IN THE SWIM To create the “most memorable, beautiful, no-other-in-the-world swimming pool,” Halekulani’s former CEO, Shuhei Okuda, commissioned a 46- by 82-foot pool with a painstakingly tiled image of a giant cattleya orchid, visible from airplanes as they fly above Waikiki Beach.
POOL SCHOOL A graphic design team worked with an Italian mosaic artist for more than a year, using 1.25 million glass tiles. The heated freshwater pool holds 97,000 gallons.
BEST TIME TO DIVE IN April to October, with temperatures in the 80s.
AFTER DRYING OFF Take advantage of complimentary tickets to the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu Symphony, or Iolani Palace (official residence of Hawaii’s last monarchs).
IN THE SWIM With unobstructed views of the Aegean Sea and neighboring Greek islands, this boutique resort’s infinity pool is a paragon of relaxation. The 20 whitewashed, domed guest suites—each with water views and a private terrace—are crafted out of 300-year-old caves that once housed farmers and fishermen.
POOL SCHOOL The 75- by 23-foot pool is the first infinity pool built on the island of Santorini.
BEST TIME TO DIVE IN June through September, with temperatures in the high 80s.
AFTER DRYING OFF Take a short walk into the village of Oia for open-air cafés, shopping, and views of blue-domed churches and sunsets from the fishing docks.
IN THE SWIM With views of Careyes Bay, this circular infinity pool surrounds the resort’s quirky Sol de Oriente castle.
POOL SCHOOL The pool’s soft white finish is intended to make it look light blue, representing the sky.
BEST TIME TO DIVE IN April to November, with temperatures in the 80s. After drying off Saddle up at the Polo Club, three miles from the resort, for trail rides on the beach.
RATES Bungalows start at $320, and Sol de Oriente castle starts at $7,000; 888/334-7609 or careyes.com.
5 of 8Photo: Courtesy of Alila Villas Uluwatu
Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali
IN THE SWIM Overlooking the Indian Ocean on the southern coast of Bali, the 164-foot infinity pool at Alila Villas, on the southern coast of Bali, abuts the cliffside Sunset Cabana—perfect for cocktails and sunsets. Completed in June 2009, the lodgings are a modern take on Bali’s traditional open-air buildings, and incorporate Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) principles.
POOL SCHOOL Alila Villas Uluwatu is the first resort in Bali to achieve the highest level of ESD certification, and its pool follows suit. Lava stone acts as a natural filter for overflow, and eco-friendly NHCI is used to treat the water instead of chlorine.
BEST TIME TO DIVE IN April to November, with temperatures in the 80s.
AFTER DRYING OFF Check into the on-site Spa Alila for fresh coconut juice and a four-handed Shirodhara massage.
IN THE SWIM This ocean-view infinity pool was designed to blend right in with the beach, complete with towering palms built into its landscaping. Located west of Panama City, the resort is just steps from a white-sand beach; rooms have ocean, lagoon, or private garden views.
POOL SCHOOL Why bother leaving the water for lunch? The 157-foot-long pool has a swim-up bar serving mojitos and light fare such as sandwiches and salads.
BEST TIME TO DIVE IN December through May, with temperatures in the high 70s.
AFTER DRYING OFF Ask the concierge to arrange a rain forest tour, where you can watch monkeys, exotic birds, iguanas, and sloths in their native habitat.