MARPLE — Minutes before crowds lined the perimeter of the sparkling blue pools and prepared to take the very first lean into a new era of summer fun, Nick Reynolds paused, looking out at the community resort and summed up what the moment meant for him.
"A dream to reality," said the co-owner of Splash Swim Club as the 13-acre retreat inspired by tropical locales and country club environments – but accessible to area families and individuals – opened for its first day Saturday. "Seriously, a dream to reality. We're just happy this day is here."
Indeed, the venture had been just a dream for Reynolds and John McKenzie for the past three months, even up to 5 a.m. Saturday as the two made final touches on their new club including putting tables together for Splash's grand opening.
"Three months ago, it was just dirt," Reynolds said. "The pool was in shambles and snack bar was in shambles down below. We really turned this thing around with a vision John and I had from vacations we had been on."
Central to Splash are two immense swimming pools and a separate children's water play area, but Splash is much more than that.
At its entrance sits a food truck with ice cream and coffee near the 2,000-square-foot pavilion deck that oversees the sprawling locale.
Everything is brightly colored in beach blues and sun yellows from the lounging Adirondack chairs, to the dark blue palm tree logos sprinkled throughout the club, to the seating area in the restaurant, The Wave.
The Wave, in fact, is run by J.T. Hearn and Dan Merola of Roots Cafe in West Chester. To enter here means to abandon any preconceived notion of a pool snack bar – and not only because it'll be open year round. With indoor and outdoor seating, there's a flat screen television for patrons' viewing pleasure.
Snack bar, The Wave isn't.
Not with crab, avocado and brie cheese flatbread pizzas, jerk chicken tacos, 32-ounce ribeye steak or rack of ribs enough for a family, banana caramel cheesecake, and even a quinoa bowl with edamame, kale and pickled red onion for the health conscious.
You don't have to be a member to enjoy The Wave; it is open to the public and will still be available for dinner when the pool hours are done for the day.
Behind the restaurant sit the repaved basketball court and a newly landscaped wiffle ball field with 71-feet and 93-feet markers, as well as the Splash gaming room set to be filled with 20 Xbox stations for any swimmer/gamers in the crowd.
Wooden walks bridge areas such as the cabanas and the pool. The 29 cabanas themselves offer semi-private relaxation coves for members to relax near the water action, but far enough away from the frenzy to deliver some serenity.
String lights are looped strategically around the campus, in such places as the fire pit lounge. And, a daily towel service is available for a fee.
Both McKenzie and Reynolds grew up in the Marple area and recalled when the facility used to be the Marple Newtown Swim club, which closed in 2017. They, in fact, went there when they were younger. Now they hope to pass that tradition of summer fun along to their children.
"We're invested in the community," Reynolds said. "We're not leaving. We figured, 'Let's give all this hard work to all of our neighbors, families and friends to enjoy.'"
McKenzie said when he and Reynolds found out the facility was available, they thought long and hard about it before finally deciding they were the guys to do it.
"We both are travel guys and go away on vacation," McKenzie said. "(We're) kinda bringing our feels of where we've been."
For example, Reynolds said his recent trip to Miami, Fla., and McKenzie's jaunt to Jamaica spawned ideas for them to bring to Broomall, such as lighting fixtures.
In fact, that's exactly what they want to share with the members.
Asked what they want them to feel, Reynolds said, "Like they're on vacation."
McKenzie said they're seeing it on the members' smiles.
"They can't believe - I can't believe - that something like this is here," he said. "And, kind of like technology, technology needs to evolve, we're doing that to the pool business. How families and everyone have these pool memberships needed to evolve."
Splash is meant to create a country club atmosphere for everyone, a safe haven where families can come together with a top-quality restaurant to give Delaware County a high-quality unique experience.
Fees for this season range from $250 for an individual to $350 for a couple to $525 for a family of four. There's also a $125 fee for babysitters. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with the pools closing at 8 p.m. Reynolds said the resort will remain open past Labor Day as long as weather permits, although The Wave restaurant will remain open all year long.
With the reggae band jamming in the background, Jennifer Napier of Broomall shared her thoughts about the new club and why she joined.
"You know what, it's close to the house and the kids wanted a place to swim," she said. "When we heard about it, we got excited and decided to come check it out."
The mother of three shared her thoughts about the club on its opening day.
"First off, I'm really impressed they got it done in the amount of time that they did," she said. "I think they did a really nice job. I'm excited for a really fun summer."