In case you hadn’t noticed, hotel pools have moved up a notch from the kinds of places we once learned to doggy paddle, and have become the featured item, the designer mint on the pillow in a hotel’s amenity kit. It’s good to be a pool these days. Sparing no expense, we travelled the globe to find you the very best of them. It was no picnic, but work is work and someone has to step up to the plate. These are the pools that show up in those dreams you’ve been having. The ones where Kate Moss emerges from the water dripping with sexiness, and who for some reason is unable to keep her hands off you. They brush up against lush jungle, and reach across towering cityscapes. Pools whose edges seem to disappear into their surroundings like they’re not even there. Without exception, they look nothing like any pool we ever swam in as kids. The 20 best hotel pools in the world look a little something like this:

 

UBUD HANGING GARDENS, BALI

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It’s made from solidified volcanic ash and has been dubbed the “most amazing pool in the world.” And who’s to argue? Arriving here is like getting back to the hotel on your wedding night and popping the buttons on your bride’s dress. You could spend hours moving from one spot to another, each more thrilling than the last. It’s absurdly beautiful, right up to the strip of jungle at the edge of the pool. [Details]

 

MARINA BAY SANDS HOTEL, SINGAPORE

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The iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel dominates the Singapore skyline. It looks like someone landed a very big skateboard on top of three skyscrapers. 57 floors up is the Skypark. The infinity pool spans almost the whole length, some 500 feet of Windex disappearing into the skyline, giving the impression that you could easily swim off the edge. You can’t. [Details]

 

PARESA RESORT, PHUKET, THAILAND

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The infinity pool at the Paresa resort is lit by fiber optics, and creates the effect of swimming in a starlit sky. It’s like taking a dip in the deep end of Stephen Hawking’s brainwaves. If, by some chance, the idyllic views across the Andaman sea piss you off, just pop on over to the energy flotation pool – Paresa’s other pool – and hang around near the quartz crystal obelisk. It’s been said to soften negative energy. Once your negative energy is sufficiently pliant, you’ll never want to leave, which will instill in you the most often-heard phrase at Paresa: “Phuket, we have to go home tomorrow.” [Details]

 

SAN ALFONSO DEL MAR, CHILE

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What’s more than a kilometer in length, covers 20 acres, has sailboats, and looks like an ocean? If you answered the pool at the San Alfonso del Mar Resort, you’d be right. Hardly surprising, this is the largest outdoor pool in the world. The original intention was to build an infinity pool. Then someone said, “screw the illusion of infinity, we’ll just make it infinite.” The pool is so big it has a pool in it. From the right angle it looks like just more of the Pacific. You can go kayaking here, or try your hand at windsurfing. [Details]

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HOTEL COSTA DEI FIORI, SARDINIA

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On the island of Sardinia somewhere between the coastlines of France and Italy lies the infinity pool at the Costa dei Fiori. It’s prime seat panoramic view across the Mediterranean. Like an Atlanta NASCAR finish. Only slower. Like really a lot slower. [Details]

 

THE ADDRESS, DUBAI

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We know wedding cakes with fewer tiers than the pool at The Address in downtown Dubai. It’s a five-tiered pool overlooking lakes and fountains and is so close to the Burj Khalifa you have to stand on your head to see it. This is an urban setting. The only way it could get more urban is if the water in the pool was made of concrete. [Details]

 

CAMBRIAN HOTEL, SWITZERLAND

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There are pools and there are outdoor pools, and then there’s the outdoor infinity pool at the Cambrian Hotel, located just minutes from the Alpine ski resort of Adelboden. Set amongst landscape more dramatic than the Kardashians, this is man-in-his-element outdoors, the kind of chest-beating, north-face-of-the-Eiger outdoors that separates men from men. Are you man enough for the Cambrian? [Details]

 

GOLDEN TRIANGLE, THAILAND

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Not just a pretty pool, The Golden Triangle Resort is also an elephant camp. You can go elephant trekking here, and mahout training – that’s elephant driving to you. So wind down the windows, pull back the lid, and take an elephant out for a spin. [Details]

