5 Hotel Pools Perfect for Swimmers

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.

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