The best family-friendly hotel pools are the ones where you end up spending all your time; their temperatures are just right, their sunloungers are soft and you can hardly wait to check-in and cool off. These eye-catching swim spots have twisty-turny waterslides, inflatables to keep babies buoyant and shaded cabanas (and perhaps a nearby pool bar) for parents. They look just as inviting when a posse of little Smiths are paddling in them, too.
We’ve earned our water wings by picking 10 enticing pools for babies, toddlers and teens, where aquatic antics can last from breakfast to bedtime on your luxury family holiday. Wade in for rooftop paddling spots, make-believe beaches and stylish swim-up suites…
INTERCONTINENTAL DANANG SUN PENINSULA RESORT | DANANG, VIETNAM
Stone beasts and vigilant lifeguards stand guard by the zig-zag, palm-sheltered family pool (above and header image) at InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort. Secure a well-positioned sunlounger early so you can spend the afternoon watching the kids frolic and wrap them in big beach towels when they’re done. A shallow section is set aside for smalls, and it’s easy to shuttle back and forth from pool to beach.
THE GROVE | HERTFORDSHIRE, UK
Leafy Hertfordshire is set a few leagues from the sea, but each summer you can still knot your Hermès scarf like a hanky and drop into a deckchair at the man-made beach set up by the Grove hotel’s pool, which is hidden in a pretty walled garden. Borrow buckets and spades for sandcastle building, play volleyball and splash about under the gaze of attendant lifeguards. Slush puppies are served at the gazebo bar, barbecues are fired up too and a smaller shallow pool keeps water babies cool.
THE BERKELEY | LONDON, UK
City-centre rooftop pools are rare, especially one that opens out to the elements, looks this good and welcomes children too. The Berkeley Health Club & Spa’s heated pool is petite, but offers idyllic Hyde Park views, and often fun activities such as synchronised swimming. Accompanied children are welcomed at set times, there are Roman steps and floats can be borrowed. The pool’s alarmed too, and a sliding roof protects from summer showers.
FINCA CORTESIN | MARBELLA, SPAIN
Take your pick of pools at Finca Cortesin. The beckoning blue number above is suitable for confident kids learning their laps, but there’s also a bijou (25sq m) pool that’s shallow enough for teeny legs. Children are welcome at the palm-tree-lined beach club pool and the covered peaceful spa pool at set times. Psst, parents there’s a beautiful adults-only pool just for you.
ALMYRA | PAPHOS, CYPRUS
My, my, my, Almyra; the white canopy over the Cypriot resort’s family pool is a godsend for suntan-lotion-slathering parents. This is a true destination pool, where you only have to dry off when it comes to check-out. Close by, a bar serves satisfying in-between-dip snacks and the main restaurant sits within child-surveying distance. A toddler pool and an adults-only spa pool round up the suite of idyllic swimming spots.
LE JARDIN DES DOUARS | ESSAOUIRA, MOROCCO
Le Jardin des Douars offers simple pleasures: a stroll in the heady gardens, mother-and-daughter manicures in the spa, and splashing about in the jade-toned pool. Hidden among the greenery, this swimming spot overlooks a nearby gorge with herds of goats on the other side. Secluded cabanas keep you cool, and the shallow wading pool suits little Smiths. Parents are guaranteed a sunlounger spot too (there are no lifeguards to keep watch).
ANANTARA DUBAI THE PALM RESORT | DUBAI, UAE
If your water babies spend their holidays clad in swimwear, book a Lagoon Access Villa at Anantara Dubai the Palm Resort for direct access to glistening, temperature-controlled waters. There are safe shallow areas for little ones, lifeguards keep watch, and pools are so sizeable that staff man mini boats carrying towels, fruit and water. A swim-up bar keeps parents sweet.
INDIGO PEARL | PHUKET, THAILAND
If the shimmering green waters and curvy freeform shape don’t lure you in to Indigo Pearl’s pretty pool, refreshing fountains, playful pumps and a verdant setting will. A lifeguard mans the non-smoking, children-only section, so it’s ideal for all ages, and the Roman steps are toddler-friendly. Two adults-only pools allow parents some alone time.
JEAN-MICHEL COUSTEAU RESORT | FIJI
Three kids’ pools to choose from, a 20-foot waterslide and a toddlers’ pool with a mushroom-shaped fountain (above): Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort immerses guests in aquatic fun. Lifeguards keep watch over all pools from 8am–9pm, and there’s no out-of-hours access allowed. Beach towels and flotation devices are provided; pool toys too, but multiple turns on the slide will be all the fun they need.
ROUND HILL HOTEL & VILLAS | JAMAICA, CARIBBEAN
A glorious gradient of blue stretches from sea to pool to sky at Round Hill Hotel & Villas. The double-vanishing edge infinity pool overlooks the Caribbean, with a shallow end to toddle in and a side of smart periwinkle-hued sunloungers. Lifeguards look out from 9am–5pm and there’s a stash of pool toys to play with.
Need a spot where you can cool off with the kids? Plunge into our collection of hotels with family-friendly pools.