In the 1970s, American artist Deborah Turbeville turned fashion photography on its well-coiffed head with her dreamy and soft-focus pictures that captured the whimsical inner lives of complicated women. Perhaps her best known series was the widely imitated Bathhouse, published in a 1975 issue of Vogue under the title There’s More to a Bathing Suit than Meets the Eye. Louche and mysterious, the women in these pictures capture that hazy, sun-drunk feeling of lazing by the pool. And if there’s any better feeling when on holidays, we haven’t found it. In homage to the quick dip and the long submerge, to the splash, glide and paddle, here is our round-up of the most bathing-suit-worthy swimming pools around the world.
The Joule, Dallas, Texas
Housed in an imposing 1920s Neo-Gothic building, The Joule’s commanding facade belies the playful touches inside. Contemporary art by Warhol, Tomory Dodge and Richard Phillips lines the hallways; craft cocktails are on the menu at the Midnight Rambler bar, and if it all gets too much, you can escape into the sanctuary of the Taschen library-cum-cafe for high tea while perusing the collection of design books. But the high point – quite literally – is the cantilevered swimming pool that juts from side of the rooftop. Swim right up to the edge and experience the sensation of hanging out over Main Street below.
Alila, Ubud, Bali
While there’s no shortage of astonishing infinity pools across the globe (we’re looking at you and your Aegean views, Grace Hotel in Santorini), the Alila in Ubud gives a different perspective. Nestled high above the Ayung River, it appears to sink into the hills, a glass-like surface neighboured by lush forest. With views over the valley and surrounded by rice terraces, it’s difficult to believe this pool hasn’t always been here.
Four Seasons Hotel, Pudong, China
Never mind a room with a view, this is a swimming pool with one of the most jaw-dropping outlooks in the world. Set high up on the 41st floor of the Four Seasons in Shanghai, the pool is set flush against the floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing for sweeping views across the city, including the space-age Oriental Pearl Tower. If the scenery looks familiar, that may be because the pool played a starring role in the James Bond film Skyfall. And should you be visiting with your own Daniel Craig, it’s possible for couples to book the pool for their exclusive access.
Amanjena Resort, Marrakech, Morocco
Numerous swimming pools punctuate the grounds of the sublime Amanjena resort, all built in traditional Moroccan style and surrounded by date palms and olive trees. Indeed, several of the pavilions and maisons have their own private pools, the most dazzling of which is the Pavilion Piscine (aka Swimming Pool Pavilion). Here, the eponymous 25-square-metre heated pool is set within a private garden and overlooked by the pavilion, which is itself bedecked in plush Berber carpets.
Hotel Grand Tremezzo, Lake Como, Italy
Serene swimming pool or wide-open waters of the lake? Why choose? In an incredible juxtaposition of nature and the built environment, the Hotel Grand Tremezzo has suspended a floating swimming pool along the bobbing waterline of Lake Como. Accessible via two jetties and surrounded by the obligatory deckchairs and sun umbrellas, the floating pool is the jewel in the crown of Tremazzo’s aquatic offerings, which include two other swimming pools. This is a case of dazzling blue, as far as the eye can see.
Written by Michelle Bateman