We have a winner! In the end, rooftop triumphed over beach, as The Westin Austin Downtown beat out The Somerset on Grace Bay Turks and Caicos to grab the crown as the World’s Coolest Hotel Pool.
The result brings to a close our “Cool Pool of the World” feature, which has been running throughout the month of March to celebrate NCAA tournament season. Contenders drew from our Cool Pool of the Week column, which highlights either a single pool or a collection of pools from chic, trendy resorts that we think are great pitches for Millennials.
The Westin Austin Downtown will be featured in the May 15 issue of Travel Agent magazine, along with the other contenders from the contest. Here’s a look at what makes the Westin Austin so special, as well as the other worthy players from the contest:
Winner: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As we told you in May of last year, the "Nude Pool" at Hedonism II in Negril, Jamaica, is perfect for Millennials who dare to get bare.
This famous 280-room, adults-only, clothing-optional, all-inclusive beach resort was created as a haven where guests can feel comfortable and at ease being exactly who they are.
That’s why Hedonism II has a no-clothes-allowed “Nude” side and a clothing-optional “Prude” side.
Though the resort offers three freshwater pools and three cold plunge pools, the Nude Pool is by far the most fun.
The Palms Turks and Caicos
At the heart of the The Palms Turks and Caicos resort lies a gorgeous infinity pool with undisturbed ocean views that we featured back in November of 2015.
The design revolves around wooden decking and an array of sun pods fitted with white parasols, together with a "hot tub island" located in the center of the pool.
Millennials can expect perks like cold towels, fresh fruit and refreshing lavender spray to cool off when temperatures sore.
Additionally, Millennials can choose to sit poolside at the conventional bar with the additional facility of a sunset dining terrace surrounded by a relaxing waterfall and garden. At night, guests can gather around the fire pit at Plunge next to the pool while sipping cocktails, or enjoy "moonbathing," in which they can relax in one of the lounge chairs under the night stars while enjoying mini spa treatments and after-dinner cocktails.
The Waldorf Astoria Park City
As we told you in May of last year, Millennials looking for a stylish pool during their next ski vacation to Park City, UT, should look into the Waldorf Astoria Park City.
The hotel’s pool offers views of the mountains and is heated for year-round use. The expansive deck provides cabanas, lounge chairs and multiple hot tubs. Because the pool is heated year-round, it is also open throughout the ski season. Every evening throughout the year, the hotel offers s’mores around the hotel’s fire pit.
The pool deck area has luxurious cabanas for rent, will pool attendants to cater to guest’s food and beverage needs. The deck area also includes lounge chairs as well as table space and fire pits.
Badrutt’s Palace Hotel
Whether Millennials are visiting St. Moritz, Switzerland, for a summer tryst by the lake or looking to hit the challenging slopes for a winter ski getaway, the pool at the famous Badrutt’s Palace hotel is dip worthy for every season.
Travel Agent recently returned from a stay at this luxurious hotel, which is also arguably the most famous landmark in St. Moritz, and spent plenty of time in the hotel’s heated, indoor/outdoor pool.
The massive pool, which we featured in August of last year, is separated by a thin, glass door. Guests swimming in the indoor portion of the heated pool can get a breathe of fresh air by simply hitting the black button on the glass door, which rises to give guests access to the incredible outdoor pool area.
The indoor area is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, which remind guests where they are as sweeping mountain views of St. Moritz can be seen from just about every spot in the water. Another cool touch is the rock formations at the main entrance of the pool. Guests are encouraged to climb the extremely safe rocks and take a plunge into the deep, heated water.
AC Hotel Guadalajara
Located on the 12th floor of the AC Hotel Guadalajara, Mexico, the AC Pool, which we told you about in November of last year, offers impressive views to Old Town/Downtown Guadalajara on one side. On the other side are views of Andares, the upscale, modern new area of Guadalajara.
The heated infinity-edge pool is said to be the only elevated pool in the city. It is open all day, from 6 a.m. for a quick start to the day to a relaxing evening swim until closing at 11 p.m.
European style, clean modern lines and wood flooring make up the design of the pool area. The minimalistic design of the furniture reflect a feeling of greater space, comfort and elegance so guest can enjoy the views of a “Tapatio” style sunset. Also, music is played all day to create a peaceful environment.
Grand Velas Los Cabos
In February, we told you about Grand Velas Los Cabos’ three infinity pools, which are all set at different temperatures to suit both clients looking for a cold, refreshing dip and those looking for a warm plunge.
The pools are tiered with five feet separating each level. Rows of loungers were designed with unevenness between them, so that every space is in the front row, unobstructed.
Within the pools, replica islands were created with palm trees. There are also sunbathing areas on the pool area’s wooden decks.
Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai
Got Millennials looking to take a dip at Dubai’s newest and trendiest resort? Tell curious Millennials about the recently-opened Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai, which we featured in our The Cool Pool of the Week column in December.
Featuring a 15-meter lap pool and bubble pool, both offering great views of the Arabian Gulf and the sunset every afternoon, this area is exclusively reserved for hotel guests.
Clients can spend the day relaxing by the poolside with individual sun loungers, beds and cabanas, with music humming from hidden speakers. They can dine on innovative dishes prepared by the culinary team of Nikki Beach Dubai.
The luxury lifestyle resort features 132 keys comprising 117 rooms and suites and 15 villas alongside 63 private residences.
The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa
Millennials heading to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands this winter and beyond should check out one of the freshest pools in the Caribbean at The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort Resort & Spa, which we featured earlier this year.
One of Travel Agent's favorite hotels in Grand Cayman, The Westin Grand Cayman recently poured $6 million into it's pool and new pool deck as part of an overall two-phase, $50 million renovation.
In fact, Travel Agent was among the first travel media to tour the pool as the first phase of the renovation was just completed. We loved how sexy this pool looked at night lit up as guests mingled along the chic patio area nearby, sipping cocktails from the pool area's main bar, which includes a swim-up component.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
The Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas overlooks the heart of the Las Vegas Strip on the East Deck, and features a multi-level, open-air environment that offers unobstructed sight lines in all directions.
Upbeat music, combined with intimately spaced lounge chairs and daybeds creates a communal atmosphere and vibrant social scene. In the summer, Boulevard Pool becomes the ultimate concert venue.
Beginning May 29, The Boulevard Pool will also feature "Dive In Movies," which transforms the resort’s 65-foot digital marquee into a colossal movie screen. Guests can take a dip or lounge poolside while enjoying specialty cocktails and movie snacks under the stars.
Sandals Emerald Bay
There is actually a choice of three pools at Sandals Emerald Bay, which was featured in a recent The Cool Pool of the Week column.
Encompassing over an acre, one pool will entice guests with a whirlpool, swim-up pool bar, a unique fire pit feature and complimentary poolside cabanas. Straw-roofed Balinese gazebos each containing two comfortable beds are dotted around the gardens, on the beach and around the pool. Clients can spend the day in the shade and be pampered by a "Cabana Butler," who'll deliver cold towels, suntan oils, a morning fruit platter and continental breakfast, lunch and fresh drinks.
Most Millennials have heard of over-the-water suites, but what about over-the-water swimming pools?
Set in a wooden deck above the lagoon, Baros Maldives offers one of the first over-the-water swimming pools in the Maldives. The infinity pool, which we featured back in October, is set to the curve of the resort’s signature Lime Restaurant’s wooden deck and offers an impressive view of the lagoon.
While lounging poolside, Millennials can enjoy a menu of poolside snacks for the health conscious and fresh cocktails from Lime Restaurant.
JW Marriott Santo Domingo
The pool at JW Marriott Santo Domingo's Vertygo 101 Lounge & Bar in the Dominican Republic was one of the first Travel Agent ever featured as part of our The Cool Pool of the Week series.
The ice cube-shaped rooftop infinity pool at the lounge beckons Millennial clients to take a dip while overlooking the beautiful city of Santo Domingo. But be careful what you do underwater, as the glass surrounding the pool is see-through. Think of an aquarium, but replace the fish with A-list travelers.
The Vertygo 101 Lounge & Bar has a glass floor terrace rising 101 feet above the city. For those who fear heights, it can be a little scary to walk on, but it is definitely something worth experiencing at least once.
Sandals LaSource Grenada
Millennials looking for a swanky pool at an all-inclusive in Grenada should check out the freshwater pool at Sandals LaSource Grenada, featured in our The Cool Pool of the Week series back in December of 2015.
There are actually an array of cool pools here, mostly found in the Skypool Suites category, but the main, freshwater pool located in the Italian Village at Sandals LaSource Grenada is considered the hotel's best overall pool.
This pool is situated on the beach and overlooks the Caribbean sea. Amenities include pool-side bar service, curtained cabanas that are included in the cost of stay and an adjacent Jacuzzi.
But its most spectacular feature, a really sexy lounging area with fire pit, truly comes alive at night.
Aruba Marriott Resort
The 3,364 square-foot H2Oasis adults-only swimming pool at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino was featured in our The Cool Pool of the Week column in December of 2015 and sports a unique shape that provides a long strip of water perfect for taking uninterrupted laps while still offering pockets of open areas on either side for those travelers who just want to soak in one spot.
With no rowdy children in sight, Millennials can put their feet up in the serenity of a stylish cabana with poolside service so they don’t ever have to leave. Millennials swimming here should also note that "Happy Hour" and two-for-one cocktails start at noon daily.
If your definition of "cool" is stunning mountain views, then Miramonte Resort in California has the cool pool for you.
The Miramonte Pool, which was featured The Cool Pool of the Week back in November of last year is the hotel's main pool. It is open to all guests and includes views of the mountains and five newly renovated cabanas available for daily rental. Here, Millennials can also indulge in a garden-inspired cocktail made with fresh citrus fruits and herbs grown on site.
Baoase Luxury Resort
The 1,000 square foot, infinity salt water pool with a Jacuzzi in the center at Baoase Luxury Resort in Curacao was featured as our Cool Pool of the Week last summer. The five Ocean Front Villas surrounding the main pool have direct access to the pool from their patio. The garden and view of the Caribbean Sea give the pool a unique ambiance.
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.