What you need to know about Swimply, the Airbnb of pool rentals

Courtesy of Swimply

At the top of my list every summer are two items. The first: complaining about the ungodly smell of New York’s subway stations, which still manages to be twice as bad as I remember from years past.

The second: open the group message and send “Let’s have a pool day!” again and again and again without really following it up, because finding a good swimming pool, but not really difficult – feels like a pain in the ass. This cycle continues until the Labor Day weekend arrives, at which time I can direct my attention away from being a poolless plebeian and into apple picking season.

Fortunately, this painstaking search for the best swimming pool, not just in New York, but everywhere– maybe just finished.

swimming pool with deckchairs
Courtesy of Swimply

What is Swimply?

Essentially the Airbnb of swimming pools, the Swimply lets you rent from over 25,000 private pools, hot tubs, tennis courts and more in the US, Canada and Australia. (And to quickly answer a common question I’ve seen floating around – yes, Swimply is legit.)

Although there are many simple lists, you can access some quite phenomenal swimming holes, for example, this huge castle-slash-oasis where super waterfront mansion.

Rentals range from $15 to a few hundred an hour, which, split between a few friends, isn’t too bad, especially since many pools can accommodate more than a dozen people. guests. Swimply also runs a online shop with gift cards, photographer rentals and pool equipment, including a really huge duck float which, at $100, may or may not be worth the shot, you be the judge.

pool with flamingo pool toy
Courtesy of Swimply

How does Swimply work?

After downloading the Swimply app and filling out the required registration information (which includes verifying that you are at least 21 years old – sorry kids, this is Adult Swim), you will be directed to their main card, which allows allows you to search for available pools by location, date, time and number of guests.

The Swimply app also includes the upcoming weather report so literally nothing will rain on your parade. Yours truly almost made the mistake of booking for a rainy Saturday afternoon, so that’s a verified lifesaver.

You can browse all single hot pools near you and get more details including house rules, pool width and depth, on-site furnishings, whether the pool is child or pet friendly maids, and the amenities available (barbecue, pool toys, local shops/restaurants, etc.).

The page will also indicate if there’s a bathroom available – around 80% of listings offer access to a toilet, but at least you’ll know ahead of time if you’re out of luck (Drum roll * Ba Dum Tss).

From there, all you have to do is show up and enjoy.

family gathered around an above ground swimming pool
Courtesy of Swimply

What is the Swimply experience like?

In my case, most of the closest pools would have meant either a hike to Jersey or deep into Brooklyn, so I went with a nearby hot tub and sauna that was $50/hour. (I booked three hours for $150 – or about $75 pp for two – but in hindsight, two hours would have sufficed.)

Just before we left, my boyfriend kept reminding me how strange it could be to swim while our hosts sat inside, relaxing on a Sunday evening as two complete strangers hung out in their garden. It was certainly fair: if I were a host, I would feel a little that Squidward meme looking out his window to SpongeBob and Patrick enjoying their little day out, and as a guest I was concerned that we would feel like we were intruding on someone’s afternoon.

But ultimately, the experience was laid back from start to finish. Our hosts were friendly, only took a few minutes to show us how the hot tub and sauna worked, then disappeared into the house. Except for the initial awkwardness of moving into someone else’s space—much like one might feel in an Airbnb shared room—we quickly adjusted, and within 30 minutes we were found ourselves lounging in comfort and chatting in the hot tub between the steams of the sauna.

In our case, our hosts were out for dinner when we left, so leaving was just a matter of continuing our merry way. All in all, we had a good time swimming – and considering the miserable cost of most things in New York, I’ve certainly spent more on worse outings.

Whether or not you’re happy with your own experience with Swimply, however, will likely vary based on a few different factors.

aerial view of the garden pool
Courtesy of Swimply

Things to consider before renting on Swimply

1. Remember you rented the pool, not the whole house. Although it has a similar layout, Swimply is not Airbnb, and it’s up to each host whether or not they want to leave their home during your rental period. Depending on the type of experience you’re looking for, you might want to weigh your options. Fancy a quick swim? Swimply is your man. Fancy a swimming pool more confidentiality guaranteed more a place to take a nap after swimming? You’re probably better off booking a hotel or Airbnb with a pool.

2. Depending on where you live, your options may be limited, so adjust your expectations accordingly. If you live in a dense urban area, I recommend revising your “dream pool” standards a bit. For example, my options were relatively few since I live in New York, a city not really known for its sprawling backyards or home swimming pools. But if you’re somewhere where garden space is a bit more common, say Los Angeles or Miami, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Whereas less urban areas may have less competition and lower costs for lots of space.

3. Book well in advance. As with most fun things, book as early as possible, especially if you want to rent in the afternoons and/or weekends. For what it’s worth, it was much easier to book last minute swim sessions after 6pm or during the work week. Generally, though, do yourself a favor and make your reservation as soon as the thought of lounging by the pool crosses your mind.

indoor pool
Courtesy of Swimply

Is Swimply worth it?

Final verdict: Maybe. At the very least, Swimply is a lot cheaper than building a pool in your own backyard, and a lot more appealing than sitting in a kiddie pool on your lawn or on the roof of your apartment. But what really matters is your region and your group size.

If you live somewhere where swimming pools are relatively common and/or want to sunbathe and have fun with several friends, you’re much more likely to enjoy Swimply. Even then, you might be able to find an Airbnb with a pool that fits your budget. and gives you complete and total privacy.

If you swim with a small group or live in a concrete jungle where pools (private and otherwise) are harder to come by – your New Yorks, your Phillys, your Chicagos – Swimply becomes a bit more appealing, but your options on the application may still be relatively few.

All in all, if you’re feeling a bit buoyant, I’d say splurge on a day dip; if you’re not picky and just looking to have a cannonball without all the bells and whistles, a public pool is probably fine for you. And if all this weighing of options has stressed you out too much, there’s another one option where you simply follow our tips on how to have an amazing pool party without a pool instead.

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Tiana Atride contributes to Thrillist.

About Michael B. Billingsley

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