Como Shambhala, Bali
Hidden from sight in the breathtaking Indonesian jungle, the Como Shambhala Estate offers a luxurious retreat for those keen to get back to nature, but to do it in style. With 30 suites, retreat villas and salubrious private accommodations, there are options for all, with poolside living at the heart of it all.
Each residence boasts its own special place to take a dip, in most cases infinity-edged, while the estate’s boutique spa has a 25-metre lap pool, offering the ultimate in luxury for discerning guests with relaxation in mind.
Just a short hop from Ubud, Bali’s artistic and cultural centre, there are activities to suit all tastes, from spa treatments and yoga to mountain biking and white-water rafting. But nothing on the agenda here can beat a calming dip beneath the jungle canopy, with Como Shambhala’s pools always calling guests with their soothing waters and spectacular views. Also read 10 incredible reasons to visit Bali.
Borgo Pignano, Tuscany, Italy
Carved from an ancient limestone quarry, Borgo Pignano’s pool couldn’t be more picturesque, enjoying a prominent position on a 750-acre organic estate and boasting breathtaking views out over the tree-lined Tuscan hills.
Luxurious loungers and parasols dot the poolside, with its manicured lawns and pop-up bar (known as the Gin Corner, it has an expert mixologist, whose creations are perfect for hot summer days), whilst Italian elegance is all around in a setting renowned for its style and sophistication.
Close to top tourist sites, including Florence and Siena, Borgo Pignano remains remote, a self-contained escape from the crowds, with the focus on privacy, peace and the simple things in life. The food here is a treat, with ‘hyper-local produce’ used to ensure a true taste of Tuscany, and desserts to die for. But the real prize is the pool, a tranquil oasis of calm for those keen to get away from it all.
Seeking a place in the sun? Carved into Santorini’s rugged clifftop, Grace shines, quite literally, its whitewashed splendour matched by the sparkling waters of a stunning infinity pool, with spectacular views that can be hard for guests to comprehend.
Boasting a poolside bar, that emerges from the hotel’s renowned restaurant, luxurious loungers are the perfect place to sample a speciality cocktail, whilst listening to a little Greek jazz music and soaking up the island’s restorative rays. Like to continue the water theme elsewhere? Pick a Grace Suite, with its own private plunge pool.
With free pilates and yoga classes held daily, Grace is a resort that has health and wellness in mind and a better place to relax is hard to imagine. Looking for something more lively? Rest assured that the resort comes alive at night, when the party moves out to the pool, with good food guaranteed and the drinks flowing. Also read our Best things to do in Santorini.
One & Only Reeti Rah, Maldives
Serene, exclusive and beautiful, One & Only Reeti Rah is a jewel in the Indian Ocean, surrounded by glistening white sands, with 6 kilometres of pristine private coastline to explore and enjoy.
The ultimate private island escape, this is the perfect place to soak up the sun and there’s nowhere better to kick back and relax than the resort’s signature lap pool, which stretches 30 metres out into the sparkling lagoon.
With 12 beaches, two further pools, of which one is dedicated to children and families, and 37 private villa pools, each with a carved stone aqua bed, you’ll often have the waters to yourself, so lie back, relax and enjoy the pleasant equatorial climate of the Maldives. Time to move on? Head to the luxurious spa, a blissful sanctuary, inspired by nature, or take a trip and discover the rare beauty of North Mal’ Atoll.
The Oberoi Udaivilas, India
Offering unashamed five-star luxury in Udaipur, The Oberoi Udaivilas enjoys a prime location on the banks of beautiful Lake Pichola.
Guests gather here to take in the views, but the best waters are to be found elsewhere, in the hotel’s deep blue-tiled pool, with its elegant sandstone columns and ever-popular elephant fountains. Sparkling in the Indian sun, the pool takes on a different persona at night, when the light from flaming torches reflects on the surface and all is at peace.
