Travel insights from Travel Impressions

Travel Impressions’ Top 10 Resorts for Lazy River Lounging

Rushing rivers? Not quite. These on-resort, interconnected waterways are strictly for leisure, and perfect for the non-committal lounger. Don't know if you want to be in or out of the pool? Get on a float in the lazy river. Can't decide between a nap or a swim? Lazy river. Feeling too lazy to lay out your options? You guessed it. Here are Travel Impressions' top 10 resorts with lazy rivers.

Zoetry Agua Punta Cana – Punta Cana

Why we like it: When "water" is right in the property name, you know you're in the right place.

This high-end boutique-y resort in Uvero Alto may be small, but its features and luxury are definitely mighty. It's only got 96 suites, but plenty of those are swim-up suites that line a long serpentine pool that extends practically from the beach to a loop that closes out the row of bungalows. Sure, the swim–up bar (one of three watering holes at this resort and separate from five restaurants) is located in the other long, winding pool, but exceptional service keeps refreshment close by no matter where on which river you are.

The amenities and service don't stop there, though. As part of the highest–level brand of the AMResorts collection, Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana gives guests access to all affiliated properties in Punta Cana, thanks to the Sip, Savor & See Dining Exchange program.

Iberostar Rose Hall – Montego Bay

Why we like it: Catch a riverside perspective.

See this resort from a new angle with a lazy river that provides ample views of the hotel grounds. Located behind an arc of rooms around the main beach-facing pool, the lazy river loops around an island connected by two lovely bridges for a leisurely float. These are only two out of four pools; one's just for kids while another always has something going on with organized daily activities. A swim–up bar rounds out your lounge.

If you prefer a slightly stronger current, there's always the beach, shared with Iberostar Rose Hall just next door. However, exclusive to only a few of the 11 room categories of this resort is the Star Prestige Area, which bumps you up to access to VIP areas, priority reservations in the six restaurants, personalized arrival service, and free access to the spa's sauna, hot tub, and thalassotherapy pool—adding two more options for watery lazing.

Atlantis, Paradise Island – Bahamas

Why we like it: Water, water everywhere.

This reclamation of the lost city of Atlantis only just barely qualifies as land; its more than 20 swimming areas, 11 distinctly different pools, five miles of beaches, and a grand total of over 8 million gallons of saltwater marine habitats make it pretty clear that water wins here. With all of that, it should come as no surprise that their not one, but two lazy rivers made this list.

The original was the winner of Oyster.com's 2018 Editor's Choice Award for the best lazy river, a gentle quarter–mile loop that goes through tropical landscapes at a relaxing pace. But if slow isn't your speed, The Current's got you. Located at Aquaventure, the 141–acre water park, this mile-long ride is powered by "master blaster" technology and features rolling waves and extreme rapids that shoot you through Bahamian foliage. But don't worry—you won't be jostled enough to lose your appetite. With 21 restaurants and 19 bars, it'll only work you up instead.

MGM Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas

Why we like it: Give an inch, take 1,000 feet.

That's how long the lazy river at this resort hotel is. A whole thousand feet of winding waters sounds like a lot—and it is!—but it's only a fraction of the 6.5 acres of fun within the pool complex, which includes four pools and three whirlpools broken up by cascading waterfalls. Particularly of note is the Wet Republic Ultra Pool, which has dipping pools, daybeds, banquets, bungalows, and party cabanas galore.

You can easily float through the entire space, which also puts you within easy access to the central island bar and lounge area. For something a little more private, there are cabanas for up to eight guests, fully outfitted with flat–screen TVs, personalized bottle and food service, and views of all the excitement. And should you choose to venture out of this area, over 20 restaurants are ready to receive guests, and there's plentiful nightlife that includes dance clubs, virtual reality venues, and a popping bar scene to get you properly tuckered out for another day in the lazy river.

The Fives Azul Beach Resort Playa del Carmen, by Karisma – Riviera Maya

Why we like it: Why walk when you can float?

Yes, that is indeed an option when the lazy river winds its way through the entire property. Swim–up suites mean you can live like a mermaid, spending the day in the water and emerging only every once in a while for a bit of sun on a patio or lounger, and maybe some poolside drinks and snacks. With seven pools and an exclusive kids club pool, there's no end of ways to stay wet. Nine bars — two of them swim-ups — keep your insides as quenched as your skin.

