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Renaissance Hotel - Best hotel pools
Charlotte Medlicott 2014

London's best hotels with pools

Indulge in some wet and wild fun or hone your breast stroke at London's best hotels with swimming pools

By Yolanda Zappaterra
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London's best hotels with pools are a brilliantly fun range, from the sybaritic to the sporty, basements to rooftops, perched over the Thames or way up in the sky. While those attached to luxury hotels are generally the most spectacular, if it is just a swim you’re after, the chains are always worth a look; Hilton London Bankside, for example, has a 17m heated swimming pool (with a bubble pool for added fun), and the Novotel London Paddington’s 11m underground pool is fine for a quick morning dip.

Looking for more options? Check out London’s best Airbnbs

London's best hotels with swimming pools

1. Aloft

Hotels Boutique hotels Royal Docks
Aloft, a cadet branch of the W family, has established itself at the Excel, with its trademark clean, modern lines, colourful décor, funky furnishings – and bargain prices. The smart, serene pool space eschews bright colours for calm greys, with the walls and 11m pool lined in dual-hued granite and a floor-to-ceiling glass window covering one end. There’s plenty of space to hang out on loungers, and a sauna and steam room, too.

2. The Berkeley

Hotels Boutique hotels Knightsbridge
A renovation, including a new Richard Rodgers-designed façade with a huge glass and steel canopy, has updated the always-elegant, storied Berkeley. But this hotel has a longstanding open secret up on the seventh floor – an outdoor pool, tiled in iridescent white and gold mosaics and surrounded by a loggia-like seating area with loungers, through which you can see the treetops in Hyde Park. It even has a retractable cover so you can sun yourself in summer and be cosy in winter.
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3. Bulgari Hotel and Residences- London

Hotels Boutique hotels Knightsbridge

As luxurious as its name suggests, this new-build hotel on the edge of Hyde Park is sleek and contemporary, with riffs on its jewellery connection in the historic Bulgari patterns on the guest room fabrics and the touches of silver throughout. The serene underground pool space – with its green-mosaic-tiled, 25m pool, cabanas and walls of textured Vicenza stone – has something of a mid-century Palm Springs vibe. A vitality pool with body-massage jets is lined in tiny tiles of gold-leaf glass.

Richard Powers

4. Corinthia Hotel London

Hotels Whitehall
Once Whitehall offices, the Corinthia is now a luxury hotel that brings a light, contemporary touch to a grand structure, from its circular Northall restaurant to the high-tech rooms. Head downstairs to be enveloped in a subterranean world of black marble walls and white upholstered loungers surrounding a blue pool, its waters seeming to be reflected in a dappled ceiling. It’s part of a whole ‘thermal floor’ with sauna, steam room, vitality pool with massage jet, and heated marble loungers. Pure escapism.
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5. Haymarket Hotel

Hotels Leicester Square
The Haymarket’s blend of boutique-style luxury with bold design and colour combinations extends to its pool area. This could be the funkiest pool in London. More about indulgence than getting your early morning laps in, it’s an underground party space, with a pewter bar, gold furnishings and pillars, a ceiling dotted with tiny fibre-optic lights and an ever-changing lighting installation that bathes the space in an atmospheric glow. At 18 metres long, the pool itself is no afterthought.  

6. London Marriott Hotel County Hall

Hotels South Bank
The grand old County Hall building has been sensitively converted, with rooms in a calm grey palette with bright splashes and modern furnishings, and the best bits of the old place retained, like the library, where afternoon tea is served. The unbeatable views across the river to Westminster are one asset. Another is the pool. Up on the sixth floor, surrounded by potted palms, with natural daylight, a sauna and steam room, it’s 25 metres long – a great place for lap swimming.
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7. St Pancras Renaissance

Hotels St Pancras
This meticulously restored landmark hotel now revels once again in its full Victorian Gothic glory, complete with grand staircase, fleur-de-lys wallpaper, highly decorated ceilings, and bold, authentic colour schemes. Below stairs, the original kitchens, with their bricked arches and floor-to-ceiling arched windows (now opaque for privacy) make a dramatic setting for a pool and spa. The 11m pool sits in a large space surrounded by arches, its walls covered in restored patterned tiles, which lend an air of Victorian orientalism.

8. Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, London

Hotels Borough and London Bridge
Located on the 35th to 52nd floors of the Shard, this hotel is about being very high up, very luxurious (in a contemporary Asian-international style) and surrounded by glass. The Skypool, up on the 52nd floor, has the distinction of being the highest pool in western Europe. From the 11minfinity pool, surrounded by abstract sculptures and floor-to-ceiling windows, you look down on the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster. A swim here, especially after dark, is unforgettable.  
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9. Shoreditch Rooms

Hotels B&Bs Shoreditch

The most recent hotel opening from Soho House members’ club – joining Dean Street Townhouse and High Road House – might even be the best, perfectly catching the local atmosphere with its unfussy, slightly retro design. The rooms feel a bit like urban beach huts, with pastel-coloured tongue- and-groove, shutters and swing doors to the en suite showers. They feel fresh, bright and comfortable, even though they’re furnished with little more than a bed, an old-fashioned phone and DAB radio, and a big, solid dresser (minibar, hairdryer and treats within, flatscreen TV on top). Guests get access to the fine eating, drinking and fitness facilities (yes, there is a gym, but more importantly an excellent rooftop pool) in the members’ club next door. Everything’s put together with a light touch, from the ‘Borrow Me’ bookshelf by the lifts (jelly beans, umbrellas, boardgames) to the room grades: Tiny (from just £105), Small or Small+ (with little rooftop balconies from which to survey the grey horizon).

10. Canary Riverside Plaza

This large luxury hotel makes the most of its Canary Wharf location with picture windows overlooking the Thames in its upscale, contemporary guest rooms. The pool is a real draw: it’s 20 metres long, set in its own glass-encased structure, is infinity-edged and sits right on the edge of the river. A swim here is a slightly surreal experience and the views are magnificent. The pool featured in Skyfall (although – full disclosure – it was pretending to be in Shanghai).

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