Set amidst perfectly-manicured gardens on a 50-acre site that demands to be explored, The Oberoi Udaivilas specialises in the finer things in life, with its chandeliers, signature spa treatments and high-end restaurant, catering for all tastes, with international and Indian cuisines on the menu. Nothing compares to the pool, though, and for everything else that is on offer here, guests head back to enjoy the relaxing waters time and time again.
Overlooking the glistening waters of beautiful Britannia Bay and the neighbouring islands, surrounded by lush private gardens and attended by a five-strong household staff that includes a chef, housekeeper and butler, Tortuga is tailor-made for those craving the finer things in life.
Nestled on a hidden Mustique hillside, there is a great deal to admire here, but the jewel in the crown is the two-level cascading infinity swimming pool, recognised as one of the finest around, and for obvious reasons.
Exclusive in the extreme, nothing is beyond reach on Mustique, a Caribbean island of untold luxury, where every wish can be granted and every whim catered for. Beautiful beaches and dramatic scenery, it’s all here and there’s nowhere better from which to soak up your surroundings than at Tortuga, where a sun-lounger always awaits at the poolside. Lie back, relax, life doesn’t get much better than this.
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Boasting the largest rooftop pool on Earth, guests head here for luxury on the grandest of scales. Set high on the 57th floor of the exclusive Marina Bay Sands hotel ‘ and stretching 150 metres from end to end ‘ this is a pool that must be seen to be believed, with breathtaking views over Singapore’s stunning skyline and wall-to-wall indulgence on tap.
Soak up the sun on a luxurious poolside lounger, enjoy the shade beneath the perfect palm trees or take in your surroundings with a chilled glass of Champagne in hand, the choice is yours. With world-class cuisine, a first-rate fitness suite and salubrious spa offering a huge range of award-winning massage and beauty treatments, this is a hotel that you’ll never want to leave. Five-star style in an unbeatable location, nothing is beyond reach here and it’s no surprise that guests return time and time again.
Four Seasons, Koh Samui
Like to kick back and relax? You’ll find that time stands still at the fabulous Four Seasons, Koh Samui, where Thailand’s natural beauty is best enjoyed from the soothing waters of the blissful infinity pool, before retiring to a lounger for a cool drink and a snooze in the sunshine.
Life doesn’t get much more laid back, with the island’s pristine beaches, blue seas and tropical forests all set out before you, whilst every need is catered for, with no shortage of style.
For those seeking adventure, there’s plenty to be had here, with watersports galore amongst the activities on offer, and a whole host of beaches to explore and enjoy. But the pool is the real draw, with stunning views over the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Siam, attendants delivering drinks on demand and swaying coconut trees providing the shade for those keen to unwind and indulge.
Tassia Lodge, Lekurruki Ranch, Kenya
No TV, no internet, no cell phone reception. No cars and no other tourists. Like to get away from it all? You’ll find that Tassia Lodge is the perfect place. Perched atop a dramatic rocky bluff, with stunning views out over the valley below, this is unspoiled Africa at its absolute best, a true escape, with privacy very much on the agenda.
The best part? It might just be the horizon swimming pool, with its sunbathing deck, dining room and bar, not to mention the breathtaking window it offers onto the surrounding wilderness, a scene of awe-inspiring wildlife, with acacia trees stretching as far as the eye can see, while animals wander and there’s not another soul in sight. Guests looking carefully from their poolside perch might spot elephants down below, a truly-unique experience, while at night, the star-filled skies are sure to take your breath away.
Domus Civita, Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy
Take a trip back in time to Domus Civita, part of a grand Italian palazzo that dates back to the 14th-century.
Hidden in the splendorous surrounds of a fairytale hill town that oozes Italian charm, this is a mystical place, built atop a labyrinth of underground caves, and it is down here, deep beneath the surface and far from prying eyes, that the jewel in the crown is to be discovered.
That jewel? The unique pool that is built into the cave system, accessed from the formal Italian gardens, with its soothing blue waters offering a little respite from the hot Viterbo sun and a place of peace and privacy. There’s also a hot tub down here for those with relaxation in mind, not to mention access to an underground art gallery and wine storage grotto. With a personal chef at your disposal and history and heritage all around, you’ll never want to leave.
