Some hotels focus on raw numbers, boasting the “largest pool in [fill in Caribbean island here]” or “the most pools in the western hemisphere.” But there’s an art — a craft even — to the perfect hotel pool. From an infinity pool high above Santorini to the world’s largest outdoor pool in Chile to a two-story waterhole deep in the rainforests of Bali, here are a few of the world’s sexiest, plunge-worthy, and all-around best hotel pools.
San Alfonso del Mar (Chile)
Even if resorts aren’t your thing, Chile’s San Alfonso del Mar is a worthy stop if only to tick the “I visited the world’s largest outdoor pool” box off your bucket list. The sheer scale of the resort’s pool is mind-boggling, bordering on obscene. By the numbers, it spans 20 acres and holds 66 million gallons of water. Not surprisingly, it’s officially the world’s largest of its kind according to Guinness — six times larger than its nearest competitor. At 115 feet deep, it’s also the deepest. It’s all the more curious, however, given it’s located just feet from the Pacific Ocean (another of the world’s largest pools which, incidentally, provides the water that fills the pool).
The SkyPark at the Marina Bay Sands (Singapore)
Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands is no doubt the city’s swankiest hotel. So, it’s only fitting the on-site pool is second to none. Located in the hotel’s SkyPark, the pool is the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool. From 57 stories above Singapore’s ultra-modern skyline, the views are incredible. Poolside drink service starts at 7 a.m. daily, however, sipping a glass of Champagne at sunset is no doubt the best way to experience it all.
The Standard (Los Angeles)
The Standard in LA is a picture-perfect icon of Mid-century Modern architecture. The 207-room hotel has long been one of the city’s swankiest thanks to a steady celebrity clientele. The large guest rooms, 24/7 brasserie, ping-pong bar, and rooftop German-style beer garden are all noteworthy. But, the property’s pièce de résistance is the heated rooftop pool which offers some of the best, panoramic views in the heart of the city. The surrounding deck is like a nightclub unto itself with nightly DJs, a dance floor, and 10-person poolside pods with waterbeds.
Oberoi Udaivillas (Udaipur, India)
To many, the chic Oberoi Udaivillas of Udaipur might feel like a movie set. The hotel is the height of Indian luxury. A centuries-old, traditional Mewari palace serves as the backdrop — a winding, 50-acre labyrinth of sand-colored arches and domes surrounded by intentionally overgrown bougainvillea and verdant landscaping. But, the hotel’s pool is the real highlight. With the palace at your back, the pool looks out over perfectly manicured gardens and India’s beautiful Lake Pichola. If you’d rather not swim with the riff-raff, the 2,650-square-foot Kohinoor Suite boasts a spacious terrace with a private pool and alfresco dining.
Grace Hotel Santorini (Greece)
If there’s one money shot of the Greek island of Santorini, it’s the photo of Grace Hotel Santorini’s stunning infinity pool. Perched high in the island’s famous hills, the pool offers jaw-dropping, panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. The hotel’s outdoor terrace is arguably the island’s most photographed destination and the ideal spot for grabbing a well-crafted cocktail from the onsite professional mixologists.
Hanging Gardens Ubud (Indonesia)
In the rainforests of central Bali — the epicenter of the island’s cultural, spiritual, and fine art roots — the seven-star Hanging Gardens Ubud offers something completely different. The luxury resort’s two-story infinity pool overlooks some of the most serene and breathtaking scenery in all of Indonesia. If the bevy of sunbeds surrounding the main pool isn’t enough, every room at this over-the-top property boasts a private plunge pool as well.
Palms Casino Resort (USA)
By the numbers, the Palms Fantasy Tower Sky Villa is stunning even by Vegas standards: 6,100 square feet of living space, 24-hour butler service, a dry sauna, a rotating king bed, a dozen big-screen TVs, and a private, blacked-out Escalade at your beck and call. But its private pool is what pushes this “room” (if you can call it that) over the top. The unique, cantilevered design extends beyond the building’s upper floors with glass-enclosed walls that provide unrestricted views of the famous Vegas Strip.
Hotel Villa Mahal (Turkey)
Of course, sometimes the sexiest design is the simplest one. Situated along Turkey’s popular Lycian coast, Hotel Villa Mahal offers a 55-foot infinity pool that strips away any extraneous architectural flourishes. Instead, the minimalist design allows for complete focus on the stunning backdrop of Kalkan Bay — one of the most beautiful and tranquil corners of the eastern Mediterranean. It’s no surprise that the hotel has several times been ranked among the most romantic in Europe.
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