When you think of where hotel swimming pools with jaw-dropping views might be, Manchester in the gritty north of England might not spring to mind.
But be prepared to have your mind blown, because the city’s King Street Townhouse hotel is in the running for the accolade of Best Pool with a View by Mr & Mrs Smith, the travel club for lovers of extremely ship-shape hotels.
The pool is on the seventh floor and affords guests views of the clock tower and spires of Manchester Town Hall. ‘We’re mad for it,’ say the judges, which include TV presenters Lauren Laverne and Magdalena Roze.
Other pools in the running include a stunning pool in an 18th-century Tuscan villa, an infinity pool in the Maldives that will make you go weak at the knees and a Sri Lankan hotel pool that’s frankly a work of art with a view ripe for a painting.
The Best Pool with a View is a category in the 2018 Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Awards, along with Sexiest Bedroom, which MailOnline Travel recently reported on. Members of the public can vote for the best hotel. The results will be announced on January 18.
In the meantime, feast your eyes on brochure-perfect swimming pools with views that will leave you yearning for dip.
ONE&ONLY REETHI RAH, MALDIVES: This pool is praised for being a ‘geometric masterpiece’. Behold, they say, the ‘thick, clean, black lines, demarcating the 30-metre lap pool, internal Jacuzzi and carved stone bed’
THE OTHER SIDE, ELEUTHERA, BAHAMAS: ‘A minimalist meeting place for some future civilisation,’ is how the Mr & Mrs Smith panel describe this. It’s stylish, and eco-conscious, too, with water filtered from the ocean
KING STREET TOWNHOUSE, MANCHESTER, UK: The judges says this pool is ‘inspired’. It’s a ‘four-metre by four-metre spa pool that doubles as a giant Jacuzzi, with one wall opening out to unrivalled views of the clock tower and spires of Manchester Town Hall. In short, we’re mad for it’.
TRI, SRI LANKA: The Mr & Mrs Smith judges describe this pool as an ‘aqueous runway that draws the eye from the minimalist heaven of the terrace to the mist-blanketed lake’.
BORGO PIGNANO, TUSCANY, ITALY: Guests here descend stone stairs to a pool carved from an ancient limestone quarry. The judges recommend flopping onto a sun lounger for a day ‘that ends with a sunset over sumptuously sepia countryside’
TIERRA ATACAMA HOTEL & SPA, CHILE: There’s almost something alien-planet-like about this watery offering, with crescent-moon-shaped wicker sunloungers by a reed-fringed pool giving guests, the judges say, ‘front row seats to a sunset that paints the volcano cone a fiery red’
THE NORMAN, TEL AVIV, ISRAEL: ‘Adding an infinity pool to this elegant 1920s building in Tel Aviv’s White City – with its high concentration of Bauhaus buildings – was ambitious, especially when you step out onto its decking and discover how it had to slot into the rooftop like a Jenga piece beside the hotel’s slanting skylight and row of cushioned daybeds,’ the judges say. ‘Yet the effect is masterful – from here you can spy neighbouring architectural gems glimmering in the sun, beyond which a strip of blue sea skirts the horizon’
MIHIR GARH, JODHPUR, INDIA: Surrounded by the Rajasthan desert – the Mihir Garh is the only building as far as the eye can see. But equally as revelatory, the judges say, is its ‘shapely pool, which bulges over fragrant champa, bougainvillea and lawns with views of the scrubland beyond’
LES ROCHES ROUGES, COTE D’AZUR, FRANCE: Here a ‘retro saltwater pool abuts the surf so closely that waves sometimes slosh over the boundary line’. The judges add: ‘The hotel’s photogenic rocks reach into the pool as if Mother Nature herself wants in on the centrefold’
HOTEL PLETA DE MAR, MALLORCA, SPAIN: The judges wax lyrical about this Spanish beauty. They say: ‘Curtained by tall trees and facing the sea, the pool’s rim follows the curve of the rocky Mallorquín coast – choose a tier of dry-stone terrace and wile away the parasol-shaded hours on a cream-hued daybed’