Stay cool with these 10 hotel pools with a view
Long associated with basement spas or better-than-average gyms, hotel swimming pools have often been little more than a nice bonus to the property’s wellness and fitness facilities. Here, we round up the top ten rooftop pools that are making a splash around globe. These lofty oases combine a refreshing dip with stunning views, poolside cocktails, fine cuisine and innovative design. Dive in.
Alila Villa Uluwatu
Perhaps representing the holy grail of Asian five-star hospitality, the Alila group is known not only for its quiet parsing of restrained luxury, but also as a byword for responsible, sustainable tourism. Alila Villas Uluwatu, a sprawling clifftop resort on the Balinese island of the same name is the epitome of this, with 65 cool villas constructed to simultaneously follow an environmentally friendly framework and present contemporary interiors accented with traditional Balinese details. Designed by Singapore architectural firm WOHA, the hotel’s many distinct areas – including three restaurants and a spa – incorporate locally-sourced materials such as wood, stone and rattan. A 50-metre swimming pool is not so much of a necessity when a majority of villas feature their own pool, but the cliff-edge location is hard to beat.
Jalan Belimbing Sari, Banjar Tambiyak, T 62.361 848 2166, www.alilahotels.com
With unrestricted views over Santorini’s Caldera, Grace’s jagged infinity pool is more dramatic than most. Lined with terraces and loungers, the pool is the pinnacle of relaxation in a property defined by tranquillity and leisure and presents an iconic spot from which to take in the hotel’s pièce de résistance: Santorini’s sunsets. Elsewhere, a series of newly refurbished rooms, suites and villas in the seasonal hotel blend contemporary design with traditional handcrafted pieces, marked by the frequent appearance of marble and local volcanic rock. It all amounts to a luxe getaway, where helicopter transfers, island excursions and fine dining are available in surplus, yet the mood remains markedly low-key. Not to be missed is the in-house concept store – Zeus+Dione – the result of a collaboration with the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens and a treasure trove of clothing, objets d’art and gifts crafted by Greek artisans.
Imerovigli, T 30.22860 21300, www.gracehotels.com
Rio de Janeiro
Opened by hotelier Gustavo Filgueiras and his jewellery designer wife Andrea Colli Filgueiras in 2016, the Arthur Casas and Chad Oppenheim-designed Emiliano Rio possesses an enviable position on Copacabana and offers views of the entire stretch of one of the world’s most famous beaches. But who needs the beach when Emiliano’s wet deck and L-shaped infinity pool sits on the 11th and 12th floors of the property? With views from the fort to Sugar Loaf Mountain, and Niteroi on the other side of Guanabara Bay, the pool area is framed the best of Rio’s landscape, while alternative angles offer a close up of the hotel’s intricately panelled façade, designed to filter heat and provide ventilation. The lobby – clad in concrete and stone, and anchored by an original Burle Marx panel – leads into a succession of quietly plush set-pieces including a huge vertical green garden in the restaurant, and is an appropriate entryway to the 90 light and bright guestrooms.
Av. Atlântica 3804, T 55.21 3503 6600, www.emiliano.com.br
Nearly a decade old and still trending, the legendary Amangiri is a site to behold. Seemingly dropped in the middle of a secluded valley in Utah’s Canyon Point, the Aman property offers a new level of remoteness, living up to its Sanskrit name which loosely translates to ‘peaceful mountain’. Each of the sleek 34 suites – all creamy white stone, Douglas-fir and raw concrete – offer even a higher state of solitude, with outdoor terraces and fireplaces offering almost bespoke views of the surrounding desert. Distractions are available: The Grand Canyon and Zion National Park are all within striking distance and offer a range of diverse activities. Alternatively, the resort’s spa provides more sedentary recreation, not least in the flotation pavilion and the watsu pool, where Navajo-influenced water therapies are carried out. The showpiece however, is the main pool which curves around a lofty rock escarpment and is lined by a series of loungers which appear to skim its surface.
1 Kayenta Road, Canyon Point, T +1 435 675 3999, www.aman.com
Located in a former 1924 Cape Town grain silo building, The Silo Hotel is the Mother City’s latest gem. The property occupies the six floors above Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary African Art) – the tallest building in the V&A Waterfront and an elevated position that beautifully lends itself to the property’s 11th floor rooftop pool and sky terrace, both of which afford stunning views of the city. For guest use only, the pool is even more remarkable for its simple raised concrete frame which sits almost at odds with its gently oscillating blue mosaic tiles. For non-guests, the same vistas can still be taken in from The Silo Rooftop, an al fresco dining experience offering a flavoursome menu of light bites such as roasted flatbreads and charcuterie platters. Inside, the 28 guestrooms feature interiors styled to soften the building.
