George Aquino loves pickleball, and now guests and visitors to the Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton in Grand Rapids get to play, too.
The hotel installed four pickleball courts on its rooftop, with guests and locals signing up in droves to play. Overlooking downtown Grand Rapids, the courts can be rented for $20 an hour, with an additional charge for paddles. Aquino, AHC Hospitality vice president and managing director, says the new courts replaced tennis facilities that didn’t see nearly as much interest that pickleball has brought. He notes one recent corporate gathering where pickleball was the top-requested activity.
“The tennis courts were so underutilized and pickleball, with its popularity especially in the last two to three years, [has] been incredible,” says Aquino, who is also cofounder of 20 x 44 Sports, a pickleball hospitality company. “It’s just amazing growth, and as an ex-tennis player, I can tell you I think the main difference is [that] pickleball is definitely more addictive. It’s an easy-entry [game], you can get a quick lesson, and you can start playing.”