Hotel Villa Honegg, Switzerland
Exclusive, elegant and above all eye-catching, Hotel Villa Honegg boasts captivating views, the finest of which are best enjoyed from an outdoor pool in a prominent position. Located 914 metres above sea level, guests enjoy the waters, heated to 34 degrees, whilst looking out over the surrounding mountains, Lake Lucerne and the clouds that linger in the valley below.
Offering a superior service and five-star luxury, this is a place to be pampered, with just 23 guest rooms and an emphasis on relaxation and privacy.
There’s also an indoor pool, with relaxing underwater music, loungers and panoramic views, whilst the spa offers some of the best-regarded wellness facilities in Switzerland. Sample the sauna and steam bath, or work up a sweat in the gym, before heading back out to the terrace, with its views of the lake, for a meal of exquisite quality.
Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como, Italy
Chic, stylish and sophisticated, and set on the beautiful banks of Lake Como, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo oozes old-school Italian elegance. There’s so much to admire here, but nothing catches the eye quite like the unique water-on-water heated pool that floats atop the lake’s glimmering surface and draws guests with relaxation in mind time and time again.
Lie back and bathe in the soothing waters, with picture-postcard views all around, from the region’s surrounding mountains to the 100-year-old gardens that demand to be explored.
There are other pools here ‘ three in total ‘ but none capture the imagination quite like this, and for those keen to soak up the Italian sun in style, hour upon hour can be passed quite easily, and without a care in the world. Feeling energetic? There are plentiful walking and cycling trails to explore. But such is its allure, you’ll always gravitate back to the poolside.
Banyan Tree, Seychelles
Seeking paradise? You’ll find it here, amongst the swaying palms of Intendance Bay, an unspoilt oasis amid the tropical forest, with pampering and five-star service high on the agenda.
Settle back and sample island life Seychelles-style, with spectacular views out over the Indian Ocean best enjoyed from a private infinity pool as the sun beats down and your troubles drift away.
With poolside cocktails and delicious bar snacks always on offer, you could be forgiven for never wanting to leave, but with a boutique spa and breathtaking beaches within a brief stroll, there are no shortage of activities and experiences for those able to tear themselves away. Why not take a trip and witness the natural beauty of the Seychelles for yourself? Your private villa awaits and there’s no better way to round off the day than with a relaxing soak in a swimming pool to savour.
Four Season, The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam
Set over three tantalising tiers that cascade down towards the glimmering ocean beyond, this is a pool that appeals to all, catering for families in part, with sections for adults only, an Olympic-proportioned area for those with swimming in mind and a luxurious lap pool for guests who prefer to lie back and take it easy.
Coastal living doesn’t get a whole lot better than this, with a kilometre-long stretch of private beach to explore, water sports galore to try and indulgence on tap amidst the tropical gardens that showcase Vietnamese hospitality at its finest.
For those keen to explore a little further afield, there are three UNESCO sites close at hand and ancient towns, cities and temple complexes to discover in Vietnam’s central cultural heartland. Sightseeing over, you’ll want to unwind in the soothing waters, or perhaps enjoy a poolside cocktail from a luxurious lounger beneath the swaying palms.
One & Only Hayman Island, Australia
Seeking indulgence or adventure? Head to Hayman Island and you could have both, with a luxurious retreat in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and you setting the agenda.
Surrounded by calm azure ocean, this is the ideal destination for those craving a little waterside style, but despite all that is to be discovered offshore, the biggest treat is to be found much closer to your room, with a spectacular pool that is certain to play a major part in your vacation here.
Slick and modern, this is a sight to behold, fringed by swaying palms, with pristine beaches all around and the clear blue skies that make Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands such a favourite amongst those who appreciate the finer things in life. Head out and explore the reef or kick back with a cocktail on a comfortable poolside lounger, the choice is yours.
The Enchantment Resort, Sedona, Arizona
Surrounded by the dramatic red rocks of Sedona, the Enchantment Resort lives up to its name, a place of magic and mystery, where memories are made and dreams come true. Set on a 70-acre site, this is a place of southwestern style, a desert setting where the sparkling waters of a perfectly-positioned pool are more than just a mirage.
