This one is just to make you jealous while you’re at work. (Photo: Kyle Pearce on Flickr)
Happy summer everyone! It’s getting hot out, so let’s shed some layers and find a pool to chill out in. But why settle for your overcrowded municipal swimming hole when there are a number of weird and wonderful places to beat the heat all around the world. Some of the world’s coolest pools are more accessible than others (and as with all things, some are easier to visit if you are super rich), but each of them make summer a bit more wonderful.
1. MARINA BAY SANDS ROOFTOP POOL
Night swimming. (Photo: green_kermit on Flickr)
The highest pool of its size in the world, the infinity pool on the top of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands hotel is a marvelous architectural achievement for those who aren’t afraid of heights. The long pool is held on the lip of a boat-like structure that is perched on top of the three sky scraping buildings of the hotel. The pool is over 650 feet in the air, allowing visitors an unparalleled view of the city that is not for the faint of heart. Never before has a pool been created that seems more ready for a Mission Impossible-style action sequence.
The pool is in that weird boat perched atop the buildings. (Photo: edwin.11 on Flickr)
Get a tan a few inches from the sun. (Photo: Joan Campderrós-i-Canas on Flickr)
2. STARKENBERGER BEER POOLS
I’m drunk just from looking at this. (Photo: Atlas Obscura)
Located in Austria’s Starkenbeger brewery (where else?), a 700-year-old castle that has been converted to a wonderland for beer aficionados, the beer pools allow lager-lovers a chance to live out a drunken fantasy. After the old fermentation tanks in the castle basement were no longer needed, thanks to advances in brewing technology, the brewery turned the seven metal tubs into spa pools filled with beer. Generally hot beer. Before you think that this is a place where alcoholics go to die, keep in mind that the sudsy waters of the tubs are diluted a bit, and drinking the bathing brew is strongly discouraged. However, drinking the beers they will bring you is highly encouraged.
Bask in the beauty of classical forms. (Photo: Starkenberger)
3. GOLD ENERGY POOL
You ain’t nothin’ but a goldswimmer. (Photo: St. Regis Lhasa Hotel)
Perched atop a scenic hill in Chinese Tibet is the St. Regis Lhasa Resort, a decadent vacation destination that is home to the world’s only gold-plated pool. Known as the Gold Energy Pool, this elegant relaxation is pool is covered in thousands of little gold tiles to create the sensation of stepping into a bath of pure luxury. As the website explicitly points out, children are allowed in the pool with supervision, but that the pool is for meditation and relaxation, not horseplay. Which is unfortunate since it looks not unlike something from an Indiana Jones adventure.
4. AQUA DOME
The future of swimming today! (Photo: peter boer on Flickr)
Unthawed natural mineral water fills the ultra-modern pools at this spa in the Tyrolean Alps. Nestled in a lush Austrian valley like a hidden alien enclave, the Aqua Dome spa features futuristic pools that are fed by the run off from the melting mountain ice. There are undulating in-ground pools, but more arrestingly are the elevated bowl pools that are meant to heighten the feeling of weightlessness for swimmers. They are each filled with different mineral waters such as a water heavy in sulfur and one that is natural briny. The architecture looks distinctly like something from the future, but the supposed health benefits from the mineral-rich pools are purely old world.
For all our Star Trek fans out there, this is likely what the pleasure planet Risa looks like. (Photo: VAMED AG on Wikipedia)
5. WORLD’S LARGEST SWIMMING POOL
Who wants to do laps?! (Photo: Crystal Lagoons on Wikipedia)
The largest swimming pool in the world is located at Chile’s San Alfonso del Mar Resort and looks almost as though they simply cordoned off a part of the ocean. The giant pool is over 3,000 feet long and holds over 66 million gallons of water in a lengthy beachside strip of resort luxury. Due to its massive size, a whole new filtration and cleaning system had to be invented just to keep it from getting gross. A sophisticated pumping and filtration system constantly injects processed sea water into the pool while simultaneously cleaning the old pool water and shunting it back out to sea, likely in a cleaner state than when it entered the pool. This may be the only pool in the world where one could get stranded in the middle and just wait for the tide to bring them back in.
The world’s biggest sunset. Kind of. (Photo: Kyle Pearce on Flickr)
6. YUNESSUN SPA RESORT
Wine time! (Photo: Yunessun.com)
Not unlike the beer pools above, this Japanese spa lets swimmers take a dive into the drink of their choice. The Yunessun Spa Resort is almost more theme park than spa, but nonetheless, they are devoted to relaxation, albeit in some pretty weird ways. Ever wanted to just chill out with a glass of wine after work? Well how about swimming around in a pool filled with the stuff. Would you like a relaxing cup of green tea? Here you can dive into a giant basin of it and take a shower beneath the oversize kettle spout. Miss living on ramen as a starving student (adult)? The Yunessun Spa has you covered with a big, brothy ramen pool. Again, the liquids in these pools are not meant for drinking, but hey, you live in a giant cup of coffee once.
Green tea time! (Photo: Yunessun.com)
Time to wake up (in the coffee pool)! (Photo: Yunessun.com)
7. VENETIAN POOL
Coral Gables, Florida
Now that is some fresh water. (Photo: Lima Pix on Flickr)
This Florida pool might not have the architectural bombast of some of the more elaborate resort pools on this list, but not only is it the only pool to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but also it is the largest freshwater pool in the world. Built in 1924, the swimming hole was created in what was once a quarry. The site was given a Venetian-inspired makeover, and has since been welcoming swimmers for almost a century. Amazingly, due to the natural freshwater source of the waters, they are filtered via natural processes, and the entire body of water in the pool is replaced daily. So in a sense, you never swim in the pool twice.
Florida looks pretty refreshing from here. (Photo: Matt Kieffer on Flickr)
Maybe the world’s most beautiful pool. (Photo: Rosino on Flickr)
Hidden behind a half-hour hike across a verdant field of Icelandic volcano ash, and nestled in a little hill valley, the pool known as Seljavallalaug, is maybe the most beautiful swimming pool in the world. This small but historic rectangle of natural spring water was built in 1923 to give local fishing communities a place to practice swimming. The secluded swimming hole survives to the present day in much the same state as when it was built, kept up by volunteers alone. It is also possible that this may be the oldest swimming pool in the entire country, although this is not verified. While this is not the pool for those looking to relax with constantly flowing cocktails and pampering, it exists halfway between man-made and natural, allowing swimmers here to feel the same.
Who needs luxury when you have volcanic fields? (Photo: BiT on Flickr)