Water is an ever-present feature throughout Udaipur, the ‘City of Lakes’, and the palatial Oberoi Udaivilas hotel is no exception. Guests arrive by boat, and the pool offerings—all four of them—are fit for a maharaja. They take you back to the days of India’s Mughal Dynasty in their design, with timeless views over Lake Pichola by day and flickering torches for an added wow factor at night.
Hotel Sahrai, Fes Morocco
This hotel’s name comes from the Moroccan word for ‘magic’, and within five minutes here, you’ll agree it’s christened perfectly: Sahrai’s swimming pool is spellbinding. Present and past unite in this slick, chic infinity pool, which looks over the ancient Medina of Fes, more than a thousand years old.
Villa Franca, Positano Italy
Postcard-ready Positano has its fair share of incredible pools… But Villa Franca’s steals the show. Taking the topmost position of the historic hilltop hotel, lounging poolside places you by the craggy cliffs of the Amalfi coast, as the endlessly glittering Mediterranean stretches ahead of you. You think it couldn’t get better, and then the bartender places a chilled Aperol Spritz in your hand, and life feels deliciously complete.
Le Meridien Bora Bora, Tahiti
Who needs a pool when your hotel bungalow sits over a brilliantly turquoise lagoon? The lodgings of Le Meridien Bora Bora do exactly that—and guests have access to two manmade infinity pools as well, plus a whirlpool and turtle sanctuary.
There’s plenty of time to test the waters of the infinity pools and natural lagoons on our Tahiti tour, and you’ll meet the turtles too.
Phinda Mountain Lodge, South Africa
Whether you’re paddling around your own private plunge pool or lounging in the lodge’s rim flow pool (which copies the curves of the mountains around you), whatever you do, don’t wear your swimming goggles… You’ll want clear sight of the KwaZulu-Natal landscape, of stars shining as you’ve never seen before, and of Africa’s Big Five—lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalo—who call this savannah their home. You’ll also spot zebras, hippos, cheetahs, and more on our South Africa tour. With Phinda as your base, you’ll take expertly guided rides and walks through the preserve’s seven unique ecosystems, before returning to the lodge for downtime by the pool.
Tabacon, Costa Rica
Tabacon spoils swimmers for choice, starting with five pools (a swim-up bar, thermal water slide, and volcano views included), then incorporating a series of natural thermal river pools, linked by waterfalls and varying in size, temperature and seclusion—all surrounded by lush Costa Rica rainforest.
Aureum Palace, Myanmar
Because the Aureum Palace has a unique position in Myanmar’s Archaeological Preservation Zone, when you’re soaking in its lakeside pool, you’re soaking up sights of Bagan’s ancient temples, accented by rousing sunrises, sizzling sunsets, and often magical hot air balloons. Should you want a change of scenery, you can take yourself off to your very own temple, dedicated to heavenly massages—the spa is a replica of a local 11th-century temple.
Fanari Villas, Santorini
Famed for its panoramic position, Villa Fanari’s pool is part enclosed in a cavern, part out in the open air, gazing out over Santorini’s caldera with its shimmering blue water. The sunsets here are some of the most incredible you’ll ever see, and we save them for the last two nights of our adventure through the Greek Isles.
Grand Hotel Quisisana, Capri
If you did a lap for every year of history surrounding you in the pool at Hotel Quidisana, you’d get quite a workout… Capri’s legendary Piazetta dates back 150 years and the Quidisana sits within its steps. Don’t spend the whole time swimming—the views of the Faraglioni rocks are too incredible to ignore.
Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado, Peru
On top of this pool being perfectly climatized, and having sights of Peru’s Sacred Valley all around, AND staff standing by with fluffy robes and whatever drink or snack your heart desires… Hotel Rio Sagrado has its own baby alpacas. And we can’t think of anyone we’d rather relax by the pool with.
Iguana Crossing, Isla Isabela Galapagos
Peace, quiet, peaks and craters set the scene on Isabela Island—and Iguana Crossing’s pool sits slap bang on the seafront. Swim to the sound of waves, or simply, sit, soak and lose all sense of time watching sea lions snooze on the sand. You’ll hear all about the local sea lions, and volcanic nature if Isla Isabela from your naturalist guide on our Galapagos tours, where Iguana crossing is our fabulous first stop.
Anantara Phuket, Thailand
Pick your Phucket pool paradise: will it be a private pool villa just for you, a gaggle of gorgeous villas sharing a pool for your friends and family, or the whopping great infinity pool that seems to spill on the jungle beachfront? Hint – there’s no wrong decision. We start our Thailand tour in style with a stay here, and a poolside martini (shaken, not stirred) is ideal after a day spent over on Koh Ping Kan (AKA James Bond Island after it served as the location for the movie “The Man with the Golden Gun”).