Lie back on a lounger and soak up the sun before taking a dip, all framed by the spectacular natural landscape, a place of calm and colour, with its trademark red crags and unblemished blue skies.
Exploration and adventure are always on the agenda here, whilst those in search of pampering can enjoy treatments at the award-winning spa or sample contemporary dining at its finest. There’s a great deal to do here, with options to suit all tastes, but guests often find that the best days of all are spent poolside.
Castello di Reschio, Umbria, Italy
Hidden far from sight in the verdant Umbrian hills, Castello di Reschio is a place of peace and privacy, a tranquil retreat amongst the surrounding oak forests and olive groves, where service and style are top priorities and where the strains and stresses of modern life melt away.
Perfectly-proportioned vacation homes range from small cottages to grand palazzos, but no matter their size, all here is chic and sophisticated, with an obvious emphasis on design and with no detail overlooked.
This extends out to the luxurious poolside, with tempting loungers on the lawns, water that sparkles in the bright Italian sunshine and spectacular views that extend out over the valleys and hills beyond. Swimming does not get much more stylish or secluded than this and given all that is on offer here, and the manner in which it is presented, Castello di Reschio’s remarkable reputation is well deserved indeed.
Chongwe River House, Zambia, Africa
Located on the banks of the Chongwe River, deep in the Zambian bushland, visitors head here for an authentic taste of Africa, presented with no shortage of style.
The breathtaking wilderness is all around, with opportunities for animal spotting aplenty, but nowhere are the natural surroundings better enjoyed than from the riverside pool, which appears to merge with the Chongwe, as it flows peacefully past.
Spot elephant herds ‘ commonplace here ‘ from your poolside perch, either in the glimmering water or from a luxurious lounger, all framed by a spectacular natural landscape which serves as the perfect destination for those seeking a private safari experience. With local guides on hand, exploration and adventure is always on the agenda here, but you might prefer to relax in the elegant lodge and its grounds; on the deck, or in the pool, there’s not a bad seat in the house.
Albatroz Beach & Yacht Club, Santa Cruz, Madeira
Boasting a unique location with stunning views out over the sun-kissed Atlantic Ocean and neighbouring Desertas Islands, the pool at Albatroz Beach & Yacht Club is a true natural wonder and a sight to behold.
Naturally-formed from volcanic rock, the pool continuously fills with fresh ocean seawater, which sparkles in the Madeira sunshine and draws guests to return time and time again.
With much to see in Santa Cruz, a pleasant 10-minute walk from the hotel, this is the perfect base for those keen to discover the island, but despite all the attractions and amenities on your doorstep, you might find that your days are best spent back at base, a place of five-star luxury, where all needs are catered for and everything provided. Dining and drinks, lush gardens to explore and a spa to enjoy, you’ll never be at a loose end here. The best attraction of all? You’ll always find it at the foot of the stairs.
Cheval Blanc Randheli, Maldives
Exotic, exclusive and unspoilt, Cheval Blanc Randheli enjoys the perfect position, an oasis on the magical Noonu Atoll, to the northwest of the Maldives archipelago. Surrounded by sparkling turquoise waters and fringed by colourful coral reefs, this is a place of calm and quiet, with its swaying palms and pristine sands beckoning guests who seek a picture-book tropical paradise.
Like to relax in style? Head to the poolside, with its bench seats, luxurious loungers and day beds, where cocktails from the White Bar are always flowing, and exquisite light dishes tempt the taste buds.
With its lagoon views and beach club cabanas, you’ll never want to leave, but for those able to tear themselves away, opportunities abound, with trips out to the reef and diving expeditions always on the agenda. Head out on the ocean to see turtles, manta rays and the colourful fish that are all around, before returning to your favourite spot by the pool.
Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
For sheer indulgence, this is hard to beat, set in the pulsing heart of Kuala Lumpur, offering spectacular skyline views, with the impressive Petronas Twin Towers standing tall over all.
