Monday, April 2, 2012

Top 10 Hotel Swimming Pool Views

By Douglas Rogers

Built in 1870, the cliff-edge saltwater swimming pool of the Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc in the south of France has been the centerpiece of that fabled celebrity resort for more than 80 years. Clark Gable bronzed himself on its sun beds; Brigitte Bardot made waves in her bikini; Egypt’s King Farouk liked to throw in his eight wives.

But what really makes this pool so legendary is its view: an overflow seawater pool blasted into seaside bedrock with a panoramic view out over the glamorous south of France Mediterranean.

Just as it’s an unwritten rule of a house party that everyone will end up in the kitchen, it’s guaranteed that guests at a hotel resort will spend most of their time around the swimming pool - even if there’s a fine beach and warm stretch of ocean to swim in right nearby. And that's especially true when the pool is dripping with scenery.

Yet these days it’s not enough to simply have a rectangular hole of water in the ground surrounded by a few palms and deck chairs. Swimming pools are more spectacular than ever, and they not only have to look incredible (Eden-Roc’s vintage pool was redesigned in sleek infinity-edge style in 1992); they have to have great views too.

"It’s like an icon, a magnet for the guests," says international spa designer Sylvia Sepielli of the gorgeous ocean-side spillover pool at Pangkor Laut Resort in Malaysia, which she created as part of the hotel’s Spa Village. With the pool’s jade-green color matching the ocean beyond, and its calm surface drizzled with frangipani and bougainvillea leaves, Pangkor Laut has elevated pool design to the status of high art. Which might help explain why, according to Sepielli, many of its guests don't even bother to swim in it.

"In truth, they seem to prefer the calm they get from just being beside it, staring out at the palms, the villas on stilts, and the views of the sea and the jungle island in the bay," says Sepielli. "The pool becomes a monolith, a place people feel comfortable to gather around."

Few resorts in the world are as committed to the swimming pool view as Banyan Tree Seychelles, which opened in 2002. Each of its 60 villas has at least one private pool with ocean views, while six recently completed DoublePool Villas have—as the name suggests—two pools each. And yet, in front of the terraced veranda of the main hotel, above its powdery sand beach, is yet another pool, bigger than the others—taking up the most valuable real estate on the property. A raised-level infinity structure with a narrow point jutting out above the beach, the pool looks like it's floating on the sea, with palms drooping over its sides and waves crashing on huge granite boulders below it. All of which has the desired effect.

"People are mesmerized by it," says Reinhold Johann, general manager at the resort. "Guests swim to the edge overlooking the ocean and they fall totally still, as if in a trance. The tranquillity of the view and the still of the pool water has a stunning, meditative effect."

Not all of the greatest swimming pool views are on islands or at beach hotels however. Urban hotelier André Balazs, whose Standard hotels in Los Angeles and Miami are loved by the stars, is the king of the city hotel rooftop pool—best enjoyed with a cocktail in hand. His first Standard Hotel, on Sunset Boulevard, immediately rivaled Ian Schrager’s adjacent Mondrian Hotel for rooftop-pool glamour, but the 12th-floor pool of his five-year-old Standard Downtown L.A., with its views of skyscrapers, crowded city streets, and even the Hollywood sign in the distance, beats both for sheer urban drama.

That said, Balazs would probably acknowledge that another urban hotel pool has a more spectacular cityscape, if a less throbbing social scene: that of the Park Hyatt, Tokyo. Located on the 47th floor of the second tower of the glass-and-steel hotel, it’s set in a double-height glass atrium with floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing you to look out on Tokyo below, and even Mount Fuji on the horizon. At night, when the pool is lit a luminous blue and the city glitters below, you feel like you’re on the set of Blade Runner. Except, of course, you're in a bathrobe, fresh from a massage in the spa.

Cliffside Pool, Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc, France
The majestic infinity-edge pool of the fabled Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc is forged into cliffs along the rugged Cap d'Antibes coast just outside Cannes. Filled with ocean salt water and heated on cooler days, it looks out on the Lérins Islands and the glassy Cannes Bay, where the gin palace yachts of the celebrities and tycoons who stay here bob on the water. On a secluded cement terrace, hidden among rocks above the pool, cocktail waiters tend to guests reclining in private cabanas on deck chairs under glossy white umbrellas. Almost as spectacular as the views are the celebrity sightings of the likes of Kate Moss, Bruce Willis,
and Johnny Depp.
Tip: A rope at pool level allows you to swing Tarzan-style off the cliffs into the ocean swell below.
For more information: 33-49/361-3901; Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc

Atrium Pool, Park Hyatt, Tokyo
On the 47th floor of the famously sleek Lost in Translation hotel, this 65-foot-long, four-lane masterpiece under a double-height glass roof has floor-to-ceiling windows that offer spectacular views of the Shinjuku district, the city, and Mount Fuji beyond. Visit at night when the pool is a fluorescent blue and the cityscape glitters below. The pool is part of the hotel's Club on the Park spa and fitness center, so you can order salads and juices from the spa menu while you recline on deck chairs under those tall windows.
Tip: Bill Murray struggled to do a lap here when he took a dip in Sofia Coppola's film. Try to do better.
For more information: 81-3/5322-1234; Park Hyatt, Tokyo

