Photograph by Christopher Leaman for Bloomberg Businessweek; Model: Eduarda Silva (THE Artist Agency)

Best New Hotel Pools in Six Cities

  1. Washington, D.C.

    Washington, D.C.

    AT: Capella; from $446 per night

    This indoor-outdoor rooftop complex, lined with quartz walls, has fire pits that welcome you into the enclosed space. Hotel visitors are assigned a 24/7 personal assistant who can reserve deck chairs, fetch sunscreen, deliver cocktails and food (try the applewood-smoked mozzarella sticks), and even adjust the temperature. Once you’ve toweled off, the same helper can book ballet tickets or a shopping trip with Capella’s resident fashion stylist.

    GET ACCESS: Exclusively for hotel guests, so stay the night, make a friend on the inside, or beg.

    Photograph by Christopher Leaman for Bloomberg Businessweek; Model: Eduarda Silva (THE Artist Agency)
  2. Panama City

    Panama City

    AT: Waldorf Astoria; from $159 per night

    Hidden in the hopping, low-rise Calle Uruguay neighborhood, this seventh-floor rooftop stunner is completely uncovered—ideal for splashing in 100F-plus heat. Tiny, iridescent tiles in the walls and floor change hue all day long; at night, when the pool area becomes a cocktail spot, the tiles give off a sunset-colored glow. The adjacent terrace has a shaded lounge with couches and a Latin restaurant known for its catch-of-the-day seviche.

    GET ACCESS: Day passes cost $77; every hotel guest gets a plus-one.

    Courtesy Waldorf Astoria
  3. Shanghai


    AT: Mandarin Oriental Pudong; from $418 per night

    This chic 25-meter version of an indoor swimming center caters to both leisurely types and active athletes. The spalike setting, with wooden walls, skylights, and reflective bulbs, seems to sparkle. Drop by for a free Pilates class on the deck, or sign up for individual lessons and personal aquatic training for $64 per hour. Then refuel with healthy fare such as Asian salads and fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice, served in an outdoor courtyard.

    GET ACCESS: The pool is open 24 hours for hotel guests. Others can get passes ($64 hourly) from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.

    Courtesy Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
  4. Abu Dhabi

    Abu Dhabi

    AT: Rosewood; from $172 per night

    This third-floor pool is a tropical oasis, complete with palm trees and garden beds. Featuring an unusual cut-out shape—almost like a puzzle piece—the pool is large enough to do laps, but it also offers private corners for keeping to yourself. After your swim, enjoy a hookah under the “globrellas,” 13-foot metal sculptures that resemble the nearby palms. Wellness coaches prep the sun beds underneath with towels and water and pass out small fans.

    GET ACCESS: Only overnight guests—and their guests—are allowed for now. But the hotel shares a skyscraper with a shopping center and will soon offer visitor passes.

    Courtesy Rosewood Hotels and Resorts
  5. Singapore


    AT: The Westin; from $245 per night

    Perched on the 35th floor of a gleaming glass tower, this sprawling infinity pool, with its impressive views of Marina Bay and the South China Sea, isn’t for the heights-averse. If you’re looking to truly relax, snag a submerged sun bed and order a classic Singapore sling—a traditionally sweet gin-and-brandy concoction—instead of hanging out along the water’s edge. The deck chairs also make a great spot to spy on the fancy clientele.

    GET ACCESS: Splurge on an annual membership to Westin’s Heavenly Spa program ($800), which includes 10 hourlong massages, a discount on treatments, and use of fitness centers and pools worldwide.

    Courtesy Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
  6. Dallas


    AT: The Joule; from $303 per night

    The showpiece of this hotel, fresh off a renovation, is the glass-rimmed pool on the 10th floor. The cantilevered design—extending 8 feet over downtown Dallas—makes you feel as if you’re diving off the building into the historic Neiman Marcus below and the rejuvenated Dallas Arts District beyond. Back on land, nap on one of the cabana beds, where you can have pimento cheese platters and English pea hummus sent up from the hotel’s tasty restaurant.

    GET ACCESS: Hotel guests only. Unless you sneak in.

    Photograph by Eric Laignel, Courtesy The Joule Dallas