• 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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  • Family kayaking

    Five Favorite Family Kayaking Trips

    <h2>Nothing says <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/family/?utm_campaign=family-kayaking-trip&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">summer vacation like a family kayaking trip</a>. If you love the water, but want a little more from your vacation, consider a trip with a kayaking component as part of a grander experience.</h2>   <p>Here are five <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/family/?utm_campaign=family-kayaking-trip&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">family vacation destinations where you can immerse yourself in the culture</a> and get a bit of paddle time:<br><br><b>Costa Rica</b><br><br><img alt="Kayaking in Coast Rica" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002r0F" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p>   <p>Probably the first place that comes to mind when you think of a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costaricafamily/?utm_campaign=family-kayaking-trip&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">family kayaking trip is Costa Rica</a> —us, too! (Along with all kinds of other multisport adventures such as ziplining, snorkeling and whitewater rafting.)  Kayaking in a Costa Rican tidal estuary amid the mangrove trees is scenic and serene. You’re likely to spot egrets, anteaters and basiliscus lizards. And you might even gain an extra passenger on your craft — one of the many howler monkeys living in the surrounding trees.</p> <p><b>Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia</b><br><br><img alt="Kayaking in Vietnam" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002r0K" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/?utm_campaign=family-kayaking-trip&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">Paddling around the serene waters of Halong Bay is magical</a>. The towering limestone islands jut out of the emerald waters in such a way, you wonder if they are real. While taking in this scenery is breathtaking, the way you got here is pretty cool, too.  Imagine being aboard a luxury junk boat skimming across the bay as you get a lesson in making spring rolls from a professional chef.</p> <p><b>Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast</b><br><br><img alt="Kayaking in Croatia" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rEv" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>Sometimes we enjoy kayaking as a means to an end. And nowhere is that more true than in Croatia. But an amazing “means” it is as you <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatiafamily/?utm_campaign=family-kayaking-trip&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">paddle calm waters from the coast to Lokrum Island</a>. Skirt the shoreline to see many caves and beautiful rock beaches. And don’t forget to look down — the water here is clear to a depth of 30 feet or more. Perfect for an afternoon swim. Once you step on land, this uninhabited island is home to a nature reserve, botanical gardens and a fortress. As you make your way to the island’s private lake, you’re likely to come face-to-beak with a peacock who will happily show off for you.<br><br><b>Provence</b><br><br><img alt="Kayaking in Provence" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002r0U" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>The Pont-du-Gard is as much a technical masterpiece as it is a beautiful marker of Roman history and architecture. Built more than 2,000 years ago, the Roman aqueduct is more than 900 feet long and nearly 165 feet high. Despite those numbers, it’s hard to imagine the enormity of it until you are paddling through its archways on the Gardon River. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provencefamily/?utm_campaign=family-kayaking-trip&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">Enjoy a picnic on the banks and spend the afternoon paddling and exploring this lovely destination in southern France.</a></p> <p><b>The Galápagos Islands</b><br><br><img alt="Kayaking in the Galapagos" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002r0Z" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>Another all-time favorite on the list of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ecuadorfamily/?utm_campaign=family-kayaking-trip&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">family kayaking trip destinations is the Galápagos Islands</a>. Visit the northern coast of San Cristóbal Island for calm-water kayaking — the most movement you’ll encounter here is from the baby sea lions playing and swimming alongside your kayak. Take a break from paddling to snorkel with prehistoric-looking marine iguanas. You’ll spot giant mantas, sea turtles and, of course, loads of fish. But the highlight of this show is the baby sea lions that will swim up, give you a kiss and then they’re off again.</p>

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  • Teenager and Guide riding an elephant

