With record heat in some parts of the country this summer, there really is no better way to stay cool during hot weather than with a swimming pool. When temperatures rise from Miami Beach to Las Vegas, one of the first stops after checking into a hotel is to take a dip in the pool, make a splash after zipping through a water slide or maintain fitness by swimming laps. With so many hotels to choose from, savvy travelers will review lodging amenities before booking the perfect summer vacation, such as an onsite bar and restaurant, fitness center and for many, the most amazing swimming pool. Although some may disagree with the following five selections, each of these hotel pools are most definitely cool.
The Biltmore Hotel
1200 Anastasia Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Take a step back in time at the historic luxury hotel, the Coral Gables Biltmore, which boasts an award-winning spa and the largest hotel pool in the continental U.S. Measuring an incredible 22,000 square feet and holding 600,000 gallons of water, the massive pool is adorned with Mediterranean-style statues, native palm trees and elegantly furnished private cabanas. Once the largest pool in the world, during its heyday, the pool entertained royalty and Hollywood celebrities with spectacular gala balls and aquatics shows. The pool's depth ranges from four to eight feet but also has a baby pool, with a depth of two feet, making this extraordinary pool perfect for all ages. An added plus for families with children or teenagers is a visit to the nearby public swimming pool, the Venetian Pool, the country's largest freshwater pool that, like the Coral Gables Biltmore, is listed on the National Historical Register of Places.
Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, Pool and Spa
415 E. 6th St.
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
Located three hours west of Denver within the mighty Colorado Rockies, Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. The signature attraction of this historic 107-room lodge is the world's largest mineral hot springs pool, more than two blocks long. The central pool, 405 feet long and 100 feet wide at its widest point with over one million gallons of water, is heated between 90 and 93 degrees Fahrenheit all year, making it about 10 degrees warmer than an average swimming pool. But the soothing warmth of the heated minerals, including sodium chloride, calcium, magnesium and potassium, attracts visitors from all over the world to enjoy its reinvigorating properties. There are also two water slides, a kiddie pool and a 100-foot-long therapy pool, with temperatures averaging between 102 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
129 E. Fremont St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101
With temperatures averaging over 100 degrees during the summer months, pools are in hot demand in this self-proclaimed "Entertainment Capital of the World." While there are certainly bigger and trendier hotel swimming pools in Vegas like at Mandalay Bay, Caesar's Palace, Hard Rock Hotel, Palms Casino Resort, the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas and the Wynn, the pool at the Golden Nugget is definitely more unique than the usual excesses of this gambling mecca. Located within one of Vegas' oldest hotel casinos and the largest downtown, the pool at the Golden Nugget, known as "The Tank," has earned a number of international distinctions, including "One of the Most Extreme Pools in the World" by the Travel Channel, "World's Most Amazing Hotel Pools" by Budget Travel and "World's Coolest Pools" by SmarterTravel.com. The highlight of The Tank is a three-story-high, tubed water slide, thrusting riders through a 200,000-gallon shark aquarium before dropping riders into the hotel's central pool. For guests ages 16 and older, there's also The Hideout, with a two-story infinity pool and eight poolside cabanas equipped with flat screen TVs, Ultra Beds and Terrace Level Beds.
3850 Wailea Alanui Drive
Wailea, HI 96753
One of the top luxury hotels in the Aloha State is the Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria resort 27 miles south of Lahaina. The fabulous property features two jaw-dropping pools – the 4,850-square-foot Hibiscus Pool with its giant hibiscus flower mosaic created from over 630,000 glass tiles on the pool floor and the enormous Wailea Canyon Activity Pool, comprised of eight pools on six levels. The Hibiscus Pool is only open to guests 18 years old and older, but the 2,000-foot-long, 25,700-square-foot, 770,000-gallon Wailea Canyon is the bigger draw, especially for kids, and features the world's first "water elevator," the world's first rotating barrel slide, a 'baby beach," whitewater rapids, caves, waterfalls, whirlpool and sauna. If these two high-end pools aren't enough, the warm ocean waters at the award-winning Wailea Beach are literally footsteps away and the resort's spa was voted as one of the "Top 10 Spas in the U.S." by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure magazine.
Post Ranch Inn
47900 Highway 1
Big Sur, CA 93920
Recently voted the "Top Hotel for Location in the U.S." and recipient of many other awards including "Best of the Best in the World," the five-star Post Ranch Inn offers breathtaking views of the magnificent coastline in Big Sur. While there is a heated lap pool, the real attractions are the two Infinity Jade and Meditation spas with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Each spa is heated to 104 degrees, enabling guests to relax in supreme elegance with one of the world's most stunning vistas. Afterwards, guests can indulge themselves with an exquisite spa treatment or dine at the world-renowned Sierra Mar restaurant.
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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