Sometimes it takes more than knockout design, superb service and mattresses fit for a maharajah: Mr & Mrs Smith like a somewhere to dip their toes once in a while.
Nothing beats watching the sunset over cocktails on a pool terrace – we’ve even been known to go swimming occasionally. So, we’ve splashed our way around our collection to find hotels with pools: plunge, private or infinity-edged; set in gardens or amid ruins; with swim-up bars or clear glass walls – each one the perfect place to show off your swimwear.
Come on in; the water’s lovely…
Maxi-minimal dream come true
For deserted-island decadence, Huvafen Fushi hotel in the Maldives gets it oh-so-right: here you’ll nibble on a picnic beneath palm trees, splash in the still lagoon, and lounge on a private beach where the butler is the only interruption – and he’s just delivering a drink. Beauty of the white sand islets is just the beginning of this boutique’s appeal, there’s also the world’s first underwater spa, the chance to snorkel along one of the Maldives best reefs and romantic dining options aplenty.
Paradise Road Tintagel Colombo: Colombo, Sri Lanka
History-steeped designer haven
Grand, modern and distinctively Sri Lankan, Paradise Road Tintagel Colombo hotel is a 10-room sanctuary in one of the capital city’s most elite neighbourhoods. International cognoscenti ogle each other at the sexy bar, lap pool and two restaurants, while those with an eye for design appreciate the elegant renovations by décor icon Shanth Fernando.
QT Falls Creek: High Country, Australia
Ice, ice, baby
At QT Falls Creek, it doesn’t matter if you’re a skilled skier or the kind of alpine adventurer whose thrills involve hot tubs, hot dogs and hot chocolate – you’ll be utterly spoiled, either way. In winter, Falls Creek village emerges from hibernation and becomes a snow-bunny magnet; in summer, it’s a sleepier, sunnier proposition.
The Grand Café & Rooms: Garden Route & Winelands, South Africa
Sexy boho beach chic
Breezy and boho in the heart of the charming Winelands city of Plett, The Grand Café & Rooms hotel is the ideal South Africa beach retreat, thanks to its sweeping sea views, serene spa and trendy décor. Relaxed in its curated shabby chic style, this hotspot is all about kicking back in style: coffee on the terrace, lingering bistro-style meals and pampering spa treatments.
The Sarojin: Phang Nga, Thailand
Secluded tropical retreat
Set on a sublime stretch of coastline on Phang Nga, not far from Phuket, is The Sarojin hotel, a luxurious hideaway among 10 acres of lush, tropical gardens featuring ancient ficus trees. All of the rooms are stylish with minimalist décor, and many have their own plunge pools. The warm and welcoming staff aims to satisfy every wish. But you probably won’t need much more than a cold drink while you lounge in a daybed on one of several, seemingly floating, cabana decks in the pool.
Maia Luxury Resort & Spa: Mahé, Seychelles
Wholly holistic happy hideaway
Thatched roofs peak out through a lush hillside at Maia Luxury Resort & Spa hotel, an all-villa property on the sandy shores of the southwest coast of Mahé in the Seychelles. Overlooking Anse Louis beach, it has the peaceful privacy of a spare yoga retreat but with welcome touches of luxury. Expect all the island fantasy clichés here – palm branches are blowing in the breeze, the sand is bright white and waters are astonishingly turquoise.
Six Senses Ninh Van Bay: Nha Trang, Vietnam
Reachable only by boat, Six Sense Ninh Van Bay hotel is a spectacularly secluded collection of beautiful teakwood villas (each with a private pool) strewn along the massive rocks and boulders that make up this crescent-shaped bay at the jungle’s edge. Views from all are magnificent, but those nearest the water can go from bed to sea in minutes, thanks to private ladders. Although you’ll be completely stranded while you’re here, your butler will ensure that you won’t go hungry or thirsty.
Vomo Island Resort: Fiji Islands, Fiji
Your Swiss Family Robinson adventure can finally come true at Vomo Island Resort hotel in Fiji, a rare escape that can balance stylish sophistication and seamlessly integrating children into its seductive setting. Two small islands make up this tropical idyll of sun-soaked beaches and clear blue waters, with snorkelling, watersports, golf, tennis and even a turtle sanctuary to keep you busy.
Iconic Santorini: Santorini, Greece
Hugging the caldera’s dramatic cliffside, Iconic Santorini’s cave-carved rooms, sunlounger-dotted patios and wow-worthy terraces sprawl over five levels of Imerovigli village, perched at the highest point of the island. A sea-view pool, cosy spa and breezy whites and blues have freshened the traditional dwellings, now the perfect spot for a luxurious break with dazzling Aegean Sea views.
L’Andana: Tuscany, Italy
Rural Medici residence
Hidden away in the Tuscan hills, hotel L’Andana is a historic hunting lodge with a spa and hammam that brings touches of luxury to the Maremma countryside. Relax in this retreat with its black slate bath, indoor pool and superb spa treatments. It’s blissfully isolated, but with the outdoor pool and Jacuzzi overlooking the gardens, small golf course, mountain bikes and cookery classes with the hotel’s chef make L’Andana you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied.