There’s one time-tested way to ensure that any hotel appeals to kids: a pool! While it’s easy to find a sprawling resort with lots of outdoor space, where swimming is tops on the activity list, it can be a little more challenging to unearth a property with a great pool when you’re headed for a city break. Here are 12 of our favorites around the world, all guaranteed kid-pleasers with plenty of adult appeal to boot.
There are pools with city views, and then there’s the pool at the Grand Hotel Minerva. As you bask on a sundeck above Florence’s red tile rooftops, an aperol spritz or a glass of Tuscan vino in hand, you feel as though you could almost touch the Duomo — the fairytale sense of place is unreal. Situated on the pretty Piazza Santa Maria Novella, a moment’s walk from the main train station, the hotel sparkles after a recent renovation and offers plenty of connecting rooms and suites that work for families.
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Coming across a New York hotel with a great pool scene feels like being let in on a delightful secret. Enter the James New York — Soho, which boasts a rooftop plunge pool that’s open during the day from late May through early September. It’s the perfect way to cool down from the muggy city streets and work off a little steam. One-bedroom apartments and family suites at The James are ideal for parents traveling with kids, and pets are welcome too.
Tucked into the 41st floor of the Four Seasons and overlooking the Shanghai skyline, the infinity pool here is a stunner. It’s roomy enough for kids and parents both to stretch their limbs, and there’s also a separate Jacuzzi zone. The real draw? Hit the pool at nighttime, when the colorful city lights cast their mesmerizing glow and guests gather just to enjoy the vistas. The hotel itself offers the same impeccable service, family programming and standout amenities that make the Four Seasons one of our most beloved kid-friendly brands across the board.
Integrated into the expansive full-service spa, the indoor pool at the Peninsula Paris is a treat. Backed by a floor-to-ceiling cascade of water, it’s both serene and invigorating, and unlike many spa pools, it’s welcoming for children. Attention to detail is what sets the Peninsula brand apart, and the Paris location is no exception; connecting rooms and special family-oriented programs and pricing discounts sweeten the deal.
A longtime CB! client favorite, the Seaport has an enviable location right on Boston Harbor and an outstanding heated indoor pool in a space flooded with light. It’s open 24 hours every day of the week, just in case you have early birds or night owls. There’s a lot more for families to love about the Seaport, too — most notably the First Mates Club, the umbrella term for kid-focused amenities that range from welcome goodies and scavenger hunts to a lending library and baby gear.
It’s rare to find a central hotel in Rome that has a pool at all, let alone a resort-style oasis that’s a destination in and of itself. The outdoor pool at the heart of the Gran Melia has plenty of space for kids to splash and a shallow end that’s perfect for the littlest ones. With accommodations housed in a historic villa and a spectacular location just a quick stroll from local sightseeing, this is truly a can’t-miss.
Want to sunbathe at the edge of Sydney Harbour with the Opera House in clear sight? The Park Hyatt is your spot. Its chic rooftop pool, flanked by cushioned banquettes and chaises and walled in with glass panels so as not to obstruct the scenery, feels like an indulgent retreat. Rooms and suites are outfitted to feel more like apartments, and many have balconies to take advantage of the unparalleled views.
You’d be hard pressed to find a location better than the Majestic for exploring Barcelona on foot, especially one with such a terrific swimming area onsite. Adjacent to an open-air lounge, the hotel’s rooftop pool is a wonderful escape with stellar views in nearly every direction. Guests can choose between standard rooms or luxury apartments (in a separate building); the latter come with hotel services and full access to amenities.
Kimpton is one of the most family-centered brands on the market and a perennial CB! favorite. The Palomar includes one big Windy City bonus: a simple yet stunning 17th-floor pool framed by floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s heated to ward off the chill of those snowy winters, and the onsite restaurant, Sable, will deliver meals to your lounge chair. The hotel’s connecting rooms are on the pool floor, which makes access a snap, or choose a suite with pullout sofa.
Part of the indoor spa and health center at One Aldwych in Covent Garden, the pool features soft blue mood lighting and underwater music — how cool is that? Even better, it’s chlorine-free, so little eyes will stay safe and comfortable. Suites with kitchenette facilities and separate living rooms, as well as two-bedroom suites, are family favorites, but connecting rooms are a viable choice also.
Perfect for a weekend getaway, the St. Regis San Francisco feels like a decadent escape in the core of the city. Among the highlights is its 50-foot indoor lap pool, a welcome place to burn off some energy if the changeable Bay Area weather turns inclement. Butler service and dedicated kids’ amenities and programming, plus bright and modern rooms and suites, enhance the appeal for luxury-loving families.
Picturesque, walkable Georgetown is an excellent corner of the capital for a stay with kids, and the Rosewood — right on the banks of the C&O Canal — is among its crown jewels. We love the indoor/outdoor rooftop infinity pool, complete with a bank of fireplaces that set a cozy ambiance, and adjoining terrace. With only 49 rooms (12 of which are suites), the mood here is intimate and secluded, a welcome contrast to D.C.’s unique energy and bustle.
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