Waterfront: April 2009

No Life Jacket Required

Pool company offers its own bailout package

CNBC recently picked up a story about how LoneStar Fiberglass Pools launched its own bailout program for customers in dire situations.

Much like a current campaign run by the car manufacturer Hyundai, the Kingsbury, Texas, pool manufacturer will give buyers a guarantee that should they lose a job within one year of purchasing the pool, the payments will be covered.

"We haven't seen a drop in our Web site traffic over the last six months, but we have noticed the leads and call volume dropping," says Mark Toler, vice president of marketing and sales. "That seems to indicate that there are plenty of potential buyers interested in pools that are researching the options, but they are not quite ready to pick up the phone. We think the fear factor running rampant in the economy is causing them to hesitate."

LoneStar's Payment Guardian program is included in every sale and remains in effect for a one-year period. The buyer then has the option to continue the coverage past the one-year date, for a fee. Individual pool dealers also have the option to include the pools on their program, as well.

Can a program like this work? According to Edmunds.com, an automotive consumer Web site, the Hyundai incentive has increased consumer intention to buy the brand by 15 percent since the Jan. 3 launch date. Furthermore, the company reported a 14.3 percent increase in January auto sales, giving hope that offers like this may be an option to increase sales.

For more information about Payment Guardian, visit www.lonestarfiberglasspools.com.

From A Patio To A Pool

Achieving the impossible is possible - in two minutes, no less

Stephan Kanetis just wanted to make life easier for his mother. A dancer for the majority of her life, Delicia developed severe arthritis and muscle pain in her lower extremities. Her doctor prescribed aquatic activity to increase mobility, so Kanetis promised his mother that he'd build her a pool to accommodate her needs.

It took Kanetis nearly a year to build his mom's pool, but soon after he realized there was a need for this kind of pool, so he launched San Diego-based Hidden Water Pools.

At the simple touch of a button, a circular patio lowers to create a full-depth swimming pool. The floor can be lowered to 6 feet within two minutes; and owners can set the depth at whatever they'd like.

"It's a traditional gunite pool shell," says David Stone, president and COO of the company. "The hidden water mechanism is a single-cylinder water hydraulic system. It also uses a 11?2-horsepower pump to raise and lower the patio. It looks like there are so many things going on under the patio, but what's going on underneath is a one-cylinder system going up and down."

The simplistic engineering allows users to sit out and enjoy the patio, or enjoy splashing around in the pool within minutes. According to Hidden Water Pools, you can walk, play, barbecue or even drive your car on top of the patio.

For more information, visit www.hiddenwaterpools.com.

Hollywood Makes A Splash

Photographer casts notables in a new role

"As much of an icon of prosperity as it is a decadent trophy for healthful living and social aspirations, the pool is one of America's supreme status symbols dating back to the time of The Great Gatsby," reads the intro to Hollywood Splash, a book of photographs taken by Veronique Vial.

The photos capture the Hollywood acting and modeling community embracing all things aquatic in an artistic manner. If you enjoy photography, art and a bit of pop culture, be sure to check out a copy.

Decadent Destination

Dubai resort gives visitors a taste of luxury

There's been much said about the man-made island Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. But last fall, when Atlantis, The Palm - located on the center crescent of the island - opened, it was all about the visual.

The 4,200-acre resort features breathtaking views of what life would be like under the sea. The Lost Chambers attraction is a complex maze of underground tunnels and passageways, allowing guests to come face-to-face with the mythical Atlantis.

Those who are able to treat themselves to a suite in the Lost Chambers enjoy a three-story-high view into the Ambassador Lagoon from the master bedroom, creating the illusion of being a part of the heart of Atlantis.

The Atlantis marine operation houses 11 million gallons of seawater circulating through lagoons, exhibits and pools. The water is drawn from the Arabian Gulf into an open-flow system through a nearly 1 million- gallon reservoir and then its sand filtered, infused and cleaned with ozone before flowing into the various habitats. According to the resort, "this aquatic ecosystem mimics that which the marine life would experience in the wild, with constant change in surroundings and seasonal changes in temperature."

For those who prefer less-salty pool water, have no fear. Of the 1,700 acres of water that flows through the property, there are plenty of freshwater pools for you to enjoy.

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