Take Five: Fab swimming pools that will make you want to grab your Speedos this instant...
Nicola brady plunges into the best pools in the world.
Cascading from mountain slopes, overlooking a national park or an oasis in the desert, Nicola Brady plunges into the best pools in the world...
Hanging Gardens Ubud.
Where: Ubud, Bali
Why: There may be a private pool attached to each of the 38 villas at Hanging Gardens Ubud, but it's the resort's main swimming pool which is the real show stopper. Lined with Batu Chandi stone, the split-level infinity pool is located high over dense rainforest, creating the unique sensation of swimming over the tree tops.
Down in the valley, monkeys swing between the trees by the Ayung River, and the Hindu Dalem Segara Temple is visible across the gorge. You can dine in the pool itself, upon an antique wooden deck that floats on the water's surface, surrounded by candles, drapes and the magical sounds of the forest at dusk.
How: Rates start from €440 per night. You can fly to Denpasar with Etihad (Etihad.com), via Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur, from around €681 return in November. Hanging Gardens Ubud is about an hour away by road.
Where: Utah, USA
Why: At Amangiri (peaceful mountain), the pool acts as the central hub of the resort, incorporating a huge chunk of desert stone into its design. The undulating rock sinks into the lapping waters, where swimmers are blessed with views out to the protected desert valley.
The resort itself blends into the rocky landscape, with the kind of desolate beauty only a wide expanse of desert can bring.
There are 34 suites in total, all with differing views of dunes, plateaus or distant mountains. The Mesa View suites are particularly spectacular at sunset, when the mesas are tinted rose and gold by the dipping sun.
How: Room rates start from €894 per night. Most visitors drive from Las Vegas, which is a scenic four-hour drive from Amangiri. BudgetAir (BudgetAir.ie) currently have flights to Las Vegas with British Airways via London from around €589 in November. See: amanresorts.com
Singita Pamushana Lodge
Why: Twenty years ago, the Malilangwe Trust was established to protect the natural beauty of the wilderness neighbouring the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe. As part of the trust, Singita Pamushana Lodge now sits in the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, protecting and admiring the spectacular 130,000 acres on which it sits.
In the middle of it all you'll find a calm and tranquil swimming pool, where you can gaze out upon the reserve and try to spot rare and endangered wildlife, including black rhinos, sable antelope and 14 species of eagles.
How: Rates start from €883 per adult per night, full board, including road transfers and a variety of safaris twice daily. You'll need to fly to Johannesburg before transferring to Buffalo Range International Airport with Federal Air. Flights to Johannesburg via London start at around €772 with British Airways (ba.com) in November.
NB: All prices are subject to change/availability.
Banyan Tree Seychelles
Where: Mahé, Seychelles
Why: There's no shortage of places to take a dip at the Banyan Tree resort on Mahé island. You can dive into the crystal clear waters of Intendance Bay, sink into your gigantic bathtub, or frolic in the private pools that adjoin each villa.
When you tire of those, the main infinity pool is an impressive feat, its turquoise water jutting out to reach the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean. Islands like these are where infinity pools really come to life, with immaculate waters blending seamlessly into the horizon.
How: Prices at Banyan Tree Seychelles start from €880 per night for a hillside pool villa, including breakfast. The hotel is 30 minutes from Mahé International Airport. You can fly to Mahé with Etihad (Etihad.com), connecting in Abu Dhabi, with return fares currently starting at around €745 in November.
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc
Where: Cap d'Antibes, France
Why: If you're going to "do" Cannes, you might as well do it in style. The Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is poised on the rugged cliffs of the Cap d'Antibes coast, with Cannes Bay just around the corner. Take a dip in the pool, and you can spot the millionaire's yachts drifting along the French Riviera, as well as the Lérins Islands.
And you'll feel just as glamorous as the best of them from this nifty infinity pool, which emerges out of a rocky wall and mirrors the sparkling waters before you.
How: Rates at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc start from €830 for a Traditional Room including breakfast and transfers. Fly to Nice with Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com), with fares in September currently starting from €77 one way.