Sport’s a funny thing.
Objectively, it’s watching a few people chase a ball or each other around a field or court. It’s inconsequential. It shouldn’t matter that much. But ask any fan, and they’ll tell you it’s everything. It’s stopped wars but broken families apart, created lifelong friendships, and even hiked birthrates.
There’s no denying sports impact on the world. But despite that passion, there’s only a small number of truly sports-centric hotels. To help the superfans among us, we’ve found some of the best sport hotels in the world, no matter which shape ball you prefer.
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
Location: Orlando, Florida
The rundown: It’d be a shame not to include Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort. Few hotels in the world are truly sport-themed, but the Mouse goes all out for the kids at his Orlando resort. From the moment you arrive, you’re in sports mode. Giant football helmets line the central plaza, giant basketballs, baseball bats, tennis rackets…basically giant everything sporting.
A nice plus is the cost. With rates regularly dropping close to $100, it’s an affordable crowd-pleaser for the kids—especially the sports-crazy ones. Even the not-as-athletically-inclined little ones will still love the abundance of Disney characters.
Location: Manchester, United Kingdom
Vibe: Theatre of dreamy sleep
The rundown: Any football (sorry, “soccer”) fan knows Manchester United. Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying their epic stadium, Old Trafford, the Theatre of Dreams, is worth a pilgrimage at some point. Hotel Football, just across the road, elevates that visit to something special.
The football-themed property is a Beckham free-kick from the stadium, boasting views of the main facade from its legendary Cafe Football. There’s no better place to soak up the atmosphere of a game. Rooms are sleek, with stylish nods to the beautiful game never letting it get too cheesy, while the rooftop pitch lets you get your feet on a ball before watching the best in the world at work.
Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Vibe: Homerun of a view
The rundown: Baseball takes a long time. There’s no getting around it. So why not skip a ticket at the stadium and check in to the Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor? Soaring above Camden Yards and looking out over the Baltimore Orioles stadium, it’s more than possible to chill on your balcony or the upstairs patio as America’s pastime plays out in front of you.
I often stayed here for work and can confirm the views are stellar. It’s also a prime location for grabbing a drink at the nearby Pickles Bar, a hotspot for baseball fans on gameday just a short walk from the stadium and hotel.
Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Vibe: Men’s club for everyone
The rundown: For a more subtle nod to the sports theme, try the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. The architectural marvel was built in 1893 to house its eponymous association. Since then, it’s been converted into a fabulous boutique hotel, fully embracing its past while adding the finest in modern amenities.
The hotel prides itself on being the center of the party when sports are involved. Its games room is the perfect place to hang out, grab a game of bocce ball between innings, or take a swing at Chicago’s first Top Golf Suite.
Hardwood Suite at Palms Casino Resort
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Vibe: Balling on a mega-budget
The rundown: So this addition isn’t technically a hotel. It’s a suite within a hotel. But considering its sprawling 10,000 square feet of space, you could argue it’s an entity in its own right. The frankly ridiculous room costs around $25,000 a night, but no one can deny how cool it is.
The upper floor bedrooms are located inside a basketball court, fully equipped for you and your friends to shoot some hoops. It’s got a stunning locker room, a whisky-tasting suite, a pool table, eleven TVs, 24-hour butler service, and a range of VIP entries for some of the best clubs on the strip. It hosts 10 guests, so you’ll just need nine pals with $2,500 to burn.
Sports Illustrated Resorts
Location: Orlando (and multiple)
Vibe: The ultimate fan hotel
The rundown: We don’t have a ton of details on Sports Illustrated’s newest venture, but if the concept images and maps are anything to go by, sports fans can expect to be spoiled. The company has already opened a resort in the Dominican Republic, but it doesn’t seem to have much to do with sports besides its golf courses.
The new concepts, on the other hand, resemble the inside of a college sports fan’s brain at a sports bar during the Rose Bowl. Wild miniature baseball fields, big screens over mega pools with floaties to watch the game from, and a ton of location-specific activities. You can expect each to be tailored somewhat to the local team and to up the ante a lot on gameday weekends.