Best Pool with a View
Nothing gets you hankering for a holiday faster than hotel-pool eye candy: the anticipation of weightlessness, of cool water caressing warm skin, of sun and sky reflected across mirror-flat surfaces…
Forget appraising listless lifeguards while you notch up laps – each of these 10 paragons of pools comes with eye-popping panoramas. Pick from majestic mountains, white-sand beaches, tropical bays, glittering lakes, bucolic countryside and bronzed bodies...
Trendspotter Max is the brains behind Mister Spoils and Stella Spoils, the daily newsletters for bright young things
Radio DJ, television presenter, author, singer, comedian and founder of the Pool
Award-winning TV presenter, journalist, author, podcaster and now coast-dwelling co-restaurateur
Best Smith Hotel 2018
World's Sexiest Bedroom
Best Pool with a View winners...
‘This is an escape from it all. The mountainous landscape looks almost lunar, and is so peaceful you could be forgiven for imagining yourself on another planet altogether. I think the natural wood and furniture design sits in harmony really beautifully with the landscape around you – it embraces it rather than trying to fight it. Fab.’
– Lauren Laverne Broadcaster and founder of The Pool
RUNNER-UP: LES ROCHES ROUGES, COTE D'AZUR, FRANCE
Remember your halter-neck swimsuit and wide-brimmed hat (boys, pack those short shorts); you’ll want to recreate your own Slim Aarons shoot at Les Roches Rouge, whose retro saltwater pool abuts the surf so closely that waves sometimes slosh over the boundary line. The hotel’s photogenic rocks reach into the pool as if Mother Nature herself wants in on the centrefold, but even easier on the eye are those views across to the Tintin-inspiring, red-hued île d'Or.
RUNNER-UP: HOTEL PLETA DE MAR, MALLORCA, SPAIN
You have to admire the chutzpah of a hotel whose pool – a showstopper that would be the centrepiece of many a stay – is modestly tucked away in a glade to its rear. Curtained by tall trees and facing the sea, the pool’s rim follows the curve of the rocky Mallorquín coast – choose a tier of dry-stone terrace and wile away the parasol-shaded hours on a cream-hued daybed. Oh, and don’t forget to devote at least one morning to a swim at sunrise: it’s one of the most blissful in the Balearics.
This beachside glampsite had us cooing over its four-poster beds, palm trees and paddleboards… and then we spied the pool. Leaning out over turquoise waters at the tip of a wooden jetty, this lap-pool – with its white sunloungers – looks like a minimalist meeting place for some future civilisation. One that is eminently eco-conscious, too: rather than pumping fresh water from inland, the pool is filled with water filtered straight from the ocean.
Mihir Gahr rises miraculously like a sandcastle from the surrounding Rajasthan desert – the only building as far as the eye can see. But equally as revelatory is its shapely pool, which bulges over fragrant champa, bougainvillea and lawns with views of the scrubland beyond. Sure, there are cushioned sunloungers on the slate-tiled terrace, but why not perch on a fairytale wall niche as the squawks of parading peacocks pepper the air?
With 750 acres of gorgeous grounds, active stables and an art gallery to attend to, you could forgive Borgo Pignano if its pool was scaled down. But that’s not the style of this Etruscans-settled, 18th-century villa and hamlet. Descend the stone stairs to a pool carved from an ancient limestone quarry, marvel at how a tooth-like tuff has been integrated into the design, and then flop onto a sun lounger for a day that ends with a sunset over sumptuously sepia countryside.
If Mondrian did swimming pools, he might’ve conceived this geometric masterpiece. The thick, clean, black lines, demarcating the 30-metre lap pool, internal Jacuzzi and carved stone bed are artfully laid out. But in place of his trademark primaries, you’ll find a gradient of calm-inducing blues mirroring the lagoon's turquoise fade. The hotel’s other pool is a freeform number with hammock-toting mini-islands; perfect to find yourself accidentally washed up on.
Adding an infinity pool to this elegant 1920s building in Tel Aviv’s White City – with its high concentration of Bauhaus buildings – was ambitious, especially when you step out onto its decking and discover how it had to slot into the rooftop like a Jenga piece beside the hotel’s slanting skylight and row of cushioned daybeds. Yet the effect is masterful – from here you can spy neighbouring architectural gems glimmering in the sun, beyond which a strip of blue sea skirts the horizon.
As elevated villas fan out around a small peninsula on the lake, Tri’s most prominent appendage is the infinity pool, an aqueous runway that draws the eye from the minimalist heaven of the terrace to the mist-blanketed lake. The pool’s ionising filters are just one of the many pure-and-simple sustainability features, meaning you can revel in your day-long sunbathe-and-soak routine entirely guilt-free.
Morrissey and Marr; the Hacienda; Oasis – Manchester has gifted the world some madcap genius. So when King Street Townhouse added a seventh-floor pool to its hip, city-centre hotel, we braced ourselves. The result was as inspired as anything you’ll find in the Factory Records back catalogue – a four-metre by four-metre spa pool that doubles as a giant Jacuzzi, with one wall opening out to unrivalled views of the clock tower and spires of Manchester Town Hall. In short, we’re mad for it.
Best Pool with a View award criteria
A VISUAL DELIGHT
We’re not just talking turquoise oblongs with a few sunbeds here: the Pool with a View is, well, just that. And charismatic, architecturally sympathetic, photogenic, alluring, and beautifully set, too.
LAPS OF LUXURY
Is it big enough and deep enough? Does it blend beautifully with its surroundings? Offer seclusion, or provide somewhere to make a swaggering entrance? Are the edges sensually undulating stone or crisply modern marble? Can I order a cocktail without leaving my lounger? Where’s my complimentary sun hat?
SETTING THE SCENE
A truly great pool is one that hangs out in great company: among branches in the rainforest canopy, above a volcanic caldera, across a riverine valley. Perhaps it’s visited by swallows, toucans or even elephants. But a soul-stirring swim spot doesn’t have to come with a natural backdrop: some see the great and the good gather to sip, socialise and sunbathe. Cocktails, DJs and iconic city skylines all make a splash in this category?
Maybe this pool’s slate-lined, naturally filtered or teak-decked. Changing cabanas, perfectly soft towels, jaunty striped parasols, swim-up bars, romantic day beds for two… Creature comforts count.