Lucky dips for the cool crowd
If swimming with an audience is not your thing, consider a stay in a walled villa with private pool. Asian properties lead the way with this form of accommodation and not all are in classic beachside settings.
The Siam in bustling old Bangkok, for example, has riverside accommodation with plunge pools, which neatly slots this exemplary hotel into the “urban resort” category so loved by brochure writers.
Similarly, Park Hyatt Siem Reap (see above) has pool suites of one or two bedrooms nestled in its garden — just the spot for cooling off after a dusty day exploring and climbing the temples of Angkor Wat.
In more expected settings, the Singapore-based Banyan Tree group has a portfolio of resorts in Asia, many with free-standing villas; my favourite is Banyan Tree Lang Co inland from Da Nang on the central coast of Vietnam where each of the 49 guest quarters, with claytiled roofs and exquisite furnishings, is the size of a holiday weekender. All have views of a lagoon or casuarinafringed beach.
The high-rise Banyan Tree Macau, in the Las Vegasworthy Galaxy complex, has two categories of villas, each with pools, which surely are the shot for gamblers to cool down after the exhilaration (or not) of the adjacent casino. In Bali, the terraced estate at The Mulia (as above) encompasses 108 villas of various configurations, culminating with the six-bedroom Mulia Mansion.
Amanresorts usually includes a top level of pool accommodation at its Asian properties and privacy-seeking swimmers would not be disappointed at the clifftop Amanoi in Vietnam (inland from Nha Trang) or any of the group’s Indonesian offerings, although the tented Amanwana on Moyo Island, east of Bali and facing Sumbawa Island, does not have ensuite pools under canvas (the new preserve of top-notch African safari lodges).
At Capella Singapore on Sentosa Island (linked by a bridge to the city proper) there are huge villas and manors with lap pools; this property sits amid tropical plantings and sweeping lawns and, again, the “urban resort” tag firmly fits.
Some hotels in Asia have lagoon-access guestrooms, which are a midway (and mid-priced) solution between a pool villa and standard accommodation.
Basically, you step from your room’s terrace into a meandering lagoon, which will be used by other guests, but you can hop in (and out) direct.
In Bali, RIMBA at Jimbaran and Conrad at Benoa have accommodation of this type, as does Oberoi Udaivilas in Rajasthan, India, and in Queensland, One & Only Hayman in the Whitsundays and Pullman Sea Temple at Port Douglas.
But how about a pool of your own and ladder access to a lagoon where carnival-coloured fish dart about and silvery mackerel suddenly pop and plop?
At the astonishing new Amilla Fushi on Baa Atoll in The Maldives, the accommodation categories are known as “houses” and if you choose an overwater option, there is a flawless integration of deck pool, lagoon and sky.
Think: three shades of blue. Swim and siesta. Flop and drop. Bliss.