Dive into the best swimming pools in the world
Pitched as ‘The World’s First 7 Star Boutique Hotel’, the Hanging Gardens of Bali totally live up to their title. The hotel itself does enough to earn the accolade, but for us it’s the pool that really seals the deal. Tucked amongst the exotic jungle of Ubud, this twin-tiered cascading pool is a secluded piece of rainforest paradise.
When your hotel is housed in an 18th century temple on the banks of India's Lake Pichola, it needs an extraordinary pool to match. The Oberoi Udaivilas’ unique pool proposition does not disappoint. Access to this regal pool is directly from private, water drenched steps, from each of the hotel's decadent palatial suites.
When a hotel is on the hit list of the likes of Rita Ora, Snoop and Flo Rida, you know it’s worth checking out. Sri Panwa boasts three exquisite pools, but their infinity pool bar with sweeping views across Phuket's Cape Panwa peninsula is the crowning glory. We recommend sipping on a My Thai Lady cocktail.
Arriving at the One&Only Reethi Rah by speed boat sets the tone for your trip. From here on in you can expect sleek sophistication and island vibes. The elongated infinity pool stretches out into the cool waters of this beautiful island. Reethi Rah in fact, means beautiful island in the local language, Dhivehi.
Situated on a one-time coconut plantation, Laucala Private Island stays true to its Fijian roots. Twenty five exclusive villas are scattered acros nearly 3,000-acres of land. A resort that blends decadence with gracious local hospitality, much of its charm lies in the feeling of being at one with nature. A vast lagoon meanders through the island juxtaposed by a dramatic but elegant glass walled lap pool.
As hardened Londoners, forgive us for slipping a little slice of home into the mix. England's capital may not be known for its relaxing tendencies but the city's Berkeley Hotel offers a majestic sanctuary from the bustling streets below. Though the pool resides atop a grand 300 year old building but fear not of London’s changeable weather - thanks to a savvy sliding roof.
Owned by Sir Richard Branson, known for his adventurous streak and down to earth nature; spend a week on Moskito Island (sister island to his original, Necker, and just a short boat ride away) and you know you’re in for a good time. Honorary islanders at the laid back retreat in the BVI’s can expect a wraparound infinity pool, a copious amount of rum cocktails - and the occasional inflatable flamingo.
If you’re looking for unique, Hacienda Uayamon in Mexico is the way to go. The hotel's extensive estate blends historic ruins with colonial interiors and high-tech amenities. The central pool, both dramatic and romantic, is surrounded by original crumbling walls and majestic pillars flooded to create a spectacular setting.
While we’ve come to expect the best from Aman, the Amangiri Utah resort close to the Grand Canyon takes distinctive luxury to the next level. Here the pool is at the heart of the hotel’s design which wraps around the base of a rock and blends into the natural terrain of the Arizona desert.
- Find out more about Amangiri and other hotels where design features complement nature.
This is not the first - and we very much doubt it will be the last - time Marina Bay Sands has found itself listed amongst the best pools in the world. At 150m in length and balancing precariously across the hotels three famed pillars, Marina Bay Sands’ rooftop infinity pool will remain on the swimming pool hit list indefinitely.
Ever fancied bathing with an elephant? At &Beyond Phinda Homestead you can do just that. Elephants gather at the edge of the swimming pool overlooking the plains of the northern KwaZulu-Natal, and you’ll feel well and truly at one with nature. A ‘pinch me’ moment as an experience that dreams are made of becomes a reality.
With Indonesia firmly at the top of many destination wish lists, it’s no surprise that pools from the Southeast Asian country feature more than once in a world's best list. Far removed from the Hanging Garden’s jungle extravaganza however, if Colonial style is your thing then The Sanchaya is for you. Located on the secluded white sands of Bintan’s beach front, The Sanchaya’s Olympic sized pool looks out to the ocean and beyond.
- By Bethany Silcox
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