By Nicole Campoy-Leffler
Athletes are used to spending blood, sweat and tears just to get a win. When you think about it, they're not all that glamorous on the job -- they're covered in mud on the football field, sliding into home plate on the dirt or sweating through a down-to-the-minute game on the basketball court. But being so willing to beat themselves up comes with lofty rewards, not the least of which is more vacation than almost any other job on the planet. And their hefty paychecks afford them as much luxury as possible as they shake off last season on a white sandy beach, cocktail in hand.
Just as they know what it takes to score a touchdown or win a Grand Slam, these stars know where to go to get away from it all in style. Who wouldn't want to be as gleeful as Tom Brady was when he sped down a water slide at a super-exclusive resort in Mexico? And who would turn down the unbridled, old school luxury of Roger Federer's favorite New York hotel, The Carlyle? Regardless of whether they're traveling for work or pleasure, sports stars don't book stays for the hot breakfasts.
|Slideshow: Top athletes' super luxe getaways|
Ron Artest, for example, has discovered the sumptuous (and seductive) surroundings of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel since becoming an LA Laker, and when David Beckham is bending balls for AC Milan, he prefers the out-of-this-world luxury at Hotel Principe di Savoia Milano.
So whether you're in the market for some serious athlete-spotting or are hunting for your next super-splurge holiday, here are ten top sports stars that really know how (and where) to get away. All you need next is that first endorsement deal.
Fontainebleau Resort, Miami: When she's not shrieking her way through Grand Slams, Maria Sharapova heads back to where it all started -- Florida. Having cut her teeth at the famed Bollettieri Tennis Academy, we're sure she has plenty of friends she could stay with around Miami. But for a cool $700/night for a one-bedroom suite, Maria chooses to stay at the Fontainebleau Resort and has access to eight dining options on the property from Scarpetta to Fresh (a gelateria and snack bar), two bars, two nightclubs, a full-service spa, and private poolside cabanas.
El Dorado Golf And Beach Club: Any resort that can turn a highly accomplished, much-praised NFL quarter back into a giggling girl zooming down a waterslide is good enough for us. The El Dorado Golf and Beach Club is a semi-private luxury resort in Los Cabos, Mexico with casitas and villas that sell for more than $2 million a pop. For that kind of fee, Tom Brady and his supermodel wife, Gisele, can golf (on a course designed by Jack Nicklaus), hit the full-service spa, laze by one of the multiple pools or on the private beach, and dine on authentic Mexican cuisine anywhere on the property that they'd like.
Four Seasons Resort, Santa Barbara: Being a professional athlete is lucrative, but being part of the Kardashian clan as well takes it to the next level. Kris Humphries and his new wife, Kim Kardashian, were spotted luxuriating at the Four Seasons Santa Barbara. Basic rooms there start at more than $400/night, but we doubt they'd slum it in a room with just one king bed. Booking a room gives you access to all-inclusive culinary activities like the Moveable Feast Picnic or the Farmers Market-to-Fork Culinary Experience, which combines a market tour with a hands-on cooking class.
W Hotel South Beach: A-Rod has a few reasons to really splurge on hotel stays. Not only is he an athlete with a very disposable income, but he's always got a new girlfriend to impress. His latest (though tabloid reports of their breakup are rampant) is Cameron Diaz and they were spotted laughing, lounging and indulging at the swanky W Hotel in South Beach earlier this year. All W Hotels coax guests to truly let their hair down and enjoy the finer things, but the South Beach property boasts a Mr. Chow and the lush and romantic Grove Bar. At more than $3,000/night for a suite, we are sure that A-Rod and Diaz took advantage of every last water sport and spa service offered on-site.
Shore Club South Beach: With two infinity pools, Skybar, Nobu and poolside food and drink service, there are plenty of good reasons for Lance Armstrong to have been spotted at the Shore Club South Beach. A serious people-watching scene and a serene, decked-out spa are added bonuses. Regular suites cost around $600/night, but the more coveted poolside bungalows will run the cyclist more than $1,000/night.
For a complete slideshow of superstar getaways, click here for TheDailyMeal.com.
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