Villa d’Este hotel on the coast
Photo courtesy of Villa d’Este, A Member of The Leading Hotels of the World
Photo courtesy of Villa d’Este, A Member of The Leading Hotels of the World

The 10 Best Hotel Pools in the World

Take a sky-high swim.

Summer isn’t the only time a hotel pool comes in handy. After a day of sightseeing or safari, unwinding with a dip is about more than just cooling off—it’s also about winding down (preferably with a glass of something refreshing in hand). But that doesn’t mean all pools serve the same purpose—some are so architecturally stunning, they’ve become a destination in themselves.

We’ve scoured the globe to find 10 of our favorite pools that offer everything from sky-high views over some of the world’s most sought-after cities to prime viewing platforms of herds of elephants grazing by. From the Serengeti to Santorini, here are some of the most scenic swimming pools at hotels around the globe.

pool chairs next to swimming pool with buildings in background
Photo courtesy of Park Hyatt Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok can be overwhelming—and that’s putting it lightly. Tuk tuks and motorcycles weave their way through congested streets, past bustling Chinatown and the city’s many gleaming temples. The Park Hyatt Bangkok’s 40-meter saltwater infinity lap pool (encased by sun loungers and cabanas) gives you the best of downtown—the skyline views—without having to actually be in the chaos with the crowd below.

swimming pool next alongside a pool of elephants
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti

Serengeti, Tanzania
No need to rise before dawn to get a glimpse of safari wildlife here. At the Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti’s free-form, infinity-edge pool, you can sit back and watch elephants roaming by the watering hole without ever having to leave the comfort of your sunbed.

swimming pool on the coast next to lighthouse
The Oyster Box

Umhlanga, South Africa
The main draw to this beachfront South African hotel, near downtown Durban, may be the extravagant curry buffet (there are 11 different curry dishes daily), but the centerpiece pool, overlooking the Indian Ocean and landmark lighthouse, is just as much of a highlight. The matching, red-and-white-striped lounge chairs and umbrellas also make for the perfect Instagram backdrop.

Villa d’Este hotel complex on the coast
Photo courtesy of Villa d’Este

Lake Como, Italy
Villa d’Este knows how to take advantage of its natural surroundings. Two mansions sit along the shore of Lake Como, encased in 25 acres of sprawling gardens, but instead of placing the pool out of sight in the manicured surroundings, it sits on a floating pontoon directly on Italy’s most infamous lake.

infinity pool at dusk
Photo courtesy of Amanyara

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Sitting on an 18,000-acre nature reserve, along the white-sand beaches of Providenciales’s North West Point Marine National Park, Amanyara is about as close as you can get to being on your own island (some villas even have their own private beach, infinity pool, and waterfall). Soak up sea views from one of the salas, or open pavilions, lining the spa’s impressive infinity pool, crafted entirely from Indonesian black lava stone.

lounge area in the middle of a pool
Address Beach Resort

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is a city of superlatives, so it’s no surprise it claims the world’s tallest infinity pool. Located on the 77th floor of the Address Beach Resort, overlooking the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, the adults-only pool is reserved exclusively for those staying in-house, so no need to worry about the deck being crowded.

pool and lounge areas on the coast
Photo courtesy of Mystique, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Santorini, Greece
Cliffside pools are one of the main selling factors of the island of Santorini. And while some hotels hide plunge pools within cave rooms, Mystique takes advantage of its prime locale in Oia, the sunset hotspot of Santorini, with Jacuzzis and infinity-edge pools in many of the suites and villas—plus two pools showing off sweeping views of the caldera and active volcano in the distance.

swimming pool lined with lounge chairs and palm trees
Photo courtesy of Regent Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
When you’ve had enough of lounging in your own private plunge pool (as if that’s ever possible), sprawl out in one of the cabanas skirting the rooftop infinity pool overlooking the untouched shoreline and sea below. You’ll also be in the perfect spot to toast to the island’s infamous sunset, which you can do in the most lavish way—with a “Double Beluga,” Beluga caviar served alongside a double shot of Beluga vodka.

swimming pool at a castle
Photo by Matthieu Salvaing, courtesy of Crillon Le Brave

Provence, France
In the summer in Provence, most of your day will be spent lounging poolside, chilled bottle of rosé on hand. Crowning the tiny village of Crillon le Brave, the outdoor pool is tucked between a collage of 17th- and 18th-century buildings surrounding the boutique hotel. Think of it as your own private perch with panoramic views of iconic Mont Ventoux, where one of the most challenging climbs in the Tour de France takes place.

aerial view of pool and lounge chairs
Photo courtesy of The Post Oak at Uptown Houston

Houston, Texas
The fact that The Post Oak offers direct helicopter pad access should give you a hint this isn’t some run-of-the-mill hotel in Houston (the Swarovski-laced chandelier in the lobby, inspired by the Dubai Opera House, is another indicator). The black-and-white-themed pool area is a chic way to embrace Houston’s heat—particularly while lounging on an in-water recliner or cozied up inside one of the five cabanas outfitted with furniture and flat-screen TVs.

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Lane Nieset is a contributor for Thrillist.