16 hotel pools that made a splash during our travels this year
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TPG staffers are, as you may have guessed, pretty frequent travelers.
When we travel to review properties, we’re working, but part of that work is testing out everything a property has to offer — including the pool, of course. Our editors and writers have experienced some pretty incredible resorts this year, from the Caribbean to Southeast Asia, from the remote islands of the South Pacific to the glitterings shores of the Aegean.
We’ve already stayed at so many incredible hotels and resorts this year, we thought it’d be fun to take a look back and reflect on some of the swimming pools we can’t stop daydreaming about. And, of course, you can find out more by reading our full review of each property.
These are the 16 most memorable hotel pools that we’ve dipped our toes in so far.
As if the Turkish Riviera didn’t sound exotic enough, the Bodrum Edition makes for a truly extraordinary escape. While the all-day breakfast (served until 4 p.m.) is certainly something to remember, the property’s sleek, simple rectangular infinity pool, surrounded by lush green and floral landscaping overlooking the Aegean Sea, is absolutely stunning. The Edition’s signature white-cushioned lounge chairs prove the space is comfortable and not just Instagrammable.
Although this Hawaiian property boasts three pools, the one you’ll really want to dive into is the 123-foot-long adults-only infinity pool (there’s also an accompanying jacuzzi). Or just lounge in one of the many chairs and admire the reflection of the palm trees in the cool blue water with the expansive sea beyond. For a real splurge, rent one of the daybeds or cabanas, but be ready to fork over at least $150 per day.
Although the Jaffa doesn’t have the sea views that many other Tel Aviv hotels along the beach offer, after staying at both the Hilton Tel Aviv and the David InterContinental Tel Aviv, we decided we preferred the Jaffa pool’s serene vibes. Besides having the perfect ratio of shade and sun, the white-cushioned, wicker loungers were perfect for a relaxing afternoon sipping pomegranate juice and snacking on dates in the Israeli sunshine.
Travelers looking to party in style should hang at this Hyatt property‘s infinity pool. Flanked by boulders and sand, the pool is absolutely gorgeous, with panoramic ocean views and loungers that sit directly in the water. Poolside service is excellent, so plan to order a margarita (or six). And if you don’t feel up to swimming in the pool, at least take a dip in your room’s copper-clad, freestanding bathtub, which is one of the most exquisite tubs we’ve ever seen in a hotel.
Having a private plunge pool attached to your overwater villa is, well, #goals. And those at the Westin Maldives are fairly large, especially when you consider you’re swimming in a pool directly over the ocean. The pool was constructed to remain in the sun, ensuring year-round warm water for a swim. Plus, you can see marine life such as reef sharks, sea turtles and many other aquatic species in the surrounding seawater — all from the privacy of your own pool.
One of South Africa’s most beautiful options for a safari stay — just ask The Points Guy himself — Singita Lebombo’s design-forward lodge blends in seamlessly with the surrounding bush while also offering guests the ultimate luxury safari accommodations. The pool overlooks 33,000 acres of nature on the grounds of Kruger National Park, so be on the lookout for the Big Five (lions, leopards, elephants, black rhinoceroses and African buffalo), all of which you may spot directly from the pool, in addition to other wildlife like monkeys and zebras.
With indulgent extras like outdoor showers and fresh coconut carts, a stay at Dorado Beach is positively hedonistic. Although the resort has a few pools, the Positivo infinity pool is the place to be. The enormous pool overlooks the resorts private beach and has many different barriers and private sections with comfortable daybeds and lounge chairs for the ultimate day of relaxation. And don’t forget to ask for a fresh coconut from that cart.
It’s hard to pick a favorite pool at the Sanya Edition on Hainan Island, which is known as the “Hawaii of China.” There’s the Asian-inspired reflecting pool just off the lobby, the private swimming lagoon with its sand beach and the trendy rooftop pool surrounded by a teak sundeck with gorgeous ocean views (plus a children’s pool complete with waterslides). Plan to visit them all, because it’s impossible to pick just one.
Although the hotel has three pools and a bay for swimming, the highlight is the sunset pool — best for (you guessed it) a sunset dip. Although the infinity pool that overlooks the ocean is mesmerizing during the daytime, sunset is when it really shines — in hues of pink, purple, yellow and orange. A whirlpool is next to the sunset pool, which also offers excellent views. The open-air poolside sunset bar has a contemporary feel, playing chill beats, with enthusiastic bartenders ready to mix together the perfect cocktail for you after your swim.
W Hotels aptly names its pools “Wet” — sexier, stylish, manmade bodies of water with an exceptionally stylish ambience. The W Jumeirah is no different, located on the edge of Dubai’s famous Palm. With a series of interconnecting infinity pools, peppered with egg-shaped, cushioned wicker pods for sunbathing directly in the water, it doesn’t get much cooler than this. And, with W’s see-and-be-seen vibe, you can be sure there will be plenty of people-watching to keep you entertained all day long.
The three-tiered pool at Amankila Bali has extensive ocean views from the hillside — and you can expect sublime poolside service, too. The moment you sit down in one of the Balinese gazebos or lounge chairs, a pool staff attendant will almost immediately assist you with towels and offer you a glass of chilled water with lime. And if three tiers aren’t enough for you, there’s also another small pool down below at the hotel’s private beach club.
Wine lovers can combine a refreshing dip with fantastic vineyard views at Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection property in the Napa Valley. Although the pool is small, it’s heated to 84 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can dip in even during chillier weather. There’s even free sunscreen available. Beyond the pool (which of course has plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas) are two fire pits where you can warm up after an evening swim, and enjoy the serenity of the surrounding vineyards.
Located on the 17th floor, the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok’s infinity pool has a unique design feature: a giant, tiled column that emerges from the center of the pool. Although it’s probably not ideal if you want to swim laps, the column is aesthetically unique, adding extra jazz to the already amazing views of Bangkok’s skyline. Many of the pool loungers sit directly in the shallow water, which adds a refreshing touch in Bangkok’s intense humidity.
The rounded swirls of the giant infinity pools Oasis and Ombra at the InterContinental Phu Quoc evoke feelings of relaxation. The pools have a very Zen vibe, with lounge chairs and egg-shaped daybed pods surrounded by palm trees and even a wooden bridge crossing the spacious pool. With deck chairs and umbrellas set directly in the pool, you can’t help but soak in the tranquility here.
If you’re after 360-degree views of Cape Town, the pool on the rooftop of the Silo Hotel is a dream. While many of the rooms and common areas within the hotel offer epic views of the city and waterfront from the curved, floor-to-ceiling windows the hotel is famous for, the rooftop is truly spectacular, as you can see highlights like Table Mountain and the Victoria & Albert Waterfront as you lap the pool.
Although many of the villas at the Four Seasons Koh Samui have private plunge pools, the main infinity pool, which is beachside and framed by towering palm trees and bold jungle foliage, is especially stunning. The plush and comfortable daybeds overlook the beach and glittering waves of Thailand’s gulf. And pool service includes small luxuries such as cool, scented towels and complimentary fruit juice shots.
Featured image of the The Cape by Melanie Lieberman / The Points Guy.
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