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Island by island, a guide to some of the best hotel pools in Hawaii

Island by island, a guide to some of the best hotel pools in Hawaii
The sun sets over the Pacific Ocean as a couple appears to be one with the sea in the infinity pool at the Wailea Beach Resort on Maui. (Marriott International)

In Hawaii, a state surrounded by warm waters of the Pacific, many visitors make swimming pools a factor in where they book a room. I'm not quite sure why.

But the pools, which come in seemingly every shape and size, are wildly popular. Unless you're on Waikiki Beach, you'll often find as many people sunning on a chaise longue beside the pools — many resorts have more than one — as you will find stretched out on a towel on the sand.

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I decided to explore some of the pool options awaiting travelers to Hawaii. A thorough list might be about as long as that novel you'll read on vacation, so here are a few island-by-island suggestions.

Oahu

Sheraton Waikiki

Citrine, one of the mermaids at the Sheraton Waikiki, poses poolside as she awaits the children who gather on summer afternoons to pose for pictures and hear her stories.
Citrine, one of the mermaids at the Sheraton Waikiki, poses poolside as she awaits the children who gather on summer afternoons to pose for pictures and hear her stories. (Marriott Waikiki Complex)

Guests at the Sheraton Waikiki need not rub their eyes – yes, that's a mermaid beside the kids' pool at the Helumoa Playground.

OK, it's a resort employee wearing fake fins, but young kids are in awe of Mermaid Citrine and Mermaid Sirenity.

They take turns poolside, posing for photos and playing games such as diving for rings and "Red Fish, Green Fish," the mermaids' version of "Red Light, Green Light."

Mermaid Sirenity even hops into the pool to swim with the children. Both mermaids wrap up their sessions with stories from the deep.

The activity is open to guests at the Sheraton Waikiki and the neighboring Royal Hawaiian Resort. It takes place from 1-2 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays through August.

Ritz-Carlton Waikiki

With views of Fort Derussy’s lush, park-like greenery, the eighth-floor infinity pool at the Ritz-Carlton offers sanctuary from the crowds on the streets of Waikiki.
With views of Fort Derussy’s lush, park-like greenery, the eighth-floor infinity pool at the Ritz-Carlton offers sanctuary from the crowds on the streets of Waikiki. (Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach)

About a mile away, there's a very different atmosphere at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach.

The resort, which opened in July 2016, features an infinity pool on the eighth floor, overlooking the greenery of Fort Derussy with views of the Pacific Ocean. (Despite its name, the hotel is not on the beach.)

The hotel claims the distinction of having the highest infinity pool in Waikiki.

Maui

Westin Maui Resort

Grooms had better check with the tuxedo rental store before jumping into the pool at the Westin Maui. Couples who find a willing officiant can get married in the water.
Grooms had better check with the tuxedo rental store before jumping into the pool at the Westin Maui. Couples who find a willing officiant can get married in the water. (Creative Island Visions)

Engaged couples can "take the plunge," literally and figuratively, into marriage at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa.

Family and friends are sure to be wowed by the underwater wedding photography available at the Westin Maui. The exchange of vows takes place while the bride and groom’s heads are above water.
Family and friends are sure to be wowed by the underwater wedding photography available at the Westin Maui. The exchange of vows takes place while the bride and groom’s heads are above water. (Creative Island Visions)

Maybe best of all, newly married couples can pose for pictures, gown, bouquet and all, underwater. The hotel can provide a photographer with waterproof gear.

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Grand Wailea

While the Grand Wailea offers the excitement of rope swings, waterfalls and hidden caves in its main pool complex, adults can escape to the Hibiscus Pool, where 630,000 mosaic tiles create the floral pattern beneath the water.
While the Grand Wailea offers the excitement of rope swings, waterfalls and hidden caves in its main pool complex, adults can escape to the Hibiscus Pool, where 630,000 mosaic tiles create the floral pattern beneath the water. (Grand Wailea)

About 30 miles to the south, guests at the Grand Wailea are spoiled with choices.

The Wailea Canyon Activity Pool consists of nine pools with features such as a beach, caves, waterfalls and water slides. There's even a unique elevator that transports people between pools on different levels.

Grown-ups can ditch the hyper-excited youngsters with a dip in the adults-only Hibiscus Pool, covering nearly 5,000 square feet.

That means there's plenty of room for some serious swimming.

Don't forget to look down, The hibiscus flower at the bottom of the pool was crafted using 630,000 mosaic tiles.

Wailea Beach Resort-Marriott Maui

An idyllic memory is captured as a couple, seated on the edge of a floating cabana, watch the sun set from Wailea Beach Resort’s infinity pool.
An idyllic memory is captured as a couple, seated on the edge of a floating cabana, watch the sun set from Wailea Beach Resort’s infinity pool. (Marriott International)

Another serene, adults-only experience is found just down the road at the Wailea Beach Resort-Marriott, Maui.

Maui is full of special places from which to watch the sun set, and this resort's infinity pool is one of them.

The floating cabanas offer unobstructed views of the ocean – and plenty of romance.

Hawaii Island

Four Seasons Hualalai Resort

A guest swims near Kainalu, an eagle ray, in King’s Pond. The pool, carved out of lava, contains 4,000 tropical fish.
A guest swims near Kainalu, an eagle ray, in King’s Pond. The pool, carved out of lava, contains 4,000 tropical fish. (Four Seasons Resort Hualalai)

On Hawaii Island, humans aren't the only creatures swimming in King's Pond at the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort.

The swimming lagoon/aquarium, carved out of natural lava rock, holds 1.8 million gallons of salt water and is home to 4,000 tropical fish, including rays.

Don't worry if swimming with the fishes isn't your thing. The resort has seven pools, including a lap pool and a sand-bottom pool for children.

Kauai

Koloa Landing Resort

There’s no worry about finding room to actually swim in the pool at Kauai’s Koloa Landing. The resort’s main pool covers 350,000 square feet – that’s 8 acres.
There’s no worry about finding room to actually swim in the pool at Kauai’s Koloa Landing. The resort’s main pool covers 350,000 square feet – that’s 8 acres. (Koloa Landing Resort)

On the South Shore, the Koloa Landing Resort, with major renovations completed earlier this year, has one of the biggest pools on the island; it sprawls across 8 acres.

In addition to the more-than-ample space for swimming, kids of all ages will enjoy the swim-through grotto, water slides and wooden bridges in this Poipu property.

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