These pools from Mexico and South Africa are the ultimate luxury to dive into today
In the peak of high summer and the endless oppressive heat, the water is usually the best place to be. But why settle for a boring regular swimming pool when you can take a dip inside an over-the-top stunner? Here are 10 extravagant destination hotel pools from across the globe that you’d wish you were there in a heartbeat.
What it is: A 3,716-sq-m lagoon-style pool is at the heart of Laucala Island, a private island resort in Fiji. Divided into three areas, the resort’s main pool includes lush, tropical manmade islands and large stones, multiple tiers, and a dramatic 25-m glass cube, ideal for swimming long laps. The water within the pools is derived from a state-of-the-art salt-water chlorinated system, which provides swimmable water without the chlorinated feeling of regular pools.
Robb tip: Feeling thirsty? Swim up to the shell-inspired pool bar, where nest-like lanterns hang from the ceiling. The pool also hides several exclusive and intimate areas that can be divided up for pool parties or private time.
Where: Cape Town, South Africa
What it is: A 28-room luxury boutique hotel from The Royal Portfolio collection in Cape Town, South Africa, The Silo occupies the top six floors of a historic grain silo building, which also houses the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. On the rooftop is the hotel’s striking pool with a patterned tile mosaic on the bottom, original stone pillars, glass walls, and wrap-around views of the Cape Town skyline, Table Mountain and the ocean.
Robb tip: On the roof, there are tables for dining and an area for a sky-high massage. Order snacks from the tempura bar, fresh oysters, and a selection of healthy nibbles along with a glass of bubbly local wine while you lounge poolside.
Post Oak Hotel
Where: Houston, USA
What it is: When Houston gets sweltering in the summer, there’s no better place in the city to be than poolside at the swanky Post Oak Hotel. An oval hot tub is suspended over the swimming pool with a wide waterfall flowing into it. Stake a claim to one of the well-stocked, air-conditioned cabanas in the back if you want privacy, or grab a curved lounger that’s partially submerged in the pool to keep cool. There are also plenty of black-and-white striped umbrella-shaded loungers with extra thick cushions, as well as circular daybeds and four large pillow-strewn mattresses at each corner of the pool.
Robb tip: As you take your seat, expect someone from the pool staff to offer you a tray with ice water and a personal sunscreen tube. Stick around long enough for a complimentary sparkling raspberry lemonade and order items like sushi, fish tacos, and frozen cocktails from the menu.
Hanging Gardens of Bali
Where: Ubud, Indonesia
What it is: The seven-star boutique hotel Hanging Gardens of Bali in Ubud, Indonesia, has one of the world’s most spectacular pools. It’s all thanks to its two curved tiers, with the top one cantilevered over the bottom, and a waterfall connecting the two.
Designed by French architect Gordon Shaw and reachable only by jungle cable car, the pool was hand-built from volcanic stone and compressed ash. Its cascading infinity pools are suspended over the lush rainforest below and have views of a 1,200-year-old temple in the distance, lending the effect of floating over the jungle when you swim up to the 168-metre vanishing edge. The entire structure is equivalent to an eight-storey building and holds 166,558 litres of water at a depth of 1.68 metres.
Robb tip: Shaded loungers, daybeds, and tables surround both levels, and the bottom tier features four leaf-shaped in-water loungers and a stone slab peninsula for sunbathing. But to get more out of your holiday, book a spa treatment at The Spa Collection, where you can enjoy a traditional massage in the midst of Ubud’s rippling Ayung River.
7Pines Resort Ibiza
Where: San José, Spain
What it is: Play peek-a-boo while you swim in the uniquely shaped angular pool at the cliff-top 7Pines Resort Ibiza, which opened in southern Spain last summer as a Leading Hotel of the World member. Designed by German firm Kitzig, the resort’s pool allows you to see and be seen, thanks to a 8.84-metre infinity glass wall overlooking a rock garden on one end. Lounge poolside on comfy umbrella-shaded chairs, take a seat in the sunken island with cushioned benches jutting into the middle of the pool, or relax on one of the in-water loungers.