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
This is the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool, spilling over (or so it feels) the edge of the 57th floor. Order a Singapore Sling from the pool bar and watch sunset melt into night and the city lights flicker to life. Our private tours give you the Singapore experience of a lifetime, and can incorporate any other destinations on your bucket list.
Villa Le Barone, Chianti Italy
On a historic hillside, toes dipped in the infinity pool, let your eyes wander over the rolling Chianti hills, a glass of the region’s signature red wine in hand. You’ll realize why the villa owners, Count and Countess Corso and Jacqueline, say they ‘live in a happy island’. Villa Le Barone is a long-time favorite on our Tuscany & The Cinque Terre. Over dinner, ask them about the Roman ruins excavated right where the pool is…
Les Jardins De La Koutoubia, Marrakech Morocco
The rooftop position of the pool at Les Jardins De La Koutoubia gives you the best views over magical Marrakech and the Koutoubia Mosque. Guests exploring Morocco with us stay here on the Marrakech part of the trip, and after an afternoon in Djemaa el-Fna square—with its exhilarating mix of snake charmers, monkey tamers, storytellers, magicians and other performers—it’s the ideal way to wind down before dinner. Top tip: between pool sessions, pop into the poolside Riad area for one of the hotel’s signature Moroccan mint cocktails.
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Not all pools need architect design and mosaic tiling… The healing luminous water that pours through canyons and corridors of lava rock in Iceland happened by happy accident, and is considered a wonder of the world. We made the Blue Lagoon one of the final stops on our Iceland tour, and you can add a night in one of the hotel’s luxurious suites to extend your stay.
Corinthia Grand, Budapest
Within Budapest, the ‘city of spas’, Corinthia’s Royal Spa has a pool to remember, dating back to 1886 and carefully restored to its original characteristics, with water widely believed to have healing properties.
Hilton Aukland, New Zealand
Now this pool has edge. A glass edge to be precise, so that you can see swimmers all the way from 20 stories below. Guests on our New Zealand tour often opt for an extra night in Aukland, before meeting our guide to begin their tour on an exhilarating America’s Cup yacht.
Borgo Egnazia, Puglia Italy
Not one but THREE of the most elegant outdoor pools in Puglia, and perhaps the whole of Italy. Set in local stone, the water is sparkling blue and when the sun sets over Puglia, it seems to melt right into the water. And Borgo Egnazia doesn’t stop at three, with a Kid’s pool and heated indoor pool bringing the total to an impressive five.
Singular Patagonia, Chile
This eco hotel near Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park has an indoor pool that flows into an outdoor one, giving swimmers uninterrupted views of the Andes Mountains in the distance.
Heure Bleue Palais, Morocco
A panoramic rooftop terrace is what this pool calls home, and it looks out, not only over Essaouira’s beach to the Atlantic, but also across the cinematic ancient city, which played the role of Astapor in Game of Thrones.
Anantara Golden Triangle, Thailand
While local elephants take their morning bath in the river, have a dip in Anantara’s stunning pool and watch the sun rise where northern Thailand meets Myanmar and Laos. When you stay here with Classic Journeys, your local guide will introduce you to conservationists working to protect Thailand’s elephants, as well as artisans who’ll show you the arts of silk weaving and pottery.
Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, Cambodia
One of the largest swimming pools in Siem Reap, if not Cambodia, the design of this riveting Raffles pool comes from the ancient bathing pools of Angkor’s Khmer Kings. Grand Hotel d’Angkor serves as the grand finale on our Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia tour. As tempting as a morning swim will be, it’s worth rising before the sun one day to witness Angkor Wat at daybreak.
Las Lagunas, Guatemala
Nature wins when it comes to this entry, hidden in the heart of the Maya jungle—the pool was designed to fit around a majestic hardwood pucte tree and lush greenery abounds. There are hints of the area’s history too—the surrounding stonework, most evident in the pool bar (don’t miss their mojitos at sunset) is designed to mimic the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tikal, which you’ll explore up close and personal with your local guide on our Belize and Guatemala tour.
Jasper Park Lodge, Canada
Backstroke only: When your heated outdoor pool, surrounded by stunning National Parkland, reflects the snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies, any other style of swimming and you’re surely missing out. After a swim and dinner, you may want to head back out into the night. You’re in the world’s largest accessible Dark Sky Preserve – an amazing opportunity to look up and rediscover the wonders of the star-filled night.