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A guest in an indoor swimming pool relaxes next to a window overlooking Hong Kong.

Just Add Water: Our Favorite Pools

Article by Regan Stephens 12.10.2018

From infinity pools with breathtaking views to crystal-clear cenotes in the jungle, discover the best places around the world to take a dip.

There are few simple pleasures more life affirming than plunging into a sparkling blue pool of water. Cultures spanning millennia have turned to the water for health, sport and recreation, with references to swimming in Stone Age cave paintings dating back 7,000 years. But not all pools are created equal. From the hidden cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula to a hidden gem on the 116th floor of a Hong Kong skyscraper, below, find some of the most memorable places on earth to take a dip.

 

Infinity Pools with Spectacular Views

At The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi, off the coast of mainland Malaysia, guests can cool off in one of three pools on property. But it’s in the infinity pool, found at the adults-only waterfront lounge (aptly named Horizons) that swimmers can lose sight of where the azure water of the pool ends and the Andaman sea begins. The backdrop of lush tropical rainforest and dazzling sunsets make this dip that much sweeter. For a loftier perspective, head to the International Commerce Centre in the West Kowloon district, where The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong occupies floors 102 to 118. From its prime perch on the 116th floor, the infinity pool at the property’s spa has an incomparable view of Victoria Harbour, downtown Hong Kong and beyond. Indulge in a soothing spa treatment before floating in the infinity pool, preferably with a glass of champagne.

 

A Desert Oasis

A turquoise outdoor swimming pool is set in a desert landscape with palm trees.

After spending the morning playing 18 holes at one of the dozens of world-class golf courses in Palm Springs, or exploring nearby Joshua Tree National Park, return to The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage for a refreshing dip in a desert oasis. The resort’s pool is the perfect antidote to the region’s arid heat, and the deck, with its spectacular mountainous vista, is equipped with plenty of plush lounge chairs for getting lost in a novel or dozing off. Half a world away, in another dry desert climate, The Ritz-Carlton, Abu Dhabi beckons with private beaches, a waterfront spa with plunge pools, waterfalls, and a hammam, and one of the city’s largest swimming pools. Book a private cabana, stocked with cold water and fresh fruit, for a little private oasis within an oasis.

 

Soothing Spa Waters

In the middle of Hungary’s vibrant and bustling capital city, the spa at  The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest offers a luxe sanctuary with a sauna, steam room, and indoor swimming pool. With intricately tiled walls and a wrap-around glass roof, the pool’s room is flooded with natural light, and makes for a quiet place to unwind after a day filled exploring Budapest’s storied streets. At The Ritz-Carlton, Bali, the Hydro-Vital pool inside the spa offers a more stimulating experience. Surrounded by tropical greenery, the pool has five distinct zones that each target different parts of the body—like the Reflex Zone, with its bottom air jets that massage the soles of the feet, or the De-Stress Zone, with a waterfall shower that focuses on the neck and back—for a wholly restorative treatment.

 

Nature’s Swimming Pools

There’s more than one way to take a dip at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. The Lake Club, the resort’s striking glass-walled, waterfront property, offers access to a beach and pier for swimming or other summertime sports like stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, waterskiing, or fishing. In the winter, guests can still take an apres-ski swim in the outdoor heated pool or one of two oversized hot tubs. Situated on a pristine stretch of shore overlooking the Caribbean, and with two pools on property, The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun already has plenty of options. But dig a little deeper to find the cenotes that pepper the Yucatán Peninsula. Plunge into one of these natural swimming holes, filled with vivid blue, mineral-rich water, for an unforgettable alternative to a standard pool.

 

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Plan Your Stay in these Destinations


  • Langkawi

    Location Langkawi, Malaysia

    Experience Rainforest retreat overlooking the sea

    • Island’s only overwater spa
    • Beachfront, vitality and adults-only infinity pools
    • Batik painting, wildlife photography and other activities
  • Hong Kong

    Location Hong Kong, China

    Experience The energy of the City of Life.

    • A Forbe’s Five-Star hotel
    • Two Michelin-starred restaurants
    • The highest bar in the world, Ozone
  • Rancho Mirage

    Location Rancho Mirage, California

    Experience A desert oasis perched on a 650-foot bluff with mountain vistas.

    Discover The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, a scenic luxury hotel in Palm Springs, CA, located on a 650-foot bluff overlooking a desert valley.

  • Abu Dhabi

    Location Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

    Experience A 57-acre hotel just steps from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

    • A sprawling 1,600-meter outdoor pool
    • Bedouin-inspired spa with a private beach
    • Majestic indoor & outdoor wedding venues
  • Budapest

    Location Budapest, Hungary

    Experience A 20th century building set in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

    • Views of St. Stephen’s Basilica & Erzsébet Square
    • Located steps from the River Danube
    • UNESCO World Heritage Buda Castle nearby
  • Bali

    Location Bali, Indonesia

    Experience Beautiful cliff tops overlooking the Indian Ocean and white sands.

    • Tropical paradise with lush landscapes
    • Spacious cliff top villas with private pools
    • Exotic dishes made with local flavors
  • Lake Tahoe

    Location Truckee, California

    Experience Ski-in/ski-out luxury resort located mid-mountain on Northstar California.

    • Ski Valet and Mountain Concierge
    • Family-friendly winter activities
    • Spacious luxury suites and residences
  • Cancun

    Location Cancun, Mexico

    Experience A luxurious retreat along Mexico’s Mayan coastline.

    • AAA Five Diamond Awarded resort & restaurants
    • Ancient Mayan therapies at Kayantá Spa
    • Culinary Center & interactive cooking classes