For many people, just imagining the sparkling turquoise waters of a swimming pool can evoke memories of summer and freedom. But nothing beats a hotel swimming pool, where taking dips and doing laps can happen anytime between superlative meals and luxurious sleeps. As our team of well-traveled editors and writers can attest, not every hotel pool is made equally. The best of them stand out for many reasons—be it for their handsome design, their sublime setting, or sometimes their ability to bring us even closer to nature. With travel inspiration in mind, we’ve created a list of top hotel pools—one in each region of the globe—for swimmers, floaters, and bathers of every age.
The Silo Hotel
- Location: Cape Town, South Africa
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In 2017, when a century-old grain silo on Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront reemerged from a renovation as the Silo Hotel, it immediately became one of the city’s most coveted luxury retreats. The team that transformed it: British architect Thomas Heatherwick and South African designer Liz Biden, owner of the Royal Portfolio, a collection of South African hotels and lodges to which the Silo belongs. The design-forward boutique hotel features 28 individually designed suites with gilt mirrors, contemporary African artwork, and crystal chandeliers that hover over freestanding bathtubs. The renovation included the addition of a saltwater pool, 184 feet above the city on the 11th floor. The panoramas from the T-shaped, glass-sided pool encompass Table Mountain, Lion’s Head peak, and the harbor. It’s hard to imagine a more scenic spot in the Mother City, especially on warm summer days while floating on a stylish striped float pillow.
Como Laucala Island
- Location: Fiji
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The 25 villas of Como Laucala Island, scattered on sand, hilltops, and over water on a private island in Fiji, are private sanctuaries that feature furniture made from natural rattan, thatch, and wood and their own private swimming pools. The spot most likely to lure guests out of their beyond-luxurious accommodations is the resort’s 82-foot lap pool. Long and linear, the raised pool has a glass wall at one end that offers views of green vegetation on the resort grounds and the ocean beyond it. The daybeds and cabanas, plus a pool bar with island cocktails and healthy juices, are an enticing setup that will beckon guests to linger there all day.
- Location: Bali, Indonesia
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Located north of Ubud in the village of Keliki, Capella Ubud was designed by Bangkok-based architect Bill Bensley, who aimed to protect the surrounding forest by designing 23 stilted tents to minimize the resort’s footprint. Each accommodation is fitted with floral and graphical Indonesian textiles, antiques from Southeast Asia, and trunk-style minibars. That eco-sensitive, high-design ethos continues in the saltwater Cistern pool, a 62-by-21-foot behemoth fashioned out of marine-grade steel plates featuring a striking zigzag motif. On the rain forest–facing wooden pool deck, the Mortar and Pestle bar uses its namesake tool with a manual ice crusher to create Bali-inspired cocktails like Bird Watchers, with Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin, lychee, and kaffir lime leaf.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
- Location: Island of Hawai‘i, USA
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On the Kona-Kohala coast of the Island of Hawai‘i, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is a sprawling 800-acre resort with 249 rooms and suites with beds fashioned out of Hawaiian textiles and bamboo, dark wood shutters, marble bathrooms, and lava-rock outdoor showers. On property, King’s Pond is so much more than a swimming pool: It doubles as marine reserve of 1.8 million gallons of brackish water with some thousand fish, plus a resident spotted eagle ray. Guests can swim in the semi-natural pool, which was carved out of lava rock with a sandy bottom. Those curious to learn more about the marine life at King’s Pool can tap one of the resort’s five resident marine biologists, who lead private eagle ray feedings and junior marine biologist experiences.
- Location: Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
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All of the 105 wooden tree houses and villas at One&Only Mandarina, an 82-acre resort along the Pacific Ocean, feature private infinity pools surrounded by massive higuera blanca trees, silver-trunked papelillo trees, and waving palms that reflect in the water with a magical effect. Surrounded by the same rugged topography, the resort’s Alma pool hovers 187 feet above sea level and is made up of two long cantilevered lap pools positioned in a right angle—one jutting into the jungle, the other ending above the ocean. There, servers make the rounds with treats such as iced shots of ginger piñada (a spin on a piña colada), cauliflower ceviche, and fruit paletas and sorbets. Perhaps even more relaxing is the adults-only, 89-foot-long Carao pool, in a secluded spot above the resort’s swimmable beach; it offers ocean panoramas.
- Location: Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic
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On the secluded Playa Grande Beach on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, Amanera exudes calm. The resort is composed of 25 chic casitas—15 of them with private pools of their own—that abut the rain forest and Cordillera Septentrional Mountain Range. One of the best places to take it all in is at the 131-foot heated swimming pool, where a curving infinity edge seems to disappear into the sandy bay and blue Atlantic Ocean beneath it. The navy sun beds lining the pool are never crowded, making it a serene place to spend an entire day. Order a catch of the day ceviche and an Aperol-tinged La Casita and then roll right into the rum-centric bar as the sun dips low in the sky.
Grace Hotel, Auberge Resorts Collection
- Location: Santorini, Greece
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It’s not uncommon to find a scenic plunge pool tucked into Santorini’s perennially popular cliffside resorts, but the 76-foot infinity pool at Grace Hotel stands apart with its striking design and thoughtful hospitality. With a long geometric shape that riffs off the angles of the whitewashed island, Grace’s main pool is the largest in Imerovigli, the tony village where it’s located. It’s heated to a pleasant 73 degrees Fahrenheit, making it an enjoyable spot from which to take in the famous Santorini caldera and the cobalt Aegean Sea. It’s serviced around the clock by the staff of 363 Bar and Varoulko Santorini; chef Lefteris Lazarou of the Michelin-starred Varoulko Seaside restaurant in Athens uses the freshest seafood and local grains and herbs. Although the stark white and aquamarine pool is the heart of the hotel, the 20 suites—18 have their own plunge pools—are mini oases unto themselves.
- Location: Torres del Paine, Chile
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There are views and then there are Views—and Tierra Patagonia, with its panoramic displays of the region’s snow-capped mountains and Lake Sarmiento—features the latter. Chilean architect Cazú Zegers is behind this 40-room low-rise hotel, indoor pool included. She designed it to be so in tune with the adjacent Torres del Paine National Park that wandering wildlife—pumas, guanacos, armadillos, foxes, and ostrich-like rheas—often pass by without giving the lodge much notice. You might catch some of these residents from the 49-by-10-foot indoor pool; it’s surrounded by warm wood columns and floor-to-ceiling windows that frame views of the mountain range and the occasional flying condor. The pool is kept at a balmy 97 degrees to keep things cozy on frequently chilly days; spa-like touches include jets and water cascades at one end. For those who wish to get closer to the winds gusting in from the Great Southern Ice Field, take a dip in the outdoor Jacuzzi next to the pool, which is protected from the elements by short panes of glass.