It’s totally understandable to plan your next getaway around the best possible pool aesthetic – the last thing you want is a dingy watering hole that you’re sharing with some kid’s discarded plasters. No trip is worth that kind of ‘gram disgrace.
We’ve got you covered with our list of the best pools in the entire world. From gold tiled floors to water the colour of blood, luxe infinity pools to inner-city oases, your swimming shorts – and your social feed – won’t know what’s hit them. Bucket list at the ready.
The Pool At Deplar Farm, Iceland
Have you ever wanted to see the Northern Lights from an outdoor thermal springs pool while listening to your favourite playlist? You do now, right? One of Iceland’s most unique stays, located in the remote Troll Peninsula near the Arctic Circle, offers just that. The indoor/outdoor swimming pool, heated to 38 degrees from thermal springs, includes an underwater sound system and built-in pool bar, the latter of which also comes with a remote-controlled boat so the barman can motor drinks directly across to guests. Just keep in mind it’s not the drink that’s making you see the light(s).
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
No list of the world’s best pools would be complete without mention of Marina Bay Sands’ iconic watering hole, the highest and the largest infinity pool in the whole world. The Singapore-based resort – the fourth most-expensive building in the world costing 5.50 billion USD to construct – includes a 2,561-room hotel, a 1,300,000 sq ft convention-exhibition centre, a mall, a museum, two large theatres, “celebrity chef” restaurants, and the world’s largest casino. But the crown jewel is the infinity pool overlooking Marina Bay at 656ft (57 stories) above the sea. Don’t look down.
Bronte Rock Pool, Australia
While its bigger, more recogniseable neighbour is the favoured Instagram choice (Bondi Icebergs, we’re looking at you), Bronte Baths is one of Sydney’s oldest rockpools, having opened in 1887, and it’s free to swim there. Built into the rocky cliffside at the southern end of Bronte Beach, stairs lead down to a shallow saltwater pool overlooking the crashing waves of the Pacific so you can swim next to the ocean without the risk of riptides (or sharks). The perfect spot to watch the sunrise while taking a morning dip or a night swim on balmy evenings.
Wanna Jungle Pool and Bar, Bali
Beach clubs and Bali go together like gin and tonic – and they’re a dime a dozen on the Indonesian island’s southern coast. The newly opened Wanna Jungle Pool & Bar, set amidst the Ubud tropical valley at the Kayon Jungle Resort, is arguably the most expansive, with a three level terraced infinity pool inspired by the Balinese Tegalalang rice terraces. Hungry? Try the open restaurant and bar perched on the side of the cliff overlooking the Oos River Valley. Tepuk tangan! (That’s cheers in Balinese).
The San Alfonso del Mar Seawater Pool, Chile
A luxury resort in Algarrobo, Chile, has a pool so large that it costs 4 million USD in annual maintenance. Once the largest pool in the world, it’s 3,323 ft long and contains some 250 million litres of seawater that’s pumped, filtered, and treated from the Pacific Ocean to supply to the pool. Take a dip and enjoy – or you could, you know, just swim in the Ocean that runs parallel.
Il Mare Wave Pool, Japan
If you’ve ever wanted to wade in a wave pool in Japan while snacking on Italian Bresaola and downing sake, here’s your chance. Far from any natural body of water, Hoshino Resorts has created Il Mare in the middle of the Yatsugatake Mountains (the main region for winemaking in Japan), about 2 hours from Tokyo by rail, where guests can soak up a “beach atmosphere in a forest resort”. The large-scale indoor white sand beach and wave pool looks almost as futuristic as it sounds, with waves up to 4-ft tall and wall-covering holograms of plants and animals projected on the next-door children’s area.
Sundlaugin á Hofsósi Public Pool, Iceland
Forget the Blue Lagoon. Hofsósi, one of Iceland’s newest pools, is arguably the most beautiful with views over Skagafjörður fjord that seem to spill right out into the North Atlantic ocean. Mix in naturally heated water and a design by the same architect responsible for the famous Blue Lagoon, and you’ve got your Northern Iceland road trip pit-stop decided on.
The Infinity Pool At Six Senses Yao Noi, Thailand
Six Senses is not a hotel brand that flies under the rader if you know anything about infinity pools. Their Koh Yao pool looks out onto Thailand’s Phang Nga Bay with views of the bulging limestone formations which jut out from the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea (and will easily take up major space on your camera roll). With an aesthetic that’s very much incorporated into the natural landscape, the pool’s lush surroundings, seclusion, and panoramic views will make you pinch yourself every time you swim to the edge.
Y-40 The Deep Joy, Italy
The deepest pool in the world, Padua’s Y-40 plunges an impressive 13,828ft (over 2.6 miles). Designed as a dive pool, it’s an engineering feet with features like underwater caves for technical activities, and various not-quite-so-terrifying depths for practice dives and amateurs. With more than 1000 certifications every year, Y-40 is the biggest diving center in the world, but also offers a thermal water area at 32-34°C, where you can swim without a wet suit while your more adventurous half gets their kicks.
The Pool At 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. High opulence in every sense.
The Pool At The Library, Thailand
While 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 Infinity Pool at Hotel Caruso, Italy
This refurbished 11th-century palace in Italy has an infinity pool that seems to drift suspended above the Mediterranean Sea. You get 180-degree perspective views of the mountains and the Amalfi coast down below from this magnificent curved infinity pool. Don’t plan on proposing here unless you’ve got a ring to back up the unparalleled beauty of the surroundings.
The Tolantongo Cave Pools, Mexico
One spot in Mexico’s Mezquital Valley puts even the most luxurious hotel swimming holes to shame. Las Grutas Tolantongo, or the Tolantongo Caves, are a collection of hot spring pools built into cliffs about 200km north-east of Mexico City. The definition of a bucket list destination, the pools are filled with warm, mineral-infused water that’s heated by the surrounding volcanic mountains. There are also caves and a tunnel to explore for a dose of adventure, a hot spring river to swim in, and a kid-friendly pool with a waterslide.
The Pool At Sant Francesc, Spain
Don’t outrule city breaks when deciding on your next dip. Set within a former Mallorcan mansion, this stunning roof terrace and pool overlooks the Sant Francesc Basilica and offers impressive panoramic views across Palma. Enjoy sundowners at the rooftop bar alongside seasonal dishes from a pop-up of one of the island’s most popular eateries Co Ca To Ne Ta, all while never getting fully dressed. And, of course, all while pretending you own the mansion.
Cavo Tagoo Cave Pool, Greece
For the ultimate in luxury, eat your breakfast off a tray floating on water in one of the iconic cave pool suites at Cavo Tagoo, Santorini. Each cave suite is built around the pool so you can literally swim from (almost) your bed straight outside, and comes with the majestic backdrop of the volcanic caldera and spectacular hillside views, tumbling down into the Mediterranean Sea.