Silo Square, V & A Waterfront, T 27.21 670 0500, www.theroyalportfolio.com/the-silo
Home to calming, chic and contemporary interiors conceived by Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola, the Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona is a haven of cool in a city where hotels constantly vie for attention. One of the many features that make it stand out amongst the din is its rooftop dipping pool; a much-welcomed retreat during the city’s scorching summer months. Recently revamped and bordered by an expanded deck area on one side, the narrow pool is more suited to leisurely dips than power laps, but it’s all in keeping with the hotel’s overarching commitment to wellness, which also makes room for a spa housing a 12-metre lap pool, eight treatment rooms and a steam room. The guestrooms are an modern version of what the Mandarin does best: stunning, avant-garde interiors, characterised by warming woods, tactile upholstery and a palette of greys with lime-green accents.
Passeig de Gràcia, 38, T 34.93 151 8888, www.mandarinoriental.com/barcelona
Six Senses Yao Noi
Phang Nga Bay
Modern architecture, natural materials and the waters of Phang Nga Bay combine to great effect at Six Senses Yao Noi. A modern retreat in every sense, the resort – located on a small island in Phang Nga Bay – offers an unprecedented level of solace and privacy, thanks to the property’s situation in amongst natural vegetation and lush landscaping. Comprising a series of 56 villas and villa suites, accommodation here is what one would expect from a luxe Thai hideaway, with private infinity-edge pools, terraces, ocean views and expansive living spaces outfitted with interiors that pay homage to the locale via natural materials such as rattan, wood, bamboo and stone. Despite the presence of private pools in all villas, the hotel’s hilltop horizon pool is unrivalled for its spectacular views, best enjoyed at sunset with a cooling nightcap from the adjacent Hilltop Reserve.
56 Moo 5 Tambol Koh Yao Noi, T 66.7641 8500, www.sixsenses.com
The Leela Palace
When New Delhi’s temperature reaches stratospheric heights, as it often does, The Leela Palace’s 25-metre rooftop pool is the most obvious spot from which to cool off. As the highest and the only rooftop pool in the capital, it’s become somewhat of a hotspot; a place to see and be seen thanks in part to the city’s elite who regularly flock here for the unparalled service which includes pool baskets filled with fresh lemonade, chilled water, sunscreen lotion, rose water infused towels and magazines. Temperature-controlled and lined by a sun deck that offers close up views of the Qutub Minar and the rest of the city, the 11th-floor pool almost overshadows the rest of The Leela Palace – which is quite a feat in this grand 254-room property.
Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri, T 91.11 3933 1234, www.theleela.com
Grand Hotel Tremezzo
There are no shabby locations on Lake Como. But Grand Hotel Tremezzo’s position, directly in front of Bellagio, where the two branches of the lake’s ‘wishbone’ meet, is pretty much unbeatable. Take it all in from the hotel’s so-called water on the water, a floating pool set within the lake that provides a surreal, yet wholly relaxing experience. Two other pools – the Piscina dei Fiori and the T Spa infinity pool – complete Tremezzo’s bathing trifecta to present a litany of options in a locale defined by easy access to the cooling waters of ‘Lariowood’. Recently renovated rooms and suites, all furnished with pieces from the hotel’s extensive historical collection and featuring bow-windows and balconies, are a lesson in unapologetic Italian opulence and are perfectly in line with the grandeur of this art nouveau landmark, which lives up to its ‘palace’ moniker in every sense.
Via Regina 8, T 39.0344 42491, www.grandhoteltremezzo.co
The Danish capital may not an obvious choice when rounding up the world’s best outdoor pools, but Nimb Hotel is changing that. The 38-room room property is now crowned by Nimb Roof, a terrace filled with cabanas and loungers positioned to showcase the main attraction: a 60 sq metre heated pool; the first for at a Danish hotel. Lined with hand-sorted Italian mosaic tiles and surrounded by modern black furniture, the pool is a clear reflection of the hotel’s signature aesthetic, where handpicked art, picturesque views and classic Danish design combine for an authentic hygge experience. Serviced by a cocktail bar and hosting a roster of summer events, the space is open to hotel guests, locals and visitors alike. Those wanting more than just a dip in the pool will appreciate a counter-flow feature, which lets guests to swim on the spot for prolonged periods, rendering the pool’s compact size irrelevant.
Bernstorffsgade 5, T 45.88 70 00 00, www.nimb.dk
Melina Keays is the entertaining director of Wallpaper*. She has been part of the brand since the magazine’s launch in 1996, and is responsible for entertaining content across the print and digital platforms, and for Wallpaper’s creative agency Bespoke. A native Londoner, Melina takes inspiration from the whole spectrum of art and design – including film, literature, and fashion. Her work for the brand involves curating content, writing, and creative direction – conceiving luxury interior landscapes with a focus on food, drinks, and entertaining in all its forms
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