Many travelers specifically look for hotels that offer swimming pools. A pool can be a source of entertainment for children and a way for them to blow off energy after a long day on the road during a car trip. Pools can also provide a healthy, low-impact exercise opportunity for adults of all ages.
Hotels with pools may have an easier time attracting customers and may even be able to justify charging higher nightly rates than other hotels in the area. Unfortunately, a pool can also be a source of legal and financial liability for a hotel. People might file a lawsuit claiming that a hotel violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because of the condition of a pool.
What does the ADA require?
In 2010, the ADA updated some of its regulations to clarify accessibility requirements for businesses and facilities providing access to certain amenities, including swimming pools. Swimming pools can be very therapeutic for those with disabling medical conditions, but they can also be very dangerous for those with mobility limitations.
Therefore, the ADA generally requires that pools have an accessible entrance for those with disabling medical conditions. There are two ways for a hotel pool to be properly accessible and therefore compliant with the ADA. Some hotel pools may have chair lifts that can help someone get into and out of the water safely. Other times, pools may have a roll-in access point, which is essentially an underwater ramp.
Without one of these two solutions in place, hotels could be at risk of an ADA lawsuit that could cost thousands of dollars in fines and lead to a requirement to remove or rework the existing pool. Identifying and addressing ADA compliance issues can help protect hotel operators and other businesses from expensive and reputation-damaging lawsuits.