North America's 10 Best Hotel Lap Pools

Ponte Verde Inn and Club

My co-workers and I are on a crusade. Among other goals, 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 concrete-filled hole, several thousand gallons of water and a splash of chlorine amounts to a lap pool. Not quite.

Why is the true concept of a lap pool so elusive? 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.

  1. If your pool is any shape other than a rectangle. This includes kidney, round, S-shaped, etc., you don't have a lap pool.
  2. If your pool is shorter than 20 yards in length--preferably 25 yards--you don't own a lap pool.
  3. If your pool doesn't have features that help swimmers get from end to end in a straight line, such as bottom stripes or floating lane lines, you can't call it a lap pool.
  4. If you've never seen a male at your pool swimming in a tight and tiny Speedo, you probably don't have a lapper.
  5. If the water in your pool is kept at such a warm temperature that floating senior citizens are a common sight, I'd venture that you don't have a lap pool.
  6. 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
  • Kept at or near 80 degrees
  • Sport 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.

1. 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 three-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.

2. Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Colorado Springs

Guests in residence between the end of May and the middle of September can enjoy Cheyenne's eight-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.

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