World’s most spectacular pools

Bliss in the Golden Triangle

Landscape architect Bill Bensley was responsible for a complete redesign of the grounds at Anantara Resort & Spa, a 90-room hotel located in Thailand—in the Golden Triangle, the point where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand meet. Commanding a view over a jungle canopy, its pool may be the only one in the world that looks out onto three different countries. A poppy motif—a nod to the area’s history of opium trade—accents the pool.

An Artist’s Escape

Architect Alexander Gorlin created a guesthouse/studio for an artist in East Hampton, New York. He had designed a Palladian main house for the property almost 20 years earlier and welcomed the opportunity to build a complementary structure on the site that could stand on its own. Pictured: An old garden wall adjacent to the pool has been preserved and enhanced with plantings by its owner, who is an enthusiastic gardener. Trees obscure the guesthouse/studio, which is just up the hill.

Mediterranean Retreat in the OC

On California’s Newport Coast—the stretch of the Pacific long nicknamed the American Riviera—Donald Bren, chairman of the Irvine Company, decided to build Pelican Hill, a Mediterranean-style resort. The westerly view from the clubhouse pool takes in not only the lower terraces and golf courses of the hotel but the whole of Newport Harbor. Lining the pool are 300,000 hand-cut blue glass tiles.

Under the Tuscan Sun

Boston-based architect Robert Brannen and his wife, Barbara, with their daughters, Sarah and Jennie, purchased and lovingly restored a traditional Italian casa colonica and its stone barn, situated at the edge of a medieval village in northern Tuscany. The pool, with a surround of green slate from the Apuan Alps, is nestled below the main house, between the terrace house and some adjacent ruins. “We made a window opening in one of the walls so we could enjoy the view while swimming,” Sarah Brannen explains.

Moroccan Magic

If it were not overlooking a coconut-palm-fringed canal, a lavish if modestly scaled pleasure palace—designed by Todd Black for model, actress and writer Veronica Webb and her family in Key West, Florida—would surely be taken at first glance for a royal pavilion in Marrakech or Taroudannt in Morocco. The home is tucked away in a tropical paradise of a garden that includes mangoes, papayas, pineapples, yellow frangipanis, a diverse collection of palms and 45 varieties of orchids colorfully perched on the 100-year-old trees that populate their recently transfigured surroundings. Pictured: Landscape architect Craig Reynolds specified Buccaneer palms and other salt-tolerant native species along the canal side of the house, surrounding the pool. A team of Moroccan craftsmen and apprentices wrapped brightly colored Moroccan tiles around the columns that dip into the pool.

Swimmer’s Delight in Park City

Architect Peter Bohlin, who designed Dennis and Vicki Farrar’s house in Park City, Utah, says that “the very best architecture comes out of the right combination of the intellectual and the intuitive.” For Vicki Farrar, an avid swimmer, the 25-meter lap pool is a defining element. Stainless-steel ceiling panels, full-length glass walls and, at one end of the pool, an acrylic panel that reaches from its bottom to the ceiling create a sanctuary of illumination and clarity. “The light comes in like shards, almost rainbow colors,” she says, “different every day and every part of the day.”

Hong Kong Contemporary

Deep overhangs were among the traditional Chinese building elements that Seattle-based architect Jim Olson, of Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen, incorporated into a graceful contemporary residence he designed for a couple outside of Hong Kong. The infinity pool overlooks the property, which is on a promontory a half hour from the dense city core.

Cabo Compound

“The goal was to create a spectacular place, reminiscent of a Mexican seaside estate, while embracing the natural surroundings,” architect and designer Jim Rimelspach says of Esperanza, an Auberge resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which he renovated. The compound, originally designed by architect Howard J. Backen in 2002, was landscaped by George W. Girvin Associates. The infinity pool’s illusion of infinity is interrupted only by the swim-up bar, and gazing out at the Sea of Cortés is the favored pastime here.

Keeping it Cool in Hawaii

Architects Ricardo and Victor Legorreta collaborated with designers Paul Vincent Wiseman, Joseph Matzo and James Hunter, of The Wiseman Group, on Sandy and Jeanne Robertson’s Hawaii house. Pictured: To protect the lap pool from the heat and rain, Ricardo Legorreta partially enclosed it; he took his inspiration for the color from jacaranda blossoms. “The palette is hotter than normal for me, but you don’t do all beige with Ricardo,” Wiseman says of the house’s hues.

Vineyard Views

“The objective was to provide a simple structure that takes advantage of 360-degree views while staying true to the viticultural nature of the land,” architect Howard J. Backen says of Fred and Mary Constant’s residence at their Diamond Mountain Vineyard in Calistoga, California. “On this property you can stand in one spot and turn in a circle, and everything you see is great,” comments Backen. The pool was situated to take advantage of this.

French Chateau

In the medieval hill town of Ménerbes, France, a fortified château dating back to the 11th century was sensitively renovated at the hands of an American couple, with the help of French designer Michel Biehn. The swimming pool—a copy of an 18th-century stone bassin—was set beside the medieval ramparts of the village, 180 feet below the level of the house.

Spa in Mauritius

“We created a calm and holistic environment,” designer Chandu Chhada says of Shanti Ananda Maurice, a beachfront hotel and spa on Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean, which he collaborated on with architect Jean-Marc Eynaud. Bill Bensley landscaped the 32-acre property; three swimming pools are nestled among the lushly landscaped gardens. Pictured: One of the swimming pools at dusk. “The landscape is part of the building,” says Eynaud. “The quietness is in line with the spiritual atmosphere of the spa.”

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Posted in Off Topic, Real Estate, Water.

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