"When the afternoon sun drives you off of the tennis courts, you may want to follow our example and get married in the beautiful courtyard at the Beach Tennis Center in Melaque - we loved it!"

Jean and Doug Dalton, Los Angeles


Dear John, Fergie and Paco,

Thankyou so so much for lightening my day up by coming home to find these pictures. What a great shot at the Ceviche bar. All my photos are not great at all and need better camera. They are all too distant. Then Barry has sent on ones of my serves and of us. It is wonderful and yes had to wait a long time for them to chug out of my computer.

Was it a dream? Could it be possible that only 2 weeks ago I was lazing in your pool, trundling along to the tennis courts, eating those delicious bananas, the morning Smoothies, the shrimp etc etc. It was all so wonderful, so relaxing, the foods, so so good. Thank you all for making it that way for us. I will never forget particularly the kindness of Fergie and Paco on my first 2 days feeding me, seeing the wreck I was!! Thankyou

We really had the best time with you. It was perfect for us as we so love to play and every day came another variation, sometimes very low key and sometimes very high key, like doubles with Martin, Fergie and Osvaldo or Mario!! Hey I never played with you John! Then my change of serve, and wish I'd had more time to practice.

My trip back was very good (except for going through with 3 bananas and had to go through Agricultural X ray etc!! I offerred them the bananas too) and made my connections OK. I have only played once the day after my return and was quite jet lagged and worked every day since except for Sunday, yesterday.

I miss you all, had such a great time , and Barry and I really want to return possibly November time. Thank you for everything and sending such great pictures. I think your place is so great! My tan is already fading!

Wish I could return,
Love, Vanessa


Running and hitting with the bulls

After spending a week hitting with John and the young toros on the clay at El Palmar my game mentally and technically improved. More importantly I had a good time.

My uncle Arturo, a novice, accompanied me and each morning Fergie would hit with arturo, allowing me to focus on my 3.5/4.0 game. By the end of the week it was great to see my 75 year old uncle hit two handed backhands and enjoying tennis. John taught me the intricacies of doubles and in several games with 4.5 players I held my own. If you're looking for singles play, the young guns who show up on weekends have enough game to keep most club and college level players challenged.

John's place is a half block from the ocean and is tastefully designed and furnished. I borrowed his mountain bike and tooled around town, went snorkeling and sea kayaking up the coast which has some of the most spectacular seascapes in Mexico.

I had been to tennis camps elsewhere and prefered El Palmar's pace and pressureless approach. Getting to meet the locals and play with them made me forget that I was a tourist. If you're looking for a no pressure, quality tennis experience in a beautiful setting close to home, this is it.

Steve Ginsberg, El Sobrante Ca.
Arthur Bornstein, Los Angeles


I want to make a few comments regarding our vacation to Tennis El Palmar. Travelling with my cousin and both having been to Mexico many times we were't sure what to expect. Also, I am a tennis a player and she is not so there were questions like how long would it take me to get to the courts and back, what would she do while I was gone, and when we were together where would we go and what would we do.

But the first thing was the trip getting there. In a word, EASY. The flight was simple and short. Next was getting to the resort. That, too, was easy as there are so many taxis at the airport and English was spoken everywhere. Then came the resort itself. I want to choose my words carefully. Let's see, how about "neat as a pin". In fact I would characterize the resort as "charming", "lovely", "clean", and "excellently maintained". The rooms were well laid out and everything we could want was available including a microwave oven, refrigerator, silverware, knives, etc. So, in all, the accommodations were perfect.

Because there are so many restaurants in the town of Malaque, the best word I would use to describe the food was "choices". The one we went to was excellent but then we found out that there were neighboring towns with even more excellent restaurants so we had even more places to go. Yes, we had lots of choices.

After dinner we walked around in a setting that was perfectly safe so I guess that is how I would describe our feelings of the town. I say this also because the next day I left in a van for the tennis courts and my cousin was alone to wander. I didn't get her reaction until I returned so first, let me say something about the courts.

The drive to them was very short, and everywhere there was construction. I mean, I was expecting rumors about developments that were to take place in the future, like manana. But, this was not the case. The development was occurring right then and there. What I saw at the courts was every bit as nice as what I see in Paris, France where I live part time. They had what we call "terre battu" or real beaten earth. Furthermore, there were local players who could "wack and smack" with the best so I had plenty of competition.

