2007 Top 10 Hotel Lap Pools in North America
AthleticMindedTraveler.com is on a crusade. We seek to revolutionize the way hotels describe their gyms by identifying which properties truly provide "state of the art" fitness centers. And, on behalf of our fish-like friends, we're on a mission to help hotels understand the difference between a "lap pool" and a recreational pool. For some reason, the hotel industry incorrectly believes that a hole filled with concrete, a few hundred gallons of water and a splash of chlorine amounts to a lap pool. Not quite.
Why does the concept of a lap pool elude these hotel professionals? Could it be deliberate ignorance? Maybe it's a simple misunderstanding. Regardless, we think our criteria on how to identify a true lap pool should shed some light on this tremendously confounding topic:
- A. If your pool is any shape other than a rectangle-this includes kidney, round, S-shaped, etc., you don't have a lap pool.
- B. If your pool isn't at least 20 yards in length (preferably 25 yards), you don't own a lap pool. If your pool doesn't have features that help swimmers get from end to end in a straight line (e.g., bottom stripes or floating lane lines), you can't call it a lap pool.
- C. If you've never seen a male at your pool swimming in a tight, little Speedo, you probably don't have a lapper.
- D. If the water in your pool is kept at such a warm temperature that floating octogenarians are a common sight, I'd venture that you don't have a lap pool.
- E. Finally, if a waterslide empties into one end of your pool, it's not a lapper.
Let's review. To be considered a lap pool, it must be:
- at least 20 yards in length
- rectangular in shape â€¢ kept at or near 80F degrees, and
- have bottom stripes or floating lane lines stretching from end to end.
The following hotel pools not only satisfy the minimum lap pool criteria, but they are the best athletic-minded places to flip turn, freestyle and forget about terra firma in North America. Take your goggles off to see them clearly.
- Dolphin and Swan Resorts (Orlando) ; It's fitting that the best hotel lap pool in North America is hosted by two resorts named after water-loving creatures. Mickey has no match for the 3-lane, 33-yard outdoor lap pool located on the Dolphin and Swan shared playground. Bottom stripes are not marked, but high quality floating lane-lines guide swimmers from end to end. A separate kids' pool will keep the busy little ones far from your underwater work zone.
- Cheyenne Mountain Resort (Colorado Springs) ; Guests in residence between the end of May and the middle of September can enjoy Cheyenne's 8-lane, 50-meter outdoor competition quality lap pool complete with backstroke flags, pace clock, and all of your favorite swim toys. Year round, the resort offers an indoor 25-meter option, too, but getting a true Olympic-size water box is a rare treat.
- Lodge at Ventana Canyon (Tucson) ; The little known Lodge may not be as well known as a few of its popular resort neighbors, but hard core swimmers shacking up at the Lodge will attest that this lap pool is the best around. Guests receive complimentary access to an outdoor, 8-lane x 25-yard competitive pool with floating lane lines and bottom stripes. Instructors are available for lessons and vacationing swimmers are encouraged to join the local swim club's workouts.
- Houstonian (Houston) ; Swimmers will do flip-turns over the Houstonian's outdoor lap pool. Marked with floating lines and bottom stripes, the 25-yard rectangle is a competition level pool with all the bells and whistles, except for backstroke flags.
- Inn at Ponte Vedra Beach (Florida) ; Inn swimmers will happily find floating lane lines and bottom stripes along with kickboards and pull-buoys in what may be one of the most dramatic settings for a lap pool; steps from and overlooking the beautiful Ponte Vedra beach. Sand is in plentiful supply.
- Renaissance ClubSport Walnut Creek (CA) ; 6-lane x 25-meter splendid outdoor lapper at this upscale hotel near Silicon Valley. Kickboards, pull-buoys and all the trimmings make for a very impressive swim experience. Separate pools for water aerobics and the like keep the non-lapping crowd out of the way.
- Cooper Guest Lodge (Dallas) ; Double your swimming pleasure with two, 6-lane x 25-yard lap pools at this health and fitness resort outside of Dallas. Floating lane lines mark the straight route from end to end and plenty of toys (kickboards, pull-buoys, fins, etc.) are stocked for drills.
- Sanctuary (Scottsdale) ; The hotel's stunning infinity-edge pool is enticing, but it's the 2-lane, 25-yard outdoor lapper that really gets our attention and the reason Sanctuary makes the cut. Complete with floating lane lines, a pace clock and toys, this wet venue is not as impressive as the 7 above, but still a great place to get your swim groove on.
- Peninsula (Chicago) ; As the best indoor hotel lap pool in the U.S., swimming guests staying at the Peninsula will be awed. The 3-lane, 25-meter lap option complete with floating lines and bottom stripes is a beauty. Don't fret the hotel website's online picture, which omits the lane divisions. Photographers purposely removed the "ugly" lines and stripes for "artistic" reasons. The remainder of the photo is accurate, including the high ceilings and bright atmosphere.
- Terminal City Club (Vancouver, B.C.) ; As the best hotel lap pool in Canada, this ozone-filtered, 4-lane x 25-meter, indoor lap pool is a rare find north of the border. Floor-to-ceiling windows surround the deck providing amazing views of the nearby British Columbia mountains and Vancouver harbor.