World's Coolest Plunge Pools (PHOTOS)

03/03/2015 04:44 pm ET | Updated May 03, 2015

The modern traveler is increasingly difficult to impress; classic luxury perks like high-thread-count linens, plush bathrobes, and even beautiful views have become a given. But there's one hotel amenity that never fails to delight even the most seasoned traveler: the in-room plunge pool.

At many top properties, private pools have graduated from a luxury perk to a suite's pièce de résistance. At the Ladera Resort in St. Lucia, they're the focal point of every villa--perched on cliff's edge, like waterfalls cascading into the Caribbean Sea a thousand feet below. At the Conrad Maldives, they're the centerpiece of select overwater bungalows, jutting dramatically over the Indian Ocean.

They're not exclusive to breezy island resorts, either: at India's Lodhi boutique hotel, compact suites are outfitted with in-room pools overlooking the twinkling New Delhi skyline. In the heart of Cartagena, Colombia, courtyard splash pools at the Casa San Agustin offer leafy respite from the bustling urban surrounds, and at Hong Kong's InterContinental Hotel, rooftop dips come with sunset vistas over busy Kowloon.

Budget-conscious travelers can get in on the action, too: at the Blue Lime Hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, modest rooms with their own private saltwater pools start at only $85. And at Indonesia's Novotel Bali, freestanding thatched-roof villas with courtyard pools go for as low as $290 during off-season. Whatever your taste and budget, there's a private plunge pool out there to suit you.

Here are a few we suggest diving into.

--By Krisanne Fordham

  • Amangiri Resort, Canyon Point, UT
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    Though this stylish Canyon Point resort is built around a spectacular negative-edge pool, six of its suites come with their own desert-facing infinity pools for added luxury. Mesa Suite pools come with private sky terraces and sweeping mesa views, and Desert Suites get larger pools overlooking the valley’s endless dunes and plateaus. In the signature Amangiri Suite, a 60-foot rectangular swimming area is built into a spacious outdoor terrace with daybeds and an alfresco dining area—so you can sleep and eat poolside, too.

    Photo: Amanresorts
  • Casa San Agustin, Colombia
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    Located in the heart of bustling Cartagena, this stylish boutique hotel feels like the Colombian pied-à-terre you wish you had: grand colonial architecture, lime-washed walls, terracotta tiles, and hip, earthy décor. A handful of its suites come with narrow plunge pools lined with jade tile—fashioned after the hotel’s larger communal pool—and sheltered by tall palms. The pool suites are worth the price: it’s like having your own secret oasis.

    Photo courtesy of Casa San Agustin
  • Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam
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    Set on a hidden bay in the East Vietnam Sea and accessible only by boat, this ultra-luxe resort takes privacy to a whole other level—which is necessary, considering you’ll be spending all of your time outdoors, alternating between lazy dips in your private plunge pool and sunbathing on the dramatic rock formation into which it’s been carved. Splurge on one of the five split-level Water Pool Villas, outfitted with large, sunset-facing pools that offer ocean access; just climb out of the pool and down a wooden ladder, right into the sea below.

    Photo: Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
  • Cavo Tagoo, Mykonos, Greece
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    The only thing more luxurious than an infinity pool overlooking the Aegean Sea is your very own private infinity pool overlooking the Aegean Sea. Naturally, each villa at this romantic Mykonos hotel has one, in addition to whitewashed walls, minimalist décor, four-poster beds, and spacious verandas outfitted with Jacuzzi tubs. Book the Diamond Villa, where your oversize ocean-view pool is built into a sumptuous outdoor living room.

    Photo: Cavo Tagoo
  • La Reunión Golf Resort & Residences, Guatemala
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    With an 18-hole golf course designed by Pete Dye, two infinity pools, and just 26 suites, La Reunión is a true luxury escape. Almost every suite boasts its own saltwater pool, from which you can take in views of the Pacific Ocean and the Agua, Pacaya, Fuego, and Acatenango volcanoes. Bonus: suites include hammocks to chill out in, too.

    Photo: Ricky Lopez
  • InterContinental Hong Kong
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    Located on the bustling Kowloon waterfront, this plush inner-city hotel proves that amazing private plunge pools aren’t exclusive to breezy island resorts. Though its three signature suites all boast outdoor Jacuzzis and twinkling skyline vistas, it’s the 7,000-square-foot Presidential Suite that steals the show. The $13,000-a-night suite comes with two 24-hour butlers, a gymnasium, and, best of all, an infinity pool with views over Victoria Harbour.

    Photo: InterContinental Hong Kong
  • Royal Isabela Resort, Puerto Rico
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    The rustic Royal Isabela Resort, set in the rugged cliffs of Puerto Rico’s northwest coast, opened in 2012 and remains something of a hidden gem, though likely not for long. Each of its 20 elegant, freestanding casitas is outfitted with an expansive wooden deck, an outdoor dining area, and a marble plunge pool that turns into a steaming Jacuzzi with the flick of a switch. The view: over 400 acres of wind-sculpted trees and pristine native flora, with the Atlantic Ocean in the distance.

    Photo: Joann Dost ®