Unwinding by the pool with a novel or gliding through turqoise waters in a designer swimsuit is the ultimate holiday metaphor. But what if the view from this little patch of paradise is – pinch me, I’m dreaming – particularly spectacular as well? Some of our favourites around the world prove that a great pool is more than a place to cool off; it can be the lap of luxury, too.
The Crown Metropol in Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne has undergone a remarkable transformation in the last decade: a city defined by its Victorian architecture, labyrinthine laneways and hole-in-the-wall cafés has transformed with the last decade’s big city skyline. It is only fitting that this elegant city has a sky-high pool with resplendent views, giving guests the chance to reign supreme over the urban environs spread out before them as they enjoy a languid swim. The spatial intelligence of gloriously triple-height ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glass opens up the space, creating the impression you are free floating in the clouds. The sheer scale and height adds penthouse grandeur to the hushed quiet of the pool’s relaxation deck setting, with the bells and whistles of the cutting edge Isika spa, hair salon, gym and nail bar as an über-pampering second act.
Visit the Crown Metropol website
Palazzo Sasso in Ravello, Italy
There is nowhere in the world where natural splendour dovetails with European jet-set chic quite like Italy’s Amalfi Coast, where roads along spectacular cliff tops require nothing less than a titled playboy in a vintage Alfa Romeo hugging its serpentine curves. And where better to look down upon the Mediterranean than from the Palazzo Sasso’s pool? Perched on the cliffside of high altitude village Ravello, the pool is tiered amongst the lawns, terraces and balustrades of this 12th century villa. With the hotel’s rich history, the pool grounds have seen a great deal more than tourists clutching Dan Browns strolling the lawns. Kings, queens, movie stars and aristocrats on the run have been based at the Palazzo since the Italian Riviera’s 1920s heyday. Of course, the real exercise from a 20-metre lap will come from craning your neck to see who is poolside these days.
Go to the Palazzo Sasso website
Banyan Tree Resort on Mahé Island, Seychelles
For many luxury travellers, the true gold lies in isolated wilderness: the dream view while soaking in the pool in an achingly beautiful natural setting. The Banyan Tree Resort features a sapphire blue infinity pool overlooking the lush, horseshoe-shaped coastline of Mahé Island, one of the world’s prettiest places to kick back for a swim. The pool bar serves enough fresh fruit and Creole nibbles to keep guests glued to the spot, but those seeking privacy can also frolic in their own little patch of poolside paradise. The charming, timber Caribbean-style Pool Villas by the rocks allow guests to drink in the same gin-clear turquoise waters from their own private wading pool - and the Presidential Villa features its own free-form infinity pool, nestled amongst granite boulders that could have been tossed there by giants in such a fabled landscape.
Visit the Banyan Tree Seychelles online
The Ritz Carlton in Los Angeles, California
Not every fabulous pool has to be an oasis of calm. Now that 'putting on the ritz' can be done in a decidedly New World manner, amongst the hustle and bustle of downtown Los Angeles, a dip in the rooftop pool is the fast track to taking in the buzz of the planet’s entertainment mecca. Nestled halfway on the 26th floor of the Ritz Carlton’s modernist blue and grey glass tower, there is no mistaking the sheer proximity of the LA Live entertainment precinct – or the city’s powerbrokers who share the far-reaching views. Cosy cabanas and lavish daybeds make lounging essential, but the BLUE bar ensures that this pool (as salty as the margaritas) can get the party started from day into balmy Californian night.
More at the LA Ritz Carlton webpages
The Park Hyatt in Tokyo, Japan
One of the world’s most glamorously situated pools has the architectural boldness to match the supersized property value of its blue ribbon locale. In one of the world’s most expensive cities per square metre, the lavish scale of the Park Hyatt’s Atrium Pool is all the more luxurious. But the true point of difference is the glass pyramid ceiling that lets swimmer drink in the night sky as a counterpoint to the twinkle of Tokyo’s Blade Runner-style, neon-drenched cityscape by night. The cinematic power of this space was not lost on Sofia Coppola, who featured the glass-encased, aqua expanse in Lost in Translation. Seeing Mount Fuji from the 47th floor is not the only luxury that draws visiting celebrities – oversized rooms and the New York Grill on the penthouse floor await those who have swum off the jet lag.
View the Park Hyatt Tokyo homepage
Original publication date: March 25th, 2012