5 Hotel Pools Perfect for Swimmers

5 Hotel Pools Perfect for Swimmers

NYT > Top Stories

2024-04-02 07:36:25

Michele Heisler, 61, is an avid swimmer, putting in 45 minutes three times a week in a local 25-yard-long pool. But swimming while traveling can be challenging. “Most hotel pools are too tiny or too crowded,” she said.

Then, while planning a trip to Chicago, Ms. Heisler, from Ann Arbor, Mich., came across a photo of the hotel pool of her dreams. In the Intercontinental Hotel, the 25-yard-long pool, built in 1929, is one of the oldest in Chicago and is surrounded by Greek-inspired marble decoration. “You feel like you’re swimming in an ancient Greek temple. It’s a magical experience,” said Ms. Heisler, who has stayed at the Intercontinental four times in the last 10 years because of the pool.

Even at a resort, swimming laps often means having to negotiate odd, and often short, lengths while keeping an eye out for cannonballing children in water that can feel like a hot tub. Finding a hotel pool that’s large enough for lap swimming in a big city is even more daunting. But they exist. Here are six hotel pools that are at least 25 yards long and provide ample space for lap swimming, as well as first-class ambience; some are open to visitors who are not spending the night. Most are open all day, but early morning hours will provide the best lap swim experience, hotel representatives say.

The setting: The south tower of the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile hotel was originally a private athletic club, complete with this indoor pool, which was host to the famous Olympic swimmer and actor Johnny Weissmuller, who broke records at the 1924 and 1928 Olympics.

The pool, on the hotel’s 14th floor, is “an architectural marvel complete with spectator seating and turrets” decorated with Spanish Majolica tiles, said Christopher Cawley, the hotel’s general manager. It has four swimming lanes. Lounge chairs surround the pool, and a newly renovated, multilevel fitness center is nearby.

Hours: Weekdays 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; weekends 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. There are no times set aside especially for lap swimming.

Pool temperature: 84 degrees

Public access: Non-guests can purchase a resort pass online to use the pool and fitness facilities through Resort Passa platform that partners with hotels across the United States to offer day passes to access exclusive amenities. Prices vary depending on season, currently an adult day pass is $40.

The setting: When the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown opened in 2016, it included this 25-yard-long indoor pool designed, like the rest of the hotel’s interiors, by the interior design firm Yabu Pushelbergoriginally from Canada.

The pool area features stone-clad columns, wood screens and a custom scratched-plaster finish on the walls to add to the soothing tranquillity of the space. “If you close your eyes, you feel like you are transported to the French Riviera,” said Thomas Carreras, the hotel’s general manager. He calls it a “sanctuary.” There is a mix of seating, from lounge chairs with plush white towels to comfortable love seats with oversize pillows. The pool is on the hotel’s third floor, along with the fitness facility and the spa. There is one designated lap lane.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Pool temperature: 83 to 85 degrees

Public access: The pool is open to hotel guests and to members of Club 27, the hotel’s private wellness club.

The setting: The In Miami is within the IconBrickell complex and condominium development in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood, which was built in 2008; the W opened in 2016. Hotel guests and building residents have use of the complex’s outdoor pools, which include a reflection pool, a hot tub and a lap pool. The lap pool, which overlooks Biscayne Bay and has an infinity edge, is 205 feet long, 40 feet longer than an Olympic-size pool, making it somewhat mind-bending for swimmers used to more standardized lengths.

The pools’ design was inspired by the French designer Phillip Starck whose firm designed the common areas and residences of the complex. It is intended to be a “whimsical urban-chic version of the Champs-Élysées,” with the pool working as the avenue instead of concrete, said Arianna Calcaterra, the hotel’s director of marketing.

Gail Gensler, 63, who lives in a condominium apartment in the complex, swims there twice a week as soon as the pool opens, often at sunrise. “It’s very gorgeous when you’re watching the sun rise over the bay and you’re getting your workout in,” she said.

The pool is on a two-acre, resort-style pool deck. There are also lounge pools and cabanas, as well as a poolside restaurant serving food and beverages.

Hours: Guests can go as early as dawn to swim laps. Pool service, which includes towels and lifeguards, is offered from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Food service is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Pool temperature: 78 to 82 degrees in the spring and fall and 76 to 78 degrees in the winter.

Guest access: The pool is managed by IconBrickell, the developer of the complex. Hotel guests have access along with residents of the complex.

The setting: Built in 2021, the 75-foot-long outdoor pool at the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans overlooks the Mississippi River, and the mosaic-lined pool has a slight crescent bend to mirror the curve of the river.

The pool, on the hotel’s fifth floor, is also a consistent 3 feet 8 inches deep along its whole length and features underwater lighting and music. There are two designated lap lanes. It’s surrounded by chaise longues, a separate hot tub and four cabanas that are available for daily rental. A fitness center and spa are on the same floor. There’s also a poolside bar serving cocktails and food.

Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Pool temperature: 84 degrees.

Guest access: The pool is used by both hotel guests and residents of the property.

The setting: Built in June 2022 when the Conrad Nashville opened, this outdoor pool is 81 feet long and is on the hotel’s roof deck on the third floor.

As you swim, you can take in views of Nashville, including Vanderbilt University, said Eumi Koh, the hotel’s general manager. Food and beverages are available in the pool area from May to October, but the pool is open year round. There are roughly 30 lounge chairs, all outfitted with umbrellas, along with day beds and dining tables and chairs. Three cabanas can be reserved. There are no lap lanes with ropes.

Hours: Sunrise to sunset. Food and beverage service is available Monday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Pool temperature: 85 to 89 degrees

Guest access: The pool is for hotel guests only.

The setting: The 75-foot-long indoor pool, located on the ground floor of the Cincinnati Marriott at RiverCenter, which is across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati, was renovated in 2020. Windows the length of the pool provide natural lighting, so “you don’t feel like you’re swimming in a cave,” said Shawnna Dunaway, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. “It’s very open and light.”

She said the pool is particularly appealing to the hotel’s many corporate guests, who “can have that full workout of a full-length pool.” There are also lounge chairs surrounding the pool and a fitness center nearby. There are no lane dividers.

Pool temperature: 84 degrees.

Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Guest access: Only hotel guests can use the pool.

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Julie Halpert
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