Thursday, December 1, 2011

15 World’s Most Scenic Swimming Pools

Summer’s sweltering heat is just weeks away, and if you’re already daydreaming about stunningly scenic swimming pools in exotic locales, there’s no inspiration like these 15 cool pools around the world. From the world’s largest man-made pool in Chile to cliff side infinity pools overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, these swimming spots are among the world’s most beautiful.

1. Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore


When most people envision a pool with an incredibly scenic view, they most likely think of tropical beaches, not skyscrapers – yet there’s no denying that the scenery at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel pool is absolutely breathtaking. Not only is this nearly 500-foot-long pool set into a rooftop skypark, 679 feet above the ground, but it’s an infinity pool, giving swimmers the feeling that they could swim right off the edge of the building. The pool looks out onto one of the world’s most modern cities, which is brilliantly illuminated once the sun goes down.

2. Bondi Icebergs, Sydney, Australia



Can’t decide between a peaceful swim in an enclosed pool or a romp in the ocean surf? You can have both at the incredible saltwater pool at Bondi Icebergs. The ocean waves break right into the pool. Unlike most of the other swimming pools on this list, Icebergs is open to the general public for a nominal fee.

3. Ubud Hanging Gardens, Bali, Indonesia


Not only does each villa at the Ubud Hanging Gardens Hotel in Bali have its own private infinity pool, but some guests get lucky enough to snag a room with a pool positioned directly over the main infinity pool for an experience unlike any other. From any of these pools, you can gaze into the jungle at monkeys and wild birds – not to mention a Balinese temple.

4. Conrad Rangali Islands, Maldives


What’s not to love about this gorgeous infinity pool at the Conrad Rangali Islands hotel in Maldives? Lounging on a chaise placed on a special platform in the pool, all you can see is sparkling, clear blue waters.

5. Kempinski Hotel Ishtar, Dead Sea, Jordan


Literally the lowest point on earth at 1,300 feet below sea level, the north end of the Dead Sea is a beautiful place, and the Kempinksi Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea is the ideal home base from which to explore it – particularly due to its collection of serene pools and lagoons overlooking the sea.

6. Evason Phuket, Thailand


It’s difficult to imagine anything that could make this image of the adults-only infinity pool at the Evason Phuket Resort look more like paradise (except maybe a frozen organic daiquiri). Surrounded by 64 acres of tropical parklands and gardens, the Evason pool overlooks clear blue waters with a grassy island in the distance.

7. Hayman Great Barrier Reef Resort, Queensland, Australia


Seven times larger than an Olympic swimming pool, the pool bar at the Hayman Great Barrier Reef Resort in Australia is practically a small sea unto itself. Actually, it’s a pool-within-a-pool; the smaller central pool is freshwater and heated while the outer lagoon-like pool is as salty as the sea that lies just steps from the hotel. Four boardwalk bridges connect this little slice of paradise to the hotel.

8. Intercontinental Hotel, Hong Kong


Another rooftop pool with a prime city view is the infinity pool at Hong Kong’s Intercontinental Hotel.

9. Hotel Caruso, Ravello, Italy


Renowned for its spectacular rocky cliffs overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean Sea, Italy’s Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful places in the world. At Hotel Caruso in Ravello, guests can enjoy these views from a heated infinity pool on a clifftop 1,000 feet above sea level. The modern pool is a stunning contrast beside the historic 11th century hotel, a former palazzo.

10. Golden Triangle Resort, Chiang Rai, Thailand


High above the Mekong River where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet is this elegant free-form infinity pool that seems to spill out onto the tropical vegetation that surrounds it.

11. San Alfonso Del Mar, Chile


The San Alfonso Del Mar isn’t just one of the most beautiful pools in Chile – it’s the largest pool in the world, measuring more than half a mile in length and reaching 115 feet deep (an amazing 11 stories!). The 66 million gallons of water needed to fill this mind-boggling pool come straight from the adjacent Pacific Ocean. It costs $4 million a year just to keep it clean.

12. Hotel Joule, Dallas, Texas


Dallas, Texas is home to a stunning cantilevered rooftop pool, which not only juts out eight feet from the 10-story Hotel Joule, but features a glass end wall.

13. Rio Calma, Fuerteventura, Spain


The Canary Islands look even more magical when you’re enjoying the salt lagoon at the Rio Calma Hotel in Fuerteventura. The lagoon looks out over the white sand beaches that border the Atlantic Ocean.

14. Cavo Tagoo, Mykonos, Greece


Gaze out at the iconic all-white architecture of Mykonos from the still, soothing waters of your own private infinity pool at the Cavo Tagoo Hotel. A number of rooms at the Cavo Tagoo have their own pools including the ultra-luxurious 2-bedroom Golden Villa, where the private walled infinity pool – secluded from view of other guests – offers a full sea view and blends right into the horizon.

15. Gellert Baths, Budapest, Hungary


Most interiors as beautiful as this are cathedrals, where it’s not exactly polite to lay on your back and stare up at the ceiling. In this case, however, leisurely gazing is not just appropriate but encouraged. Even in a country known for its luxurious spas, the Gellert thermal baths, built around natural mineral hot springs in an early-20th-century Art Noveau complex, are an amazing sight. The water in this pool, located in the main hall, is actually effervescent for an even more unique experience.