Going swimmingly: dip into Asia and Australasia’s hotel infinity pools


Going swimmingly: dip into Asia and Australasia’s hotel infinity pools

Suit up for our pick of hotels with spectacular swimming spots

Kate Weir

BY Kate Weir10 June 2024

Swimming is a stress-dissolver on its own, but if you’re staying at a hotel with an infinity pool, it’s an even more potent relaxant. There are few experiences like looking out over that illusory edge onto expanses of gleaming ocean waters, forested valleys, city buzz or remote mountainscapes and feeling like you’re flying. So, if you need a lifesaver of a break – with the best hotel infinity pools in Asia and Australasia to hand – take the plunge…



Tables and chairs in front of an infinity pool, looking over the local area.

At the edge of lawns that are as neat as a military buzz cut, beyond restored plantation bungalows and sprays of patana grass on the 145-year-old Pitaratmalie Estate, Thotalagala hotel’s adults-only pool appears to drop into the abyss of the Haputale Escarpment. Swimming here, you’re overlooking what resembles a verdant half pipe for colossi, where the sunrise gilds the scene one minute and clouds gather atmospherically below the next.

What to do post-dip Lie on a sunlounger and admire the view with a G&T, tour the Lipton tea factory and Sir Thomas Lipton’s bungalow on next door’s Dambatenne estate (guests get exclusive access), then it’s pinkies up for afternoon tea.

Ceylon Tea Trails

At Ceylon Tea Trails, a lofty stay in Hill Country (1,250 metres up), suites are spread across five restored vintage bungalows surrounding the still-operating Dunkeld Tea Factory, home of Dilmah teas. Each has a mountain-spring-fed infinity pool, which either appears to spill over into Lake Castlereagh or the surrounding mountains and plantations. For private dips, book the Owner’s Cottage, which has a Jacuzzi; otherwise we like Tientsin for its hot tub and setting on an elevated terrace.

What to do post-dip Ask your butler to rustle up rounds of Chilean and Aussie wines, have the chef prepare a traditional tiffin lunch for a picnic and arrange a private tea tasting.

Malabar Hill

Infinity pool next to Malabar Hill hotel building.

Tree-huggers will feel a return embrace while front-crawling across Moorish stay Malabar Hill’s 35-metre pool, set amid dense forest in Weligama on the south coast. With further reforestation plans in place and careful monitoring of local wildlife, you may see mongooses, langur monkeys and orioles playing beyond the infinity edge, or water-buffalo working the rice paddies. You also get a glimpse of ocean (a short tuk-tuk ride away for whale-watching), and a bar and cushioned cabanas are close by.

What to do post-dip Balance your doshas in the spa, or for more wild sightings, follow the interactive tree trail on-site, go wetlands bird-watching or on safari out in Yala and Udawalawe national parks.


Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape

Infinity pool set in the hills, surrounded by a forest.

Welcome… to Jurassic Park. Well, actually, this is Indonesian stay Buahan – a spot so violently verdant you wouldn’t be surprised to see a T-Rex pop up. A cantilevered pool hangs out over it all for spectacular swims amid scenery that truly feels infinite. Parasol-shaded loungers sit around the sides if you succumb to Stendhal syndrome, and there are more wet and wild experiences: each balé has a private pool and part-alfresco bath tub overlooking the Seven Peaks, and you can trek to the Ayung River for waterfall frolicking.

What to do post-dip Turn your gaze from outwards to in: have an astrology reading with a local expert, do yoga under a full moon, partake in a mind-cleansing ceremony and learn how to make healthful herbal Balinese elixir jamu.

Nihi Sumba

Infinity pool on a beachfront, with sun loungers behind.

Wild, wild horses couldn’t drag us away from Nihi Sumba’s beachside infinity pool (at beach club Nio), but boy do we love to watch the island’s sandalwood ponies gallop by, perhaps followed by an ambling buffalo or monitor lizard. There’s just a small pearlescent strip of sand separating the pool and Indian Ocean – both bearing near-neon turquoise waters – plus parasols and palapas to relax under once you’ve dried off. A second secluded swimming spot a little off-site, with a vantage for turtle watching, is part of a soothing spa safari, and many villas have either a private or shared pool too.

What to do post-dip ‘Swim’ with horses in the ocean – or seek healing through equine therapy – meditate with indigenous butterflies, practise free-diving and ‘survival apnea’ (holding your breath for a long time), and meet the locals on village tours.


Three tiered infinity pool, looking out to sea, with the sun setting behind.

Rather than walk up Three Steps to Heaven (as the old song goes), we’d rather swim up at Amankila, whose tiered trio of pools are laid out like rice paddies, overlooking the blue on blue of the Lombok Strait, and pastel-hued sunsets. Architect Ed Tuttle’s design was also inspired by mighty Mount Agung, which soars up in the background. Water babies can splash about at the beach club too (or go tropical-goth on the private black-sand beach) and the luxe Amankila Suite has a sizeable private pool.

What to do post-dip Aman’s curated experiences take a detour from the usual. Learn how to make both Balinese music and arak at a living museum, create a palm-leaf manuscript using age-old techniques or get blessed in ceremonial style by a local priest.



Maldives hideaway Joali’s glorious pool is so sizable that there are mini islets within – island-ception, if you will. The break between it and the Indian Ocean is near indiscernible, overwater decks and loungers make it feel even more buoyant, and any time the sun puts on a show it’s the best place to be for it. But don’t feel short-changed after-dark: that’s when it’s aglow with sparkling lights. If all this isn’t enough to get you buzzed, the bar is just steps away.

What to do post-dip The island’s immersive art trail will coax you from your lounger, as will reef explorations with the in-house marine biologist and Balinese massages in the tropical spa.


Como Laucala

An infinity pool set within a larger swimming pool - surrounded by palm trees.

Living like a clownfish has never seemed so appealing as at Fijian paradise Como Laucala, an island-set stay where the infinity pool is set within a maze-like lagoon pool that meanders past palms and thatched sunbathing spots. It’s entirely glazed for an aquarium-like feel, which makes for many Instagrammable moments. Strike a pose then mosey through the scenic layout, finding both intimate and grand-scale spectacles.

What to do post-dip Keep the adventure going on kite-surfing sessions or submarine dives.

For more secluded splash time see our full collection of hotels with private pools.