Thought a dip in the pool of your local kids-filled leisure centre was as adventurous as swimming got? Think again.
From gold tiled floors to water the colour of blood, infinity pools built into cliffs to steaming geothermal springs, the world is home to some pretty incredible watering holes. We’ve rounded up some of the best from across the globe – bucket list at the ready.
The Hanging Gardens, Indonesia
Swim on the edge of the world at this futuristic infinity pool set on the edge of a cliff in verdant Bali. Made up of tiers which hang over the rainforest, it’s designed to give you the feeling of floating over the emerald trees in a unique, spiritual setting.
Just mind you don’t fall over the edge in the process.
Expect things to get steamy in this otherworldly geothermal pool, where water from the sea reaches temperatures of 37 to 39°C. If the spectacular surroundings and dream-like mist aren’t enough to get you excited, the massaging waterfall next to it probably is.
There’s also a steam bath set in a lava cave and a viewing deck overlooking it all – ideal for those who want to get in on the action without getting soaked (and seriously hot).
St. Regis Lhasa Resort, Tibet
Fancy swimming in gold? Well, now you can (sort of) at the exclusive St Regis resort in the Himalayas. Constructed from real gold tiles, the illuminated pool uses salted water heated to 28-32°C to create the ultimate swimming experience, and when you’re done gliding around you can relax with a poolside foot massage. Blue is so last year.
The Library, Thailand
Whilst we’re on the topic of coloured pools, the Library hotel in Koh Samui is home to one the same colour as the stuff running through your veins. Yup, this pool’s unique combination of orange, yellow and red tiles creates a spectacular (if slightly disturbing) illusion, letting you bathe in water that looks like blood. Five stars for creativity.
The Oberoi Udaivilas, Rajasthan
Voted the world’s best hotel by Travel + Leisure magazine, the palatial Oberoi in Udaipur would give the Taj Mahal itself a run for its money, and its pools are no less decadent; think bright blue, mirror-like strips of water winding their way around the opulent domed architecture. #homegoals.
Ik Kil Cenote, Mexico
This might look like something straight out of Avatar, but it’s entirely real. Set in the eco-archaeological park Ik Kil, the ‘Sacred Blue Cenote’ is an all-natural pool made up of streaming waterfalls and towering exotic plants.
At 130m deep it’s a popular spot for diving as well as swimming, and it even played host to Red Bull’s Cliff Diving World Series in 2012. Best pack your wings.
Nemo 33, Belgium
Formerly the deepest pool in the world, the Nemo 33 in Brussels plunges an impressive 34.5m deep. Designed as a dive pool, it offers classes for all levels and includes features such as artificial underwater caves, viewing windows and 30°C temperatures. Plus, you won’t need a wetsuit.
Therme Erding, Germany
This is not just a swimming pool. This is a multi-complex, sense-engaging spa featuring a waterpark, ‘crazy river’, steam bath and tropical garden pool (complete with a bar, of course).
If the floodlit water, artificial skies and lush palm trees aren’t enough to have you and your better half feeling suitably romantic, the soothing music which plays in the pavilion-style pool every evening might be.