• Rooftop Pool at Ohla Hotel in Barcelona, Spain

    Best Hotel Pools Around the Globe

    <h2>7 Best Hotel Pools for Whiling Away an Afternoon</h2>   <p>It’s no secret that we love walking tours. Every one of our Classic Journeys trips includes walking trips that get us out into the countryside of Provence or immersed in the culture of Cuba or rambling along the cobblestone streets of Tuscany. And while we enjoy this type of travel so much, we also enjoy some downtime. And what better way to while away an afternoon than lounging by an amazing pool with picturesque views. Here are some of our favorites:<br><br><img alt="Desert Pearl Inn" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002ox9" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Desert Pearl Inn, Springdale, Utah</b><br> </p> <p>After a day <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/?utm_campaign=best-hotel-pools&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">exploring Zion</a>, there’s no better place to watch the sun set over the amazing rock formations than relaxing in the pool at the Desert Pearl Inn. The large, free-form pool is surrounded by a flagstone pool deck dotted with lounge chairs and umbrellas. Soak tired muscles in the hot tub while enjoying the trickle of the nearby waterfall. Lush, green vegetation encases the entire area — a beautiful contrast to the red rock cliffs surrounding the inn.<br><br><img alt="Ohla Barcelona" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oxE" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Ohla Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain</b><br> </p> <p>Situated <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/barcelona-tours/?utm_campaign=best-hotel-pools&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">right in the heart of Barcelona</a>, the Ohla Barcelona is a modern marvel masked behind a grand and exquisite neoclassical façade. The “chill-out” terrace, as they call it, offers stunning views of the city with a glass-sided pool perched between an upper sunning deck and lower seating area filled with two-tops — perfect for watching a sunset, cocktail in hand.<br><br><img alt="Hotel Lone" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oxJ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Hotel Lone, Rovinj, Croatia</b><br> </p> <p>At Hotel Lone, you can choose your pool — indoors or out. Indoors you can still enjoy the view of the gardens thanks to the glass wall enclosure. If you opt for al fresco, which we highly recommend, you’ll <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia-tours/?utm_campaign=best-hotel-pools&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">enjoy views of the protected Zlatni rt forest park.</a> The area includes a sun bathing terraces (six levels!), a restaurant, a pool bar and a summer stage. The pool complex itself includes the relax pool, aqua-fun pool and a children’s pool with whirlpools, waterfalls, geysers and a swimming track — all filled with seawater. Be sure to enjoy the hydro-massage chairs available in both pools. If you’re lucky enough to stay in a Jazz Room, you’ll enjoy your own private infinity pool massage bathtub on the outside edge of you room’s patio — spectacular!<br><br><img alt="Jasper Park Lodge" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oxO" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Jasper, Alberta, Canada</b><br> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada-tours/?utm_campaign=best-hotel-pools&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">Exploring the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies is a jaw-dropping experience.</a> With the opportunity to see grizzly bears, moose, caribou and more, combined with the awe-inspiring vistas, your senses will be overwhelmed. What better way than to relax and reflect on everything you’ve experienced than poolside under the star-filled night sky. On the shores of Lac Beauvert, you’re in the world’s largest Dark Sky Preserve.<br><br><img alt="Hotel Sahrai" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oxT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Hotel Sahrai, Fez, Morocco</b><br> </p> <p>Enjoy <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/?utm_campaign=best-hotel-pools&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">majestic views of Fez and the surrounding</a> area while soaking in the infinity pool at Hotel Sahrai on its magical hillside location. Stretch out in the afternoon sun on a daybed atop the teak pool deck. Hungry after a long day exploring the city? Grab a snack and refreshing drink from the poolside Arcades restaurant.<br><br><img alt="La Vista Boutique" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oxY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>La Vista Boutique Hotel &amp; Spa, Kusadasi, Turkey</b><br> </p> <p>It’s an endless blue vista from this luxury <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/turkey-tours/?utm_campaign=best-hotel-pools&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">infinity pool perched on the edge of the Aegean Sea</a> at the La Vista Hotel. Pick your lounge chair or sit at one of the many tables below the waterfall edge of the pool — both maximize this spectacular view. Be sure to catch a sunset and watch the cruise ships sail out to sea knowing you’ve got the best seat in the house.<br><br><img alt="Furama Resort" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oxd" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Furama Resort Danang, Da Nang City, Vietnam</b><br> </p> <p>You might be mingling with royalty, presidents and movie starts when you stay at Furama Resort Danang, a five-star favorite of the jetsetters. But all of this will fade away as you relax in the huge pool area bedecked with palm trees. The <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/indochina-tours/?utm_campaign=best-hotel-pools&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">infinity edge overlooks China Beach and out onto the East Vietnam Sea</a>. Even more enticing — check out the swimming lagoon. It’s like taking a swim through the jungle — overgrown with palms and other jungle plants — all with a nice tile blue bottom and clean, refreshing water.</p>

