We wrote an article on the sexiest Summer swimming pools, but we just couldn’t resist writing one on its wilder counterpart: the sexiest Winter pools. There is something wildly exotic about swimming at an adequately heated pool in the middle of winter, while the environment that surrounds slowly wakes up from the subzero freeze. While winter and swimming don’t often go hand-in-hand, it is possible in select locations and hotels to enjoy a dip in freezing weather – not only is it just as rewarding, but perhaps even more so, than a doggie-paddle in the searing sun.
With year-round heated pools and whirlpools or Jacuzzis, whether indoor or outdoor, these resorts and retreats below offer a chance to laze poolside in chilling temperatures, often in spectacular and picturesque surrounds. And with winter in the Northern Hemisphere just around the corner, now is the ideal time to book into the below:
It is no surprise that with the surrounding Alps, Switzerland features heavily on this list. With a smattering of luxury hotels and resorts to choose from in the alpine season, several try to one-up another by offering more than simply luxurious rooms – world-class dining plays a heavy role, as does a state-of-the-art spa facility with the inevitable swimming pool (often multiple, indoor and outdoor), whirlpool or Jacuzzi. LeCransHotel & Spa, a boutique resort with only 15 rooms total (eight luxury suites and seven rooms), is undoubtedly one of Switzerland’s finest. A skiing resort, open only from mid-December to mid-April, and mid-June to early-November, LeCrans Hotel & Spa is clearly a skiing dream. For hotel amenities, there’s an indoor pool and an outdoor pool, but without a doubt the highlight here the oft-photographed Jacuzzi bath replete with a view of the Alps.
Only 20 minutes from the renowned city of Lucerne, Hotel Villa Honegg is one of Switzerland’s most renowned resorts, hosting only 23 guest rooms. Another resort with a long history, this hotel was initially built in 1905 as a private chalet, thereby explaining the resort’s homely yet extravagant mansion-like feel. The resort rests 1,000 metres above sea-level on Mount Burgenstock, surrounded by the natural beauty of Switzerland’s countryside. The infinity-edge outdoor pool, with a view of Lake Lucerne and its adjacent mountains that have cut the valley, is dreamlike.
This portmanteau of Sanskrit and Native Indian derivative words meaning ‘peaceful home’ sits 2,135 metres above sea-level in the rugged valleys of Wyoming and as a result enjoys panoramic views of Grand Tetons and Snake River Valley below. The first Amanresort in North America, Amangani looks out onto meadows and grazing land in the spring, summer and autumn, but is surrounded by snow come winter with the daunting view of the youngest range of the Rocky Mountains, including the 4,200 metre Grand Teton. The hotel structure itself, hewn from rough Oklahoma sandstone and Pacific redwood, is imposing but pales in significance in relative scale to its surroundings. The central feature is the resort’s 100-foot-long outdoor pool and whirlpool, heated to a comfortable winter temperature of 80-degrees Farenheit. And providing the perfect contrast is the view which overlooks the snow-capped mountain peaks.
As much a historic hotel – formerly the summer residence of Lord Kitchener, the former Commander-in-Chief of India – as a wellness retreat, this colonial-era mansion-turned-retreat sits at 8,250 feet above sea level in the youngest and tallest mountain range in the world: the Himalayas. Surrounded by a 22-acre cedar forest, the centerpiece of Wildflower Hall is the year-long heated open-air infinity whirpool affording majestic views of the pine forests below the ragged, jagged peaks in the distance. If the outdoors is still too frigid in winter, retreat to the indoor pool which is also temperature controlled year-round, and is adorned by overhead chandeliers exuding a colonial majesty, and equally as picturesque.
Our final entry on this list is not a hotel, but a man-made lagoon that is one of Iceland’s most visited attractions. A 50-minute drive from the capital of Reykjavik, this lagoon, reputedly rich in minerals such as silica and sulfur, runs off the energy supplied by the production of the geothermal plant nearby. While the rest of the country can experience harsh winters, the lagoon operates at an average temperature of 37-39 degrees Celcius. The mineral-rich lagoon has been said to help those with ailments.