Top Hotel Pools We Plan to Visit, and a Few Old Friends
We don’t have a pool at the house. We have a big pool just to the right of our place – it’s called the Atlantic Ocean. Lame lines aside, our routine beach visits can’t totally replace pool experiences. Since we enjoy travel, hotel and resort pools inevitably pull us in. With summer soon upon us, I figured it would be fun to share the top hotel pools we plan to enjoy sooner or later, plus a few we’re eyeing for return visits. Given our near term plans largely revolve around domestic travel, I’m focusing on US options today.
Omni Homestead Resort
Located in Hot Springs, VA, this historic property in the Allegheny Mountains is well known for its golf and skiing options. But we’re interested in a summer visit primarily for the pools in a distinctive environment. The resort holds Allegheny Springs, a two acre water park incorporating waters from nearby natural springs. Our little ones will enjoy the water slides, lazy river, and water play areas adjacent to the family pool. The indoor pool was opened in 1904 and is a year round facility. Finally, adults can enjoy the outdoor, naturally warm spa pool open year round.
We enjoyed our stay at the Austin Motel in the South Congress neighborhood about 15 years ago. The property has held a ton of character for years, and it’s undergone quite a transformation since we’ve stayed there. One thing that hopefully hasn’t changed too much is its classic motel-style pool. I’m a sucker for the kidney bean-shaped pool set in a complementary environment. This pool visit is a happy departure that’s more about feel than huge amenities. Plus, Barton Springs Pool, one of my favorite public pool areas in the States, is located nearby in Zilker Park.
I’m certainly not unearthing anything new here, but families enjoy the over-the-top features of the pools at the Grand Wailea in Maui. My wife and I enjoyed our stay at the Grand Wailea prior to kids – hello, complimentary Napua Tower upgrade! We’re excited to experience the pools with our children this time. Specifically, Wailea Canyon Activity Pool features waterslides, rapids, and a rope swing. The Wailea Canyon area holds nine different pools over six levels. The Hibiscus Pool, the resort’s offering for adults, looks like a great escape, as well.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
As a Walt Disney World fan, of course I need to include a resort pool here. Options abound, but we’re most excited to visit the Copper Creek Springs Pool at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Our kids will enjoy the water slide built into rocks and the new activity play area. I’m intrigued by the pool’s overall design and how it incorporates the resort’s theming. We’ll eventually enjoy visiting the huge pool at Disney’s Art of Animation and also take fuller advantage of the Grand Floridian’s offerings, but the Wilderness Lodge will come first.
Cavalier Oceanfront Resort
Located on a remote portion of PCH/Highway 1 in California’s Cambria/San Simeon area, the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort holds a special place for my wife and me. We stayed here during a honeymoon stop back when it was a Best Western property. The two simple, heated outdoor pools have great views of the Pacific and everything going on in and around it. Specifically, I marveled at the highly-skilled kite surfers during twilight. This was the closest experience I’ve had to watching humans fly like birds. Beauty is all around us – it’s just a matter of stopping and looking around. PCH and the Cavalier are that for my wife and me.
Hearst Castle is nearby – take a tour of that famous property to view some breathtaking, historical indoor and outdoor pools.
I’m drawn to this Phoenix property due to Frank Lloyd Wright’s design touches. Indeed, Frank Lloyd Wright spent four months consulting with the architects on the hotel’s design. The resort has seven different pools which mesh nicely in with the property. Opened in 1929, the Arizona Biltmore and its pools seem to capture and maintain the charm of days gone by.
KOA Resort, Cape Hatteras
The term “KOA Resort” may seem like an oxymoron to many. But they do exist! A nearby one we plan to visit is the Cape Hatteras KOA Resort in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Adjacent to the main house is the resort’s zero entry pool with water slides, lap lanes, and jacuzzi. More importantly for us, this pool is open year-round. We avoid summer’s high season in the Outer Banks, so it’s nice to know we can enjoy this pool in other timeframes.
Hilton Garden Inn, Fort Walton Beach, FL
I’ve long professed my love for Hilton Garden Inn, their breakfast, and the full service hotel touches without the fuss. I’m also keen on checking out beach-accessible Hilton Garden Inns. The beaches in the overall Destin, FL area intrigue me, as well. The nearby HGI Fort Walton Beach property sports both indoor and outdoor pools, including a lazy river. And the outdoor pool is footsteps from the beach. Sign me up.
Omni Grove Park Inn
Located in one of my favorite areas of the States in Asheville, NC, the historic Grove Park Inn beckons any time I visit the area. We look forward to staying here, and the pools are a big reason. Specifically, the spa’s relaxation, lap, and exhileration contrast pools are the priority for us. Also, the Inn has an outdoor seasonal pool, and indoor pool adjacent to the sports complex is open year round.
Four Seasons Resort, Santa Barbara
Finally, for the crown jewel of resort pool experiences, at least for us. I’ve been intrigued by this property for years, but we’ve never stayed despite our several California visits. Obviously, I find Four Seasons service and the impeccable location attractive. But the pool and club access likewise draw my attention. When staying at the resort, guests are granted access to the adjacent Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club. The club was built in 1937 and provides guests access to an Olympic-sized pool, kids pool, whirlpool and direct, private access to Butterfly Beach. The club also offers oceanfront dining, a fitness center, yoga, and sauna/steam rooms. For a different experience, guests on the property can enjoy the Jungle Pool surrounded by lush landscape. We’ll get there someday.
Top Hotel Pools – Conclusion
The top hotel pools we want to visit don’t all easily fit into the same category. Each property draws us in for different reasons. We like over the top experiences once in a while, but we also like the understated, simple pleasures, as well. I can say the same of our travel experiences beyond the pool, for that matter. What have been your favorite pool experiences while traveling? Which hotel pools do you want to visit?