Top 10

World's Best Pools

Beachside, rooftop, made for two or with a view, read about 10 exceptional swimming pools at these Leading Hotels of the World.


CHOOSE between a dip in the turquoise Indian Ocean or your very own cliffside infinity pool at this quintessential Seychelles escape.
ADMIRE Santorini's world-famous sunset and Caldera views from the sparkling pool at this clifftop retreat in Oia.
APPRECIATE the mix of old and new at this design-forward hotel in the heart of Beirut, complete with a rooftop pool.
TAKE a swimming lesson with Pierre Gruneberg, the renowned instructor at this Grand Dame resort on the Cap Ferrat peninsula.
GAZE at the crystalline Indian Ocean from the two-tiered swimming pool of this lush Balinese resort overlooking Seminyak beach
FOLLOW a day on the beach at Tamarin Bay with a few laps in your own private pool at this Mauritius spa destination.
EXPERIENCE a dip in the Greco-Roman style swimming pool (complete with ceiling frescoes) at this glamorous Parisan getaway.
SWIM in the only swimming pool in Venice at this legendary hotel on the tip of Giudecca Island.

Winter Sun

Round Up: Winter Celebrations in the Sunshine

Cold mornings, dark nights, layers of sweaters and a long-gone tan - sometimes a sun lamp just doesn't cut it. Escape the winter blues this season with a long-haul escape south of the Equator. In the southern hemisphere, winter is summer and autumn is spring, Christmas dinner is eaten on the beach and New Year's Eve requires a summer dress. Read about four destinations that guarantee some winter sun.


Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa


With winter temperatures hovering in the low '80s, even the palm trees hang lazily over the white sand beaches in Bora Bora. On its largest islet, the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa is an escape that lends itself to romance, with Polynesian-style overwater bungalows, two regionally inspired restaurants and a pampering spa. For divers, there is an on-site dive center and pristine reefs waiting to be explored.


Cape Grace - Cape Town


Cape Town is one of the most photogenic cities in the world, and it looks even better with the sun shining over its vineyard-draped hills, polished coast and iconic Table Mountain. In the V&A waterfront, the Cape Grace hotel is a boutique destination close to all the area's restaurants and attractions. Tip: The hotel has its very own yacht, which can be chartered for cruises to Robben Island, Hout Bay and beyond.


Royal Palm Hotel - Galapagos


Sneaking just under the equator, the Galapagos may not have the temperature swings of other southern hemisphere destinations, but it more than makes up for it with stunning wildlife and natural wonders. On Santa Cruz island, the Royal Palm Hotel - Galapagos offers a luxurious base for exploring all of the island's attractions, though with an art gallery, tennis courts, lava tunnel and Asian-Ecuadorian restaurant all on site, you may be tempted to stay put.


Hayman


A private island resort in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, the newly refurbished Hayman resort is unforgettable whatever the time of year. The stunning ocean setting provides a natural playground of sailing, fishing, diving and whale watching excursions, while on dry land there is a choice of five restaurants (from exotic Asian to European), a kids club and luxurious spa.

Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa
The unspoiled coral reefs and lagoons that make up the captivating views around French Polynesia have remained virtually unchanged since 18th-century sailors first reported sightings of these stunning islets. Making the most of the spectacular vistas, the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa is located on 17 waterfront acres. Guest accommodations are in thatched-roof Polynesian-style bungalows scattered in lush tropical gardens and across the turquoise water. The natural splendor invites such activities as kayaking, outrigger canoeing and catamaran cruises. The serene Manea Spa also takes inspiration from the unique setting, offering such treatments as hot volcanic stone healing and taurumi barefoot bodywork.
Cape Grace
Surrounded on three sides by water, Cape Grace has its own private quay on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. It’s an ideal location, with the waterfront’s shopping and restaurants just steps from the door. Sophisticated and infused with local charm, each of the guest rooms has a distinct décor, featuring antiques, hand-painted fabrics, and thoughtfully chosen African artifacts; all provide the convenience of iPod docking stations, flat-panel HD televisions and limited complimentary Wi-Fi. The buzzing Bascule bar is perfect for an aperitif before dinner at the award-winning Signal restaurant, which serves such heavenly Cape dishes biltong-cured ostrich, rooibos-scented apricot compote, bitter chocolate and goat’s cheese truffles and bobotie-spiced springbok loin, cardamom-scented sweet potato purée, buttered fine beans, savory almond streusel, with caramelized orange jus.
Royal Palm Hotel - Galapagos
The Galápagos Islands are a nature lover's dream destination. The islands' geographical isolation, nearly 600 miles to the Ecuadorian coast, has preserved an ecological wonderland unlike any other in the world. Most visitors put up with cramped conditions of boat travel, but those in-the-know book at the Royal Palm, a stunning property located in the highlands of Isla Santa Cruz. The chain's central island, it is the main starting point for touring here, and the hotel makes a wonderful base for following in Charles Darwin's footsteps. Kids especially are excited to discover such rare animals as blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises, Vermilion Flycatchers and Darwin’s finches, all of which seem perfectly content to share their pre-historic paradise with visitors. HRH Prince Charles & HRH The Duchess of Cornwall have stayed here.

