It would be easy to assume that given the technical difficulties of building swimming pools – filtration, temperature controls, loads and loads of water – that they might stick with a straightforward format, but where there’s a will, engineers will invariably find a way.
These weird and wonderful pools are changing what it means to go swimming, from the savannas of Tanzania to the skyscrapers of Singapore…
1. Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
A global poster-child for luxury swimming, this stunning, 150-metre infinity pool sits 57 storeys above Singapore, offering uninterrupted views of one of the world’s most dramatic skylines. Atop the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel, the pool is a prime spot for selfies, but since visits are restricted to guests the ensuing Instagram posts come at a cost.
2. Hanging Gardens Infinity Pool, Bali
One of the most picturesque pools on the planet, these Balinese baths combine forest bathing and literal bathing to offer a dip of unparalleled tranquillity. Attached to the Hanging Gardens resort in the depths of the jungle, the two-tiered infinity pool soars above the canopy, as photogenic as it is swimmable. Before you ask, jumping is absolutely not allowed.
3. Aqua Dome, Austria
We’d love to have been a fly on the wall at the pitching meeting for this one. Somewhere between a UFO and a sundial, the Aqua Dome alpine spa boasts three heated outdoor pools – one snaking along the ground, and two suspended on circular discs that radiate steam in cold weather. Surrealism aside, soaking amid mountain scenery is supremely relaxing.
4. Golden Nugget Tank Pool, Las Vegas
Thanks to some excellent aquatic engineering, swimming with sharks is now not only safe, but inland as well. The jewel in the crown of the Golden Nugget, one of the oldest and swankiest Vegas casinos, the $30 million hotel pool is conjoined with a giant aquarium filled with more than 300 sharks and fish.
Bold patrons can take a turn on the water-slide, which sees them hurtle through the shark tank via a large, transparent tube.
5. Four Seasons Safari Lodge, Tanzania
Everyone loves elephants, and everyone loves lying by the pool, but it’s rare we get to sample both at once. In the heart of the Serengeti National Park this Four Seasons resort provides guests with their own personal watering hole from which to watch safari staples like elephants, giraffes, wildebeest and zebras amble through the endless scrub.
6. San Alfonso del Mar, Chile
The largest outdoor swimming pool in the world, this oceanic lido in Chile takes up a whopping 20 acres of seaside, and contains roughly 250 million litres of water – enough to fill the average bathtub more than 3 million times. It’s so large that the poolside resorts sometimes use it for traditional seafaring activities. Swim or sail – it’s your choice.
7. The Joule Pool, Dallas
Ever fancied submerging yourself several storeys above the streets of Dallas. Nope, it hadn’t occurred to us either, but now we know it’s possible we’re all for giving it a shot. The Dallas Joule Hotel stocks a cantilevered, overhanging pool that allows guests to physically swim out over downtown, with a transparent end offering vertiginous underwater views.