Six hotels for football fans
You already live the beautiful game. Now you can eat and sleep it, thanks to these football-themed hotels.
Sometimes, a World Cup just isn't enough. When you really need to eat, sleep and drink the beautiful game, a football-themed hotel is required. Laura Holt has six of the best.
Amari Buriram United, Thailand
Thai football team Buriram United might not compete at an international level, but at home they score highly – emerging as triple champions in the country's Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup in 2011. Celebrating the side's achievements is this new retreat (pictured above), in the north-eastern province of Buriram, adjacent to the team's Thunder Castle Stadium. Designed by the same architects who crafted the home ground, it features rooms with views of a mini football field.
Doubles from THB1,619/€37, room only. www.amari.com
Kex, Hostel Iceland
Former Chelsea player, Eidur Gudjohnsen, is part of the team behind this hip hostel in his native Iceland. The story goes that film director, Oskar Thor Axelsson, was on the hunt for a location to use in the movie Black's Game when he came across this abandoned biscuit factory in Reykjavik. Falling in love with it, he decided to gather a group of his friends – including Gudjohnsen – to turn it into something more. The result? An affordable, industrial-style hostel than takes a keen interest in its looks.
Dorms Ik2,700/€17pp; doubles Ik10,500/€68. www.kexhostel.ie
Hotel Football, England
Co-owned by Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, this hotel is due to open opposite Old Trafford Stadium in October. It is the second project from the pair's GG Hospitality group, which launched the 140-seat Café Football in Westfield's Stratford shopping centre last year. At the hotel, rooms promise views of the former England fullback and the Welsh winger's stomping ground when they played for Manchester United, with its own five-a-side pitch on the roof. There will also be space for 1,500 fans on match days.
Hotel Football, Manchester, England (020 7717 5584;hotelfootball.com). Doubles from £79, room only.
La Manga, Spain
This summer, football coaches from the formidable Barcelona FC team will travel to the south-eastern corner of Spain. The week-long academy for children aged seven to 17 takes place at La Manga, a five-star resort near Cartagena, from 21-25 July. The team responsible for whipping Messi and Neymar into shape will be on hand to school young players at the hotel's Football Centre – comprised of eight grass pitches, which have previously acted as training grounds for the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich
Doubles from €125, B&B. Academy from €450 per child. www.lamangaclub.com
Hotel Boca, Argentina
Once the Fifa World Cup kicks off this week, football fans around the globe will set their sights on Brazil. But long after the 2014 tournament's over, travellers can still score an away goal in neighbouring Argentina by checking into this football-themed retreat. Located in Buenos Aires and dedicated to the city's beloved Boca Juniors team, it's decked out in signature blue and gold home colours, with paintings of the stadium, La Bombonera, on the walls. Designed for jumpers-for-goalposts players and professionals alike, it has a fully kitted-out gym, with a pool, sauna and spa therapists on hand to ease post-match aches. After a hard day on the pitch – or treading the tangled streets of surrounding San Telmo – load up on carbs and lean steak at La Boca restaurant.
Doubles from US$122/€90, including breakfast. www.hotelbocajuniors.com
Forte Village, Sardinia
Aspiring football stars can take part in the Chelsea Football Academy at the Forte Village Resort in Sardinia. Now in its seventh season, it welcomes children aged four to 14 to participate in five-day football camps, taught by the same coaches who train the players at Stamford Bridge. With dates until 4 October, it lets children walk away with souvenir photos, a footballing diploma and specialist skills in goalkeeping, striking and defending – while parents get a welcome break by the pool. A win-win situation.
Doubles €550, half board. Academy €320 per child. www.fortevillageresort.com
Independent News Service