Pulse: The Resort Life in Mexico

Looking for the perfect winter vacation in thriving beach destinations? Look no further… Leading Hotels in Mexico offer the finely tuned attention and service of a dream resort escape.


Family Fun: In the Marine National Park, Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa is a best-of-both-worlds getaway offering quiet seclusion by the Caribbean Sea and entertainment for the whole family. The Chiqui Club keeps youngsters entertained while parents enjoy the two spas, nearby golf course and snorkeling.


Adults Only: The Royal Hideaway Playacar marries modern design with an upscale vibe and, thanks to a minimum-age requirement, a serene beach. With its sleek infinity pool, the resort also boasts split-level ocean front sun decks, six gourmet restaurants, a PADI-certified dive center and even private villa concierges.


All-Inclusive: In Nuevo Vallarta, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit offers an all-inclusive experience, plus Pacific Ocean views, fine dining and a 16,500-square-foot destination spa. Included in the mix are three restaurants, yoga and Pilates classes, an infinity Jacuzzi and kids' club. Of course, the white sand beaches along Banderas Bay provide ample daytime distraction.


Cabo Style: With its stunning seaside setting, sprawling layout on 25 acres and authentic Mexican design scheme, the One&Only Palmilla strikes a perfect balance between laid-back and uber-chic. Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Market restaurant thrills foodies while an ESPA, three picture-perfect pool areas and access to some of the area's top golfing keep everyone entertained.


On the Riviera: Banyan Tree Mayakoba celebrates the stunning natural setting of the Riviera Maya's Mayakoba development. Interiors offer a mix between authentic Mexican touches and Asian serenity, and the property's many lounge areas, with striking ocean views, invite relaxation. The award-winning spa is a major draw, as are the villas with their own pools and guests' access to the Greg Norman–designed golf course.


Coastal Pampering: At Secrets Marquis Los Cabos it's difficult to decide what is more beautiful: the sweeping vistas of the Sea of Cortez or the colorful, comfortable interiors complete with original works of art. No question, however, that Spa Marquis, a Leading Spa focused on mind-body wellness, is one of the best-and largest-in Mexico. Equally acclaimed is Canto del Mar, the property's fine-dining restaurant. Restricted to adult guests, Marquis is a perfect enclave to escape the winter blues.

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
The Grand Velas is located in Riviera Nayarit, Nuevo Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coastline, an area known for consistently perfect weather conditions (it's sheltered by the Sierra Madre Mountains). Naturally, this serves as a stunning backdrop to the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, an all-inclusive beachfront resort facing Banderas Bay. Kids are catered to with their own pool and activities such as treasure hunts, cooking classes and piñata making (they even have their own spa treatments). If adult travelers have the urge to do more than soak up the rays by the tiered infinity pool, the resort offers beginning-level scuba classes, beach volleyball and bike tours. Interiors are done in a contemporary style with teak furniture, private terraces and plunge pools, providing plenty of room to spread out and take in the sun-drenched setting.
Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa
In 1959, Jacques Costeau explored the Palancar Reef, off the southwestern shore of the then littleknown Mexican island of Cozumel. Today, the spectacular coral reef, which is part of the world's second-largest reef system, tops the list of scuba divers. Those who prefer to stay on land won't be disappointed thanks to the island's picture-perfect beaches, the best of which is found at the Presidente InterContinental. Tucked between lush jungle and brilliant blue sea, and surrounded by flowering gardens, the resort feels ultra-private. Guest rooms are housed in thatched-roof structures with sleek interiors. The outdoors are celebrated in the details (hammocks on the terrace) and an extensive activities menu. Those hankering to follow in Costeau's footsteps can join in daily diving excursions.
Secrets Marquis Los Cabos
Located near the tip of the Baja peninsula where the desert mountains meet the Sea of Cortes, the Secrets Marquis Los Cabos features a dream combination of gorgeous setting, pristine accommodations and superb amenities. Foodies can relish the nightly menu comprised of the freshest local ingredients from the Michelinpedigreed executive chef; while artistes browse the resort’s extensive collection of Latin American sculptures and paintings on display. Sybarites will prefer to book a treatment at the newly re-envisioned Spa Marquis, while sunseekers flock to one of three infinity pools overlooking the water that offers glorious sightings of dolphins, jumping rays and whales. A dream destination for golf aficionados as well, six 18-hole courses are within ten miles of the resort.
The Royal Hideaway Playacar
The Royal Hideaway Playacar occupies an enviable stretch of white sand beach on Mexico’s tropical Caribbean side, just five minutes south of Playa del Carmen, the Riviera Maya's buzzing beach town. The sophisticated, colonial-style property (an all-inclusive, all-adult getaway) strikes a winning balance between boutique and rambling, with thirteen lush acres and a myriad of activities, like water sports, private tennis lessons and excursions to nearby archeological sites. The property boasts a beach-chic elegance: dining is exclusively à la carte and many guests dress up for dinner. During the day, social hub is the vast, palm-fringed infinity pool and the oceanfront solarium deck, the perfect place to soak up the sun, while evenings find everyone at the sleek Piano Bar for aperitifs.
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