Many eons ago, I had the privilege of staying at the luxurious Fairmont Banff Springs hotel in gorgeous Banff, Canada. I have a ton of great memories from my stay at the award-winning resort (including lost luggage that mysteriously showed up in our room despite staffers denying having put it there—the handiwork, no doubt, of one of the hotel's rumored ghostly inhabitants), but one of my most vivid memories was the synchronized swimming demonstration at the hotel pool one day. I don’t know if I recall it so vividly because it seemed like such an unusual event to be showcased at such an extravagant hotel, or because synchronized swimming turned out to be more beautiful and less cheesy in person than when you see it on TV (including that hilarious SNL short starring Martin Short and Harry Shearer as a pair of men’s Olympic synchro hopefuls; view the video here).
My memories of the Fairmont Banff Springs came rushing back recently when I heard that another iconic hotel, the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, California, is now offering weekly synchronized swimming classes. Each Sunday evening, guests and non-guests alike are invited to the iconic L.A. hotel's pool to join a group called the Aqualillies for either beginner or intermediate level classes in the art of synchronized swimming. “Join us in the water and learn tricks like pinwheels, layouts, torpedoes, and other moves we performed on the hit television show Glee and on tour with Justin Bieber," urged Mesha Kussman, the Aqualillies’ director, in a recent statement.
The classes are part of the new face of the 190-room Sportsmen’s Lodge, a historic property that served as the hipster hangout of celebs like Clark Gable and Bette Davis back in the day. Today, it is the recipient of a multimillion-dollar makeover. “Our goal was to transform the property into a modern-day boutique hotel while keeping the retro-spirit of the property intact,” said Richard Weintraub, president of the Weintraub Real Estate Group, which owns the hotel. “Having Aqualillies at our pool is the perfect mix of past and present, and will be a unique experience for our hotel guests and nearby residents.”
The Sportsmen's Lodge Hotel's synchronized swimming classes run through September and are $20 a class for guests and $29 for non-guests. For additional details or to enroll, visit the Aqualillies website at www.aqualillies.com. For more information or to reserve a room at the Sportsmen’s Lodge, go to www.sportsmenslodge.com.