Smith Travel BlogTravel tales and hotel news from the boutique hotel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith

Dipping in: the best hotel pools in Europe

Posted by Tamara on June 10th, 2009

If there’s one thing Team Smith love (after a fabulous boutique hotel, a good rare steak, and a darn fine cup of coffee), it’s a gorgeous swimming pool. A shimmering stretch of water to sun-bask next to, sup sundowners beside, or just to admire the reflections of a starlit sky in. Occasionally, we’ve even been know to swim in one.  With summer gradually making its presence felt through the London clouds, our thoughts have turned longingly to the poolside scene, so we did an office-wide round-up of our favourite Smith-style swimming holes. From glass-walled aquaria where you leave your modesty at the steps to isolated infinity-edged affairs stretching into Tuscany and beyond, here’s our guide to the 14 coolest pools on the Continent…

1 Perivolas, Santoriniperivolas-2

With what may be the most drop-your-cocktail gorgeous setting in Santorini, the pool at Perivolas has graced enough travel mag covers to make it the swimming-pool equivalent of a supermodel. Its infinity edge blends straight into the ocean, offering heart-stoppingly magnificent views of the island’s famous caldera sea.

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2 Torre Maizza, Puglia

This exclusive coastal retreat looks out to the Adriatic through ancient olive groves, orchards and vineyards. The wide wooden decking offers maximum basking opportunities and the watchtower lets you search the seas for pirates.

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3 Jardins Secret, Languedoc-Roussillon

A stone-lined pool is hidden in the ultra-romantic secret garden that is this hotel’s namesake. The unusual poolside topiary makes a nicely disobedient change from your standard palm trees. Not far away is Clos du Léthé, a former farmhouse turned boutique hotel whose amazing pool has apricot-orchard views and sweeping vineyard visions.

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4 Bill & Coo, Mykonos

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By nightfall, the infinity pool at this white-washed coastal retreat is lit with LED bulbs to match the hotel’s shiny and stylish design strategy which is in turn matched by its shiny and stylish clientele. At any time of day, the view over the bay is as desirable as that of your fellow bathers.

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5 Crillon Le Brave, Provence

Any swimmers in search of a Cézanne-worthy Provencal panorama when they come up for air will do well to pop along to the outside heated pool at this charming Vaucluse hotel. Nearby, the view over the pool’s disappearing edge at Domaine des Andéols is just as impressive, looking out over olive groves and lavender fields.

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6 Fresh Hotel, Athens

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The oversized plunge pool on the ninth floor of this modern-minimalist boutique hotel offers rooftop calm from the hectic city beneath. And a bar. And views of the whole city. In fact, you don’t really need to leave the pool.

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7 Life Gallery, Athens

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The art-inspired theme of this hi-tech hotel extends to its glass-walled twin-set of pools. The (hopefully) swimsuited bodies within become a kind of art installation of their own.

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8 Can Ananja, Ibiza

The solar-heated saltwater pool at this Scandinavian-cool Ibizan villa is so long they had room to build a bridge over it. This means it’s great for laps (for anyone concerned with working off all the paella) and great for children (the bridge creates a separate shallow end).

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9 Can Bikini, Ibiza

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The pool area at this Balearic finca is the whole package a waterside soundsystem, built-in underwater jets and a thatched outdoor kitchen at the poolside. And the gradual slope into the infinity pool makes you feel like you’re walking straight into the sea.

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10 Grand Hotel Central, Barcelona

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To admire the city from from a lofty level, head to the rooftop pool at the top of this urban retreat. Views of the Gothic district and ancient city walls delivered straight to your sleek wooden sunlounger.

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11 Azienda Agricola Mandranova, Sicily

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A very deep stone plunge pool with therapeutic appeal, this Arabian-style aquatic affair promises wonders for swimmers’ skin – owing entirely to its violet-hued water and high sulphur content.

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12 Aquapura, Douro Valley

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Meticulously manicured landscaping, a humongous indoor pool and a spa area with massive windows make Aquapura the premium bathing spot in the Douro Valley. The views out to the green vine-lined hills along the Douro River are best taken from the poolside bar.

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13 Finca Cortesin, Marbella

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The two outdoor pools at Finca Cortesin are surrounded by designer-pruned gardens overlooking the sea. As well as the foliage, extra sexiness is added by dark green mosaic tiles and stylish sunloungers.

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14 Castello di Vicarello, Tuscany

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Overlooking untouched Tuscan hills, this infinity pool is blissfully isolated in the castello’s private hunting grounds where there isn’t a building in sight. Close by is 13th-century period-property hotel Borgo Santo Pietro, with its wonderfully free-form freshwater natural swimming pool.

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7 Responses to “Dipping in: the best hotel pools in Europe”

  1. The Perivolas, Santorini pool certainly is the supermodel pool of the bunch and has such an ethereal view…but I have to say that I dream of Italy.. so, if I had a choice, it would probably be Castello di Vicarello, Tuscany. Thanks for the dream…They are all beautiful!

    By Mimi

  2. I don’t believe there is a spot on Santorini’s cliffside that can disappoint anyone. The whole island bluff is simply stunning! However, I do like the Crillon La Brave, Provence pool. Mind you, I have never been there, but it looks as calming and relaxing as a lavender bath…only better!!

    By jen laceda

  3. These are really beautiful and very sensual. It’s hard to choose a favorite but I would have to say I like Jardins Secret at Languedoc-Roussillon and Life Gallery at Athens the best. All others are real works of art as well.

    By Shannon

  4. […] you’re looking for some swanky swimming pools to to show off your body beautiful and designer swimwear then there are a couple of great options […]

    By Swanky swimming pools on the Greek islands

  5. Agreed with all, the photography is stunning and all well chosen pieces.

    Makes me want to strip down and go take a dip. However, here in Scotland that’s not such a luxury, so will admire the sunsets above and dream.

    By Andy Hayes

  6. Wow! What a list! I wish I were at one of these pool STAT!

    By Amy @ The Q Family

  7. I would stay in the hotel and never venture out! You know, I’ve never been in an infinity pool. They are all over the place here in Costa Rica and for some reason I never had the chance to experience one.

    By marina k. villatoro

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