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How Big is a Plunge Pool?

Photo of Soake Plunge Pool with stone and fireplace

Photo of Soake Plunge Pool with stone and fireplace

If we go back to the days of the Roman Baths, we find very large plunge pools that were intended for communal use. They were hot therapeutic still bodies of water, and people came together to bathe in the hot baths. It’s romantic to imagine gathering in the ornately column-clad pools with others, back in a time when communities bathed together.

The Europeans have known about the advantages of small personal plunge pools for over two hundred years.  All across the French and English countrysides, one can find tiny plunge pools behind the charming cottages. These pools are deep and small, and one immediately gets the feeling that the experience of submersing in the water will be relaxing, intimate and personal.

Dating back to the 1700s, plunge pools were popular all across England and Scotland, some of which were private and some of which were public. One particularly famous plunge pool, known as St. Winfred’s Well in Shropshire, England was shut down in 1755 because of ‘riotous conduct’. You can still visit this famous plunge pool and take a swim, and even stay overnight in the famous cottage, via the Landmark Trust of England.

Personal private plunge pools have become a mark of distinction for many high-end resorts, particularly throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. Travelers fall in love with the idea, return home and want the same experience in their own backyards.

So what is the best size? The ideal size for a plunge pool varies, but history tells us that a private plunge pool should be small and deep. A shallow plunge pool does not allow full submersion in the water without sitting down. A true plunge pool should have at least 56″ of water depth so that the average person will be shoulder-deep in water. The true plunge pool experience is to stand and move in the water, rather than sit on a bench. A large body of water becomes very expensive to heat, so a smaller body is perfect for maximizing swim space while still being small enough to heat in winter months in cold climates.  “7’x13′ is the sweet spot for plunge pool size”, says Brian Larson, of Soake Pools. “It’s more than enough room to move or swim in, while still being small enough to heat or cool efficiently.  Anything larger doesn’t make sense for a plunge pool. At that point, you might as well install a full-size swimming pool for summer use only.”

What size is best for you? 7’x13′? Or do you want an even smaller, more intimate space to plunge into? Go ahead, dream a little, and take the plunge!

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