The pool can be a major attraction for a hotel and here are some of the best.
A hotel pool is much more than a place to do some laps. Resorts with impressive pools have higher occupancy rates, command higher prices and their poolside bars and restaurants can be tidy money-makers. “Resort hotel pools are revenue-generating venues and even a selling point of a resort,” says Joseph Pang, one of Australia’s most in-demand hotel interior decorators.
The infinity edge, where the edge appears to drop away to the horizon, and the perimeter overflow, where the water level in the pool is the same as the top of the decking, have become de rigueur for high-end pools. The facilities around the pool – couples sunbeds, private cabanas and relaxation lounges – are just as important as the pool itself, says Pang. “Some hotel pools are connected with a relaxation lounge next to the change rooms where guests can put their feet up after a swim or work out at the gym.
“We have recently designed something similar at a five-star hotel in Shanghai [where the] special chairs are like those in first class flight cabins…reclinable with personal TV and sound system.” While the resort pool is all about big pools, generous outdoor space, spectacular views and numerous facilities, the urban hotel pool is all about height, built on roof tops with panoramic city views. Next time you travel, pack your goggles and test the waters. Here are some of the best places to make a splash…
Most sophisticated dip
Palazzo Versace, Gold Coast. Paris Hilton bronzed herself on its sunbeds and Pamela Anderson made waves in her bikini at Queensland’s most sophisticated hotel pool. Australia’s first fashion-branded hotel has taken poolside lounging to a whole new level. Here you can hide out in a private cabana, nibble on frosted black grapes and enjoy a petite pedicure. Who has time for laps?
Swim in the city
Crown Metropol, Melbourne. This ultra-modern $300million hotel features a stunning sky-high swimming pool. Located on the 27th floor, the waterfall-edge pool is in a double-height, glass-enclosed atrium with views of the city. There’s also a hot plunge pool with massage jet, sun lounges and double daybeds. In both the men’s and women’s changing rooms there are aroma steam rooms and infinity pools with submerged chairs. Take a seat and let the champagne-sized bubbles ease you into a state of deep relaxation.
Pool with a view
Qualia resort, Hamilton Island. What makes qualia’s main infinity-edge pool so unforgettable is the view over the glittering Coral Sea. It’s surrounded by 12 hectares of manicured gardens and there are plenty of comfortable sunbeds dotted about the place.
Bird’s eye view
Adelphi Hotel, Melbourne. The Adelphi’s heated saltwater pool is cantilevered over Flinders Lane, allowing swimmers a unique view from nine levels above the street. If you take your goggles you can look through the clear Perspex floor at people below who are either shopping or looking back up at you. Fraser Suites, Sydney. Sydney also has its own swim and window-shop pool. Fraser Suites is a 42-level apartment-style hotel in the city that features a glass-bottom pool cantilevered over Regent Place shopping centre. After your laps you can try out the spa, the sauna and the large gym.
Laps on safari
Bamurra Plains, Northern Territory. Keep an eye out for buffaloes and dingoes while doing your laps at Bamurru Plains, located just to the west of Kakadu National Park on the Mary River floodplains. Watch the birds and wildlife from its irresistible infinity-edge pool.
Swim with the fishes
Marriott Resort and Spa, Surfers Paradise. If you’re nervous about snorkelling in the open ocean then try this pool, complete with tropical fish and an artificial coral reef. The Marriott’s $8million aquatic playground features a five-metre deep saltwater lagoon that’s home to more than 400 fish, including Moon Wrasse, Blue and Domino Damsel, Surgeon and Trigger Fish. You can also scuba dive, snorkel and swim through waterfalls into rock grottos and spas.
When size matters
Hayman Island, Whitsunday Islands. This 16-hectare Queensland resort on its own island has a pool that is seven times the size of an Olympic pool. The pool’s baby-blue colour matches the ocean beyond and is a magnet for guests, who spend entire days sitting around its edges. If you stay in one of the pool access rooms you can enter the water directly from your private balcony. Peppers Salt Resort and Spa, Kingscliff. Take no chances with getting your holiday
dip – if the ocean’s too chilly for your taste, there’s a heated tropical swimming pool or a lagoon pool with its own sandy beach.
Take a midnight dip
SkyCity, Darwin. This pool is big. There’s a shallow part, a medium-depth part and a deep-end lap pool accessible 24 hours a day. The afternoon is a wonderful time to swim laps and look out at the sea and watch the sun set.