Meanwhile, villas have their own pools and multi-bedroom penthouse units with rooftop terraces have cool jetted tubs that fit plenty, while the other 635 suites have shared social spaces. Thirteen restaurants add up to even more places to gather.

Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort – Maui

Why we like it: A grand Canyon, right in Wailea.

"Two thousand feet of excitement" is probably the best way to describe Wailea Canyon, an oversized complex of water features and attractions best visited by a river that's lazy and rapid in turns. Another way to look at it is to call it 25,700 square feet of adventure or 770,000 gallons of fun.

Whichever the measurement you choose to go by, whitewater and gentle currents propel inner tubes full of delighted guests past six waterfalls, four jungle pools, three whirlpools, five intertwining slides, a whitewater rapids slide, a Tarzan pool with a rope swing, a sand beach, and caves. The world's first water elevator is a novel attraction, but not necessarily more so than the three–story lava tube slide. But if you know you'll need a break from the adrenaline, head over to the adults–only Hibiscus Pool, grab a drink at the swim–up bar, or snag a poolside cabana or Casabella, bookable up to a whole year in advance to further guarantee your relaxation.

Sunscape Splash Montego Bay – Montego Bay

Why we like it: "Splash" ... or just float at this Jamaican resort.

Ranked one of the best family-friendly resorts in the Caribbean by USA Today, this Jamaican resort is like a nesting doll of attractions. First of all, it's right in Montego Bay Marine Park, Jamaica's first and fully underwater park, complete with protected swimming areas and stellar snorkeling opportunities. To add to that, on the grounds is the Pirate's Paradise Water Park, which features a pirate ship with two water slides and — you guessed it! — a lazy river. Then on top of all of that, guests here also have full access to sister property Sunscape Cove Montego Bay, a quieter and calmer resort that can take it down yet another notch.

But Unlimited-Fun® means that it's easy to dial it back up. Eight restaurants and seven bars, five swimming pools, live entertainment, water sports, and both kids and teens club facilities allow plenty of opportunity to do so.

JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes – Orlando

Why we like it: Have a party on the river.

With a capacity of more than 1,500 that can comfortably lounge in this lazy river, this is a pool party unlike any other you might experience. Of course, it helps that this is also the property's main pool, filled with 9,000 gallons of water under a canopy of trees. Its banks are as equally lined with Florida foliage as with guests of all ages having the time of their lives. Face painting, contests, volleyball, and games on a life-sized chessboard can all be found around the pool area.

Also minutes away? Nearly a thousand rooms, including 64 posh suites; access to a par-72 Greg Norman-designed golf course; and attractions like the world's most famous collection of theme and water parks … just in case you hadn't gotten your fill of aquatic action.

Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa – Saint Lucia

Why we like it: Take a lazy river to rip-roaring adventure.

Coast under waterfalls to splash your way into CocoLand, Saint Lucia's largest water park. There's 1,500 feet of lazy river to traverse between exciting water slides and kid-friendly aquatic playgrounds at this resort, geared toward guests of the Splash family-friendly wing. It's here that you'll find WaterWorks, a zero-depth area with spilling buckets, spraying fountains, misting jets, a raining Giant Mushroom, water cannons, and geysers.

An activity pool between all of that and the Harmony adults section segues into more all-ages entertainment with volleyball and aerobics; there's also an adults-only pool surrounded by palm trees, hammocks, and sun decks for those who want to stay in the lazy river frame of mind. To enhance that feel-good mood, there's a swim-up bar among the seven bars on the property, and ten restaurants, too.

Valentin Imperial Maya – Riviera Maya

Why we like it: Wade into the river … and a Privilege stay.

One of the largest pools in Riviera Maya. You'd think that's a good enough pool–type attraction, but not here. Two swim–up bars and the fact that parties with a live DJ, shows, and games take place here make it a hopping spot, but it's the lazy river that makes it an obvious contender for this list.

Swim–up suites line this list's title feature in intervals as it winds through the resort—a fun way to get around if you'd rather swim than walk at least part of the sprawling grounds. Within those grounds are seven à la carte restaurants and 11 bars. And forming the oceanfront border is a big, spacious stretch of white sand on Playa Secreto, where Privilege guests get reserved cushioned daybeds sheltered by palapas.

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