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A cabana is a small, tent-like structure designed to offer shade. It is typically used at a beach or alongside a pool. In addition to providing shade, cabanas are often used as dressing rooms. Some cabanas are even used as rooms for cooking meals to be consumed near the water. A cabana can be either temporary or permanent but is almost always freestanding.
In tropical climates, cabanas are typically small huts. These shade structures are usually built with thatched roofs. However, when designed for use near pools or in popular beach-vacation spots, they often have frames made of wood, aluminum or steel. Sometimes, they are even constructed of man-made materials, like plastic. The type of material used is greatly influenced by the cabana's intended use and the budget of the buyer/user.
Cabanas vary widely in terms of size. A small cabana may be as diminutive as four by four feet (1.2 by 1.2 meters), resembling a small bathroom. A large cabana, on the other hand, may be as large as a hospitality suite, coming in at about 40 by 80 feet (12.2 by 24.4 meters). The most common cabana sizes are 10 by 10 feet (3.05 by 3.05 meters) and 12 by 12 feet (3.7 by 3.7 meters). The 12 by 16 foot (3.7 by 4.9 meters) cabana is commonly found as well.
Cabanas also vary widely in terms of amenities. Some are just simple structures that do nothing more than keep the sun of their occupants' heads. Others have curtains to provide a bit of privacy for changing clothes or catching quick naps. However, some cabanas include things like electrical wiring and air vents. Luxury cabanas may even include ceiling fans and mounts for televisions.
Typical cabanas have walls that are made of exterior-grade cloth. The cloth serves to keep the sun out and may provide some measure of protection from rain showers, though they are not usually capable of keeping occupants dry during major storms. Pool cabanas may be made the same way. However, many pool cabanas are designed to look more like small houses or elaborate sheds. As such, they often have walls that are made of wood or other hard materials.
The inside of a simple cabana may be furnished with a couple of beach or pool lounge chairs, with a table in between for holding cold drinks. However, the size of the cabana often dictates how it can be furnished, and some include much more. Some of the larger pool cabanas may even have bathrooms and running water. There are even some portable cabanas that are designed to hold nothing more than a single beach chair and its occupant. These can be folded up and carried away when not in use.