Is plunging into refreshing water after a day on the slopes high on your list when looking for the perfect place to stay? If so, here is a clutch of 20 cool ski pools – some of them gigantic and others so aspirational that they will certainly make you dream…
Pool With a View – Amangani, Jackson Hole
Lying in the gorgeous black slate pool at the equally gorgeous Amangani in Jackson Hole you’ll certainly be mesmerised by the view. The Tetons mountains are beyond and so too is some of the most challenging skiing in North America.
Rooftop Pool – Hotel Schwarzer Adler, Kitzbuhel
The rooftop Dachpool at the Hotel Schwarzer Adler in Kitzbuhel will really make you feel like you’re on top of the world. Inside the hotel is the cool Black Spa, which features linear design with local wood, burnished glass and rooms flooded with light.
Candle-Lit Pool – The Omnia, Zermatt
The quirky Omnia hotel in picture-postcard Zermatt has no room numbers and its wellness area has a mystic air. The indoor-outdoor swimming-pool is candle-lit and there’s a flower steam bath and a lovely outdoor whirlpool with views of the Matterhorn.
Active Pool – Aquamotion, Courchevel
Courchevel 1650 is home to Aquamotion, a vast indoor water park that opened in the winter of 2015/16 and is bigger and better than anything else in the Alps. It houses a wellness centre, a lagoon/wild river experience, a huge water slide, a baby pool, indoor surfing and a climbing wall. Stay in Chalet Bellevue in 1650.
Warming Pool – Banff Hot Springs, Alberta
Banff-Lake Louise can be an icy cold place to ski, but after the day is done you can warm up in the 104°F (40°C) Banff natural hot springs. The water is rich in minerals that invigorate the skin and relax the body, so you can just lie back and enjoy the lovely mountains. Stay here in the Gothic-style Fairmont Banff Springs hotel.
Designer Pool – Marco Polo, Val d’Isere
Chalet Marco Polo in Val d’Isere has a pretty impressive pool with gold leaf tiles and two goddesses designed by fashion icon, Christian Lacroix. There is a drop-down screen and projector, so you can float whilst watching your favourite movie. What bliss.
Largest Spa Pool – Caldea, Andorra
At 18m high, Caldea in Escaldes-Engordany on the outskirts of the capital of Andorra La Viella, is Andorra’s tallest building as well as being the biggest spa in Europe. The pool complex inside is gigantic with a 600 sq metre 68°C thermal pool and attractions that include Turkish baths inside a mini mosque and Bombay elephant caves. Stay in Sport Hotel Hermitage & Spa, the resort’s first five-star.
Magical Pool – La Perla, Corvara
Everything about Hotel La Perla in Corvara is magical, from its quirky decor to the fab kitchens and wine cellars – and an incongruous motor museum (the owner is a serious collector). The pool has a hydromassage system, and in the spa there’s a Turkish Bath built to look like an igloo and a relaxation area fashioned from ancient wood. And if you open the door you’ll be faced with some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
Futuristic Pools – Aqua Dome, Oetztal
If you’re skiing in Solden or Obergurgl, take a trip to Aqua Dome in Längenfeld, a small village along the Oetztal Valley. It is located 15 minutes from Solden and 30 minutes from Obergurgl. If you’e skiing you can spend the evening here – or non-skiers can treat themselves to a spa day with lunch at the in-house Einkehr restaurant. Not forgetting the Alpine Noah’s Ark, which is a separate water world for children with a giant waterside and two large swimming-pools set on the deck of a ship. In Obergurgl stay at Hotel Edelweiss & Gurgl, which has its own indoor and outdoor pools and a whirlpool with a a glass roof.
Chair-Lift View Pool – The Viceroy, Snowmass
Everyone taking a ride on the Assay Hill chair-lift at Snowmass looks enviously down at those wallowing in the steaming Viceroy hotel pool. The spa with its central waterfall is reached through a dramatic brass gate.
