Europe’s best hotel swimming pools

Hotel CarusoThere is something decadent about a hotel swimming pool that lends itself well to luxury. Whilst the sea allows you to connect with nature, the salty water and sticky sand can mitigate the enjoyment for many.

With man-made aquatic pleasure zones, there are no such discomforts. And it is little wonder that so many hotels around the world put so much thought and effort into getting their swimming pools just right. A great pool can be a hotel’s Pièce de résistance; a therapeutic and sensual chill out space where the troubles of home feel at their most distant.

Of course, just as there are several methods to skin a cat, the magic of a great swimming pool can arise in different ways, such as the ambience, the architecture, or the view. Some would say they also have to be population-controlled. After all, even the most beautiful pool can be rendered uninhabitable by a gaggle of splashing Half Term school kids.

But that’s all in the planning. Choose your hotel carefully, perhaps rise out of bed that extra hour early, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to enjoy the perfect hotel swimming pool experience.

Here are a selection of some of the best hotel swimming pools in Europe:

Ritz, Paris
The hotel that oozes old world glamour like none other inevitably comes up trumps with its grandiose swimming pool. Boasting ornate architecture and neoclassical design, the Paris Ritz’s pool is one of the most elegant places to swim in the entire City of Lights. Open to hotel guests or members of its health club, this opulent subterranean escape is suitably exclusive to ensure only a privileged few get to enjoy its still waters.

Ledra Marriott Hotel, Athens
The rooftop pool at the Athens Marriot does not instantly strike you with its beauty, but raise your eye level and you will quickly awaken to its stark appeal. The 360-degree panoramic views of Athens afforded from the pool are simply sensational, including magnificent vistas of the famous Acropolis and the maze-like streets of the Plaka down below. As an added bonus, during balmy summer evenings. the rooftop hosts parties and banquets.

Hotel Cipriani, Venice
The first thing visitors to Venice notice is its incomparable beauty. The second thing, alas, is often the smell wafting from its ubiquitous canals. So what better way to restore equilibrium to your nasals than retreat to the only hotel swimming pool in central Venice? The pool is filled with salt water and is even heated for your comfort during the cooler months of the year.

The Berkeley, London
There are plenty of high-quality indoor swimming pools in London – indeed, book into any 5-star hotel and you will find one. But the city’s changeable – and often damn right cold – weather has shied many establishments away from investing in an outdoor pool. One exception is the historical Berkeley Hotel. Built in the 1970s, the pool is set under a retractable roof and is flanked by imposing Roman pillars and arches. But its crowning glory is its views, which span the vast green beauty of Hyde Park, and bustling commercial activity around exclusive department stores Harvey Nichols and Harrods.

Hotel Caruso Belvedere, Ravello, Amalfi Coast
Located on the highest point of the town, one bright spark had the idea of marking this hotel’s geographical landmark with an open-air infinity pool. And what an idea it proved to be. The pool offers glorious panoramas of one of Europe’s most delightful coastlines, as well as a myriad of 11th-century Roman Ruins. And as with the very best infinity pools, this one generates a visual effect of water extending to the horizon, adding to the sense of drama and character.

Susan Radcliffe is a qualified journalist working for hotel comparison site  sletoH.com (‘hotels’ spelt backwards!!).

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Comments (13)

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  1. I hate to contradict you, but there are almost NO swimming pools in LONDON hotels, five-star or otherwise. Apart from The Berkeley’s small pool, a handful of London hotels have what can best be described as plunge pools, but even these are usually reserved for the hotel’s spa guests, and not for the hotel guests. Book into a five-star in London, and the best you can usually hope for is a gym with sauna or steam room, so leave the swimsuit at home.

  2. Elizabeth Brooks says:

    Hotel du Cap!! Best hotel pool in the world.

  3. Karol says:

    Never saw the Cipriani pool but the pool at the Hotel Des Bain in Lido, Venice was amazing.

  4. Cleo says:

    I intend to clean my hotel bathroom despite room service but I have my doubts about the cleanliness of a hotel pool especially if I see it has a tiled surface – a sure sign of cutting corners.

  5. Minna says:

    I would add hotel Arts in Barcelona – a great roof top pool with a really good service:)

  6. Emily M says:

    A pool isn’t something I normally look for when cooking a city break, I would if I was heading to the Amalfi coast though and the hotel Caruso sounds amazing.

  7. Kylie Martin says:

    I wonder if you can spend the day in the summer at the pool in The Berkeley, London. Spending the day at the pool near me without being pushed around the masses.

  8. Emily M says:

    Or take a book and get a deck chair out in Green Park Kylie just as relaxing and you can watch the world go by!

  9. Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is really missing. No1 in Europe. Where does the author travel???

  10. David Daly says:

    I have to agree with the reader who commented on the gorgeous pool at Hotel Arts in Barcelona- it is stunning and the sunbed service is top notch. However, the pool is not heated so a dip on a beautiful and sunny June day can be a bit daunting…Maybe that is why this fabulous hotel oasis was omitted…

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  12. Yonca says:

    The best pool is the infinity pool at Ciragan Palace Kempinski located on the shores of the Bosporus with a view to the Asian continent , the pool is heated in the winter !

  13. Venita Palmer says:

    Hey I saw a pool that was on the edge of a cliff. they had several slides to ride. The last slide brought you down to the sea. What is the name of the hotel and where is it located?

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