I don't think it would be bragging to say we have designed some spectacular tropical pools. We've also been swimming in some awful pools in the tropics: hot, inappropriately ornate, boring, dirty.
In the tropics, like nowhere else in the world, pools can be the stage of life year round. Here a few things we've learned and incorporate in discussions with clients.
1. Pools are for fun. Let us be honest, a pool is pretty much the biggest toy you will ever own, so find a company to help you design it that makes the process fun. If you have kids find designers who have kids and a pool; they will know how to balance safety and fun.
2. Sand is not blue, it's the sky: You don’t need blue tiles if you want a blue pool. The Mediterranean Sea is famous for its vivid cobalt color, and one thing we noticed when we went there: the sand is not blue! Trust nature. Surface the pool with sandy tones in grey or beige and we promise your pool be blue when it is filled with water. But a natural blue – ever changing depending on the light in the sky. Look at the picture below - no blue tiles were used to make this gorgeous colour. The sky did it. We just reflected it into the water.
3. Create shallow areas. Unless you have a diving board or want to practice scuba, there is no need to create depths where people can’t stand. In fact, think of ocean tide pools: it's fun to sit or play in very shallow water. It is hard to hold a beer when you are out of your depth.
4. Embrace rain: It rains a lot in the tropics. You don’t want the pool to be obsolete 9 months of the year. A great pool capture rain and make joy. Dipping into a pool in the middle of a rainstorm feels like the ultimate decadence.
5. Reflections: Think about this in the earliest planning stages: plants and landscaping must be part of the overall design. A pool is a sculpture, and the surroundings play a significant role since water is reflective. Layering visual effects creates the coziness (without the heat) in a hot tropical environment.
6. Incorporate shade: The reality of life around the pool is that everyone seeks shade often. There should be a nice balance of shade near or over the pool and open sky spaces to enjoy the night sky.
7. Use salt water instead of Chlorine. Better for your skin, your eyes and your wallet. Children love it, most new pools in the US now use it. The sense of salt is so mild you can hardly taste it.