It’s the urban trend of the last decade the rooftop pools. But when competition is fierce, you need to offer more than views and cocktails. So here come the pools to turn the settings even more dramatic. They’re found mostly in densely populated cities with no beach, but oceanfront cities like Rio and Barcelona now have them too. Who needs the beach when you can swim and sunbathe while admiring some of the world’s most stunning cityscapes? Naturally, these sky-high pools are part of hotels, offering guests the ultimate urban oases that are reasons enough to travel to their great metropolises.
The world’s most stunning pool stands at 650 feet in the air, up 55 floors, overlooking Singapore. Large enough to fit three football fields, it claims to be the biggest rooftop pool in the world and needs three skyscrapers to hold it up. Unfortunately only guests of Marina Bay Sands can enjoy it.
A 44-story tower on Barcelona’s beachfront is the Hotel Arts Barcelona which stands out for more than its striking architecture. It also has one of the world’s top rooftop pools, next to an iconic Frank Gehry-designed sculpture.
The first time we visited Hotel Unique, it was New Year’s day, and although that’s the summer season in Brazil, there was no one in the pool. But it’s there more as part of the decor than for actually swimming. It reflects the city’s skyline, and it’s after dark when it’s most stunning, as it’s carefully lit. Those who want to dive in will enjoy the underwater sound system.
Sure Rio has some of the world’s most famous beaches, but an alternative to Copacabana and Ipanema is this rooftop pool designed by Philippe Starck at the top of Hotel Fasano. It’s a naturally exclusive spot, having attracted celebrities like Madonna and P. Diddy, who lounged with the scenery of one of the most beautiful cities as a backdrop.
At first sight your first words will be “wow!,” and that’s just for the view of Victoria Harbour. Because you’ll be speechless with the sight of the pool. It’s actually a collection of three of them on a terrace, with controlled temperatures — hot, warm, and cold. See more about the InterContinental Hong Kong.
SoHo House was the Big Apple’s pioneer in offering exclusive rooftop pool service, and continues to be one of the city’s most sought-after addresses. Although now several hotels in New York have rooftop pools, it’s easy to see why this one remains the one to beat.
Think Canadian weather isn’t inviting for rooftop pools? You’ll think again when you see this one in Toronto’s Thompson Hotel. Found on the 16th floor since 2010, it’s an infinity pool overlooking the city which becomes a real hotspot during the warmer months.
Barcelona doesn’t have one but two of the world’s greatest rooftop pools. The one at the Grand Central Hotel is not on the waterfront but in the central Gothic Quarter. Guests swim above the city’s landmarks in a building that combines old world charm with modern design.
Going down the canals on a gondola is not the only aquatic pleasure you can have in Venice. You can also swim above the city at the stunning rooftop pool of the Molino Stucky Hilton which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the splendorous city at 115 feet above sea level.
So what if the pool and chairs look like those of any regular hotel or resort? From the Athens Ledra Hotel you have a 360-degree postcard view of the Acropolis, and on summer nights there are often special parties with the illuminated Parthenon up above.