to the Miami Open in its new location- stay tuned.
Like last time, we spent a few days in Los Angeles prior to making the approximately two hour drive to Indian Wells. This time we went to Universal Studios Hollywood and attended our second tapings of The Price is Right (neither of us were called to come on down unfortunately) and The Talk. We stayed at the SLS Beverly Hills; the quick review on that hotel is that it is a lovely and was centrally located to everything we wanted to do in Los Angeles but we would stay elsewhere next time because it was pricey and we prefer to stay in extended-stay hotels. Since there were no direct flights from Palm Springs to IAD after the tournament we decided to spend an extra day sightseeing at the casino and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and stayed at the Residence Inn LAX/El Segundo so we could fly out of LAX the next day. We had a two room suite there for a great price and would absolutely stay there again (actually, I think my mom might insist on it).
The drive from Los Angeles to Indian Wells is a pretty straight shot and I love the mountain views along the way. Serena Williams was returning to the tournament for the first time after having her baby and we were able to see all but one of the billboards her husband bought for her on the stretch of I-10 between Palm Springs and Indian Wells.
We always buy one of the vacation packages offered by the tournament as we find them to be a good value since they include the hotel room, tennis tickets and round trip transportation from the hotel to the tournament. The first time we attended we stayed at the Renaissance but this time we decided to stay at the Hyatt Regency. Between the two hotels we preferred the Hyatt Regency but we walked back over to the Renaissance for breakfast because we like the buffet there (and you’re pretty much guaranteed to spot tennis players eating there too).
It goes without saying that the Indian Wells Tennis Garden is a fantastic venue. The tournament’s theme for 2018 was “In Full Bloom” and that was definitely the case as there were beautiful flowers on display across the grounds, which pleased my mom. I, on the other hand, was mesmerized by the mountain views that served as a stunning backdrop for the amazing tennis on display. Another thing that we like about this venue and tournament in general is how accessible the tennis players (and the occasional celebrity) are to the fans. There is a grassy area located between the practice courts and the main stadium where players like to warm up and play soccer (or football depending on where you’re from), and this is a great location to spot players and celebs. My mom and I would often go to this area between matches to see who we would see and the excitement from all of the other tennis fans was contagious. This time we were lucky enough to see Victoria Azarenka (and Baby Leo), Lindsay Davenport, Tracy Austin, James Blake, Jamie Murray, Naomi Osaka, Ivo Karlovic, Marin Cilic, Feliciano Lopez, Nicolas Mahut and Larry King of all people.
We once again purchased the vacation package that had tickets in the Club Suite, and since our package was for the early rounds which tend to be less well-attended than later rounds we had the suite to ourselves both days. The suite attendants were excellent and made us feel very special. The air-conditioned suite included various indoor seating types (tables, bar stools and couches) as well as outdoor seating to watch the matches, a private bathroom, bar and televisions on which to watch matches being played on other courts. Water, chips and pretzels were complimentary but more substantial food options were not included in the price of the suite. However, there was the option to order food from a few of the restaurants at menu prices via an iPad and have it delivered to the suite. I think that the vacation packages in the suites at the BNP Paribas Open are a great value (especially if you go during the early rounds like we do) as we can get a 3 day vacation for the price we pay for one session in the Amex suite at the US Open. I know it’s not quite an apples to apples comparison considering one is a Grand Slam but if you would like me to do a more in-depth comparison of the two experiences just let me know.
We always have a great time attending the BNP Paribas Open and I highly recommend it to any tennis fan. Have you been to this tournament before or have questions about it? Let me know in the comments below.