How to Know if a Jacuzzi in a Hotel Is Safe

Jacuzzis, spas and hot tubs are fun and relaxing additions to a hotel room or suite, offering a relaxing or romantic way to end a vacation day. Unfortunately, that inviting private pool may be teeming with bacteria, just waiting to give you an unwelcome disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8,000 to 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaire's Disease each year, and that is just one of the many organisms that can live in a Jacuzzi's pipes and drains. Make sure your vacation spa is a safe one before indulging in an evening soaking in the water.

Drop a small coin such as a penny or a dime into the water. Look at the coin after it rests on the bottom of the Jacuzzi. If you can't read whether the coin rests on heads or tails, the water is not clean enough.

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Test the pool with your other senses. Smell the water. If it smells dank or swampy, this is a sign that the management hasn't been keeping up the Jacuzzi maintenance. Feel the sides of the pool just where the water hits. It should never feel slimy. If it does, pass on the soaking time.

Ask the hotel management for a copy of the Jacuzzi maintenance record. Any competent hotel staff will keep detailed records, and they should have no problem letting you see them. If they refuse, or if the records are incomplete or nonexistent, consider staying at another hotel or stay out of the Jacuzzi altogether.

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Get a pH test strip kit from a Jacuzzi or hot tub retailer. Test the water yourself to make sure the pH is in a safe range for human use. The test simply consists of dipping a strip of paper into the water and holding it there for a certain number of seconds. Follow the package directions for this, then compare the color of the strip to the color of the chart in the test strip kit to find your results.

Look at the drain cover, especially if you have smaller children who will be using the Jacuzzi. All drains should be covered with large grates or dome-shaped drain covers to prevent hair from being trapped in smaller drain covers. If the Jacuzzi in your hotel room has older drain covers, it can be unsafe. Small children and those with long hair should stay out of the Jacuzzi.