Rooftop Pool, Athens Ledra Marriott Hotel, Athens, Greece
While not as chic as our other selections, the rooftop pool of this central Athens hotel has 360-degree panoramas of the ancient city, including a front-on view of the Acropolis and a great vantage point over the nearby Parthenon and the cafés, shops, and winding streets of the Plaka below. On hot summer evenings, with the Acropolis illuminated in the distance, the hotel hosts parties
and banquets by the pool.
Tip: Whether going to or coming from a holiday on the islands, you'll find this the perfect place to relax away from the frenzied chaos of Athens's city streets.
For more information: 30-210/930-0000; Athens Ledra Marriott Hotel

Main Pool, Singita Grumeti Reserves Sasakwa Lodge, Tanzania
Watching the great annual migration of antelope and zebra on the Serengeti Plains is a spectacular sight in its own right; at billionaire Wall Street trader Paul Tudor Jones II's flagship hilltop lodge Sasakwa, you can see the migration while paddling in a heated infinity-edge pool built on the cliff-edge promontory of his lodge's lush front lawn. The lawn is lined with telescopes to better see the animals, and if you spot something you like, you can summon a game ranger and drive down to see it…in your swimming trunks.
Tip: Each of the seven cottage suites at Sasakwa has a secluded private garden plunge pool with similarly dramatic views.
For more information: 27-21/683-3424; Singita Grumeti Reserves Sasakwa Lodge

Rooftop Pool, The Standard Downtown, Los Angeles
André Balazs's über-cool hotel takes the urban swimming pool to another level—namely, the 12th-floor rooftop. The glowing L-shaped pool, rimmed by funky space-age cabanas with vibrating waterbeds, has a lively cocktail lounge to the side, which attracts wide-eyed tourists and local hipsters. They come as much for the drinks and music as the spectacular views of Library Tower, Museum Square, and the rest of the city's glittering skyline.
Tip: You can watch classic Tinseltown movies projected drive-in style on the giant wall of a neighboring building while you sip a mojito in the pool.
For more information: 213/892-8080; The Standard Downtown L.A.

Garden Pool, Palazzo Sasso, Ravello, Amalfi, Italy
This 60-foot-long heated pool in the gardens of the grand 12th-century Palazzo Sasso villa hotel in Ravello is perched on 1,000-foot-high cliff-edge lawns looking out on lush mountains, blue waters, and the historic fishing villages of the Amalfi coast. Windows built into the walls of the pool mean you can see the sparkling ocean while underwater. Garden chairs and umbrellas set to the side let you soak up the view without getting your feet wet.
Tip: Palazzo Sasso's Infinito Suite has a private heated plunge pool in its terraced garden with an equally dramatic view of the shimmering coastline.
For more information: 39-089/818-181; Palazzo Sasso

Main Pool, Banyan Tree Seychelles, Mahé, Seychelles
Lush swaying palms and huge granite boulders tower over this glassy, dark-blue infinity pool on Intendance Bay in the Seychelles. A narrow point at the center of the pool juts out over a talcum-powder beach below, leaving you with the feeling you're floating above the waves. Out on the bay, forest-covered tropical islands loom out of the water, and fishing boats and catamarans sail the trade winds.
Tip: Every one of the resort's 60 colonial plantation-style villas has a private pool with bay views, but the recently built two-bedroom DoublePool Villas, set in manicured gardens yards from the beach, have one for each room, as well as heated jet-pools.
For more information: 011-248/383-500, 011-248/383-555; Banyan Tree Seychelles

Rooftop Pool, The Berkeley, Knightsbridge, London
In a city not known for its pools, the heated rooftop lap pool of the classy Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge is one of the best-kept secrets in town. Built in the 1970s and framed by handsome Roman pillars and arches, it's set under a retractable roof that opens up to the sky on warm days. You get rare views of the leafy expanse of Hyde Park to the north, and an eagle-eye vantage point of Knightsbridge and flagship stores Harvey Nichols and Harrods to the west. You can't order cocktails from the Blue Bar, but you can sip juices from the spa menu.
Tip: For US $120 (GBP 60) a day, nonresidents can get access to the pool and spa.
For more information: 44-207/235-6000; The Berkeley

Floating Pool, Villa D'Este, Lake Como, Italy
There are few more exhilarating sights on earth than the floating pool on Lake Como, part of the stunning 16th-century, 152-room Villa d'Este hotel in northern Italy. Built into a pontoon that floats on the 28-mile lake, the pool is the centerpiece of a stunning watercourse. Giant cloud-topped mountains rise up from the water's edge, while streams, grottoes, and fountains gurgle down the mountain slopes. A Jacuzzi has been added to the pontoon pool, although since the pontoon is only open in summer, you're just as likely to want to cool off in the lake.
Tip: A heated indoor pool open all year round is located in the Sporting Club building of the grounds, accessed by an underground passage from the main building.
For more information: 39-031/3481; Villa D'Este

Spa Village Pool, Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia
This long, narrow infinity-edge pool rimmed by palm and frangipani trees is the same jade green as the ocean beyond it, so you will feel as if you are swimming in the sea. Part of the Spa Village of this exclusive private island resort, the pool and its steep curved edges drop down to a narrow sandy beach that's invisible from the pool itself, so your view is of palms, villas on stilts in the ocean, and the lush forests of Pangkor Island across the Bay of Malacca. Fragrant frangipani and bougainvillea petals float on the water, adding to its Zen calm.
Tip: Running alongside the pool is the Jamu Bar, a snack and juice bar where you can order tropical fruit cocktails in between laps or sessions on the sun lounger.
For more information: 60-5/699-1100; Pangkor Laut

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1 comment:

  1. Here are the top 10 hotel swimming pools of the world. The way you presents the information is just amazing and keep posting such kind of interesting things always.
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