a pool with chairs and a mountain in the background

What makes a world class hotel pool?

Is it the location, atmosphere, size, the colour, the daring infinity edge – or all of the above?

These ridiculously stunning pools are so heavenly, people flock from all around the world, regardless of the price, and after a quick browse, you’ll understand why. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, and while we’ve got 1730 additional ones to go along with these spots, it’s all about the views, so get to scrolling…

a swimming pool with palm trees and a beachIntercontinental Hayman Island Resort, Queensland, Australia

Once known as the One & Only, this newly refurbed Intercontinental is a sea lovers paradise. The resort offers tours directly to the nearby Great Barrier Reef, not that you’d ever need to go anywhere with a pool like this.

How much? Rates start around $400 per night and climb during peak season.

a pool with a palm tree and a city in the backgroundMarina Bay Sands, Singapore

Although some might argue the best views of the Marina Bay Sands are from Gardens by the Bay below, no one has ever complained about the jaw dropping views from the exclusive hotel pool on top of this mega luxury city resort. It’s guests only, so you’ll need to stay to get in!

How much? Rates start under $300 per night, making this one more realistic than some.

a pool with a view of the mountains and blue skyJade Mountain, St Lucia

St Lucia is home to lush vegetation, gorgeous ocean blues and enviable vistas, but there’s no place where it all comes together more than Jade Mountain. This ridiculous treetop resort offers views of the Pitons, with enough ocean in the shot to compare the crystal blue waters from your pool.

How much? No bargains here. Rooms start about $1000 per night, but if you can swing it…

a pool with a body of water and mountains in the backgroundVilla Honegg, Ennetbürgen, Switzerland

Near Lucerne, this stunning five star hotel is a dream by any measure. How often do you have an infinity pool overlooking jagged alps, with a gorgeous lake down below. Hike, walk, bike or just spa it up, you can’t go wrong at this truly world class haven.

How much? Once again – not cheap. Rooms start around $700 per night, but this one is hard to beat.

Viceroy BaliViceroy, Ubud, Bali

You know you’re doing something right when you can swim up to the wet bar and grab a local spiced mojito and then venture back to the infinity edge to watch monkeys fight in the trees across the river. This is paradise in a jungle and you will never forget a single moment.

How much? Rates start around $450, and you can also use points – which really helps.

a pool overlooking the oceanGrace Hotel, Santorini, Greece

Let’s be real – you’re spoiled for choice with an endless array of luxury hotels in Santorini. But how many are this far up, with this jaw dropping a pool, let alone a dining deck below to watch the sun set over the Aegean Sea. Unlike many hotels in the area, this one is fully panoramic. Is there a better place for brag worthy photos or a romantic getaway? Doubt it.

How much? Not for the faint of heart, just like the views, this starts at $1200 per night.

a pool with a building and a mountain in the backgroundThe Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India

Udaipur is a must for any India trip, with stunning sunken palaces and views for days. But if you’re seriously splashing out, and want to live like the Maharajah may have, there’s no better place in town than the Oberoi Udaivilas. Some things need words, others just pictures. This is one of the latter.

How much? Not crazy, crazy. Rooms start at $450 off peak, and Oberoi has an interesting deal which can lower that as well.

a pool with a thatched roof overlooking the oceanSix Senses Yao Noi, Thailand

Find a happier place than the Thai Islands, we dare you. Yao Noi is unlike many resorts, because it’s a living, breathing part of the local community. Eco friendly, exclusive and boasting unparalleled views, this has been the benchmark for Thai luxury for years, and that doesn’t look like it’s changing any time soon.

How much? Rates begin around $500 per night, but you can often find packages which lower that if you’re staying for more than a few days. It’s worth it, 100%.


a pool with a stone building and a stone castle on the edge

Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello, Italy

You’re in Italy, you’re already having the blast of a lifetime with jaw dropping food, wine that makes you want to cry with joy and beautiful countryside – but then you get here. Belmond is just about as good as it gets, and if there was a flagship location, this might be it. Infinity views over the cliffs of Ravello? You’ve got to be kidding, but fortunately they’re not.

How much? You can find intro rates from $745, but expect $1800 and up during warm sunny weather. You’ll need Bond villain money for this, but at least you’ll be in a place fit for one…

a row of red umbrellas next to a poolThe Library, Koh Samui, Thailand

This place is a trip, both literally and figuratively. Koh Samui can be known as a party island, but the refined Library Hotel is a paradise of its own. To stand out even more starkly, the resort contrasts the beautiful blue green ocean waters with a pool that appears bright red, thanks to the floor tiles. It’s not actually red, but it looks awesome.

How much? This getaway feels like a steal, with rooms starting under $250 per night.

a large rock formation in a poolAmangiri, Utah, USA

For those that have been there, done that and seek the epitome of understated luxury, look no further. Amangiri is one of the world’s craziest hotels, not in terms of vibe, but wow factor – yes. It’s the place to leave the world behind and watch the sky turn colours you couldn’t imagine to be real, all from this little slice of desert paradise. No photo does this pool justice.

