Swimming is my favourite form of exercise. I find it really relaxing and when I’m at home I aim to swim two or three times a week at our local leisure centre. When I’m booking places to stay on my travels, I always try to find a place with a decent fitness pool if I can. But I’ve found that sometimes it can be difficult to work out from a website what a pool is really like, and whether or not you can properly swim there.
Swimming for fitness requires a pool which is deep enough and long enough for you to swim lengths, without getting in the way of others. Ideally it should have lane dividers and a separate area or a separate pool for those who just want to relax or play in the water. It’s impossible to swim lengths in a pool which is full of people with inflatables, or where there are children with arm bands bobbing about.
So, if you’re like me and really like to swim, I’m sharing with you some places where I’ve stayed which have swimming pools where you really can swim for fitness.
Sleive Donard Resort & Spa, County Down, Northern Ireland
The Sleive Donard is a luxury spa hotel on the coast by the Mourne Mountains. I stayed there for a night with my daughter, and we both enjoyed spending time at the spa. The 20-metre indoor pool at the spa has specular views across the beach and towards the mountains, and is a very relaxing place to swim. There’s also a smaller ‘Vitality’ pool where you can just sit and enjoy the views, and a fantastic steam room.
You can read more in my post: Sleive Donard Resort & Spa review.
New Park Manor, New Forest, England
I stayed at this family-friendly spa hotel in January, and enjoyed an early morning swim at the 16-metre indoor pool. There were no lane markers but I had the place to myself so it didn’t matter. I assume that the pool can get busy with children at times, so that would probably make it difficult to swim for fitness, but when I was there (midweek during term time) that wasn’t an issue. The New Park Manor pool has views across the countryside – you may even spot a New Forest pony while you’re swimming.
My full review of the hotel is here: New Park Manor Spa Hotel review.
Hilton at St. George’s Park, Staffordshire, England
St. George’s Park is the English Football Association’s national training centre and is where the 24 England football teams train. When the players are there, they stay at the Hilton hotel on site. I stayed at the Hilton with my husband and son for a couple of nights. The hotel has a good spa and I went for a dip in its 17-metre indoor pool early one morning. I was the only one there and had an enjoyable swim and then tried out the steam room and the thermal foot spa.
Read more in my post: Hilton at St. George’s Park review.
Canary Riverside Plaza, London, England
I haven’t actually stayed at the Canary Riverside Plaza, but I did stay there in its previous incarnation as the Four Seasons Canary Wharf. I’m including the hotel here because it has a fantastic indoor pool which overlooks the River Thames and which I swam in one morning. The 20-metre infinity pool featured in the James Bond film Skyfall and so I can truthfully say that I’ve swum in the same pool as Daniel Craig (just not when he was there!)
You can read about our stay in my post Four Seasons Canary Wharf review.
Holiday Inn, Cambridge, England
We had an overnight stay at the Cambridge Holiday Inn after a family event and I was delighted to find a 15-metre indoor pool at the hotel’s health club. The pool was divided in to two so that those swimming lengths were separate from others in the pool. There’s also a sauna and steam room which guests can use.
You can read my full review here: A family-friendly hotel near Cambridge.
La Manga Club, Murcia, Spain
I spent two weeks at La Manga Club on a summer trip with my family, and I absolutely loved the 25-metre indoor fitness pool at the spa. Swimming there was a refreshing change from the summer heat outside, and I swam there each morning until it closed for maintenance for a month (which we hadn’t been warned about, and which was very disappointing!). After that I swam in the outdoor pools when I could – but this was tricky as they were usually busy and had no lane dividers.
You can read my full review of the resort in my post What’s it like to stay at La Manga Club?
Dubrovnik Sun Gardens, Croatia
We stayed at Dubrovnik Sun Gardens resort for a week during the Easter holidays. It wasn’t hot enough to swim outside and I went to the indoor pool at the spa at some point most days. The 18-metre pool is very relaxing and there’s an area with various saunas and steam rooms nearby.
You can read more about our stay in my post Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Resort review.
Aqua Dome, Tirol, Austria
I spent a day enjoying the water here with my son while we were on a trip to Austria. Aqua Dome is a luxury hotel, spa and waterpark in a spectacular mountain location. It uses the naturally hot mineral water which runs deep underground. There are 12 different pools, both indoor and outdoor, and each is different. There’s a fitness pool outside, but my favourite was the salt water outdoor pool where you can listen to underwater music as you float and admire the scenery.
You can read more in my post Aqua Dome, Ötztal valley, Austria.
Costa Navarino, Pelopponese, Greece
Costa Navarino is a luxury coastal resort in the Peloponnese and it has two beautiful hotels: the Westin and the Romanos. I stayed at the Westin for three nights in October, and had the 20-metre indoor pool at the hotel’s Health Club to myself for a relaxing swim one evening. There were also steam rooms and saunas for men and women near to the pool.
You can read more in my post The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino review.
Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily, Italy
I think the outdoor pool at Verdura may be the biggest that I’ve ever swum in: it’s 60 metres long, so there’s room for everyone to swim. I stayed at Verdura on a family summer trip, and my teens still say that it’s their favourite hotel that we’ve ever been to. The luxury resort is part of the Rocco Forte Hotels group, and every part of it is beautifully designed, including the pool. My daughter and I also enjoyed trying out the outdoor thalassotherapy pools at the spa.
You can read more about our stay in my post Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily.
Hotel Kalura, Sicily, Italy
We’ve stayed at Hotel Kalura a few times after visiting relatives in Sicily, and it’s a family favourite. It’s on the coast around an hour’s drive from Palermo, on the outskirts of Cefalù. It’s perched on a clifftop with views out to sea, and has a fantastic outdoor pool for lane swimming, with a children’s pool next to it. The pool isn’t heated, but I’ve swum there in April and it’s been fine if a little bracing!
Over to you
Can you recommend any places to stay which have good pools for fitness swimming? Do let me know so that I can add them to the list!
Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I would receive a commission if you clicked and booked through them. All words and opinions are my own, as ever, and my aim is to be helpful rather than to promote any particular accommodation.