The pools we’ve missed – our top 5 swimming pools

Watching UK lidos and swimming lakes open over recent weeks has added to the excitement of the trajectory the country is on. Witnessing the joy of people taking a dip in icy waters is testament to how much they have missed the water. Not all swimming pools are equal however and whilst we admire the fortitude of those plunging into 17-degree water, we can't help but think of some of the stunning pools which have hosted our clients over recent years.

Pools are not just about the design and location, they are about the moment – the conversation, the silence, the escapism, the inspiration. For that reason, lists of favourite pools are very much subjective. But for us, there are several pools that really stood out in events and we are mighty keen to plunge back into them with our clients. Here are our favourites:

Dramatic pool suspended high in the mountains

It is the positioning and contemporary design of the Tauern spa which makes it so stand-out. From street-level, the elevated, glass-sided pool reveals the turquoise waters and silhouettes the floating swimmers, generating serious pool envy. From pool-level there are stunning views over the valley and onto a horizon full of glaciers, including the highest peaks in Austria. Pools are about escape and relaxation and there can be few pools to better combine floating in thermal waters with such a dramatic panorama. This elevated pool is for hotel guests whilst on ground level there is a superb, modern thermal spa complex comprising of 12 pools in total. The Tauern Spa is one of the elite spa complexes in Europe, the quality of the build, the setting and the fantastic modern architecture are all so special.

Coastal Sardinia in refined surroundings

There are brasher and more opulent 5-star hotels out there than the Falkensteiner Capo Boi, but there can be few with more refined comfort, quality and setting. With a private beach, the hotel features numerous pools within the grounds, some overlooking the magnificent gardens, others the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea. There is nothing exceptional about the pools themselves, but their positioning is something to behold. The views over the sea or across the extensive, perfectly manicured gardens just drag you into another mindset – it is relaxation whether you opt-in or not. 

Swim-in pool bar

The Blue lagoon, outside of Reykjavik, Iceland offers a new slant on pool bar. As part of the admission fee there are drinks available at the swim-in bar. Clutching a plastic cup of beer, in bubbling thermal waters was a unique experience on many levels. Away from the bar the rejuvenating waters allow you to float and gaze over an otherworldly, volcanic plateau. The Blue Lagoon is different on so many levels, it really is an incredible experience. One of Iceland’s main visitor attractions, tickets are in short supply during high season, so book early to float into the bar with colleagues.

Rooftop Málaga

Rooftop pools are hardly unique, and many people can draw upon their own fond memories of them. For us, an unremarkable rooftop in Málaga offered such contrasting vistas that it has long stayed with us. Views over the Mediterranean Sea, the industrial harbour, the hip waterfront, the historic skyline or the Montes de Málaga peaks, looming to the north of the city – all were worthy of lengthy reflection. Floating in the water, taking a poolside drink with a colleague or reading a book, the views were a smorgasbord of the unfamiliar.

A pool is what you make of it

As well as the reflection and contemplation that we achieve when drifting into another world in a swimming pool, it can also be those social moments that are the most profound. We took a team of computer scientists to Lake Garda a few years ago and planned a buffet dinner around the pool. The evening morphed, the DJ spun the right disks and dinner became a pool party, Club Tropicana remixed for the 21st century. The spectacle and the client feedback reminded us that a pool is a manufactured structure to contain water, it is what you see in it that makes it all so special.

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