When I returned, I walked in the front gates and found my cousin floating around in the clearest blue pool I had seen in some time. She was having a wonderful time and rolled over to tell me about her morning on the beach and walking around and that she was ready for some more exploring. So, I got in the water, got cooled off, got out, and off we went.

I guess what I am saying is that all vacations come with certain expectations. Ours was relaxation. I got mine and my cousin got hers both together and on our own. There is always a bottom line question to whatever one does and that is, "would you do it again?". We both give a resounding, "YES". With that we both say, "Thank You, John" for everything.

Very sincerely yours,
Seattle, Washington


"My wife and I just returned from a wonderful week at Tennis El Palmar. It met our expectations in every way. We are beginner/intermediate players who were looking to play a lot of tennis in an informal environment along with some private instruction. The four, clay courts are about a 20 minute drive via the resort's shuttle van. They are surrounded by banana trees and flowering trees.

We played for about 3 hours every morning, ending play just as the noon sun started making things a little uncomfortable. Fergie was an excellent instructor, very patient and encouraging. John has designed and built a first class resort. It is exquisite, with lush, tropical landscaping, colorful Mexican tiling everywhere, a swimming pool and modern amenities. The Pacific Ocean is just across the street. Tennis El Palmar is located in the town of Melaque, which is a popular vacation destination for Mexicans and Canadians. If you are looking for a slick and shiny resort town, you will be very disappointed. This is an authentic, small Mexican town with dirt roads and small houses, many with grass roofs. There are several excellent restaurants here, however. We especially loved Maya, with a very talented Canadian chef, Peg, who we wish was here in Manhattan, New York!"

February 2002


I have recently returned from a wonderful two week tennis holiday at Tennis El Palmar located in Melaque. I always take my tennis Racquet whatever type of holiday I'm having just incase I can pick-up a game. Often however there are courts and no one to play with. This is not the case at Tennis El Palmar. The hosts personally arrange matches not only with other guests staying with them but with the numerous Mexican tennis players. The level of tennis ranges from beginners all the way up to professional level tennis.Tournaments are arranged and weekend tennis events are not uncommon. All guests who stay with John in his new and beautifully appointed accommodation, (mostly one bedroom condominiums) are given preferential treatment at the tennis club (4 beautifully kept red clay courts). For those of you who would like a truly Mexican tennis experience or would just like to sit in the sun on the adjacent beach or by the pool I would highly recommend a visit. This is not the 'Big Box' resort type vacation where you get the same 'buffet' everyday but rather a personal exposure to a true mexican tennis club. There are a variety of very good restaurants both in Melaque and Barra de Navidad to make your visit entertaining You can expect to be picked up at the airport and be very well looked after during you stay. They are kind and gracious hosts. You won't be disappointed with this very affordable tennis retreat. You find them at www.mexicotennis.com

D'Arcy Boulton
Victoria, BC


Tennis Anyone?

We just returned from a week's stay at Tennis El Palmar. We booked on the strengh of their brochure and the website and found the advertising to be very acurate. Their new apartments are tastefully appointed and well fitted -open plan but private, small garden/pool area is very well maintained and stocked with a variety of flowers and shrubs. Each morning we were driven into Cihuatlan to play tennis at the Tennis El Palmar Club which has 4 wonderful clay courts. The gentle clay and hot sun provide almost a soothing balm to the sore knees and backs of most hard- court players. We played with local club members and other visitors and, to us, this was the highlight of the week. In the evenings we wandered through Melaque and Barra, enjoyning the life and sampling the various restaurants and bars. One week was hardly enough and we will most certainly return for longer!

British Columbia, Canada
December 2000



How I spent "Ski Week" in Mexico - by Alex Epstein (abridged version ;-) )