This is a destination that oozes elegance and sophistication, with its spacious rooms and stylish interiors, but it’s outdoors that the greatest rewards are to be found, with an infinity-edged pool, set amidst lush tropical gardens, with palms, luxurious loungers and views that are to die for.
Lie back poolside or take a dip in the glittering waters, the choice is yours, but with five-star service at your disposal, you’ll find it difficult to leave. Boasting a central location, everything that Kuala Lumpur has to offer is right here on your doorstep. When you’ve finished seeing the sights, there’s no better place to relax than on a lounger beside the pool, drink in hand and treats on tap.
The Cambrian Hotel, Swiss Alps
The ultimate romantic retreat in the snow-capped heart of the Swiss Alps, peace and quiet abound in awe-inspiring Adelboden.
Drawing skiers and alpine adventurers seeking Switzerland’s best slopes, the Cambrian can also boast a more relaxed side that is equally-appealing. That side? It’s best experienced from the heated outdoor pool, a place of unprecedented tranquility, where the views over the mountains and valleys beyond must be seen to be believed.
Sleek and modern, this is the perfect place to soothe mind and body, an exquisite escape that is guaranteed to relax, with the fresh mountain air all around and possibilities that are endless. Lie back and enjoy a world-class spa treatment or head into the hills for a high-speed adventure, the choice is yours. But when afternoon turns to evening and the light starts to dim, there’s no better place to be than out in the pool, enjoying the steaming waters and the breathtaking scene beyond.
Villa Althea, Kefalonia, Greece
Ranked amongst the finest Mediterranean villas around, Althea sits proud atop its perch, 300 metres above Myrtos, with its world-renowned beach, sparkling turquoise waters and perfect sands. Lie back on a lounger on the terrace and soak up the Kefalonian sun, before heading down to the pool, an inverted pyramid that boasts spectacular views, fringed by hillside greenery, with the glimmering ocean beyond.
There’s a great deal to see here, but this is a place to hunker down and escape, a clifftop retreat, unspoilt and exquisite, where indulgence abounds, and all is at peace.
You could head down the hillside, take a trip to the beach and explore all that the local area has to offer. Or you could pour another drink, lie back with a book and enjoy the sound of silence, before heading back to the pool to cool down in the soothing waters that shimmer in the sun.
Laucala Island, Fiji
Seeking paradise? You can stop the search. Set upon 3,500 acres, this is a private island resort that oozes indulgence and exclusivity, with luxury all around and pampering always on the agenda. Surrounded by lush rainforests, with turquoise waters and pristine sands as far as the eye can see, this is a place of exquisite natural beauty.
The best place to lie back and admire the views? Most guests find it hard to look past the pool, a 2.000-square-meter lagoon-style pool sitting at the heart of the resort, overlooking a long beach and enveloped by tall stands of palm.
Set amongst the swaying palms and coconut trees that stretch high into the perfect blue sky, this is a lavish location that boasts a kaleidoscope of colours, where the environment is all important and the natural world celebrated with no shortage of style. With five exclusive restaurants and bars, world-class golf nearby and an emphasis on service, you’ll be sure to be treated like royalty, nowhere more so than poolside, a place to relax, soak up the sun and experience true paradise.
Hanging Gardens Of Bali, Bali, Indonesia
Set amidst the lush rainforests of Bali, the Hanging Gardens is a sight to behold, with thick green jungle all around, stunning views into the valley beyond and a position high in the hills that must be seen to be believed.
The infinity-edged pool is the undisputed jewel in the crown here, suspended high over the rainforest below, giving guests a unique floating sensation as they enjoy the calming waters and the spectacular scene beyond.
With 44 private villas boasting panoramic views, this is the perfect place to escape modern life and all its stresses, with flowing rivers and cascading waterfalls providing a soothing soundtrack, while the sun beats down on the jungle canopy and guests discover that everything has been thought of and all their needs met. Lie back, enjoy the waters and try to take it all in, there’s nowhere else on Earth quite like this.