Soaking in a pool with good views on a hot sunny day. That’s always my primary target whenever I plan my staycations or short-haul getaways. A decent, good-looking pool is very high on the must-have list when considering the choice of accommodation, even if it’s a beach resort! No matter how many other activities I do for entertainment or simply to pass the time by, nothing beats the memory of a good holiday pool. Here’re some of my recent favourites…
1. Capella Singapore
There’s not one but three pools here- two infinity pools (pictured) and one smaller but long lap pool, all nestled amidst greenery and facing the South China Sea. My favourite is the second, middle pool which is further away from the prying eyes of diners at The Knolls (which the first pool faces) and where, at it’s tail end, you can lounge by the side just admiring the greens around you and the blue sea beyond. If you come at the right time, you can have the whole pool to yourself. Pool service is good here too – servers will come around to check if you need mineral water, food or more towels. Nice.
2. Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Truth be told, I came here just for the rooftop infinity pool. And yup, it’s cool, really cool. Great design, great views and F&B service is good too. Just didn’t think the waters would be so freezing cold! Even when the sun is blazing hot! It’s nice except of course it’s packed to the brim at all times as it’s seriously the hotel’s main attraction really – they even limit to only two guests from each room who could enter the pool area at any one time. Another nice thing is that children have to be in the kids-only area so there will be no screaming and running along the deckchair areas. Have to say though, it’s arguably the only pool in Singapore where so many people of all sizes take selfies in the waters… Is it worth it to pay for a room here just for the pool? Hmm, maybe if the next good room deal comes along…
3. Hard Rock Hotel, Singapore
Actually, when it comes to pools, HRH wins hands down. Just like the one in Bali, I believed the Sentosa resort have the biggest pool in the land. The free-form pool is like five pools in one – there’s a long and wide lap pool, a low-depth area for kids (and pool loungers like me), a secluded corner with a pool bar, a jacuzzi pavilion, and even a man-made sandy beach! Add to that, there’s good rock and pop music played throughout the day, so much so that you don’t need your iPod or MP3 player. The pool is actually shared with the other hotels in the chain such as Festive Hotel, but if you go during off-peak periods (read: non-school-holidays), you are likely to have the pool to yourself in the mornings or early afternoons.
4. Tempat Senang, Batam
I actually didn’t come to this Batam resort for the pools – both are very small – but for their well-known spa-cum-room packages. This is a super gem of a resort over at Sekupang side which featured just 14 themed rooms, so they only entertain about 30-40 guests at any one time. And most of these guests will be spending at least 3 hours having one spa treatment or another as it is part of the resort’s deal which means – if you plan it well – both their pools will often be deserted and you can claim them for your own! After my 3-hr spa treatment during my 2D1N stay, I claimed the gorgeous one, located in the midst of a courtyard surrounded by soothing greenery and chirping birds (pictured above and top of page) which has a lovely cascade, fountains and blue waters in the afternoon as well as the next morning. Absolute bliss. Yup, a return trip is a must!
5. Leows Royal Pacific Resort, Orlando, USA
OK, this one is definitely not short-haul but it’s unforgettable because of the fabulous poolside service they provided here. Mind you, it’s a huge theme park resort (within Universal Studios Orlando) with thousands of guests but the pool attendants make the effort to remember your name. They will help you lay out your towels, bring jelly coolers and even icy shots for you to try out, and will come round to check on you every now and then to see if you need anything. The pool is decent for a holiday resort – lucky for me I was there during Labour Day weekend so the local crowds were away – but it’s the service staff who scored high points for their pool for this hotel guest. 🙂