The world’s best hotel pools

Take a dip with a view at one of the nominees for this year’s Smith Hotel Awards

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The Independent Travel

Fasano Rio, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil 

Fasano Rio’s rooftop infinity pool is a mesmerising white marble dipping point, perfect for surveying the sights of Ipanema Beach below. With a glass exterior, the expansive views overlooking Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean are some of the best in Brazil. The milk-white cushioned sun loungers are waiting to be occupied, and for those who want to feel the sand between their toes, there’s also a section of private beach for hotel guests. For family dipping, the pool is watched over by a lifeguard 9am–5pm, and the rest of the time by the ever-looming Christ the Redeemer. Receive poolside satisfaction from fresh coconut water, club sandwiches and caipirinhas. Double rooms from £391, room only, but with use of a personal trainer.

Hôtel Crillon le Brave, Provence, France 

A picture-perfect hilltop retreat in the rural beauty of Provence, Hôtel Crillon le Brave is set above the stunning backdrop of the Vaucluse vineyards and peaceful countryside villages. The pool is situated among the terraces and offers glorious panoramic views over the romantic French landscape. Chef Jérôme Blanchet’s delicious dishes, fresh from the region, are the perfect complement to the view, and dinner is served to your sun-lounger. The honied hues of the surrounding villages shift with the seasons, but as this pool is heated, the mediaeval magic of this region can be explored all year long. Double rooms from £432, B&B.

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Hôtel Crillon le Brave

Six Senses Yao Noi, Phang Nga, Thailand 

It doesn’t come much closer to Paradise than this. The near-imperceptible edge of this infinity pool underlines the view of the craggy limestone islands studding the ocean waters of Phang Nga Bay. Guests of the Ocean Panorama Pool Villas will feel Tarzan-esque nestled high in a sleek treehouse stylishly designed with local teak and palm-leaf. Should the views of the magical waters grow tiring (unlikely), staff here will arrange an aqua yoga session in your very own private villa with plunge pool, where the thatched, open-plan living spaces and jungle canopy bring you closer to nature. Double rooms from £417, B&B.

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Six Senses Yao Noi

Alila Jabal Akhdar, Al-Dakhiliyah, Oman 

With a private pool, steam room and Jacuzzi, the Jabal Villas are the hot ticket at this filmic clifftop mainstay. In the stone cabanas on the hillside, guests can bask à deux in the surroundings of snow-capped mountains. For a less exclusive, but equally extravagant paddle, the main pool is surrounded by a rough-hewn stone-and-wood deck and allows never-ending views of the canyons from its curved infinity edge. Should the temperature outside fall a little south, guests can enjoy the views from behind a wall of glass in the indoor heated plunge pool, enveloped by stone columns and lit by romantic candles. Double rooms from £425, B&B.

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Alila Jabal Akhdar

Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como, Italy 

With three pools to choose from, Grand Hotel Tremezzo doesn’t disappoint when it comes to poolside pampering. For a unique outing with the whole family, the floating pool suspended on the lake provides a location close to both the beach and the Champagne bar. The Flowers Pool is a more tranquil affair, surrounded by glittering gardens close to the pizza restaurant and bar, and great for hungry families. The adults-only indoor infinity pool is a stellar standout and comes complete with a panoramic relaxation lounge and spa. Guests can soak in the salt therapy room, unwind in the whirlpool and take solace in the sauna before sipping their favourite beverage while overlooking the water. Double rooms from £350, B&B.

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Grand Hotel Tremezzo

Casa de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina 

The Andean peaks make for a dramatic backdrop to this elegant, modernist Mendoza escape. The pool is elevated on a concrete platform, allowing dream-inducing views of the lagoon and distant mountain peaks, which seem to hang reverently above clouds. An industrial ethic of sharp metals, sleek interiors and neutral tones seep from the smartly-designed hotel into the shape and style of the pool, which is surrounded by equally angular sunloungers. The infinity edge allows stunning views of the terroir, or you can dip into the bubbles of the Jacuzzi, the perfect place to unwind after exploring Mendoza’s winning wineries. Double rooms from £384, B&B.

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Casa de Uco

Amangiri, Lake Powell, Utah, US 

Winner of the Best Hotel Pool in the Smith Hotel Awards 2015, the pool at Amangiri really is something else. Heated and luxurious, it curves elegantly around a sandstone escarpment, with king-sized sun-loungers floating on poolside decks. For a private pool, try the Terrace Pool Suites, the Girijaala Suite or the Amangiri Suite for the most deluxe of poolside stays. The main pool is complemented by a soul-soothing spa with water pavilion, plunge pool and watsu pool in an ode to tranquility, alongside five treatment rooms and a floatation room for those who like life off-land. With unrivalled views of Utah’s dusky desert, there is no place better to relax amid elegant modernist architecture while taking in the 600-acre sprawling scenery. Double rooms from £1,825 full board, including yoga and pilates classes and guided hikes.

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Amangiri

Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand 

It’s hard to avoid being blown away by Matakauri’s breathtaking views of craggy Cecil Peak and the calm, crystalline waters of Lake Wakatipu, which unfold like the interior of the world’s largest snow-globe from your poolside vantage. This outdoor infinity pool is as tranquil as a mill pond, and comes with a bubbling Jacuzzi and sauna to make sure you get as much use from your swimwear as you do the mountain gear and the bungee cord. It’s by far and away the best location for some good thinking time, while planning the activities tomorrow will bring, taking inspiration from fishermen on the water, or from the heli-skiers whizzing down the mountainside. Double rooms from £868 including breakfast and pre-dinner drinks with hors d'oeuvres.

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Matakauri Lodge

Cape Weligama, Weligama, Sri Lanka

Though glistening beaches are only a short walk away, the most idyllic location to take in the picture-perfect 270-degree panoramas of the Sri Lankan coast is the crescent-shaped, cliff-edge infinity pool at Cape Weligama. Curving gently around the cape, the Moon Pool is adults-only, but little ones will feel more than welcome in the Cove Pool or in one of the pools shared between two to three villas. There is also a string of bars offering locally-inspired cocktails and snacks, while a butler is on-hand at the Lek Bunnag-designed contemporary villas. The Cape Pool Villa has its own private infinity pool on the roof terrace for super-luxurious swims. Double rooms from £350, B&B.

Le Palais Paysan, Marrakech, Morocco 

The parasol-flanked pool at Le Palais Paysan is the stuff of dreams. The unheated, 28-metre infinity pool is sunk into the open countryside, so guests can gaze over the Atlas Mountains while paddling in the shallows, or recline under a thatched pagoda with a drink or pastry from the Pool House. The midnight-blue anthracite tiles complement the hazy hues of the Moroccan sky while the green, tiki-style parasols hovering above day beds align charmingly with the rolling hills, which are the backdrop to this enchanting pool. If the valley views aren’t enough, the Jacuzzi in the spa looks out on to magical mountain vistas. Double rooms from £194, B&B.

All of the properties above can be booked through Mr & Mrs Smith (0330 100 3180; mrandmrssmith.com). The winners of the Smith Hotel Awards will be announced on 12 January 2017.

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