Update: The remaining four matches in the second round are now open! Cast your vote today.
Well, Travel Agent's “Cool Pool of the World” contest is officially up and running as the first round came to a conclusion this morning, with 16 luxury resort swimming pools now advancing to the second round.
And after the first round, it is quite apparent that Casa Palopo in Guatemala has a lot of fans. The resort garnered nearly 6,000 votes, which was the most first-round votes of any resort pool included in the contest.
As a reminder, the first four "games" of the second round begin today, March 20, with the remaining second-round games beginning Wednesday, March 22.
Polls for the second round will close on 9:00 a.m. March 27, when the quarterfinals begin. The first two match-ups will take place on March 27 and the next two will begin on March 29.
Polls for the quarterfinals close on 9:00 a.m. April 3 when the semifinals begin. Voting for the semifinals concludes on Thursday, April 6, when the finals begin. Voting for the finals ends on 9:00 a.m. April 10, the day the winner will be announced.
In this voting-based contest, we selected 32 pools, most of which were included in the more than 60 "The Cool Pool of The Week" columns we've featured since we launched the series toward the end of 2015. In true NCAA March Madness bracket fashion, we will be pitting two hotels' pools against each other round by round.
The winner will be featured in the May 15 issue of Travel Agent magazine as our "Cool Pool of the World" for 2017.
The Cool Pool of the Week column highlights either a single pool or a collection of pools from chic, trendy resorts that we think are great pitches for Millennials. Although Travel Agent has our personal favorites, we are leaving this up to you, our readers.
So let the Cool Pool madness continue and for more cool hotel pools, follow us on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/travelagentmag/cool-hotel-pools. Also, be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260.
Featured as our Cool Pool of the Week back in 2015, the villa pool at Casa Palopo might have a simple layout, but its views of three active volcanoes along Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan are anything but ordinary.
Casa Palopo is home to just nine rooms. Seven of the rooms are located in one building, but the two-bedroom villa located in the hills is where you will find the property’s most stunning pool.
The infinity pool gives you the impression that the water is cascading into the lake, although it really cascades to a lower level where two helipads make it possible for guests to helicopter to and from Guatemala City. Renting the villa also comes with butler service, and a personal chef can be arranged.
Hilton at Resorts World Bimini
As we told you in August of last year, Millennials looking for a cool pool while vacationing in the Bahamas will have two stylish options to choose from at the Hilton at Resorts World Bimini hotel.
The 305-room luxury hotel is situated on a 750 acre beachfront complex, marina and casino on the Bahamian Out Island of North Bimini.
The property is home to both a rooftop infinity pool and a wrap-around lazy river pool. Those enjoying the rooftop infinity pool can sip Bahama Mamas and other signature cocktails from Monkey Business, the new poolside bar, from underwater seating and cocktail tables in the pool. From the pool, Millennials can take in sweeping island views.
Millennials staying at the over-the-top luxurious Jade Mountain resort in St. Lucia won't have to venture far to find the best pool on the property. It's in their room.
Jade Mountain was one of the first resort’s we featured in our The Cool Pool of the Week column back in November of 2015.
Each of the roughly 30 suites at this hotel come with an infinity pool that begins from the bed, which is netted to protect guests from mosquitoes, and extends to the front of the living room with perhaps one of the best views you'll ever see at a Caribbean hotel.
Looking out from the edge of your pool, you can see the pride of St. Lucia: the Pitons, two gigantic, gorgeous green twin mountains. To your right is more ocean, which looks like a painting when the sun goes down. The bottom line is you can be in this pool, drinking a cold beer or a rum on the rocks, overlooking a real-life mountain. Enough said.
Royal Hideaway Playacar Resort
As we told you in April of last year, Millennials heading to the Rivera Maya, Mexico, should cool off at Royal Hideaway Playacar Resort's beachside infinity pool overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
The pool's location and design blends in with the horizon, making it appear to have an endless and uninterrupted view of the water across all vantage points. Agents should note that dedicated areas can be reserved for poolside private events, such as cocktail parties or private dinners.
The pool has an adjacent standalone bar from which poolside service, including drinks and food service, is provided to all clients. They also have an extensive cocktail list and tailor make cocktails upon request.
The Westin Austin Downtown
Calling all fans of city views.
Millennials taking a domestic trip to Austin, Texas, this spring and beyond should be sure to check out the stylish rooftop pool at The Westin Austin Downtown.
Azul, which is said to be Austin’s highest rooftop pool and bar, is the newest addition to Westin Austin Downtown’s culinary portfolio.
Azul was our Cool Pool of the Week back in April of last year. The bar/pool features luxurious cabanas, a fire pit and 180-degree views of Austin. In addition, Azul offers custom cocktails on tap, perfect to enjoy the beautiful Austin view with. The heated Azul pool and rooftop space can be rented our for private parties and functions.
Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
The coolest part of Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort’s main infinity pool?
This stylish pool that we first told you about in August of last year is located on a cliff, facing Charlotte Amalie Harbor on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Looking down from the infinity pool you can see the island’s historic fort, which was built when the island was settled in the 1600s. Across the way, clients will also see Hassel Island. We were told that when St. Thomas was a popular place for pirates to invade, islanders on St. Thomas and Hassel Island would trap boats in the harbor with a set of chains that cut across the two islands.
Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa
Millennials planning a trip to French Polynesia and looking for a solid dip-worthy pool should check out the elegant pool at Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa, which we featured in July of 2016.
This chic pool is located at Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa on the atoll of Rangiroa, the second-largest atoll in the world located in Tahiti.
While taking a swim in this pool, Millennials can take in views of the Rangiroa lagoon, which is the second largest in the world. If you stand far enough back in the pool, it's hard to tell where the pool ends and the lagoon begins as the colors of each practically blend together.
Langara, The Penthouse at Sandy Cove Barbados
Millennials looking for a high-end, private pool scene in Barbados should consider Langara, The Penthouse At Sandy Cove Barbados, which we featured back in November of 2015.
The Langara penthouse, which recently joined the Blue Sky Luxury portfolio, and its pool are private. Langara’s private chef can throw a barbecue party on the pool deck and the penthouse’s private butler can tailor make cocktails and pass the hors-d'oeuvres as guests enjoy the view.
Also, the Blue Sky Luxury “Concierge Can” team will assist with booking a band, steel or otherwise, or a DJ for dancing.
The Golden Nugget Las Vegas
If there was ever a pool that fits the definition of cool, it’s one that has a freaking shark tank located smack in the middle of it.
Millennials will not have to look hard to find the coolest feature of “The Tank,” the signature pool of the Golden Nugget Las Vegas, as it houses a 200,000-gallon shark aquarium as its centerpiece.
And if that isn't cool enough, the aquarium surrounds a waterslide that allows adventurous guests to speed through it.
The $30-million, three-story complex is home to five species of sharks and various game fish. Weekly "Shark Tank Tours" are available Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m.
At H20 at The Tank, Millennials can sip on signature mixed and frozen cocktails while cooling down at the pool or warming up at the fire pit.
The Four Seasons Resort Maui
Featured as a Cool Pool in late 2016, the coolest part of Four Seasons Resort Maui's Serenity Pool is its underwater music feature. This chic, adults-only pool, which is open for a dip from dusk to dawn, also includes whirlpools and six luxury cabanas. And the space actually consists of two saltwater pools.
Photo of The Somerset on Grace Bay credit Paradise Photography
Wynn Las Vegas' Encore Beach Club
The coolest feature about the Encore Beach Club at the Wynn Las Vegas is perhaps the scene it creates.
Encore Beach Club at Wynn Las Vegas is known for parties with headlining DJs, 40-foot palm trees surrounding three tiered pools, 26 cabanas with views of the Las Vegas Strip and the lively pool party scene, and eight bungalows complete with private bathrooms, infinity dipping pools, and climate control systems. Guests can try their luck at blackjack in the gaming pavilion.
The Somerset on Grace Bay
The centerpiece of The Somerset on Grace Bay is the resort’s pool experience, comprised of a reverse current lap pool that leads to its zero-entry, infinity-edge pool. The infinity-edge pool gives way to ocean views of Grace Bay beach, often considered the best beach in the Caribbean.
The reverse-current lap pool, which at 138 feet is the longest on Turks and Caicos, features an underwater sound system and shallow children’s area separate at toward the end by a gentle waterfall. Closer to the ocean is the zero-edge infinity pool. A collection of padded lounge chairs and umbrellas are available to relax on while taking in the view of the pools and Grace Bay.
JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa
From afar, it’s hard to tell where the infinity pool ends and the ocean begins at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa.
Located on one of the best stretches of beach in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, JW Marriott Cancun offers some of the best views from its infinity pool, which was featured as The Cool Pool of the Week in October.
What’s better than one pool? Two pools.
Once the sun begins to set behind the property, head over to the JW Spa, home to an indoor lap pool that overlooks the Nitchupte lagoon. Tell Millennials that this is the best spot to watch the sunset.
Sonesta Ocean Point Resort
It's easy to see why the Edge Pool at the Sonesta Ocean Point Resort was featured in The Cool Pool of the Week column as it is perched on a cliff on the southernmost point of the island of St. Maarten.
The Edge Pool uses silica-based sand that lines the bottom of the pool, featuring a cleansing filtration system, while loungers and umbrellas line the beach.
French Leave Resort
French Leave Resort's freshwater pool overlooks one of the Caribbean's most picturesque harbors, Cupid's Cay in Eleuthera, The Bahamas.
The pool, which was The Cool Pool of the Week back in December, features sweeping views of the waters, and is a great place for enjoying sunrises and sunsets. Millennials can also unwind and relax with delicious poolside dining options, ranging from lobster salads, pan seared ahi tuna, grouper wraps, to inventive cocktails and the Bahamian lemonade, "Switcha."
You can take your pick of the pools at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas: create your own waves or swim in a top optional pool.
The Beach at Mandalay Bay is an 11-acre tropical water environment featuring a sand-and-surf beach, lazy river, four pools and a jogging track.
It provides a recreation and relaxation experience for resort guests. The wave pool creates up to six foot waves that splash down on 2,700 tons of real California sand.
Overlooking the Beach at Mandalay Bay is Moorea Beach Club, an upscale, “toptional” adult pool experience. Catering to adults 21 years of age or older, this exclusive outdoor environment features high-energy music, poolside massage services and personalized attendants — all within a sophisticated and relaxed environment.