Though Venus Williams admits her perfect vacation sounds like a "dream," she says it's possible "with the proper planning"

By Nick Maslow
November 26, 2019 05:15 PM

If Venus Williams is on vacation at a resort, don’t go looking for her on the tennis court.

“No, I didn’t bring my racquets,” the tennis superstar, 39, tells PEOPLE while celebrating American Express Travel’s 2020 Trending Destinations at The Greenwich Hotel’s TriBeCa Penthouse.

“That is not a vacation!” she adds, making it clear that her ideal getaway involves “no responsibilities and obligations,” but rather tons of rest and relaxation — to the point where she just might spend her perfect day in bed and indulging in treats.

“I’d wake up late, breakfast in bed, fall back to sleep, wake up and watch a movie, get up and maybe have a massage,” she says of her ideal day. “Also on this day, I get to eat junk food and not gain weight. So you know, I had champagne at breakfast! Another mimosa when I woke up. I woke up to a foot massage… This is a dream, right? But I think that with the proper planning, this all could happen.”

Credit: Craig Barritt/Getty

To get those plans right, Williams says she turns to the folks at American Express, with whom she’s partnered since she was 15 and traveling the world on the tennis circuit.

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“I love the Fine Hotels & Resorts program,” she adds. “Sometimes I just dream and look through the hotels, like you’re online and you’re just like, ‘Ugh, if I could go there one day,’ and then it’s like, ‘Nope, go to the tournament!’ I love just looking through that list and dreaming, and of course this new and current list of amazing hotels for 2020, if I could get my life to where I was at each one, that’d be good.”

Kauai, Hawaii
| Credit: Getty

This year’s list highlights hotspots like Buenos Aires, Grand Cayman, Shanghai, Cairo, the French Riviera, the Italian Alps, Montana, and more — including Williams’ pick: Kauai, Hawaii.

“I’m a warm-weather girl at heart and I love a beautiful beach,” Williams told AmEx. “I went on an amazing trip with my family to Kauai. The overall experience is a memory we will never forget.”

The company selected the island destination because of its emphasis on nature: “Smaller and less crowded than neighboring Oahu and Maui, Kauai has managed to keep much of its prehistoric wilds intact,” the company notes. “Only a fraction of the 550-square-foot island’s territory — arid in the south, lush in the north — is accessible by paved road, making Kauai a paradise for the adventurous traveler.”

Grand Hyatt Kaua`i Resort & Spa
| Credit: Grand Hyatt

Among Williams’ other favorite trips is a jaunt she took in Australia.

“I went to Australia and I got to go to the Outback — I never thought I’d do something like that,” she says. “I’ve had the opportunity, but I never have the time, and getting to Australia isn’t easy. So I got to go to amazing places.”

Though she didn’t make it to the Whitsunday Islands — which earned a spot on this year’s Trending Destinations list with “some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling” — it’s now a travel priority. And when the time comes for that long-haul flight, Williams says she’ll relish the time to disconnect.

“I don’t mind those flights because I can sleep, I can relax,” she says. “There’s no one calling, there’s no emails or texts because airplane internet doesn’t work that well… I just check out.”