Have you ever visited the subreddit r/internetisbeautiful? It’s honestly a treasure trove of cool, thought-provoking, and useful websites. Justtherecipe.com removes all the pesky unnecessary fluff like ads and personal stories from online recipes and compiles them into a single easily readable webpage. Radio.garden allows you to listen to live radio channels from any station across the world with just a single click. Want to effectively work out your body? With musclewiki.com you can simply click on the muscle you want to train, and it’ll show you the appropriate exercises to feel the burn.
The one that really caught my eye, however, is poolsuite.net. Previously known as “poolside.fm”, it’s essentially a collection of radio channels, but it’s wrapped up in such an extremely charming and nostalgic way that it leaves you enthralled. From its cute loading messages like “installing bikinis.exe” and “consuming daiquiries.dll” to the ASCII helicopters reporting for duty to the web design inspired by the Windows 97 operating system, it instantly hooked me. The music, too, is great at instilling this specific feeling of lounging on a hammock with one of those coconut drinks in your hand in Long Beach, California in the late 90s/early 2000s. Click here for a taste of one of my favourite songs from the website! Another nice touch is the way you hear someone sing “poolsuite” on start-up, which resembles those old intros from Sega games back in the day.
Poking around further, you can discover other cool applications like “Poolsuite TV”, which plays old American TV ads and skating videos from the late 90s, and an Instagram page wrapped in the same Windows 97 aesthetic. The “Guestbook” is a global chatroom that dates all of its messages to 1997, showing even more attention to detail. Want to change the theme of the website? With a few clicks, you can change the wallpaper alongside the general colour scheme to something more of your liking.
One thing I want to highlight a bit more is the marketing behind this website. After loading up, one of the first icons you see is “The Store”, which takes you to vacation.inc if you click on it. Fitting with the general brand, it’s mainly a website where you can buy copious amounts of sunscreen and other suncare if you feel so inclined. Of course, the opportunity to sell other merch like shirts, towels, hats, and candles is definitely not missed. They even sell some crazy stuff like aqua bikes, so-called hovercrafts, and “tiki boat charters” (not kidding).
Marty Bell, the creator behind all of this, is quite frankly a genius when it comes to the marketing and brand management of Poolsuite. Every single project and website relating to the original radio channel is crafted with the same vibes and looks. This consistency makes the immersion work amazingly well. I honestly had to stop myself from impulse buying some Poolsuite-branded sunscreen, even though it’s October. Thankfully, I’m not the only one. Poolsuite and its other websites gained the recognition of well-known companies like Forbes, Vanity Fair, and Newsweek, whom all left raving reviews for the sunscreen.
So, the next time you’re sick of the gloomy and dull Dutch weather this time of year or just grinding some homework assignments, give Poolsuite a shot! You might just be able to feel like you’re back in the 90s, partying it up on the beaches of Miami.