Pool Lighting and Spa Lighting for Hotels


pool lighting, pool area, hotel

A pool area is a place of enjoyment, thrills, and well-spent family time. This is the area where fathers throw their children into the pools, where brothers and sisters play and they play like friends, and where mothers and fathers enjoy quality time with their families. The lighting in this area can provide great illumination for family photos and videos to capture those special moments. From frustrating group photos of getting your children to stay still to the unexpected photo of something going terribly wrong. In either case, these wonderful outcomes wouldn’t be possible if not for great lighting.

Though there is a myriad of lighting placements, fixture types, and safety ratings, we are going to focus on overhead lighting with relatively simple safety ratings. The most common type of lighting fixtures in this area are vapor tight fixture. These fixtures are perfect to combat the high humidity levels found in pool areas as a result of the chemicals in the pool and temperatures in the area. You’ll also want to be mindful of the bulbs and fixture’s Ingress Protection (IP) rating. Look for an IP rating of IP65 and higher. The first number represents the protection against solid objects, in this case, the “6” represents the fixture is dust-tight and allows for no dust penetration. This is the highest rating available against solids. The second number represents protection against fluids, in this case, the “5” represents protection against jets of water and limited submersion protection. This is a common protection rating for fixtures but seeking higher ratings can provide greater protection against corrosion and natural elements.

We recommend quality over price in your pool space as we have seen too many regrets from clients in the past when cheap fixtures become very expensive fixtures. Cheap fixtures advertise the same benefits as the pricer options but often at a sacrifice of quality. Examples of this could be a fixture that advertises an IP65 rating yet still experiences a great deal of corrosion and frequent burnouts because it uses a cheap driver. Relieve yourself of the potential headache and order from a trusted lightbulb manufacturer that guarantees its quality and has the expertise to support your lighting journey.

The durability of the fixture is perhaps the most important factor to consider while selecting your fixtures and bulbs. Look for fixtures that advertise a National Food Safety (NFS) rating, this represents that they are shatterproof. Another option is to search for fixtures that advertise a polycarbonate lens, these lenses are made out of durable plastic and are also shatterproof. Just as you’d have to shut down the pool if broken glass found its way into the area, the same goes for a broken fixture hanging overhead. It’s because of these operational and cost concerns that we advise going with durable and long-lasting fixtures, regardless of their price.

pool area, pool lighting, hotel

You’d also want to ensure you’re going with a bright bulb, the brighter the better. This is a high activity area, so it’s ok if our lighting here is bright like daylight. Aim for bulbs that are 5000 Kelvin and brighter, with a Color Rendering Index (CRI) of 80+ to achieve optimal lighting. You’ll also want to be mindful of any structures in the space that could cause potential shadows. An important point to remember in this area is that shadows and dark areas hide hazards. It’s easy enough to slip around a pool so we want to use our lighting to highlight slippery spots, potential hazards, and foreign objects that can cause accidents to happen. The lighting in this pool area coincides with the pool’s safety policies and can ensure that everyone is having an enjoyable time while still being safe.

Some considerations to keep in mind that are easy to miss are reflections and glares in the pool area that are a result of the water in the area. It’s common for light to be reflected off the surface of the water, and other reflective objects in the pool area such as glass windows. To reduce this problem, incorporating a lighting layout that projects light upward and downward can be beneficial in reducing glare in this area. A note on lighting products: 

Top considerations for choosing pool lighting:

  1. Corrosion-resistant bulbs (IP65+)
  2. Polycarbonate lenses or NSF rated
  3. The brighter and warmer the better
outside pool lighting, pool area, hotel

Spa Lighting

Spa lighting is a unique combination of general lighting and accent lighting that has more in common with the lighting practices of the hotel lobby than it does in the pool areas. The one focus of this area is rest, relaxation, and recovery. It’s important to remember that your guests live stressful lives. Maybe they work a demanding job, or recently experienced a few restless nights of sleep from a newborn. In either case, keeping this in mind can be helpful when thinking about the lighting in this area. 

The lighting aim here is to create a sense of welcoming warmth as we did in the hotel lobby combined with a sense of relaxation that we created in the guest rooms. Kelvin temperatures in this area should be 2700 Kelvin to 3500 Kelvin. As discussed earlier, this temperature creates a warm and relaxing atmosphere and that’s why we should use this temperature in this area. Dimmability is the name of the game with it comes to the brightness of this space. The reason for this is that during operating hours you’ll want the option to lower the light levels. Much like we mentioned in our last post Bedroom and Bathroom Lighting for Hotels, we don’t want to blind our guests with too much light. Opting for dimmable lights will allow both ambiance and functionality.

Another lighting feature we can borrow is uplight and downlight, we used these features for our exterior lighting but they are equally effective in the pool area. Employing uplight along the perimeter is an effective way to make the space feel larger and to put guests at ease. Downlight should be controlled in a manner that avoids shinning directly in guests’ eyes. Massage tables are a common feature in spas and their position should account for the lighting layout as well. Always avoid shining light directly into your guest’s eyes, this is another reason why we advocate for using multiple switches in an area and why we recommend using dimming switches.

pool lighting, pool area, hotel

Wrap Up

This wraps up our pool lighting and spa lighting segment for our hotel lighting guide. As usual, we covered a lot of ground in this segment but you can count on us to do a quick recap below.

Pool Lighting

  • The brighter the better, 10,000 Lumens and higher
  • The warmer the better, aim for 5000 Kelvin and above
  • Look for corrosion-resistant fixtures that are IP65 rated and higher
  • Shatterproof lenses that are NSF rated or polycarbonate 
  • Spa Lighting

  • Aim for a warm welcoming environment by using 2700 Kelvin to 3500 Kelvin
  • Take advantage of uplight and downlight for ambiance
  • Be mindful of downlight and their project on massage tables
  • Use dimmable lighting for both aesthetics and functionality
  • There’s a good amount of information that we covered in this section so be sure to take some notes, review particular areas, and know what you can visit goodbulb.com or call us at (701) 205-4953 to work with a Lumen Master. We at GoodBulb have over two decades of industry experience in helping hotel owners and managers shape their visual perceptions and save on energy costs.

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