13 Aug 2010

World's Most Extraordinary Pools (and mine)

Florida, swimming pools 9 Comments

Living in Florida where it seems almost every house has its own swimming pool, it’s easy to get a little blase about pools.   Pool companies here come up with new and fun ways to personalize pools.  No, that is not a real dolphin in the pool below!  Now you can swim with the dolphins right in your own backyard and never have to feed them either.  As cool as these are, they don’t make the list of the world’s most extraordinary pools.

gives new meaning to swimming with the dolphins

Animated Tile has all kinds of possibilities – turtles, sting rays, sharks (yikes), dolphins, frogs, you name it.

This is a mosaic tile murals with a 3D effect

I remember how excited our family was when we moved from New Jersey to Florida many years ago.  We’d actually have our own pool!  No more loading up the car with towels, sunscreen, reading material, floats, swimmies and giggling kids to head to the community pool.  No more whining about when could we go or can’t we stay a little bit longer either.  Since the entire house had sliding glass doors opening up to the pool, even if I was preparing dinner, I could keep a watchful eye on the kids as they played.  Then our kids grew up and we didn’t need such a big house or big pool, so we downsized.  This pool (below) isn’t that small to me, but it’s small for the area.  It’s not too big to take care of or fill with water.  And for me, it’s just right for Sunday afternoons lazily floating around on pool floats as comfortable as air mattresses.  Many afternoons we’ll see the bald eagles gliding overhead (our community is adjacent to a bald eagle preserve).

Just the right size pool for me

Now we’re downsizing again, after we sell our home (want to see the interior?)

my Sunny Florida home

There are lots of transplants from the Northeast  in southwest Florida.  Trading in snow shovels for a swimming pool is a no-brainer for many.  No snow here but it does gets chilly enough to wear a jacket.  I couldn’t live here if there weren’t seasons; I’d get bored wearing capris and sleeveless all year.  Constant summer sounds appealing at first, but I’d miss love spring, fall and winter. We “naturalized” Floridians chuckle at the snowbirds who wear swimsuits while we’re wearing long pants and jackets; it is true that your blood thins after living here awhile.  But I’m sure the snowbirds are having a good chuckle looking at us all bundled up too.

We won’t have our own pool at our next house, but there is a pool at the clubhouse.  I don’t actually have much time to be lounging in the pool so it’ll be nice to have it but not take care of it.  If you look closely, the big mound of dirt is where our new house will be built.  Maybe we’ll get a canoe or kayak to paddle over to the clubhouse (not!)

our new pool

But as much as I love our pool, these pools will knock your socks (or sunglasses) off.  Images and italicized text are courtesy of Open Travel and the credits are for the photographers.

1. The Icebergs. Sydney. Australia.

A pool where presumably you can hear the crashing surf would be heavenly.

The ocean’s waves often break over the side of the Icebergs swimming pool located in the corner of the famed Bondi Beach. This beautiful full-sized 8 lane, 50m swimming pool is open to the public and the  fee is only 5 AUD.

The Icebergs in Sydney by Gary Hayes

though I’m not sure I’d want the surf to crash on me!

The Icebergs in Sydney by Carlos Lopez Molina

2. The Neptune Pool, Hearst Castle. California, the USA.

While this pool is stunning in its beauty, its size is a bit intimidating.  If you were the only person swimming, would you feel a bit isolated?  I would.  Sometimes, I’d revel in that feeling of being totally alone, but other times, it’d feel lonely.  Then again, there’s plenty of room for friends!

Unlike with Icebergs, you would have to be a millionaire to immerse yourself in the waters of the Neptune Pool. The pool, located at Hearst Castle, was originally constructed in 1920s for William Randolph Hearst, an American magnate, and then rebuilt twice.

The Neptune pool by Hisaam Siddiqi

The Neptune Pool by rieh

I absolutely love everything about this mosaic tile work; the design and colors are gorgeous.

The Roman pool by Novembering

3. The Joule Hotel. Dallas, the USA.

This is not a pool for people who have Aeroacrophobia– Fear of open high places.

This twisting swimming pool projects eight feet over the sidewalk, at the edge of the 10th floor of the Joule Hotel in Dallas. The five-star complex, located in the building since 1927, was designed by a famed architect, Adam D. Tihany.

The Joule Hotel in Dallas

The Joule Hotel pool by bryan.amann

The Joule Hotel in Dallas by bryan.amman

4. The Alila Ubud swimming pool. Bali.

So serene, not even a ripple on the water, the very air is still.

The calm, emerald-green swimming pool is floating above the Ayung River valley in Bali’s lush foothills. The pool’s home is the Alila Udubu resort, Payangan, a traditional Balinese hill village, near Ubud.

Alila Ubud by seanmcgrath

5. Simply a swimming pool. Iceland.

Does Iceland even get warm enough to swim??  I’m not sure I’d want to go swimming if I had to don a wetsuit.  Contrary to popular expectations, Iceland can reach 77 degrees in the summer.

All we know about this swimming pool is that it is located somewhere in Iceland, and to swim in it you have to drive to the farm next door to ask for a key. If you find it, let us know…

Iceland by iphilipp

Swimming pool in Iceland by iphilipp

6. San Alfonso del Mar. Algarrobo, Chile.

Pretty amazing how they treat the ocean water to fill this garguantuan pool.

This is the world’s largest swimming pool. It is 1,013 m (3,324 ft) long and has an area of 8 ha (19.77 acre), which is equivalent to 6,000 8-meter-long pools. The water is pumped from the Pacific Ocean, then filtered and treated before it is supplied to the pool.

