Waterfront: October 2005

Tired Feet Love Cool Pools

Travel writer lists his favorite hotel and motel pools

1005 Waterfront1Gary A. Warner, a veteran travel writer for the Orange County (Calif.) Register, recently wrote about his favorite hotel pools, or as he called them, "beckoning oases of deep, crisp blue." A couple you're more likely to come across include the rooftop pool at the Hotel Inter-Continental in Chicago, the three pools at the Renaissance Esmeralda in Indian Wells, Calif, and the 700,000-gallon pool at The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla.

In Las Vegas, Warner's favorite is the Flamingo, with four pools on a 15-acre spread. "The centerpiece is a massive lagoon with an 18-foot waterfall that is the hotel's party place on hot days," he says. "Kids like a linear pool that's connected by a series of small waterfalls." Pools at the Mandalay Bay - home of the AQUA Show - made Warner's "second 10" list.

AQUA wants to know what your favorite hotel or motel pool is. It could be an elaborate resort pool or a modest motel pool where you like to splash about with your kids. Either way, tell us where the pool is, why you like it so much, and send us photos of the pool. If we publish your submission, we'll send you a free T-shirt. You can send submissions to [email protected] or call 800-722-8764, ext. 124.

Feel The Heat

Display lets customers try before they buy

1005 Waterfront2Trade shows appeal to dealers because they allow them to "kick the tires" and get a better feel for the product before purchasing. The same holds true for customers at pool and spa stores, and that's why Inforesight Consumer Products created a POP display for its new Solaira heater that allows consumers to feel the heat as they shop.

The 2-by-2-foot display holds eight units, plus an operating Solaira heater. Ryan Vuyk, store manager at Pioneer Family Pools in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, believes the display unit is the biggest reason the heaters sold well in the spring and are getting popular again this fall. "If you show it, you're going to sell it," says Vuyk. "And if you show how it works, you're going to sell it."

Vuyk says he has had customers tell him "it's absolutely great," and that this fall they're buying a second one. "It's drawing people who bought one unit to come back and buy a second one for their patio."

The all-season outdoor quartz heater can heat up to 100 square feet. "And they're very unobtrusive," says John Tartaglia, president of the Toronto, Ontario, Canada supplier. "You can mount this heater anywhere, plug it into a standard 120-volt outlet, and get instant radiant heat.

"It's also a very small footprint to generate quite a bit of heat," says Tartaglia. "The whole body is only 11 inches wide by 7 inches tall and 8 inches deep, as compared to a propane heater, where you have a big footprint."

Tartaglia also notes that Solaira heaters are not expensive to operate: "Depending on the power costs in your area, they operate at approximately 11 to 15 cents an hour as compared with about $1 an hour for a propane heater."

For more information call 905-696-7765 or visit www.solairaheaters.com.

Name That Tune

1005 Waterfront3Remember this pool? If you've been in the industry for a while, you should. It caused quite a stir back in the early 1990s when Bob Underwood and his company, Aqua-Blue Aquatech Pools & Spas, built the pool in Underwood's backyard. A collector of vintage banjos, Underwood wanted his own pool to reflect his love of music. So he designed and built this 24:1-scale duplicate of his gold-plated 5-string banjo, vintage 1950, just before passing the business on to his son, Albert.

The pool, which is really a pool, spa and lap lane, features an interior finish with 25 different styles of ceramic tile. Most impressive are the imported 1-inch-square tiles on top of the inside banjo rim - they're 24K gold leaf on enamel.

Underwood says the pool has held up great throughout the years: he's had to replace one pump that lighting struck, and that's all.

Safety Crusade: Tragedy Inspires Push for Rule Change

1005 Waterfront4Brandon Dellucky seems, at first blush, to posses a lot of the eponymous luck in his last name. Last June, he was given an in-ground swimming pool for his Hammond, La., backyard.

But the pool actually came at a high price. The new pool is in memory of Brandon's classmate, Taylor Velargo, who died in a tragic accident on June 11, 2000, when he attempted to swim through a pool ladder, became trapped and drowned. Following Taylor's death, Brandon embarked on a mission to call the public's attention to what he identified as a defect in pool ladder design.

His campaign led to the addition of "Taylor's Rule" to the APSP's above-ground pool safety guide, The Sensible Way to Enjoy Your Aboveground/Onground Swimming Pool: "Never swim between the wall and the ladder or through the ladder risers. Death by drowning may result." This warning ultimately led to a new IAF standard in pool design, requiring ladder manufacturers to provide a means to inhibit child entrapment between the ladder and the pool wall or between the risers.

Taylor's parents, Perry and Sabrina Velargo, and brother Parker wanted to thank Brandon somehow for his campaign in their son's honor. And so, on the fifth anniversary of Taylor's death, Brandon found himself watching as a fiberglass pool shell, donated by manufacturer Royal Fiberglass Pools of Breaux Bridge, La., was lowered into his backyard. He wasn't the only one there that day, said Brandon, "Taylor is watching over us."

Extreme-ly Good PR

Viking Pools TV appearances increase sales and awareness about fiberglass pools

1005 Waterfront5Every Sunday evening millions of Americans tune in to watch Ty Pennington and his crew on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition make a dream come true for one deserving family. Each self-contained episode features a race against time on a project that would ordinarily take at least four months to achieve, and involves a team of designers, contractors and several hundred workers who have just seven days to totally rebuild an entire house - every single room, plus the exterior and landscaping. Viewers love this Emmy-nominated show, and building-materials suppliers love to see their product on the show because the PR is incredible.

In 2004, when the show's producers were looking for a swimming pool that could be installed in two days, they contacted Viking Pools, and the fiberglass pool maker did not let the opportunity pass.

"Viking got involved with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for several reasons," says Stacy Nelson, national marketing coordinator at Viking. "First of all, the show is an excellent demonstration of how a group of people and businesses can come together to help strangers in need. Second, due to the show's successful ratings, Emmy nomination and People's Choice Award, EMHE is an excellent choice for any product-placement advertising campaign."

In return for donating pools and Viking builders' time and resources for eight episodes thus far, the manufacturer gets logo shots in various locations throughout the show (side of the pool, t-shirts, hats), a listing in the ending credits, and all Viking Pools dealers who assist with installations are listed on the "As Featured On" page of the show's Web site for the episode they worked on.

"In addition, prior to the show's air date, many of Viking's dealers advertise in their local market to announce the show date and time and Viking's involvement with the show," says Nelson. "To be associated with a national television show of such a high caliber is valuable exposure on a local level for Viking's dealers."

Nelson adds that Viking's appearances on the show have not only increased sales, they have increased consumer awareness about fiberglass pools in general. "It is clearly evident from the show's concept that a fiberglass pool can be installed in less than a week."

Viking dealers that have been involved with the installations agree that it was an experience they will likely never forget. "A couple of new dealers were in awe at the speed and determination of some of the seasoned Viking dealers," says Nelson. "The chaos of installing a pool in the presence of so many other workers who had their own schedules and deadlines to meet was a stressful challenge, but all the dealers that assisted said they'd do it again - and several did."

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