How much? Like all Aman hotels, this one will cost you. Think $2000 per night, if you can get a room.

a pool with white umbrellas and chairs on the side of a rocky beachHôtel Les Roches Rouges, Côte d’Azur, France

The South of France needs no introduction for its indulgent luxury. For those that love the idea of a beach, but hate actually dipping their toes in the sand – or rather getting the sand out of their toes later, you just can’t go wrong with a little riviera luxury at Hotel Les Roches Rouges.

How much? Compared to others, this is a bargain with rooms from $220 per night. Allez!

a pool with umbrellas and chairs on a deckHotel Tri, Sri Lanka

Tourists may flock to Sri Lanka’s beaches, but Lake Koggala is where it’s at. This swoon worthy luxury hotel is set amidst mangroves and beautiful lakeside living in one of the most culturally fascinating parts of the country. You’re near tea plantations, hillside towns and so much to explore, but all with the serenity of an incredible infinity pool, yoga sessions and five star service.

How much? This may be the best bargain on the list, with rates starting at just $139 per night.

a pool on top of a buildingHotel Indigo, Hong Kong

At first glance, this pool may look like “just another rooftop city pool”, but it’s not. There’s a window in the bottom of the pool, which looks down over 20 stories to the ground below. On one side of the pool it’s all peace and quiet, but if you take a little dip down the other end, you may feel as if you’re about to skydive. It’s surreal, and awesome.

How much? Hotel Indigo offers great direct rates around $210 per night, which is amazing for a solid hotel in Hong Kong. This city ain’t cheap.

a pool with lounge chairs and palm treesKempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea, Jordan

You might feel like you’re floating through life here. It’s hard to tell where the incredible Dead Sea begins and infinity pool ends at this absolutely stunning resort. Jordan remains an under the radar destination, and places like this will have you scratching your head as to why. For r&r, it doesn’t get much better.

How much? With rates occasionally dipping just under $200 per night, this is an awesome value with luxury at every turn.

a pool with lounge chairs in front of a grassy fieldSanctuary Swala Camp, Tanzania

With 12 ultra luxe tents in this exclusive part of the Tarangire National Park, you’ll have more animal neighbours than annoying tourists. For the ultimate thrill, there’s a pool right along the edge of ravine, which allows you to get almost nose to nose with any game passing by, perhaps close enough for an elephant high five. It may be niche, but it’s a very cool niche.

How much? Rates start from $500 per night per person for shorter stays, but the good news is that the longer you stay the less you pay. Hey, a silver lining is better than no silver lining.

a pool with a view of mountains and cityHotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Look left, right, up or down and Rio will blow your mind. How did they ever create such a vibrant city in such a beautiful part of the world? If you’d like to try all those motions from the comfort of a pool, there’s no pool in Rio more enviable than that of the Hotel Fasano, long known as the most sought after hotel in the city. At the corner of Copacabana and Impanema beaches, your hardest decision will be whether to leave the pool or not.

How much? Rates start in the low $300s which is high for Rio, but this is arguably the very best hotel in the city.

a pool on a beach with palm trees and a sunsetOne & Only Reethi Rah, Maldives

Practically speaking, the Maldives is one giant infinity pool. After all, the water is the same colour and the sands are as soft as any man made material. One could pick virtually any top Maldives hotel for the very best pool award, but the private villa pools at the One & Only are tough to beat.

How much? You’ll only need to cough up both kidneys. Rates at this One & Only start around $1500 and tend never to go down either.

a pool with a deck and a deck with a pool and a deck with a pool and a pool with a deck and a pool with a deck and a pool with a pool and a pool withChongwe River House, Zambia

It’s no secret: animals love water. In fact, they need it. So when you go on safari, there are few better places to sit and wait than by the mighty Zambezi. That’s all even more fun if you can do so from a gorgeous pool, against your even more gorgeous luxury safari camp. For a nature fan, this may be the world’s greatest pool. You can quite literally watch animals from bed too…

How much? You rent the entire house, so it fetches at least $3000 per night, but that includes just about everything, including fresh food, guides and more.

a pool with chairs and a mountain in the backgroundTierra Atacama Hotel & Spa, Chile

This picture is worth more than 1,000s of words. When people say “I just want to get lost and escape the world”, this is what they really mean. The Atacama desert rivals the colours, hues and intrigue of the world’s greatest and this desert oasis is just that. Think ultra luxury resort with perfect pool on the edge of it all, where you can watch the sun set over the barren, volcanic terrain.

How much? Off peak rates are around $670 per night, with peak dates fetching over $1500.

Any other hotels deserve a spot?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Just thought of a hotel where I’ve actually been a.d would need a place here on the list
    It’s the W hotel in koh samui Thailand

  2. Fasano in Rio pool is meh to me. Super small and very crowded seating. Emiliano is actually, to me, a bit better as pool areas go.

    Surprised that the new TWA Hotel did not make the list. What a pool for avgeeks!

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