Ocean pool is creating a splash at Turks and Caicos resort

Bruce Maclaren, owner of Wymara Resort and Villas in Turks and Caicos, lived in Australia for more than 20 years before moving to the islands in 2008. But no matter where he called home, Mclaren couldn’t get his mind off ocean pools.

The concept of ocean pools originated in the late 1800s on Australia’s New South Wales coast in Australia as a means of giving bathers refuge from surf, rip currents and sharks as well as offering legal protections from a ban on public bathing during daylight hours. They’re natural swimming pools, fed by water directly from the sea and often featuring a sandy bottom.

“While ocean pools aren’t just an Aussie thing, they do inspire a kind of fervor there that borders on the fanatical,” said Maclaren. “They’re probably more in the public eye now than ever. Maybe it’s Instagram; they’re so seductive to photograph. But having experienced the benefits of ocean pools and the communities that evolve around them, I thought, well, maybe we can do this here.”

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Workers started the project at Wymara last October, carving out more than 1,500 tons of rock. Now completed, the pool measures 130 feet long by 30 feet wide. Depending on the tide, the shallow end measures 3 to 5 feet deep, and the deep end ranges from 6 to 9 feet.

“Originally I designed a more typical beach and swimming area. But when I looked at the shallow rock shelf adjacent to the beach area, an idea jumped out at me,” Maclaren said. “I could dig an ocean pool into the rock. Since our hotel is located on Grace Bay Beach, recognized as one of the world’s best, I thought it would be exciting for our guests to experience something different.”

For now, resort guests only

While the pool, which the resort claims is the first of its type in the Caribbean, is currently for guests only, plans call for the opening of a new beachside restaurant and the availability of pool day passes to the general public.

“People have been blown away,” Maclaren said. “The fact that our hotel guests have been leaving Grace Bay Beach to come visit the ocean pool has been the biggest compliment. It really is a unique experience.”

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In addition to the ocean pool, Wymara Resort and Villas features 91 newly renovated studios and suites, a 7,000-square-foot infinity edge pool, a full-service spa and three restaurants and bars. The villa section also encompasses Sunset Cove Beach Club, which has a fitness facility that includes an 82-foot-long lap pool, eucalyptus steam room, sauna and tennis and pickleball courts.

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