An essential ingredient in any spa escape is a day of relaxation at an absolutely lavish poolside. Looking for an exotic destination with an out-of-this-world spa and a breathtaking pool? Here is our list of the top 12 must-see resort pools. Don’t think for a second that just because summer is over that you have to put away your bikini. Most of these pools are heated and are located in lovely mild climates. These spas make the perfect fall getaway!
Located just outside Marrakesh, Amanjena was inspired by the “Red City” with its rose-colored architecture. The resort’s design, which is dominated by red walls and emerald-clay roofs, reflects the pisé de terre (rammed earth) walls seen throughout the ancient Moroccan city. Undoubtedly one of the resort’s highlights, the 33-meter heated outdoor pool is lined with green zellige tiles—the enamel-covered terra cotta tiles that are recognized as one of the defining trademarks of Moroccan architecture. The impressive pisé-style archway, resting above one the resort’s many marble fountains, leads into a separate shallow pool. Plus, the Amanjena Spa is built around two traditional Moroccan hammams. This is one bathing experience you don’t want to miss.
Out of Africa
Be sure to schedule an outdoor massage on the pavilion overlooking Hotel Melía Zanzibar’s breathtaking lap pool and the Indian Ocean. The treatment menu at Anantara Spa Zanzibar is inspired by the rugged African Savannah, the nearby volcanic Mount Meru and the exotic local flora. You can expect a a range of treatments that incorporate Thai, Ayurvedic and Balinese influences as well as locally sourced herbs and botanicals and exquisite fragrances from this exotic spice island.
Like everything else at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs, which features one of the oldest spas in the nation, the resort’s Kiva Pool is steeped in the unique ancient heritage of the surrounding area. Introduced last fall, the private pool’s design is based on the traditional kivas used as a gathering place for sacred rituals by the local Pueblo Indians. Traditional kivas were circular areas dug into the ground and covered with vigas (long, fully intact pine logs stripped of foliage); Ojo’s modern version is constructed entirely of hand carved stones. Ojo’s waters have been considered sacred for Northern Pueblo tribes for nearly 3,000 years. A combination of iron and arsenic mineral waters from the hot springs fill the pool: iron is said to be beneficial to the immune system and to promote healthy skin, while arsenic water is said to help relieve digestive problems and symptoms of arthritis. Ojo’s property covers 1,100 acres, so you can be certain that your Kiva Pool experience will be entirely private.
A Geothermal Skin-Saving Solution
Definitely not your typical resort pool, the extensive Blue Lagoon holds six million liters of geothermal seawater at 98-100°F, which is renewed every 40 hours. The naturally warm water, known for its healing abilities, contains a distinct composite of minerals, silica and algae. The spa is also known for its silica mud. The pure white geothermal mud is a natural cleanser and exfoliant, which may also help to strengthen the skin’s barrier function. You can opt for in-water or open-air treatments in the lagoon itself. The two steam baths (one in a cave-like structure built from lava rocks and one with white walls resembling silica mud and overlooking the lagoon) are a must as well.
Talk about paradise on Earth, this secluded retreat sits atop the edge of the rich green Ayung River valley in Bali’s central foothills. Alila Ubud Resort Hotel blends contemporary design with traditional Balinese architecture and is sheltered by spacious terraces and lush private gardens. The villas and rooms stand on stilts, like tree houses, set into the banks of the river valley. Likewise, the otherworldly emerald infinity pool appears to float above the plunging river valley below. The overall effect of the exotic and relaxing environment coupled with the rejuvenating treatments available at Spa Alila is a totally transforming experience.
Filled with countless lakes, ponds, heated pools, outdoor baths, Jacuzzis and tropical showers, this sumptuous resort is a haven for the hydrotherapy enthusiast. Palais Namaskar’s spacious interiors and exteriors create an open, luxurious atmosphere that is felt throughout the resort. The vast main swimming pool, surrounded by Moroccan columns, is a site to be seen.
Dead Sea Destination
The outdoor pool at the Six Senses Spa at Evason Ma’In Hot Springs in Jordan is situated directly below the resort’s picturesque hot springs waterfall, which cascades into the pool. Lying 866-feet below sea-level, the spa offers healing mineral-based and deep sea treatments that focus on the therapeutic properties of the spring’s mineral-rich waters, as well as traditional hammam therapies and Asian techniques.
Yet another breathtaking infinity pool, Alila Villas Uluwatu’s 50-meter Balinese gem and accompanying sunset cabana is poised on a cliff-edge overlooking a stunning panoramic view of the limestone cliffs and the Indian Ocean.
Yes, there are plenty of resorts with fabulous rooftop plunge pools. So what makes Schloss Elmau’s stand out among the crowd? Located 100 meters above sea level in the Bavarian Alps, Schloss Elmau houses an impressive four spas and six large swimming pools: the 3,000sqm Badehaus Spa features 16 treatment suites, a huge sauna area with cold plunge pool, the heated rooftop outdoor pool and a hot salt water pool; the Hammam Spa includes three hot stone rooms and a floating center with saltwater pool; the Family Spa includes an indoor pool and six saunas; and the Nature Spa features a Finnish sauna, massage tent and, of course, an outdoor lap-pool. The rooftop pool is our personal favorite because it enables you to feel fully immersed in the surrounding landscape with the fresh scent of woods in the air and the tranquility of the forest-covered mountains all around you.
Commune With Nature
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat’s massive Spa Sanctuary, three individual buildings that come together in a circular form over three levels, covers 1500sqm. Despite its size, the spa maintains a peaceful, welcoming atmosphere by utilizing an indoor/outdoor design centered around three ancient Australian Eucalypt trees. Glass is used throughout the spa so that you are literally surrounded by nature on all sides. The infinity edge custom designed lap pool extends over the neighboring wildlife with views to Australia’s Gold Coast. Like most resort pools, it’s heated for use all year round – the perfect spot for training sessions, laps or just general relaxation time.
Nestled in the picturesque Amalfi Coast, Hotel Santa Caterina’s heated pool is filled with actual seawater, so it’s just as blue as the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. As part of this indulgent resort experience, elevators (which lead from the hotel down to the beach club area) are carved into the rock face behind the pool. For an even more intimate and extravagant pool, the Chalet Giuletta & Romeo suite offers a private circular terrace and garden with a heated infinity pool overlooking Amalfi.
Your Own Private Paradise
We couldn’t resist including this private suite pool in our list. The ultimate in luxury, the Osprey Pavilion Suite at the Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island (with an uber-impressive curved floor plan which spans in excess of 120sqm) includes a jaw-dropping open bathroom with a hand sculptured granite bathtub, heated limestone floors and a rain shower. But it is the outdoor terrace complete with your own private plunge spa that captured our fancy. Southern Ocean Lodge is located atop a secluded cliff alongside Australia’s Southern Ocean. With an awe-inspiring panoramic view of the rugged coastal wilderness, white-sand beaches and beautiful blue sea, this pool is about as private as it gets – taking your retreat to the next level of luxury.
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