During ski week I went to Melaque, Mexico. At Tennis El Palmar, the hotel that I went to, the owner had a dog named Chato. Chato means flat. The dog was a boxer and had a flat face. My family was really tired. So when we got to the hotel we walked to a nearby restaurant called Alcatraz. When we got there I ordered some chicken fajitas. They were really good. When I went to sleep I slept right next to the door and I could hear the waves from the ocean rattle the door.
The next day my family and I went to a town called Barra. There was an outdoor market that we walked through. There were a bunch of jewelry stores and my sister and mom tried on bracelets and a lot of other jewelry. There was a store with a bunch of little things. I saw really cool Mexican marionettes. The marionettes were Mexican people with beer bottles in their hands. We stayed in Barra until dinnertime and we went to a really nice restaurant. I had fish and chips. When we went back to the hotel there were people outside talking so my family and I introduced ourselves and we started talking. The next morning I played and snorkeled in the pool. Then I just hung out in the little Mexican style apartment we had at the hotel. Later my family and I went to the beach.
The next day my dad and I took some bikes that the hotel owned. We rode into the town to get some American money changed into Mexican money. Then we just cruised around the town. When I got back to the hotel I played in the pool for a couple of hours. When I finished playing in the pool, I took a shower and went to the beach for three hours with my family. Then we went back to the hotel, had dinner and went to bed.
The last day we were there, John took us to another town to another beach called Tenacatita. There was a restaurant at the beach where we ate lunch and hung out. John owned about fifteen snorkels and I went snorkeling in the water. I saw schools of clear fish trying to get under my shadow for shade. I went a little deeper in the ocean near a bunch of big rocks and saw a big brownish-yellow fish. When I went back to our table I took a short nap in the hammocks and when I woke up I went to the tide pools with my mom and my little sister. Then I got dried up and we went back to the hotel and my family got packed up. We took the airplane back to Los Angeles.

The End.



My wife and I have been going down to the region for the past three years. This January will be my 4th year in a row. My wife will have accompanied me on all of these trips except last year when I took my 16 year old son. If you are looking for a holiday that is full of fun and love playing tennis besides, then this is a great place to go to. The beautiful red clay courts are just one of the attractions for us. The people that are there to play and visit with are the main reason that we keep going back. (Let's face it, there are a lot of places to go to play tennis or lay around on a beach.)

The accommodations are new this year and we have not had the chance to stay there. I have had other friends go down there recently and they have provided very positive reports. We have stayed in the main house with John before and apparently the new suites are built to the same standards. That means that they will be very comfortable and elegant. If you would like to call me, please feel free to do so. We are going down there on January 12th for 3 weeks this year. We would go for longer if we could. Unfortunately, life gets in the way at times.

Ranjan MacArthur
Victoria, British Columbia



I stayed with John in Melaque before they had the apartments finished so I can't tell you about the apartments. The house is beautiful and is directly across the street from the beach. Melaque is very "Mexican" and we enjoyed it thoroughly. The people are very friendly. The tennis facility is a short drive from the house and has the nicest courts I have ever played on. They are surrounded by banana plantation and are immaculately maintained. They were groomed after every match and were a real treat to play on.

John is a great host and know all the good restaurants and places of interest around Melaque. If you are looking for a Club Med atmosphere, Club Med it's not. However I highly recommend it and I plan to go back this year.

J. R. Pollard
Vancouver, B.C.



Destination: Mexico

There aren't enough superlatives to describe the week my daughter and I enjoyed at Tennis El Palmar, near Manzanillo. They are new apartments within 100 meters of a beautiful mile long beach (hope everyone likes a booming surf!). The tennis courts were magnificent red clay and groomed to perfection; these were surrounded on 3 sides by a combination banana/papaya/coconut plantation. The January weather was in the 80's (F), with no wind, a high sun and wonderful new friends. The accommodations included most of the amenities of home plus the close proximity of 'abarrotes' (convenience stores). Rates, including tennis, were $89/night! We're definitely returning; it's a great place, with or without the tennis.

John Slade - thelooseend@webtv.net


Hola John,
Muchas gracias para su hospitalidad.  Even though several Canadians had been to Melaque, I wasn't prepared for the beaty of the hotel, beach and tennis courts.  Stupendous!

From the very first day everything was a delight; the ambience and friendliness of your hotel and staff, the beauty of the beach and the artistically appointed and well equipped apartments.  The pretty and well maintained clay tennis courts cannot surely be matched.  I was particularly impressed by Fergies's skilful and patient lessons.  They were the best!  The positive interaction of all the people I met through your tennis camp was the highlight of my trip.  A great experience!
I have shown the pictures to the Ladies at our club and they were very favourably impressed.  Let's go they say!  I'll get them organized for next winter.
Thanks for the great vacation,
See you again for sure,

Hola Fergie,
Thankyou for showing me your high level of skill and quiet style of instruction.  Your knowledge, patience and support is to be commended.  I appreciated you ability to take a skill apart so that others could understand it.  The repetition to help skill learning was another bonus.  So were the tips to use in training, play and tennis in general.  You are a true professional and provide unlimited inspiration to the game.

Muchas gracias!


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