    Family Vacation: Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia

    <p>During our first <b><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/family/?utm_campaign=family-vacation-vietnam-laos-cambodia&amp;utm_source=sojurn-blog&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">family vacation</a></b> to Indochina, we all fell in love with Laos … and especially with Luang Prabang. Earlier in the week, we’d plunged into the bustle and excitement of Saigon. For the two days just before, we had enjoyed the deep quiet of life on a luxury junk in Halong Bay. In Luang Prabang, we split the difference. Tucked onto the peninsula where the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers meet, this unexpected Laotian town was lively, but with plenty of mellow, too.</p> <h3><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/itineraries/?utm_campaign=family-vacation-vietnam-laos-cambodia&amp;utm_source=sojurn-blog&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">DOWNLOAD A COMPLETE ITINERARY FOR YOUR FAMILY VACATION TO VIETNAM, LAOS AND CAMBODIA!</a></h3> <p>When I rave about Luang Prabang, I usually start with the elephants, even though they live a few miles out of town at a 2,000-acre sanctuary on the banks of the Nam Khan. The Lao are great conservationists, and their efforts to protect the elephants are impressive. But the invitation to climb onto their leathery necks was the moment we’d been waiting for. When our <i>mahouts</i> (elephant drivers) asked if we’d like to give our charges a bath, we agreed instantly, thinking it would involve lathering them up and hosing them down as we’ve seen at the San Diego Zoo. Not exactly. We were a bit surprised and totally delighted when bathtime turned out to involve sitting astride while they submerged themselves (and much of us) in the middle of the river.<br><br><img alt="Guests in front of Angkor Wat" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7m0&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002okj" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>Of course, we choose our <b>family vacation</b>destination with full immersion in mind, and we wouldn’t have missed it for anything. But it was only the beginning. Long after we dried out, we used our time in <a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnamfamily/?utm_campaign=family-vacation-vietnam-laos-cambodia&amp;utm_source=sojurn-blog&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">Luang Prabang</a> to experience Laotian culture in other ways. One great advantage — the town is compact. Our hotel was the former residence of the Prime Minister of Laos, right in the heart of it all. It was a great spot to retreat for a dip in the pool or a rest before heading out for the next foray — a process that can easily start early in the morning and go right into the night.</p> <p>Strolling the streets with our expert local guide, Toubee, we appreciated the easy-going vibe. Pink frangipani blossoms were everywhere. We fell easily into the habit of returning a <i>sabaidee</i> — the standard greeting with palms pressed together — that everyone offers you. As we walked, banyan trees, countless statues of Buddha and grand colonial homes all fought for attention, and somehow all managed to fit right together.</p> <p>Into his teens, Toubee was a novice Buddhist monk, a common form of training for Lao boys. He recommended — and we happily agreed — to let him show us the centuries-old, alms-giving ceremony that occurs daily. It’s an early morning event and well worth it. (A jolt of local coffee before or after helps.) Hundreds of Buddhist monks from the town’s temples walk barefoot, single-file through the streets. The locals kneel at the side of the road and drop bits of sticky rice into the alms bowls that the monks carry. When Toubee asked if we’d like to participate, we were reluctant at first. But he provided us each with a mat, a basket of rice and a sash to cover our shoulders, as well as instructions on how to offer alms respectfully.<br><br><img alt="alms-giving ceremony" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7m0&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oko" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>Afterward, you should visit the morning market. Yes, you’ll see things that you won’t ever spot at home. (Fried cicadas and live frogs, anyone?) But for us, that was the point. You don’t have to buy your lunch there, but you do get a really amazing look into local life. The Night Market is just as revealing but completely different. Starting at about 5 p.m., hundreds of vendors fill Sisavangvong Road with tents where they sell handicrafts from beautiful embroidered silk to silver bracelets, handbags to intricate woodcarvings and much more. It’s a friendly, low-pressure setting, and the prices are low. Haggle if you like, but for us, a lot of the pleasure was in the fact that the purchases we made were supporting local families and craftspeople.</p> <p>There are plenty of fantastic reasons to go to Indochina. You need to see Angkor Wat, explore the rice-paddy villages near Danang and chill out on China Beach. But be sure to add Luang Prabang to your <b>family vacation</b> bucket list, too. It’s a little shard of paradise that offers you a deep dive into the laid-back personality and rich culture of Laos. Elephants included.</p>

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