Earlier this afternoon, soccer star and soccer mom Mia Hamm, 42, and I spoke via Skype about travel, sports travel and hotel pet peeves. Hamm was at the Residence Inn hotel in New York to be honored as the chain’s Resident Mom of the Year. She’s also participating in the chain’s contest to find the “Ultimate Soccer Mom.”
Who wouldn’t want to interview the soccer legend who inspired a generation of young girls to take play soccer and take it to the next level? While I didn’t exclusively focus on sports, I asked her about another topic she cares about – Traveling with her children while they’re playing sports, and fitness and nutrition habits while on the road. She has three children – twin daughters Ave and Grace, 7, and Garrett, 2 – with her husband, former Major League Baseball player Nomar Garciaparra.
“I know what it’s like to raise a family while working, multi-tasking and traveling,” said Hamm. She lives in Southern California, and travels frequently to make public appearances on behalf of her charitable foundation.
The 650-location Residence Inn, by the way, is Marriott International’s brand designed for long-term guests. People stay in large suites with separate living and sleeping areas, an equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. The hotels offer grocery delivery service and complimentary breakfast. Because of the spacious rooms, free breakfast and kitchens, they tend to be popular with amateur athletes on weekends.
Enjoy this edited version of our conversation:
Q. Why partner with Marriott’s Residence Inn chain?
A. I’m being recognized as a mom, and that’s awesome! I love the fact that they’re thinking about moms and they want to recognize and celebrate them. Tisha Venturini, Kristine Lilly and also run a soccer camp, and they help us with rooms when we travel.
Q. What do you like about these hotels?
A. The space is great. Knowing we have a first-class facility that our kids can come back to after a long day at camp is one of the great things. It also gives you the option to cook inside if you don’t want to go out to a restaurant. You know can know you’re in control of what goes in your body and your kids’ bodies. When I am on the road for long period of time, it’s nice to that I can eat my own cooking.
Q. Do you like to get groceries at a specific store like Whole Foods?
A. It just depends on what I’m looking for. I do like buying organic – especially the proteins, fruits and vegetables. But I am also a patron of the local grocery stories.
Q. What other areas in a hotel do you make use of?
A. Sometimes we going to the pool and hang out with the kids. Even when we’re not with the kids, we’ll go to pool because we just want to refresh ourselves being outside all day. We sometimes go to the lobby or just hanging out in each other’s rooms and talk.
Q. Do you have any hotel pet peeves?
A. I hate paying for Wi-Fi. I just think in this day and age, don’t hide it (in the hotel rate)! We’re advanced enough that everyone has Wi-Fi. We shouldn’t have to pay for it.
Q. How important is the hotel gym for you?
A. For me, it’s important to have a good workout facility. You never know what the weather’s going to be like. I like a good safe area where I feel confident walking around.
Photos courtesy of Residence Inn by Marriott.