By Sean Flynn
It's times like these, in the dead of winter, that a tropical vacation sounds like the perfect cure for the winter blues. And after the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans for the Super Bowl, plenty of football players are packing up for their days in the sun, whether it's to celebrate triumphant victory or heal their wounds from a heart-wrenching loss. (Think the Denver Broncos losing to the Ravens by three points in double-overtime earlier in the playoffs.)
You may think from the iconic 1987 advertisement that all post-Super Bowl vacationing professional football players are Mickey-bound ("I'm going to Disney World!"), and the truth is Disney is a frequented spot. "Earlier in the off-season, like February-March ... I try to go to Disney World first with my son," Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones recently noted to The Baltimore Sun. But these days, many players choose much more secluded hot spots for their getaways. And these guys aren't spending their dough on any old all-inclusive retreat or giant smoked turkey legs at the Magic Kingdom, they're shelling out salary-cap-busting bucks to stay at high-end private retreats.
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In years past we've taken a look at where some of sports' favorite stars go to get away from it all. Keeping in mind that just as they know what it takes to score a touchdown or win a Grand Slam, athletes know where to go to get away from it all in style when the season is over. So we've compiled a list of the top places that players on this year's Super Bowl teams have gone (and may be returning to) to kick back, unwind and indulge in some much-needed time off and heavenly meals. From Costa Rica to California and beyond, we've got the skinny on how these NFL players choose to indulge and where they like to do it.
So when you're planning your next trip, keep in mind some of your athletic icons' favorite destinations, because you might be sipping a margarita right next to them if you plan accordingly. But it might cost you. With some rooms on our list going for upward of $800 a night, you might have to start saving your pennies, or hopefully you've finally won that office pool you’ve been betting on for the past few years.
Jones likes to keep his trips family-focused. According to an interview with The Baltimore Sun, every year the Ravens defensive end plans a Caribbean trip with younger brother Jon. Their choice for an island getaway? The Cove Atlantis in the Bahamas. With six restaurants, including Nobu and Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, you might never make it to the beach because you'll be indulging in everything culinary The Cove has to offer. But with an average cost of $800 a room you may need to become a free agent.
Miami is the Ravens offensive tackle's choice vacation spot. The man who inspired the movie The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron, enjoys the city's nightlife, music and international cuisine. But heres hoping that this rags-turned-riches star will expand his culinary tastes beyond The Cheesecake Factory.
It must be the fun and sun of Orlando that draws in Corey Graham. In an interview with Exclusive Sports Group, the Ravens cornerback said that the city, home to Disney World, was the spot of his favorite vacation ever. Disney has tons of dining spots inside the theme park, so Graham has plenty of choices while he's waiting on rides. Jiko is highly recommended for its romantic setting and unique African cuisine, and Paradiso 37 for its eclectic fare.
Brady will most likely be taking some time off to recoup after losing 28-13 to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship game. After last year's Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants, Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen jetted off to her vacation home in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. They kept it casual by sharing a picnic of authentic Costa Rican cuisine on the beach and cooling off with some coconut water.
In the past few years, the 49ers offensive tackle visited nearly every country in Europe. But his favorite relaxing vacation spot, Staley says, is The Four Seasons Resort on Maui, Hawaii. "It’s very chill, has great restaurants, and a great location on the beach," said Staley in an interview with Yahoo! "It's very peaceful and there’s everything you need right there." Like Staley, guests of the resort can dine on Italian classics under the stars at Ferraro's Bar e Ristorante or experience the open kitchen of DUO Steak and Seafood. For a slightly more authentic Hawaiian meal, there's Spago with locally inspired dishes.
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