Water is essential, beautiful, soothing, and restorative. All life is drawn to water. Civilizations have grown up around the waters of the world. Accordingly, fountains, pools, and public baths have been with us since the start of civilization, and today’s world-class resorts tend to be near large bodies of water. While many homes have pools and other water features, luxury homes often have the space and spectacular locations that inspire architects, landscape designers, and homeowners to create unique, luxurious, and breathtaking aquatic amenities. Here, we present seven must-have features for pools and spas and a collection of impressive properties that prove that water is more than an amenity. Water is life.
A cabana offers the perfect fusion of indoor and outdoor comfort, providing shade from the sun while still allowing cool breezes to flow through. Poolside cabanas such as this one in North Palm Beach, Florida, are magnificent enough to tempt one to spend the entire summer outside. This opulent installation has a full bar, firepit, and shaded lounge seating with ceiling fans for year-round luxury. The home has been meticulously remodeled and upgraded with smart technology and air purification, an elevator, theater, and chef’s kitchen with Thermador appliances. Additional amenities include a saltwater “smart” pool and spa, waterfall feature, and views of Lost Tree and Hidden Key.
Like a lake that seems to stretch into the distance forever, an infinity pool is carefully positioned so that its edge seems to merge with the ocean or landscape beyond. Unlike ordinary pools, infinity pools give swimmers the distinct sensation of floating above it all. Cascade Villa was designed to frame the endless vistas from its hillside setting on Blue Mountain in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. The 9,800-square-foot, six-bedroom home, built by award-winning architect R.A. Shaw, opens to an expansive living area showcasing the pool and ocean beyond. The pool is two distinct geometric shapes joined by a narrow strip of water to form the swim-up bar. Water from the upper pool cascades down the walls of a staircase into two wading pools below. Steps away are the sugar white sands of Babalua Beach and the turquoise waters of Princess Alexandra National Park marine preserve.
There’s something magical about waterfalls and grottos. With water cascading from above, even a man-made lagoon can offer a sense of adventure. This custom-built home, situated in the golf community of Wilding Estates in The Woodlands, Texas, is perfect for a family seeking resort-style fun without the crowds. The pool terrace has a lagoon-style pool with grotto, waterfall, and spa, a firepit, outdoor kitchen, and custom entertainment area overlooking the fairways. Inside the home, a dramatic glass-enclosed foyer features beautiful stonework. Farther along are the double-height great room, formal dining room, and dream kitchen with oversized breakfast area. The master suite and a guest bedroom are also on the main floor. Upstairs are four bedrooms, a game room, and media room.
Saltwater pools have grown in popularity since they were first introduced in Australia, with pool owners finding their low-chlorine water and easy maintenance appealing. They’re also eco-friendly. This luxury home in the private community of Nellie Gail Ranch in Laguna Hills, California, opens to an outdoor living space with an oversized, heated saltwater pool. Waterfalls and a built-in stone spa add to the resort ambience. Adjacent is a gazebo with fireplace and barbecue grilling station, dining area, firepit, and outdoor shower and bathroom. The terrace connects via a bi-fold glass door to the gourmet kitchen and living room. Vast windows and French doors throughout the main residence bring in the California sunlight. Several rooms have fireplaces, including the living room, great room, and first-floor master suite. Further highlights include an office, guest casita, and four-car garage.
The most spectacular swimming pools aren’t mere water features, they have a striking design and style all their own. For centuries, pools and public baths in Europe and the Middle East used intricate mosaic, marble, and tile to give pools a splash of color and pattern. Villa Paradiso is an extraordinary Mediterranean-style estate on 2.9 acres along New Jersey’s Navesink River. The magnificent 16,000-square-foot residence, designed by architect Robert Adler, is reminiscent of the grand villas of Italy’s Amalfi Coast. At the heart of the estate is a stunning gunite pool with mosaic floor and lapis lazuli border. Four fountains, in each corner of the pool, a sunbathing section submerged in six inches of water, and relaxing 15-person spa with a waterfall are reminiscent of a luxurious Mediterranean beach resort. The riverfront grounds include formal gardens, fountains and koi ponds, an outdoor kitchen, and a boat dock.
Open-plan living areas with vast walls of glass provide a fluid transition between the interior and exterior, bringing in sunlight in the wintertime, cool breezes in the summer, and creating a visual connection to nature. Point House was designed in harmony with its setting on a secluded cove on Parrot Cay, a private island in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The ultra-contemporary 7,000-square-foot villa by architect Cheong Yew Kuan offers unobstructed views of white sand beaches and turquoise seas. Vast floor-to-ceiling windows and doors reveal the inviting waters of the pool, paved in unique lava stone from Bali, and calm seas beyond. A deck leads to a sequestered beach with powdered sugar sand. The interior’s soothing white stone floors and natural wood finishes, in contrasting hues of ebony and oak, are the foundation of the minimalistic design aesthetic and ideal for indoor-outdoor living and entertaining.
Indoor swimming pools have many advantages and year-round benefits. But for those who enjoy an outdoor pool, one clever solution is to bring the pool indoors with a convertible “indoor-outdoor” pool like the one in this lakefront haven in northern Patagonia. The 7,642-square-foot stone residence is perfectly integrated into its spectacular natural environment overlooking Lake Gutiérrez. The lower level leads out to a magnificent lakefront deck with a pool. A section of the pool is enclosed within a glass-walled recreation area for year-round use. The lower level also has a gym, sports equipment storage area, lounge with fireplace, and playroom. The living room, adjacent dining room, and the master suite all have breathtaking views of the lake and lush lakeside gardens with fruit and nut trees. Surrounding the home are century-old cypress trees and a coihue forest.