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  • Gardens at Villa Rufolo in Ravello, Italy

    4 Great Garden Walking Tours

    <h2>A stroll through an ancient garden relaxes the soul and nourishes the senses. </h2> <br><img alt="Italian Lakes garden" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lM&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rPj" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p>We love a good walking vacation. It’s the best way to immerse yourself into the life and culture of a new destination. It’s also the best way to experience a beautiful garden — and we’ve seen many a beautiful garden. Here are four of our favorite garden walking tours:</p> <p><b>Villa Rufolo, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/?utm_campaign=4-garden-walking-tours&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">Ravello, Italy</a></b><br><br>Overlooking Piazza Vescovado and with <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/?utm_campaign=4-garden-walking-tours&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">magnificent views to the Bay of Salerno, Villa Rufolo is the cultural and historical center of Ravello</a>. Built by a wealthy merchant in the 13th century, the villa has been memorialized in literary works such as “Decameron,” by Italian renaissance author, Boccaccio. It’s storied past includes banquets for King Robert II of Naples and other Norman royalty and legends of hidden treasures.</p> <p>In 1851, Sir Francis Neville Reid, a Scottish botanist, fell in love with the property despite its state of disrepair and neglect at the time. He purchased the estate and began an extensive renovation on the property including the gardens.</p> <p>Know as the “Garden of the Soul,” <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/?utm_campaign=4-garden-walking-tours&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">the garden of Villa Rufolo is bi-level with ancient walls</a> nearly hidden by cypress and lime trees. Reid stocked the garden with a variety of exotic plant species, which remain today. One such species is the Mediterranean cypress or pencil pine, which appears to originate from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. It was originally imported by the Phoenicians for its highly ornamental pyramidal form.</p> <p>Another beautiful plant in the gardens is the creeping or climbing fig. It originates in south-eastern Asia, is a vigorous climber with small, dark green heart-shaped leaves. Its aerial roots adhere to walls.</p> <p>The large-leaved lime or linden, is a deciduous tree with heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. They produce fragrant whitish-yellow flowers in May and June, arranged in drooping clusters of two or more hermaphrodite flowers.</p> <p>Today, the <a href="http://www.villarufolo.it/" target="_blank">magical gardens and villa grounds</a> are open to the public year-round.<br><br><b>Gardens of Château de Marquessac, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/?utm_campaign=4-garden-walking-tours&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">Dordogne region, France</a></b><br><br><img alt="Gardens of Château de Marquessac" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lM&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rQ3" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Step into the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/?utm_campaign=4-garden-walking-tours&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">otherworldly landscape of the Gardens of Château de Marquessac</a>, designed by a student of André Le Notre, the famous designer behind the gardens of the Château de Versailles. The <a href="http://marqueyssac.com/" target="_blank">formal French-style garden</a> is up-ended — almost becomes a playful version of itself — with dramatic swirls and rounds. The garden is comprised of rosemary, santoline and 150,000 pruned box trees.<br> </p> <p>Once you recover from the wonder of this sight, you’ll notice the garden’s <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/?utm_campaign=4-garden-walking-tours&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">prominent cliff-side position overlooking the Dordogne River</a>. You’ll see four of the famed castles of the area, including <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/?utm_campaign=4-garden-walking-tours&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">Castelnaud, Beynac and Fayrac.</a></p> <p><b>Botanical Garden, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/?utm_campaign=4-garden-walking-tours&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">Cienfuegos, Cuba</a></b><br><br>An 1899 meeting between an American sugar planter in Cuba and two Harvard professors established The Harvard Botanic Station for Tropical Research and Sugar Cane Investigation in Cienfuegos, Cuba.</p> <p>In 1920, the ties between the garden and Harvard became more formal with a large endowment provided by the sugar cane farmer and the recognition of the garden as part of the university. Harvard Biological Laboratory was constructed at the garden four years later.</p> <p>During the 1930s, the garden reached its peak of beauty and diversity as a tropical arboretum. It was used by professors, students and visiting fellows to study tropical botany. Local citizens made up the grounds crew. With the Cuban revolution in 1959 and later the U.S. embargo American involvement was restricted and Harvard terminated its support. Today garden is run by the Cuban government and is both a <a href="http://www.uh.cu/centros/jbn/" target="_blank">National Monument and a popular tourist destination</a>.</p> <p>More than 2,000 species of plants thrive in this amazing 230-acre expanse in the gently rolling countryside just outside Cienfuegos. It’s the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/?utm_campaign=4-garden-walking-tours&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">only plot on earth where you can see 280 kinds of palms </a>in a single setting. It’s also a marvelous place to spot hummingbirds, trogons and other birds.<br><br><b>Annapolis Royal’s Historic Gardens, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/novascotia/?utm_campaign=4-garden-walking-tours&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia</a></b><br><br><img alt="Apple orchard" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lM&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rQ8" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>This 17-acre paradise, overlooking a tidal river valley, marks the first European settlement in North America. It’s <a href="http://www.historicgardens.com/" target="_blank">divided into themed areas</a> that tell the story of the area’s local history from a horticultural perspective of gardening methods and designs.<br> </p> <p>La Maison acadienne design is based on diary notes from the Acadian era and includes an orchard and willow hedge. It includes the only archeologically authenticated replica of a pre-deportation Acadian dwelling in the Maritime region — a 1671 time period when Port-Royal (later Annapolis Royal) was the center of Acadie.</p> <p>Herbs, flowers and heritage 18th-century apple trees fill the Governor’s Garden. They are arranged according to the traditions of the mif-1700s period, when <a href="http://www.historicgardens.com/" target="_blank">Annapolis Royal was the capital of Nova Scotia, then under British rule</a>.</p> <p>Other gardens include more than 3000 brightly colored annuals; hydrangea and day lilies; a rock garden; a heather bed and a rose garden with more than 270 cultivars.</p>

