A Splashing Good Time
Not all pools are created equal—some have fullservice cabanas for a day of pampered attention, some have massive waterfalls with hidden slides, and some are wrapped with a beautiful lazy river. Swimming pools can be enjoyed year-round in the Sunshine State, so capitalizing on that, Florida hotels have created some fantastic water features. For a hotel pool to be counted as awesome, it needs to appeal to every age group. Here are a few of my family’s favorites. Keep in mind that all of these pools require you to be a guest of the hotel (or purchase a day pass)— so, no sneaking in!
You can choose to play or relax at one or all of the 11 pools (yes, 11) at Fontainebleau on Miami Beach. This luxurious resort offers full-service cabanas and premium amenities from any poolside spot. The entire family will think the outdoor area here makes a fantastic water day, from the small dipping pools to the large oasis pool or the interactive children’s waterscape with a slide. 4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 800-548-8886; fontainebleau.com
2. Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center
The heated pool at Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee features an Everglades-inspired family water park that includes a zero- entry swimming pool with four slides, a multilevel water-fun tree house and an active lagoon where kid-friendly music and games take place daily. There’s also a South Beach pool that is adults-only with a serene atmosphere and two hot tubs. 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee; 407-586-0000; gaylordpalms.com
3. Hyatt Regency Coconut Point
There is no lack of water fun at this Hyatt Regency with a lagoon-style pool, adults-only pool, lap pool, 5,000-square-foot Adventure Pool with a 140-foot corkscrew slide, and the Lazy River complex, featuring three waterslides! The palm-tree-lined sundeck offers cabanas, lounge chairs and a covered pavilion in case you want to trade in the sun for some shade. 5001 Coconut Road, Bonita Springs; 239-444-1234; coconutpoint.regency.hyatt.com
4. Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort and Spa
This beachfront hotel has two great pools. While both are beautiful, the lagoon pool is ideal for kids with its zero entry, large shallow end and a fun waterslide. The infinity pool has more of an adult vibe—this is where you will find the hot tub and underwater mood lighting. 3800 N. Ocean Drive, Riviera Beach; 561-340-1700; marriott.com/hotels/travel/pbisg-palm-beach
5. Seminole Hard Rock Casino and Hotel
You will feel like you are in Vegas at this rock-star-inspired pool.
The 4.5-acre lagoon-style heated pool oasis includes a 182-foothigh waterslide, waterfalls splashing over mountain rocks, an elevated jetted spa, hot tub and poolside restaurant. 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood; 866-502-7529; seminolehardrockhollywood.com
6. Legoland Beach Retreat
The newest Legoland resort opened in 2017 with a fantastic beachthemed, zero-entry pool. The large Lego soft bricks floating in the pool are a fun addition. The expansive sandy area is perfect for building sandcastles and has a giant play structure for kids to run off some energy. Daily activities include dance parties, and beanbag toss and chalk-art competitions. 100 Legoland Way, Winter Haven; 888-690-5346; legolandbeachretreat.com
7. South Seas Island Resort
Enjoy the island life with a pool day at South Seas. There is no better way to enjoy a pool than to be beachfront as well, and at this Captiva resort the beach is never far away. The property’s three pools, two waterslides, luxurious cabanas and tiki bar always create a memorable day. 5400 Plantation Road, Captiva; 239-472-5111; southseas.com
8. Hilton Orlando
The temperature-controlled swimming pools and lazy river at the Hilton Orlando make you feel like you are in a water paradise in the middle of a crazy theme-park destination. This Hilton has more than 10,000 square feet of pool deck, with plenty of lounge chairs that guarantee you a spot to relax and enjoy the beautiful sunny weather. If you are with the kids, you will want to hang out at the main pool for its zeroentry access and winding waterslide. If this is a grown-ups’ getaway, some peace and quiet can be found at the adultsonly pool. 6001 Destination Parkway, Orlando; 407-313-4300; thehiltonorlando.com
9. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
By far, my kids’ favorite hotel pool—and my wallet’s choice—is Cabana Bay in Orlando. This reasonably priced resort has two spectacular pools that will tempt you to skip the theme parks. The cabana rentals have a great price tag. At the Cabana Courtyard, there is a tower waterslide, kids’ splash pad and sandy play yard full of outside games. The Lazy River Courtyard features a zero-entry pool with a sandy beach, as well as a lazy river with waterfalls and water cannons. Each pool has its own poolside bar. 6550 Adventure Way, Orlando; 407-503-4000; loewshotels.com/ cabana-bay-hotel Mandy Carter is a local mom with a passion for family travel, a popular travel blogger, including her own family blog at acupful.com, and the managing editor for TOTI Media.