The Top 5 in the world

There are so many marvellous man-made aquatic paradises the world over that compiling a list like this is just pure fun. The most swimming-related fun you can have, in fact, when you’re not swimming. Do I dream of pools at night? Oh yes, I do. Do I check GoogleMaps each time I visit a new city, searching, searching for the blue oases? Rest assured, it’s the first thing on my list. Do I ever, just for a moment, calculate how many pools I’d have to swim per week to conquer the world’s supply? Ah, no. I know my limits and you’re just as likely to find me in the poolside bar, G&T at hand, keeping the locals entertained with my sparkling wit, as you are swimming those endless ks.

Yes, I’m not insane and even us ultra-keen, no-nonsense types, must, when the task is done, chill. Dazzling as these wonders below are, a quick glance will reveal that nearby you’ll find a decent restaurant, a comfortable bed and 24 hour room service.

1. Hotel Hubertus, Italy

Words fail me.

Just look at it. It’s cantilevered over a gorgeous valley with spectacular views all year round and a glass bottom (for at least part of the swim).

If anyone wants to sponsor me to fly to Italy to conquer this gem, well then, I’ll do it on your terms. I’ll swim it in a tutu. As a stormtrooper. I don’t care.

What’s more, and it’s a little hard to see from the photos, but there’s a very nice bar just inside the hotel. Can’t you see yourself sitting there, all toasty, mulled-wine in hand, gazing over the Italian alps at sunset, before jumping up and tossing your winter coat to the floor (to the shock and delight of the barman) to reveal your Speedos before dashing outside and plunging in for a few laps (or a kilometre)? I can.

I’ve nothing else to say. It is simply unbelievable.

Location here

2. Berlin Badeschiff, Germany

Swimming in Berlin’s Spree River, but then not quite. A lovely idea and open year round as the snow attests. Or, usually. I was in Berlin mid-winter in 2014 and was all set to conquer this pool when I discovered it was closed for maintenance. Aghast, I had to find two other pools to swim.

You may not be able to see it here, but there is a clear plastic curtain hanging down from the winter dome about 2 meters from the end of the pool which means you can swim out into the open North European winter air.

You knew I was hard core.

A few people have asked me, ‘Is it floating, Porpoise?’ and I must confess I don’t know. It appears likely and if so, it’s a very cool, non-trash-your-river way to install a pool in a city. And as it’s German, you know it’s likely to stay afloat.

Location here

3. San Alfonso del Mar, Chile

5. San Simeon, California

There are some things you can do only if you’re a publishing magnate.

San Simeon, former home of William Randolf Hearst, is now a museum. Which will make conquering this pool (or pools) a little difficult, I suspect.

I’d be happy conquering either: the magnificent outdoor one (known as the Neptune pool) or the beautiful indoor Roman pool, adorned in blue tiles.

There’s a part of me – a part that frightens me, if I’m honest – that wonders if simply jumping in and swimming your heart out isn’t the right course of action when faced with such ‘unswimmable’ pools as this. The Rockefeller country estate on the east coast has a very nice pool too and I recall walking past on the tour feeling the water calling me. ‘Come on in!’ it was saying. ‘I’m lonely these days!’ If I’d had my cossie on under my threads, who knows what would have happened? Sneaky swims might just have to be the go here. I’ll let you know. And if I’m arrested, to use an aquatic metaphor, consider bailing me out, would you?

Location here

What say you? Got a pool near you that you think should be on my Awesome Pools Hit List? Discovered a hidden gem in a mega-resort or a boutique l’otel? Let me know.

Porpoise blue for map  The Porpoise


  1. Hellloooooooooo Kenton!

    It’s only been 20-odd years since we’ve been in touch…I had this impulse to call your folks last December, and they told me about Roger Spoffin and your creative adventures in NY. Hope we got the timing right to purchase the ebooks, I was heading off to India that day. Anyway, it was lovely to see the fruition of your creative talents, and get an idea of what you’ve been up to. Well done you!

    I’m currently in Moruya on sabbatical from marvellous Melbourne, taking some time out on the beautiful NSW south coast. There is a wee (25m) outdoor pool that I’ve sampled- actually just before an enlivening storm hit- so if you’re down this way, it could be one to add to the list. Looking forward to creating a new, more personally satisfying creative life for my next chapter, out of the city and in a beautiful nature place. I’ve done a lot of fun and worthwhile things over the years (sustainability, arts, business) and now I’d like to focus on aesthetic, nourishing and still sustainable creative endeavours with less men in suits.

    Goodness your children must be big now! No kids for me (happily), but I enjoy being an aunt to the mob of delightful critters my friends have produced. Ok, hope all is well in your world, much love, Amadis

    • Hello Amadis!

      Goodness, sorry I didnt see this sooner. I get so much spam – you wouldn’t believe how many people are around to help me lose weight or improve my SEO – so I don’t tend to check my comments on this site. Woops. I trust you’re well. Moruya is a nice spot – bit quiet though. I remember you used to do a bit of swimming in Canberra – Dicko pool, was one of your favourites. Nice pool at Moruya from memory – 50m I think. Is there another 25m one down there?

      Roger Spoffin is going well – just completed a rewrite into the 3rd person. Bit of work but I’ve been working with a mentor in the UK. It’s been an excellent experience. Trying to get an agent to represent it.

      Yes, the children are all biggish, now. Holly’s 11. She’s a wonderful girl. Amazing. I think she must have a lot of her mother in her. 🙂 Got two boys too. Very busy and violent. But you’ve got brothers so you know all about that.

      Thank you for getting in touch. Very sweet of you. We’re all well. Enjoy Moruya and if you come to Sydney, give me a call – 0451 221 648


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