The World's Most Jaw-Dropping Pool Views
It’s that time of year again: the bleak, post-holiday stretch of winter that seems to drag on forever. While the sun may not be shining where you are, remember: It is out there somewhere—and you only have to hop on an airplane to find it. It helps to book a hotel with a view, or better still, book a hotel with a pool with a view. Because there’s no better cue for the winter blues than an azure sky reflected in clear, calm water. Here is our pick of the world’s most scenic places to swim, from a resort in Zimbabwe where you can watch herds of zebra gather around the water’s edge, to a pool where you can look out over Chile’s Atacama Desert and the Andes beyond while doing your laps.
Tierra Atacama, Chile
There’s nothing as blissful as taking a swim while looking out over a silent, almost lunar desert landscape. One of our favorite spots to do this is Chile’s Atacama Desert, where the weather is always stunning, with barely a drop of rain. The infinity pool at Tierra Atacama is beautifully simple, giving the impression that the water flows straight off into the red desert. Watching the peaks of the Chilean Andes become lit up by the rose-gold hues of early evening makes it even harder to get out of the water.
Four Seasons, Langkawi
If you’re looking for a dose of quintessential Asian hospitality in a sublimely tranquil setting, look no further than the Four Seasons Langkawi in Malaysia. The resort is a world away from touristy Phuket in Thailand, but offers the same endless white beaches, limestone rock formations and hidden mangrove forests—as well as two stunning pools with glistening views of the Andaman Sea.
Injidup Spa Retreat, Margaret River, Australia
Far away from the crowded beaches of East Australia, Injidup Spa Retreat looks out over the empty white sands where the Pacific meets the Indian Ocean. On the coast of Margaret River, one of the most renowned wine regions in Australia, the hotel has 10 villas, each with their own plunge pool, from where you can watch dolphins and humpback and blue whales frolic in the deep blue ocean.
Camp Amalinda, Zimbabwe
The safari’s not over at Camp Amalinda—even after you’re back at camp. Plunge into the pool after a long day of wildlife watching, and you can observe nearby zebras as you bob up and down in the water. The camp is located in a particularly peaceful corner of Zimbabwe, not far from the grave of Cecile Rhodes, so it makes a great spot to take in a safari, while also immersing yourself in the fascinating history of this country. Before or after your swim, that is.
Hidden in the Utah desert near Lake Powell, the pool at Amangiri curves around a spectacular sandstone monolith. It’s said the rock imbues the water with a special healing energy, and when you look up, there’s nothing but above you but the pure, intense sky of the Navajo desert.
Here in the Gulf of Thailand, it’s hard to tell where the infinity pool ends and the sea begins. When you’re adrift in this private island resort’s main pool, you’ll probably find yourself wondering if it really matters, anyway. You’ll almost certainly have the water to yourself, since most guests have private pools in their villa, all looking over the glassy ocean surrounding the islands of Koh Rong.
Four Seasons, Bora Bora
The Bora Bora lagoon may well be the most famous and desirable stretch of ocean in the world. To match the numerous natural swimming options on offer, Four Seasons Bora Bora has created stunning over-water bungalows with their own plunge pools, in addition to a huge, wave-shaped pool with views of Mount Otemanu and the lagoon, where sea turtles, stingrays and dolphins are a common sight.
Delaire Graff, Winelands, South Africa
At this high-end property near Stellenbosch, you can count the different grape varieties growing in the vineyard in front of your private pool as you sip from an icy glass of Sauvignon Blanc. The Delaire Graff Estate, set on the highest crest along the stunning Helshoogte Mountain Pass, is also the perfect place to watch the sun set over South Africa’s scenic winelands.
At this secluded resort on Vietnam’s south-central coast, your only dilemma will be which pool with a view to choose from. There’s the Cliff Pool, next to the Central Pavilion, which looks out over East Sea, or the one at the Beach Club, next to the white-sand beach of Vinh Hy Bay. For the ultimate, private swim with a view, choose a pavilion or villa with its own pool. No matter where you decide to swim, you’ll have amazing views of Nui Chua National Park, a rugged nature reserve famous for its rare black bears.