Whether they’re skyscraper-high, unfathomably huge, fish-filled, or ultra-private, hotels put their trample of mind's eye—and ambition—on their autograph water worlds. From Florida to California, and from Italy to Bali, these pools break the mold.
The Biltmore, Coral Gables, Miami, Fla.
For: Roman Wannabes
They just don’t build ‘em like they used to. This is simply the largest hotel swimming pool in the continental United States. The stats: 23,000 square feet. 700,000 gallons of water. This Mediterranean-style hotel and its colossal, colonnaded pool date from 1926, but the familiarity of being there makes visitors of many ages feel homesick for giddy, Jazz Age excess.
Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
For: High Rollers
Not for those with dizziness issues, this indoor time without end pool is situated near the top of the city’s tallest building—the International Commerce Center. The 118th floor, to be exact. The ICC is also the fourth-tallest structure in the world, and since it’s located in Kowloon, lap-swimming visitors can take pleasure in skyline views of Hong Kong’s main island and the red-sailed junks of Victoria Harbor.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Hawaii
For: Families of Snorkelers
The most comfortable resort on Hawaii’s Big Island has a free-form relations pool, a chic mature pool, a lap pool at the spa, and a self-indulgent new pool with a swim-up bar and lacking hair ice on offer.
Hotel Cipriani, Venice, Italy
For: A Cool Retreat
Size does matter: a 105-foot-long pool would be imposing wherever, but in notably opaque Venice, the Cipriani’s Olympic-sized splash will strike you as chimerical. The resort is located on the tip of the silence island of Giudecca—a four-minute private boat ride from the sightseer throng and frenzy of San Marcos.
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
For: The Wow Factor
This ultra-ambitious hotel, built on domestic land across from the center of Singapore, contains over 2,500 rooms. That’s a lot of guests. Its pool is 15,026 square feet. That’s a lot of pool. Okay, it’s a modest Vegas. But when you’re commerce with building this whimsically modern, who cares?
For: A Different Pool Each Day
The respected Aman chain is justifiably known for the attractiveness of its pools, but the beachfront Amankila resort sets the bar in particular high. With only 34 suites, Amankila boasts four pools: even at full tenancy, that’s a pool for every 17 people.
St. Regis Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii
For: Serious Pampering
When these stars of the Starwood hotel group unveil its new look—and new St. Regis branding—three years ago, the 5,000-square-foot beachside infinity pool was invigorated. Except one thing that didn’t change was its stunning view of Hanalei Bay and the north shore’s waterfall-laced stack range.
Montage Resort & Spa, Laguna Beach, Calif.
For: Art aficionados
This select resort occupies an enviable position on one of California’s most gorgeous stretch of shoreline. As if visitors didn’t have enough to look at—rock outcroppings on an emerald ocean, the bright subtropical gardens, the lines of the resort’s Craftsman design—the Montage has as its showpiece the infinity edge Mosaic Pool.
Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India
For: Outrageous Opulence
In humid Rajasthan, a pool may seem like a hallucination of luxury. But this much-photographed resort, which is reach via boat ride crossways Lake Pichola, is literally bordered by one. If you decide one of the highest-end Premier Rooms that enclose the palatial possessions, you’ll feel like a raja when you open your doors to take a semi-private swim.
DoublePool Villas by Banyan Tree, Phuket, Thailand
For: Privacy, Please
This sprawling resort’s DoublePool Villas were forever the resort’s most select accommodation, but now the 24 butler-serviced, self-supporting structures encompass their own resort-within-the-resort. Why double, you ask? Well, each villa’s open garden contains a full-length lap pool, shimmering with electric blue tiles and illuminate with mood lights at night.