Robb tip: Swimmers and poolside loungers can snack on grilled whole prawns and pizza, and sip on wine or sangria while they enjoy unobstructed views of the rock island of Es Vedra.
NoMad Las Vegas
Where: Las Vegas, USA
What it is: When New York’s NoMad hotel decided to open NoMad Las Vegas last year, it simultaneously brought class and more extravagance to Sin City. Just opened this summer for the first time, the dazzling third-floor roof-deck pool is inspired by the Majorelle Gardens in Morocco and was designed by Jacques Garcia with plush loungers, daybeds, and cabanas. During the week, things are calmer, with refined dining, craft cocktails, and a robust wine list conceived by Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Humm.
Robb tip: On the weekends, the atmosphere gets a little more, well, Vegas-y. The Jemaa pool party will bring A-list DJs like Mark Ronson, Mayer Hawthorne, and DJ Five, who can be enjoyed while sipping on “cocktail explosions” good for 15 people or a 750ml bottle of a classic cocktail like a Margarita, Negroni, or Old Fashioned.
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort
Where: Chiang Saen, Thailand
What it is: The 28-metre infinity pool at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort features detailed floral mosaic tile work, a circular hot tub embedded in the shallow end, and a bubble massage feature under a traditional Thai pagoda. Pool-goers can watch elephants amble down below and enjoy unobstructed views of two rivers and three countries – Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar – in the distance.
Robb tip: Guests who recline on the plush chaises around the pool are treated to complimentary five-minute hand scrubs and hand massages, fruit platters, homemade smoothies, sorbets and ice cream. For more, a full food and drinks menu is available, as well as 30-minute foot, neck, or hand massages.
Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo
Where: Monaco, France
What it is: Designed by the legendary fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, Odyssey at the iconic Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo in Monaco is an outdoor ‘haute couture’ concept featuring a heated saltwater pool, private cabanas, lush terrace gardens, and a Joël Robuchon restaurant. Specifically designed for Hotel Metropole, Lagerfeld created an 18-panelled mural surrounding the pool, featuring images of contemporary models superimposed onto original photos from Lagerfeld’s archives that were taken of the Greek coastline between the 1850s and 1860s.
Robb tip: You can still enjoy the pool late into the night. The mural is lit with special LED lighting that adjusts according to the surrounding natural light for a more dramatic mood. The pool floor has twinkling lights at night as well.
Viceroy Los Cabos
Where: San José del Cabo, Mexico
What it is: Recently renovated when it became a Viceroy, the Viceroy Los Cabos resort was designed as a celebration of water by Miguel Angel Aragonés, and it shows. Water wraps around the resort and into the Sea of Cortez, creating the illusion that the sleek white buildings are floating boxes. The stark white surfaces contrast with the collection of bright blue oval pools, including one for adults only, a one-of-a-kind infinity outpost on the sand, and a giant reflecting pool with a bird’s nest-covering suspended over a restaurant. Plenty of plush lounges surround each pool and no matter which way you face, you’ll always see water.
Robb tip: Free use of bicycles is available. If you have the energy, cycle 46km to Cabo Pulmo National Park, or simply do a simple six kilometres to Puerto Los Cabos.
Grand Hotel Tremezzo
Where: Lake Como, Italy
What it is: The family-owned Grand Hotel Tremezzo is one of Lake Como’s historic five-star resorts. Built in 1910, the hotel features three swimming pools, but the aptly named WOW pool is the stunner. Floating atop Lake Como and reachable by two wooden catwalks, it provides an endless water-on-water view, as guests look out from the sparkling pool to the bright blue lake surrounding it, with Bellagio and Grigne Mountains in the distance. The catwalks to the pool connect to a spacious deck and manmade sand beach, dotted with plenty of plush loungers, tables, and umbrellas, as well as a circular bar in the center.
Robb tip: The hotel is a five-minute walk to Cadenabbia harbour for boat trips across the lake.