Where are the Saltwater Pools? – Guest Post

In Blog, Salt by TMI Sustainable Aquatics

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Caroline Munsterman at The Mod Polly, a website where modern and sustainable living meet. Check them out for a connection to environmental resources and news, including technology and other consumer products and services.


WhMod Pollyile acknowledging other pool options, with varying degrees of environmental effect, this posting focuses on the hotel/travel industry’s use of saltwater chlorination systems.* This review was based on personal preference with no compensation provided.

My first experience with a saltwater pool was in the late summer of 2010. The choice of hotel at the time was not based on the saline system offered, however it certainly piqued my interest. It was a classic suites-type of hotel in Florida, not far from the beach. The sun was out, the pool was warm, and the feel of the water was so subtle compared to what I was accustomed to with chlorinated pools. During the course of the trip, I spoke with other travelers who enjoyed the pool. Some even had saltwater tanks installed in at home. Others were experiencing a saltwater pool for the first time. A majority of the guests came from the southeastern part of the United States where these installations were quite common.

While staying at this particular hotel, my hair was easier to brush out, my eyes weren’t red, and my skin didn’t feel as dry. I never worried about an overwhelming smell. Even my bathing suits fared much better than before. I did notice a very slight salt taste when getting out of the pool, but it wasn’t overwhelming or off-putting. There is a very small salinity to the water, compared to ocean water. Saltwater pools are very common in Europe, but in the United States, they are a rare commodity. I started to wonder why more hotels and local communities didn’t adopt this practice. Was it initial cost? Most pools are set up as a chlorinated system and it would take an investment to switch over, but the overall maintenance costs and/or time savings may easily be worth it.

There are many misconceptions about saltwater pools, like questioning salt’s ability to keep water clean. Plus, what about chlorine? After all, that’s the “tried and true” chemical we’ve relied on to destroy all of those disease-causing bacteria, not to mention the algae! However, this system still uses the active ingredient of chlorine, a part of salt (remember NaCl from high school chemistry.) It’s just handled in a different way by the special equipment. The chlorine supply is more constant, versus a straight chlorine add.

Regardless of how salt is “handled” and how the equipment works, I now have a personal preference for saltwater pools and applaud those hotels who install them. As a consumer and mom, I seek out hotels that offer this option, and surely there are others that feel the same way. If I call a hotel, sometimes the representatives aren’t aware of the pool system, and it’s difficult to get a clear answer. Usually, the answer is “chlorine.”  My goal is to have a working courtesy list of establishments that offer this type of system, making trip planning a little bit easier. It’s always important to weigh the other amenities of the hotel, rather than just the pool, of course.

Hotel owners and managers with saltwater pool options may join the courtesy list by opt-in only.

What are your experiences with saltwater pools while traveling or at home?

“Where are the Saltwater Pools?” originally appeared on The Mod Polly blog on April 29, 2014.