When you book your travel plans, what makes it to the top of your priority list for selecting a hotel or resort? The comfortable beds, local dining options, or maybe the proximity to lots of cool things to do? Or if you’re like me…the pool. Yes, I admit it. One of the things I check at almost any hotel or resort is the pool. It might even be at the top of my list. Sometimes the pool makes or breaks the trip, and other times it makes it worth going, just so you can experience an unforgettable swim in one of the world’s most unique settings.
Here are some of the coolest pools across the globe:
Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Ninh Hoa, Vietnam
Happiness is having your own plunge pool. This one is rather perfectly situated on the edge of the water, overlooking Ninh Van Bay. The pool is a few steps outside your front door with a private lounging area, perfect for watching the sunset wet or dry. You’ll have a dedicated butler on call 24 hours a day and snorkeling right over the side. These super private villas are located at the end of the bay and accessed only by a scenic hillside staircase.
The Cambrian, Adelboden, Switzerland
Who cares about the pool, look at the incredible view! Sure to be a thrill for mountain-lovers, the take-your-breath-away-stunning views amid the pristine scenery of the Swiss Alps are the perfect backdrop for a relaxing dip in the pool at The Cambrian. Adelboden, is a great place to for numerous outdoor pursuits and provides crystal-clear air, thriving meadows in summer and world-class ski slopes in winter.
Villa D’Este, Lake Como, Italy
Here’s something new and exciting, how about a floating pool on a lake? Especially when that lake is home to some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in all of Italy. The Villa D’Este exudes old world charm and sits in a perfect location at the foot of the mountain, tucked beside the sparkling blue waters of Lake Como. The pool is the perfect location to soak in the feel of the area, with the elegant villas, luxurious landscaping, old churches and quaint villages all around.
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
This is one of those few hotels in the world that you book especially for the pool experience. The panoramic infinity edge swimming pool, part of the Sands SkyPark, is a whopping 150 meters long and located high above the city on the 57th floor. The pool curves across the hotel and offers 360-degree view of Singapore’s skyline. It is the largest and highest infinity pool in the world and when you swim up to the edge, it feels like you might slip over. The pool can get crowded but it’s so large, you might not feel cramped. It’s a great place to spend a few hours relaxing and photographing the city.
Atrium Pool, Park Hyatt, Tokyo, Japan
Looking for something with a more dramatic flair? Then the Atrium Pool at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo might be the ticket. You’ll remember this pool if you watched Lost in Translation with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. This is the pool where Bob and Charlotte forged their unlikely bond in the Oscar winning movie. The pool is located on the 47th floor and you can see Mount Fuji in the background. Enough said!
Pelican Hill, Newport Beach, California
The Pelican Hill Coliseum pool pays tribute to Italian architecture and is surrounded by the Pacific and palm trees. The pool and views are worth the trip and will have even the most worldly travelers extending their stay. When you tire of the pool, there is fleet of Mercedes SUVs available to transport you around the 500-acre resort. Come for the California coast but make sure you plan a few days to lounge by the stunning pool.
InterContinental, Hong Kong
Another urban pool setting with infinity edges and a panoramic view, don’t miss the Pool Terrace at the InterContinental hotel in Hong Kong. The large outdoor pool and infinity spas overlook Victoria Harbor and provide a relaxing place to cool off from your frantic day in one of the world’s busiest cities. For a really peaceful experience, go in the early morning or dusk. You’ll see the city in a whole new light.
Grace Santorini, Imerovigli, Greece
For me, this is where a pool crosses over some sort of line and becomes art. The stark contrast of the rugged coastline, uninterrupted views across the Caldera, pristine blue waters and the modern, stark white vibe of the largest infinity pool in Santorini is something quite special. It might just spoil you for every other pool on the planet.
Amangiri, Lake Powell, Utah
The Amangiri is home to a rustic and rocky pool experience that only a resort tucking into the desert can provide. Located in a valley near the Grand Canyon the resort is built with the swimming pool winding through its center. The pool feels really different from others because it’s built around rock formations in the Arizona desert. The area is home to some of the most dramatic landscapes in the U.S. and you can enjoy the pool year-round. It’s refreshing and cool during summer and warm and relaxing in winter.
San Alfonso Del Mar, Algarrobo Chile
I hesitate to call this a pool, it’s really more of a lake. The sheer size and magnitude makes the San Alfonso Del Mar a stand-out experience. If you want to stay here, the complex offers privately owned condos, but it’s not a resort. Ocean water is brought into the pool which sometimes makes the water temperatures colder, but cuts back on the chlorination. Even if it’s cold you still have to jump in and swim around. Do you think you could do a few laps in this one? If not, no worries, you can kayak and do other water sports in the mega-pool. If you’re coming just for the pool, plan ahead and make sure it’s open and not closed for maintenance.
Ciragan Palace, Instabul, Turkey
Wrapping up our world tour of pools is the Ciragan Palace in Instanbul. This location is less about the pool and more about the pool’s location in a 5-star luxury “palace.” The architecture is impressive and the scenery and location are terrific both in terms of the proximity to Istanbul and amazing views of the Bosphorus. The pool is heated and a great place to wind down a busy day from seeing all the sights. The view at dusk is quite unforgettable.
What is your favorite “destination” pool? What makes it unique?
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