Once exclusively associated with elite society, polo has become a niche American pastime with an international following and events and clubs across the country. If you’re planning a trip this summer and want to hone your polo skills while enjoying a luxury getaway, consider designing your itinerary around the sport. Whether you’re a seasoned player or a complete beginner looking to cross the thrill of polo off your bucket list, the following destinations are sure to leave a lasting impression on and off the field.
Oak Brook Polo Club
Dating back to the 1920’s, Oak Brook Polo Club is well-respected on the national polo circuit. Located just outside of Chicago, the club has hosted the U.S. Open Polo Championship twenty-four times, drawing royal visitors and Hollywood stars alike. Having just returned to its historic Cecil Smith Field location this year, the club continues to host Sunday polo events, keeping its historic role within the world of polo as strong as it was in 1922. This year’s event lineup includes two Horse & Horsepower events, where live polo championships share the stage with contemporary and vintage Lamborghini models. Craft beer lovers will enjoy the following horses & Hops events, where guests can attend an international match and try local lagers as the action plays out. Seating options range from tailgate spots to grandstand seating and reserved tables.
Where to Stay: The Drake Oak Brook Autograph Collection
If you’re planning to attend any of the Oak Brook Polo Club’s events, consider booking a stay at The Drake Hotel, located in Oak Brook, Illinois. This Autograph Collection hotel is your headquarters for enjoying the competition and exploring the greater Chicago area, with plenty of space to unwind in between. Amenity-rich accommodations range from standard rooms to spacious king suites, and The Drake’s on-site gourmet restaurants keep you covered when you don’t want to make the trek into Chicago. Enjoy dinner by candlelight at the Colonial Room, sample scotch at the Polo Lounge, or reserve a table at the hotel’s Champagne Sunday Brunch, complete with waffle and carving stations. In between polo events, choose a treatment from the hotel’s spa menu or stay true to your fitness regiment at the wellness center. A complimentary shuttle ferries guests from the hotel to the polo club, and you’ll find all the information you need regarding club events at the front desk.
If your schedule allows for it, hotel guests can participate in any single portion of the classes that are part of the Oak Brook Polo Academy, your stop for polo lessons including their “Intro to Polo Clinics” which are $120 per clinic per person. The next dates are coming up in late-August and fall dates will be released on their website.
Located at the Oak Brook Polo Club, the academy also offers group and private options where you’ll be taught the tradition by a professionally certified instructor.
Southampton Hunt & Polo Club
Set on Long Island’s east end, the Southampton Hunt & Polo Club features both indoor and outdoor polo, as well as an introductory program to the sport, aimed at beginners looking to get out on the field. Between May and October, the club hosts low and medium goal polo tournaments, including the local Southampton and New York Cups. Despite having grown into one of the largest polo clubs in the country, Southampton offers a cozy, intimate atmosphere perfect for both watching and learning. If you’re planning an extended visit to Long Island, the club’s 10-hour introductory program teaches everything from riding technique to basic rules and safety on the field.
Where to Stay: Topping Rose House
Located in nearby Bridgehampton, Topping Rose House is a five star lodging experience putting you within easy reach of both the polo club and some of Long Island’s top destinations. As a full- service luxury hotel, Topping Rose is a small estate with plenty to offer, including a lap pool, on-site Jean-Georges eatery, Farmaesthetics studio, and elegant living spaces. Choose from a studio, cottage suite or guest room in the main house, a historic mansion dating back to the 19th century.
Minutes from the South Fork’s coastal oases, the hotel offers a luxury shuttle to and from nearby beaches. When you feel like exploring at your own pace, you’ll find shopping, fine dining and unforgettable sunset vistas in idyllic Sag Harbor, the small community of Montauk, and across the Hamptons.
National Polo Museum and Hall of Fame
Where to Stay: Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
Known for hosting some of the country’s most prestigious polo tournaments, Florida’s Palm Beach is also home to the renowned National Polo Museum and Hall of Fame. A treasure trove of artifacts, artwork, mementos and experiences, the museum is a testament to polo’s wealth of history, both internationally and within the United States. Visitors can tour exhibits honing in on the sport from various perspectives, learn about influential players and horses featured in the Hall of Fame, and become familiar with polo’s contemporary role in American sports.
The local Palm Beach Polo Golf & Country Club is another destination to keep on your radar while visiting the Florida coast; home to a championship golf course as well as polo and croquet fields, the club has a calendar of events worth looking into.
While visiting the National Polo Museum and other Palm Beach attractions, consider booking a stay at the local Four Seasons Resort. An example of Florida beachfront living at its finest, the five star resort overlooks the ocean, giving you uninterrupted access to a private stretch of beach. Featuring ocean- view guest rooms, and breezy suites, the resort also offers amenities like cabana rentals, spa and salon services, active fitness classes, and an on-site boutique and perfumery. Poolside drink services, children’s programming, and shuttles to nearby attractions complete your experience, allowing you to focus on the moment and not the logistics. From cocktails at Florie’s Bar to shrimp delicacies at Seaway, Four Seasons’ dining options are brought to you with the spirit of South Florida in mind.
If you want to take your Palm Beach polo experience even further, reserve the Four Seasons’ special Polo in Paradise experience, which takes place September through December of this year. You’ll spend the experience immersing yourself in the sport under the guidance of Nic Roldan, the country’s top polo athlete. Adult Polo in Paradise participants will enjoy the Polo Masterclass, while the Polo Prodigy experience caters to curious kids. The Polo Masterclass includes a private one hour lesson, introduction to the ponies, a gourmet picnic and a glass of champagne to top it all off. There’s nothing like one on one instruction from a polo celebrity, and there’s no better place to do it than the Palm Beach beachfront, a location inherently associated with polo’s timeless heritage.