Ode to the Swimming Pool

For years, I’ve based my hotel choices not on price or location but on the quality of the pool. Indoor, outdoor, it didn’t matter, but there had to be a well-maintained pool, one that the hotel was proud to showcase, not something hidden on the sixth floor at the end of some abandoned hallway.

I turned my Cheeveresque pool quest into an assignment for The Los Angeles Times (Nora Ephron’s mother is right–everything is copy!). The article appears in today’s LA Times travel section, focusing on Southern California pools with a few pools nearby in the desert, as well as some surprisingly alluring pools in cold places like Seattle and Montreal.


(Photo credit: Splashtopia at Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa)

I wish the Northeast had California’s pool season. I live here, the swankier pools are there, so we travel out west once a year for about a week or two every summer and, yes, we sample the pools (and the beaches) the way you sample Napa wines. You can read about my family escapades to California here. Our annual California vacation involves a week in LA so Mike can visit the Mother Ship (his employer) while Anna and I soak up quality pool time. We make time to explore other parts of California, too. One year it was a day trip to San Diego. Another year we did Disneyland. Last year, we did Big Sur and San Francisco. This year, we’re doing four days in Monterey and a day trip to San Juan Capistrano Mission. Ironically, the day my pool article debuted is the day I paid the bill for our family’s summer town pool membership, though pool season doesn’t start until Memorial Day weekend, so we have a two-month wait ahead of us. Meanwhile, SoCal families may be reading my story now and could spend Easter poolside if they chose to. It’s a sweet life out there in SoCal. New York City’s bagels are better, but SoCal has a lot going for it. It’s always a beautiful sight when our flight descends towards LA airport and I can see all the backyard pools glistening sky blue.

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