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Paddle up: Engage in a friendly game of Ping-Pong at The Island Hotel Newport Beach.

By Erik Torkells

For all the cutting-edge hotel amenities out there — in-room Nespresso machines, touchscreen panels, peek-a-boo bathrooms — some of us will always be happiest to see a Ping-Pong table tucked somewhere on the grounds. After you’ve spent hours on a plane or in a car or meeting, can anything beat a ripping game of table tennis? There are basically two types of hotels where you might find one….

First are family resorts, where table tennis is one more way to keep kids out of trouble. Examples include Marriott’s BeachPlace Towers, Fort Lauderdale Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club and Be Live Hamaca Beach, Dominican Republic.

And, then, a bit more intriguingly, are the cooler, upscale hotels where you might think the clientele wouldn’t be caught dead holding a paddle. Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, Calif., famously has a table by the pool (“famously” because Sofia Coppola used it in her recent film, Somewhere), as do other André Balasz hotels, including the Standard, Los Angeles and Standard, Miami Beach and Sunset Beach on New York’s Shelter Island. Even the The Island Hotel Newport Beach — a buttoned-up business hotel — has Ping-Pong over by the fitness center. In fact, it has a foosball table, too. Could foosball be the next big thing?

If so, the massive sports complex under construction in Huainan, China, will have to add a foosball-man-shaped building to match the hotel shaped like an upside-down Ping-Pong paddle….

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Formerly the editor of Budget Travel magazine, Erik Torkells has written for many other publications, including Travel + Leisure, the New York Times and T Magazine. He has appeared on MSNBC and “Good Morning America” on Orbitz’s behalf.

Tagged: Family time, Hotels

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