San Alfonso del Mar by ervega

birds eye view of San Alfonso del Mar by ervega

San Alfonso del Mar by Thiago Grace Couto

7. The Gellert Swimming Pool. Budapest, Hungary.

That is seriously warm water, good for swimming when it’s nasty outside.

Gellert Baths and Swimming Pool complex looks more like a cathedral than a pool. The famed Budapest’s bath was constructed between 1912 and 1918 and it features chic Art Nouveau style. The temperature of water exceeds 40°C (110°F), so visiting the baths is a perfect way to kill the time on a rainy day.

Gallert Swimming Pool in Budapest by pinkcigarette

8. Harbour Plaza Hotel Swimming Pool. Hong Kong, China.

I always prefer outdoor pools so I can see the sky.

Harbour Grand Hong Kong, an icon of luxury in Hong Kong, is home to an amazing outdoor swimming pool that sits on the 23th floor of the hotel. The pool, facing the Victoria Harbour, has some truly stunning views of the city’s countless skyscrapers.

Harbour Hotel Plaza Hotel in Hong Kong by PVCG

9. The Badeschiff. Berlin, Germany.

Those Germans are quite the innovators!  My daughter will be moving to Germany within the next year; I’ll have to share this with her.

Badeschiff or “bathing ship” is the most unusual swimming pool in Berlin. It is an old cargo container converted into a pool on Spree River. During the summer it is an outdoor pool with the beach, bar and DJs. In the winter the whole thing is covered, and a few extra saunas are added.

Berlin's swimming pool by maurizo.mwg

The Badeschiff by maurizio.mwg

10. The Pimalai Resort swimming pool. Koh Lanta, Thailand.

What a tranquil view.  A perfect place to unwind from the rat race.

This amazing swimming pool in Pimalai Resort & Spa on Koh Lanta looks more like some kind of a temple site. In fact, it is a fresh-water, infinity-edge pool, which is set around 50 meters above sea level – so while swimming you can admire the spectacular views of the beach and the sea below.

Pimalai Resort swimming pool by gkamin

Pimalai Resort by gkamin

As I was writing, I saw this post by Design Crisis tweeted by my Twitter friend @Paul_Anatar

No, that's not a cruise ship on top of a building next to a lake

largest, highest infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore

Looking up at the pool

Not for the aeroacrophobic, but the rail is reassuring

No matter whether you swim in an ocean or lake or in a man-made pool, there is something very relaxing and refreshing about being in water.   Perhaps it reminds us of our days in the womb when we had not a care in the world.  Or maybe it’s because the water makes us weightless and we can cast off our cares.  Before the summer ends, I hope you get to enjoy some time in the water!


9 Responses to “World's Most Extraordinary Pools (and mine)”

  1. tamara says:

    I was curious in seeing your home in florida; it has the uncanny resemblance of Palm Coast, near A1A and Marineland. Am I wrong?

  2. Norbridge Antiques says:

    Anne, Thank you for the tour of your beautiful home with its own sub-tropical pool. It must be exciting for you to go into another brand new house, but I’m sure you will also miss this one.
    Thank you, too, for taking us on a journey to look at pools all over the world. What an escape to imagine swimming in these fantastic pools!
    Kind regards,

    • Anne says:

      Juliane, I apologize for taking so long to reply. Thank you for your kind comments. What you say is true, it’s exciting to build a new home but also sad to leave one I had built with much thought and love. I am glad you enjoyed the tour of these fab pools!
      Warm regards,

  3. Sarah Devaney-O'Neil says:

    Anne, it must be bittersweet to be leaving your current home; its beautiful! Some great shots of your beautiful work throughout! Oh….and about the pools…. that one in Singapore has me completely blown away!

    • Anne says:

      Thanks, Sarah, you are so sweet to think of me, and thanks too for the compliment! it would be bittersweet were I not excited to have a new blank canvas to design upon. That shot of the bathers in the Singapore hotel pool takes my breath away (not the one where they’re looking over the edge). It appears they could float right over the edge!

  4. tamara matthews-stephenson says:

    funny how much pools represent our total fantasy of how we want to live…..because pools are actually such a luxury. When we planned our home, I knew that I wanted such a natural looking pool, no deck, no diving board….just a simple grassy surrounding with a slate edge….this was my luxury. Once when we went to Mexico we stayed at a home that had an infinity pool similar to the one you have in your post…it was so decandent to watch the town from up above this pool which gave the illusion of going on forever and simply dropping……Anne, have you seen the book Swmming pools? It is amazing and worth a look to add to you lovely post on the subject. Wow, isnt this two posts in one week? go girl…..xo tamara

    • Anne says:

      Hi Tamara, you are so right. Pools are a luxury because they are expensive and require maintenance, but oh how refreshing to take a dip whenever you feel like it. My parents put in a pool such as you describe but at the time I was more interested in tanning by the pool than swimming in it. Infinity pools fascinate me – I wonder if feels at all like you could fall off the edge (!?) No, I haven’t seen the book but will look for it, maybe Barnes & Noble will have it in the store. Yes, twice in one week, have to catch up – way behind as you know. NYC photos want to be posted! xo Anne

  5. Tweets that mention World’s Most Extraordinary Pools (and mine) -- Topsy.com says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Anne Lubner, Anne Lubner. Anne Lubner said: Splash In! Cool off in these extraordinary pools-and mine too http://ht.ly/2pqqs […]

Leave a Reply