Whine Wednesdays: Hotel Swimming Pools With Minimal Depth, Unsuitable For Swimming!

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This weeks Whine Wednesday is about Swimming Pools in hotels that have very minimal depth so that you almost (or actually) hit your knees on the floor during swimming.

Such “puddle” pools more or less defeat the purpose of an actually swimming pool to exercise and are mostly to be seen in Asia where many people can’t swim.

Sometimes you really wonder what’s the point of having a facility that is barely if at all available to be used especially at international hotels.

While visiting the JW Marriott Beijing this week I had to laugh when I went to the swimming pool and found that the depth was a a whopping 90 cm, not even going beyond my waistline. In fact it wasn’t even 0.9M as there was plenty of water missing from the pool.

I was told that it’s because many local Chinese guests can’t swim properly and to prevent them from drowning but this argument doesn’t make sense to me. If you can’t swim don’t go into the pool and drowning is possible even in a puddle or bathtub under the wrong circumstances. However the local government in Sanya actually closed the beautiful beaches for a long period of time just for this reason so who knows… crazy!


Swimming pools are pretty much the only fitness facility I like to use at hotel as I’m not a gym enthusiast. I like running outdoors though but in Beijing and the air quality this past weekend that wasn’t an option. Anyhow the JW has nice Technogym fitness equipment so I ended up at the gym regardless but the ridiculous pool solution wouldn’t have me staying there for a long period of time or repeated visits.

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  • Peter

    thats not only the problem in Asia, pools are mostly underfil so much, that surface outfall is not working. The oil and all surface dirt cant get away (last week Crowne Plaza Yangjiang), or funny sign “International water tempareture standard 23C, today water temperature 12C” (Double Tree Guangzhou). Spliting and throat cleaning in pool all around China is also very usual.

    • Khaarl

      I can only concord unfortunately… That being said, I had a good experience at the Sheraton Towers in Nanjing where the staff was after the spitters / throat cleaners AND there were signs to remind this was not a proper behavior.

      Can also mention people who get around the pool area with their filthy shoes on.

      I staid once at the Sheraton in Beijing and the pool has good depth but is in such a disgusting state you don’t dare touching anything.

  • karl

    How many points did you receive in compensation due to this outrage? Or, was this one that you resolved by accepting “in-house” compensation, instead?

    • Chak

      You beat me to asking that.

      • pete wilson

        Doubletree Barcelona guilty of this. Great hotel, waste of time pool…

  • Joe

    I have seen U.S. pools that are shallow (probably more like 4 feet at the deepest). Deep enough to swim without hitting knees.

    I assumed it was due to no Life Guard.

    I am always wary of the cleanliness. I was at one budget hotel when the health inspector “red tagged” the pool for bacteria or some other health issue mid-morning. The pool was “miraculously” open in the afternoon. I don’t think they had an emergency crew out, especially noting the overall condition of the property.
    Don’t swallow the water!!!

  • Ian MacKenzie

    Grand Hyatt Beijing pool is very nice (underground) and has an island / beach setting which adds to the overall appearance.
    Water depth is also good.

  • Gary

    Another racist commentary by little Sebastian.

    • Len Gattsche

      Extra small Gary, I didnt read anything racist in his article.

      • Gary

        I’m actually extra-medium. (With apologies to Steven Wright.)

    • CV3V

      No racist comments in article, and have to agree with the comments. The issue of cleanliness is also valid, swimming pool at the (great) HI Orchard Road was disgusting and full of stuff floating in it.

    • Gary

      Note the entire Chinese race’s inability to swim commentary. Tantamount to racism in my book and uncalled for in a travel blog. Frankly, other travel blogs are talking about how many of us have left this site to go elsewhere because of little Sebastian. I (and others) have suggested to John on numerous occasions that he assess the situation at arm’s length and do the right thing. There will not be many people left here if this continues. Some have suggested that this nonsense is purposeful to create more activity here, but the vast majority of us have been spending more time at 2 other sites awaiting John’s decision. We think John, Kevin and Freddo are superb writers and look forward to this blog returning to its once former glory and the termination of the misanthropic little Sebastian. Comments welcome.

      • Ridoncularious

        Care to share the names of the other two sites?

        • Gary

          Would do that to John. Sorry.

      • CV3V

        Gary, i am not one for sticking up for Seb, i usually critisce, but the article doesn’t say the entire Chinese race can’t swim. Other than that, yes i agree with everything else you say! Loyaltylobby is no longer bookmarked on my browser, which is a shame. There is an excellent UK based on blog, but obviously focus is on UK.

        But its nice to see Sebs trip wasn’t ruined, or he had to call the hotel manager etc etc. he took the paddling pool debacle in his stride.

  • Nick Hevelian

    There should be a sign: “DANGER! 0.9 Metres Depth – Guests should beware of points bloggers who may fake drowning in order to claim comp.”

  • Jill Gillham

    I was a swim team kid growing up, and find that, unless you’re talking a resort with enough of an emphasis on fitness that they put in a proper 25yard/meter or longer pool, it’s pretty useless to try to do laps in a hotel pool because it’s 4-5 strokes and you’re flip turning again. If you’re serious about getting a real swim workout in, the long-running Swimmer’s Guide web site can help you find far better options near your hotel.

    As for water depth, if they can manage to keep the water level to the gutters properly, I’ve done workouts in my fair share of 0.9 meter pools. The turns are a bit cramped, but still very possible for someone under 6 feet tall if they’ve got good turn technique.

  • Gary

    Looks like little Sebastian has had my original charge of racism post deleted. I wouldn’t have expected such sensitivity from the little lad. So much for freedom of speech. I guess he’s spent some of his youth at U. Berkeley in California. Funny stuff. The charge stands however. Onward!