Fireside Pool – Hotel Bella Tola, St Luc
The cute little Hotel Bella Tola in St Luc was built in 1859 on the foundations of a Roman villa and has one of the prettiest swimming-pool areas in the Alps. After a dip you can snuggle up in a fur rug beside the roaring log fire or have a massage in the small but rather special l’Eau des Cimes spa with its organically-based treatments.
High Mountain Pool – Altapura, Val Thorens
The Altapura in Val Thorens is part of the Sibuet stable who also owns the fabulous Fermes de Marie in Megeve. This one is the highest pool in the Alps. Start by plunging into the indoor-outdoor pool, then take a journey that alternates between dry and wet heat with cascading showers en route, ending up with a frozen-snow rubdown in an igloo. The spa and swimming-pool area is designed to look like it’s in the middle of a birch forest, and treatments are based on Nordic and Baltic traditions.
Rock Pools – Hotel Tschuggen, Arosa
The vast 5000m² spa of the Tschuggen in Arosa is one of the most impressive you will find anywhere in the Alps. It is spread over four floors and is made from Alpine white granite stone, local Arosa rock, and Canadian maple.
Relaxing Pool – Heliopic Sweet & Spa, Chamonix
In Chamonix there is the Heliopic Sweet & Spa with an indoor swimming-pool and Jacuzzi overlooking Mont Blanc. Then there’s the Banya, the tepidarium and a rustic-style shower where you stand under a wooden bucket of cold water. For hardy souls only!
Thermal Pools – Gasteinertal
The Gasteinertal is know for the thermal water that comes from 16 different springs and is enriched with natural radon. The water revitalises, relaxes and promotes better circulation. Alpentherme in Bad Hofgastein has spring-fed indoor and outdoor pools, and water-massage loungers. Solarbad Dorfgastein has an outdoor pool with water heated to between 28° and 30°C. Stay in Hotel Gruner Baum, which has its own thermal pool heated to 32°C.
Cliff Pool – Snowbird, Utah
The Cliff Lodge in Snowbird, Utah is the resort’s best place to stay. Snowbird is renowned for its steep slopes and excellent powder skiing, so the fact that the property is ski-in ski-out means you won’t waste any time getting on and off the slopes. The Cliff Spa has a rooftop pool and hot tub, with 21 treatment rooms spread over two storeys.
Tropical Pool – Aquariaz, Avoriaz
Aquariaz has been designed as an aquatic paradise in the mountains featuring lush vegetation and rocks: a river with a gentle current, a slidewinder (a sort of aquatic half-pipe), a water playhouse, a large pool with climbing walls, massage benches, and an open-air spa pool. This hybrid concept mixes tropical vegetation with its mountain surroundings. Stay in Chalet Poudreuse at the highest sector of the resort.
Forest Pool – Forsthofalm, Leogang
Volcanic Pool – Thermas de Chillan, Chile
The spa resort of Thermas de Chillan has pleasantly wide pistes and the striking backdrop of a smoking volcano. The ski season in Chile runs from July to October and Gran Hotel Thermas de Chillan is ski-in ski-out. Its spa has very reasonably priced treatments and a hot hot outdoor pool with water piped directly from the volcano.
Monkey Pools – Hokkaido, Japan
On the main island in Japan, where the winter temperatures reach as low as -15°C, snow monkeys rather than humans warm themselves in the hot springs. At Jigokudani Yaenkoen Park in the Nagano area they’ve become quite a tourist attraction…but we don’t recommend you join them!
The 21st Pool – Vallée du Louron
After finding a good mix of 20 pools, I was reminded about the Balnea Spa, which is the biggest thermal spa and pool complex near the resort of Peyragudes in the French Pyrenees. It has a 4,000 m² surface area and the pools contain a total 550m3 of water. Pictured here is the Japanese Pool, but others include the Inca Pool, American Indian Pool and Roman Pool. Stay at the three-star Residence Les Jardins de Balnea at the edge of the Balnea gardens and 20 minutes from Peyragudes.