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  • Fjaerland Fjord, Norway

    A Summer Retreat in Norway

    <h2>Add color to your summer with picturesque villages and wildflower meadows</h2> <p><br>You might be surprised by the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway/?utm_campaign=summer-retreat-norway&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">variety of activities and amazing sights you’ll experience in Norway</a>. Imagine gliding through the serene blue waters of fjords on a private boat, walking on a glacier and exploring a Viking Ship museum.</p> <p>Visit remote villages, wander through a 12th-century church perched high above the water, meet fishmongers at a bustling market, ride a funicular to the top of a mountain for a stroll and scenic views.</p> <p><img alt="Norwegian village" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lO&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002lNH" style="height: 250px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p>Of course, no <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway/?utm_campaign=summer-retreat-norway&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">trip to Norway would be complete without a ride on the famous Flåm Railway</a> — known for being one of the most spectacular train rides in the world. You’ll marvel at the views of snow-capped mountains, rushing waterfalls and sleepy green meadows followed by a boat trip that reveals grazing goats scattered about the countryside farms and seals sunning themselves on rocks at the water’s edge.</p> <p>At every turn, Norway will surprise you with its hidden gems, sweeping vistas and hardy, hospitable locals. You’ll dine on fresh fish, top off your meal with tart lingonberries and sample a variety of local specialties. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/reservations/?utm_campaign=summer-retreat-norway&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">Take a chance on a last-minute adventure — join our July trip, you’ll be delighted you did!</a></p>

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