QASR AL SARAB, ABU DHABI

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The Empty Quarter Desert has been described as beautiful, harsh, and epic. Dropped down into the desert, the freeform pool at Qasr Al Sarab takes out the harsh out, and lights up at night like a hotel in a desert. Epic. [Details]

 

KANDALAMA HOTEL, SRI LANKA

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Even the edge of the pool’s seems to have fallen off the edge of the pool at Kandalama. You’ll find it in the lake, where it blends without a ripple into its surroundings. In the evenings, a traditional flautist from the village comes to the pool and plays. [Details]

 

CONRAD MALDIVES, RANGALI ISLAND

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Voted best hotel in the world twice. At least. The only way to get here is by seaplane.
It’s a diver’s paradise, full of manta rays, dolphin, and vibrant living coral. Not a diver? No worries. There’s an underwater restaurant, and a mini submarine to get you down to the reef. [Details]

 

GOLDEN NUGGET, LAS VEGAS

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The pools in Bali and the Maldives may be lovingly placed among the tranquil waters and jungle settings of the world’s most romantic love spots, but there’s no shark slide. For that you need The Tank at the Golden Nugget, a 30 foot slide through a tank of sharks and other sea creatures, all out to kill you if they get the chance. [Details]

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HOTEL VILLA MAHAL, TURKEY

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The impression at Villa Mahal is that everything is flowing. The Jacuzzi into the pool, the pool into the sky, the sky into the Turkish Mediterranean waters. They try to tell you it’s an illusion, but we know better. [Details]

 

INTERCONTINENTAL, DUBAI – FESTIVAL CITY

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The 80 foot pool extends out over the street, from where you can see the Burj Khalifa. (let’s end this now. If you’re in Dubai – or somewhere near Dubai – you can see the Burj Khalifa). From below, the glass-bottomed pool means you can also be seen. So make sure to pack your best swimsuit. Unless you want to draw a crowd. [Details]

 

LIBRARY HOTEL, THAILAND

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The spectacular Red Pool at The Library looks like one of the guests just had a fight with a Great White, and didn’t win. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. Mosaic tiles of oranges, yellows and reds are the cause, and combined they create a pool unique in color and style, and designed to dazzle. [Details]

 

HOTEL CARUSO, ITALY

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Set in the cliffs at the high point above the town of Ravello on Italy’s Amalfi coast, the elliptical pool at the 11th century Caruso floats among clouds and is anything but 11th century. On a clear day you can look down at the beaches and watch hot Italian women wearing practically nothing. Not you fool, you’re on your honeymoon. [Details]

 

JADE MOUNTAIN, ST. LUCIA

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The pools at Jade Mountain in the Eastern Caribbean Sea are made of unique, colored glass tiles designed specifically for the resort. Each suite at Jade Mountain has its own pool, and each pool is designed in the same color scheme as the room. The result is a perfect symbiosis, where room and pool become one, and move in together. [Details]

 

SANCTUARY RESORT, PARADISE VALLEY

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With names like Camelback Mountain and Paradise Valley, it’s hard to go wrong at this luxury resort and spa. The best of two worlds is offered here. Pampered luxury at the spa and poolside, the rugged Arizona desert just a step beyond. [Details]

 

INTERCONTINENTAL, HONG KONG

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The open-air infinity pool overlooking Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour and skyline gives you a front row seat to one of the world’s most exciting cities. For nighttime dips alongside a dramatic city landscape, this one is hard to beat. [Details]

 

SINGITA SASAKWA LODGE, TANZANIA

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The infinity pool at Sasakwa Lodge overlooks a wide and awe-inspiring swathe of Northern Tanzania. Sit back and take in the sweeping plains of the Serengeti National Park that stretch out before you. Yes, there’s wildlife in abundance. From here you can witness the annual migration of zebra and wildebeest, often called the greatest spectacle on earth. [Details]

 

This feature originally appeared in HiConsumption.

 

 

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