MAKE A SPLASH
Swimming Pools are an important recreation space in a hotel and also a key factor when it comes to families choosing a specific hotel while on a holiday. It is then becoming all the more vital to not just have a swimming pool on the hotel premises but also one that is an optimal.
If there was one thing that can be defined as being therapeutic it has to be water. Yes, the elixir of life is a great way to relax and also exercise. Well swimming is a great cardio workout as well and if this is in a hotel setup, your experience can be elevated to another level. Hoteliers are increasingly opting for infinity pools, rooftop pools, heated pools and more to make the pool more attractive for guests.
Simplicity is the key to designing a cost effective swimming pool. “Using FRP (Fibre Reinforced Plastic) for construction for pools is the latest trend in low-cost swimming pools. Cost is saved not in civil work but also the finishing cost is way low,” said Piyush Mehra, Principal Architect, PS Design Mumbai. For a swimming pool, focus is not only on the design but also its interiors. Kush Kapoor, Area General Manager, Roseate Hotels & Resorts opined, “our roof top infinity swimming pool at Roseate House has vacuum points within so no external machine or equipment required to clean the pool water. This is not only low on maintenance but economical as well.” For a resort property, a swimming pool is quite essential. “Even though we have many beaches around, majority of the guests love to spend most of their time in and around the pool. It is their chosen place to Detox. Retox. Repeat. As a design element, it has to be aesthetically complimenting the whole resort design. We want people to be able to relax and lounge around, therefore the size and space needs to be kept in mind. It should be simple, yet elegant,” said Cajetan Araujo, General Manager, W Goa.
Designers and hoteliers are using natural influences while designing various facets of a hotel and swimming pools are not far behind. Using an infinity edge pool is a common practice as this merges with the natural environment. Atif Ansari, Chief Engineer, Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa avered, “in most of the recreational properties these days, there is a trend of incorporating rocks and cascading waterfalls that creates an illusion of natural waters for continuous flow in the pool. In our property, we have built a leisure pool on the ground level specially designed well with trees around the pool and in between to retain the natural beauty of the property.” The swimming pools are an integral part of hotel architecture and landscape. Its shape and profile are either derived from or compliment the designer’s concept as envisaged for overall hotel. Hetal Bhanushali, Director of SPA by JW at JW Marriott Bengaluru said, “design and layout is the key. Change areas have to be very well planned – covered / closed yet with a touch of nature element, so are the resting or the sun deck area and any path ways. Visibility, resorts pool should not be kept in close vicinity of hotel traffic to ensure peace and tranquillity.” Landscape plays an important role. “Usually, the landscape designer integrates the softscape with the hardscape of the pool and its surroundings. For example in resort hotels, the pool could be free flowing in shape, which gets further enhanced by the planters, trees, water fountains, in and around the pool. The other way is to have steps leading into the pool or have loungers placed in the shallow end of the pool,” says Shiv Kashyap, Vice President- Technical Services, Accor India & South Asia.
Usually water usage is monitored through the water meter in the water line that also helps ensure that there is no wastage. “We ensure that our pool water is recycled so the pool is built with an absorbed system to facilitate it. Along with this pool water standards and parameters need to be met with for consistency. We treat and re-use water through a filtration plant, suction sweeping and backwashing,” said Kapoor. Most hotels have systematic operating procedures that monitor and record the pool water usage. The design of the pool is key in ensuring sensitivity towards the environment. “Through adequate water treatment mechanism to ensure minimum wastage while also meeting the desired water quality as per laid standard is what we do,” added Manish Kumar, Chief Engineer, WelcomHotel, Bengaluru. Vivek Anandhan, Head of Design – GCC & India, The Ascott Limited explained, “water is a very critical depleting resource. Hence it is recycled and used as much as possible. All the underwater lighting system are LED types to save energy. No excess/unwanted energy is spent in the pool to heat it as it is an informed decision to not to have this as temperature controlled pool considering the fact its located in the tropical region. Moreover, the pool is strategically located on the Eastern side of the building so that it gets ample amount of morning sunlight. But the afternoon sun that tends to be extremely hot is avoided by the shade provided by the gym structure thoughtfully placed and hence making the pool more pleasantly habitable at all times. This also ensures the pool water comparatively remains warm even late in the evenings.”
The location and design of a hotel pool are both equally important since guests want privacy. A resort seeks customers of all kind, from families to couples to an individual. “The reason we do not have one pool but distinctly distributed 3 pools across the properties is so that everyone has an option to select their view and own space. WET is our swimming pool that has distinct demarcation using the sunbeds to divide the space and our Vitality pool (Spa pool for the in-house guests and non-residents using Spa facilities) is an enclosed indoor pool. Finally, the ROCKPOOL is more where W happenings take place, a pool mostly for its spectacular view, to relax and enjoy the best scene of Goa, which is easily demarked through the cabanas and sunbeds giving that privacy to its users,” said Araujo. “The pool furniture includes umbrellas which are selected to ensure guest comfort and are conveniently placed around the pool. In addition to this, the landscape layout, mainly the soft scape is also planned to prevent direct view of the pool and ensure the privacy of the guests from other areas of hotel,” added Kashyap.
Cost versus Quality
Pool water is usually always recycled to prevent wastage and control the water bill cost. Pool filtration plants and dosing chemicals ensure the water is clean. The size of the pump and the balancing tank is the most important thing while designing the pool as well as the pipeline layout of supply and discharge. This is a onetime investment that is beneficial in long term management of the pool. Products and solutions to be used for a pool vary depending on various factors like pool size and type. At our roof top infinity pool at Roseate House and outdoor pool at The Roseate, we use Astral recommended chemicals like soda ash, Alum and Copper sulphate, HCL and TCC 90 granules. It is important for a swimming pool to have an efficient filtration system. Chlorine based systems should be avoided as they are harmful for the skin and the environment as well. Instead, Ozone or Chemical Free filtration systems must be used. “We use a robotic submersible suction sweeper, which only collects dust and dirt and release water back into pool, it helps us in maintain the overall cleanliness of the water. Also, with traditional suction sweeping system and with an added filtration plant, we can use the same water without compromising the cleanliness of the pool and maintaining the highest level of hygiene standards for the guests. This process helps us in preventing wastage. Having said this, there is some water loss due to evaporation which is unavoidable,” said Kashyap.
Pools are becoming not only a place to swim or relax, but a space where guests love to try new adventures with water. Many upcoming activities like Zumba, acrobatic sports or even the Hamster ball have occupied the swimming pool space. “Glass-Wall Pool is the latest buzz in the market. A part or an entire length of pool is made with glass. This adds to the classiness of the design and brings in a panoramic view to the swimmer,” said Mehra. The space in city hotels is premium, thus putting pressure on pool spaces which is now being looked at also as opportunity for generating revenue. Now the trend slowly is shifting to optimise and utilise the pool space as food and beverage area. This not only allows multiuse of the pool during the day, but the ambience and design are done in such a way that it becomes a destination outlet in evening and nights. Hoteliers are indeed redefining the phrase “life is cool by the pool!”
This story first appeared in Hotelier India’s April 2019 issue here:Swimming Pools