Swimming is almost beside the point when it comes to these 10 pools — found in gorgeous, unexpected locations. Tell the roving pool butlers we say hi.
Why It’s Cool: Sure, Bill Murray took a dip here in Lost in Translation, but it’s the view from this sleek, 47th-floor swimming pool that’s truly remarkable: Floor-to-ceiling windows frame jaw-dropping vistas of Tokyo, and even venerable Mount Fuji, while the steel-and-glass pyramid-shaped ceiling floods the pool with natural light. The 65-foot-long, four-lane pool is striking at night, too, when the city’s skyscrapers light up.
San Alfonso del Mar
Why It’s Cool: You can take small sailboats out on this saltwater pool that Guinness World Records calls the largest in the world. At two thirds of a mile in length, the massive stretch of water has room for several man-made sand beaches. For nighttime swimming, head to the temperature-controlled beach inside the pool’s centrally located glass pyramid—the water and the sand are heated.
Hotel Caruso Belvedere
Why It’s Cool: The Hotel Caruso Belvedere is set at the highest point in the sun-splashed Amalfi Coast town of Ravello, so the open-air infinity pool offers unobstructed, panoramic views of one of the world’s most dramatic coastlines—and the sea beyond. It doesn’t hurt that the pool itself is flanked by 11th-century Roman ruins.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
Why It’s Cool: In a massive, 347-room palace overlooking the Blue City of Jodhpur in the Indian state of Rajasthan, this serene, temperature-controlled swimming basin takes advantage of natural candlelight—with rose petals sometimes strewn on the surface. The hotel is run by the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, which shares the property with the palace’s owner, the Maharaja of Jodhpur—who has been known to swim laps with the guests from time to time.
Why It’s Cool: In a city loaded with cool pools, the recently opened pool at the Viceroy stands out. The two-acre pool deck—with Japanese blueberry trees and swanky chaise lounges and beds—features three types of pools: an 80-person hot tub, a wading pool, and a football-field-size swimming pool. Perhaps coolest of all, it’s 15 floors above the street, with in-the-middle-of-it-all views of downtown Miami and glimpses of Biscayne Bay in the distance.
Why It’s Cool: Set on the third floor of the InterContinental Hong Kong, the hotel’s three pools—two hot and one cold, but all with underwater music piped in—give the almost unnerving illusion that you’re floating in Victoria Harbor. After your swim, park yourself in one of the poolside cabanas and gaze out at Hong Kong’s skyline.
Why It’s Cool: You’ll swim with five species of sharks (16 sharks in all) at the Nugget’s $30 million pool complex. The Tank, as it’s called, houses a three-story waterslide, waterfalls, and the pool’s pièce de resistance, the 200,000-gallon shark tank. You’re in more danger at the Golden Nugget’s roulette wheel: The sharks, stingrays, massive Queensland grouper, and silvery jack crevalle are separated from the swimming pool by a four-inch clear acrylic wall.
Why It’s Cool: This brand-new, glass-enclosed pool is cantilevered from the 12th floor of the futuristic-looking Quincy Hotel, suspending swimmers high above the passing cars and pedestrians at street level. At night, special lighting effects make the pool appear to glow. Bask and swim for a bit, then retire to one of the rattan chairs at poolside for a nap.
Al Bustan Palace InterContinental Muscat
Why It’s Cool: After an extensive 18-month renovation, this InterContinental property in Oman recently reopened with a major pool upgrade—which the roving pool butlers (you heard us) are more than happy to tell you about, after refreshing your rose-scented spritzer. The spacious, 164-foot-long infinity pool is flanked by shady, palm-studded islands. The water is temperature controlled, so it’s always an oasis-like 84 degrees.
Anantara Koh Samui Resort & Spa
Koh Samui, Thailand
Why It’s Cool: You look straight out into the Gulf of Thailand from the 98-foot-long infinity pool at this stylish resort on the island of Samui, Thailand. If the views aren’t soothing enough, order a stiff drink at the swim-up bar and laugh it off with the comical, spitting monkey statues along the pool’s perimeter.