It’s time to switch from clocking up laps at the municipal pool or gym. Swimming is fabulous exercise so ramp it up by doing it in an amazing place. There are plenty of locations around the world for a dip with a difference – like these stellar examples.
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Holiday Inn. Shanghai, China
More and more hotels are making use of their roof space and there are plenty of rooftop pools. At the Holiday Inn in the Pudong area of Shanghai they’ve taken it one step further. There’s a rooftop pool, sure. But not only is it located 24 storeys up, it hangs out over the edge of the building and it has a glass bottom. Imagine the view of the city!
Berlin's Badeschiff, River Spree, Germany
Berlin has always done things a little more avant-garde than the rest of Europe's capitals. Forget sitting at a river-side beach piled up there in summer like they do in Paris. Berlin's water babies show off their sun tans and bikinis at a floating swimming pool on a Badeschiff, a converted 30-meter barge. The barge bobs up and down at a sedate pace on the River Spree and allows bathers to hop off occasionally for a round of riverside volleyball, a barbecue or concert.
Cenote Samula Underground Pool, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
If the two previous pools weren't enough to make a mermaid feel special, Mexico's natural pools turn bathing into a veritable Lara Croft experience. Cenotes are sinkholes on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, where swimmers can float on their back while staring up into the clear blue skies through natural skylights. Formed by collapsing bedrock, these natural sinkholes lie some 8 meters or more below the surface, are lit solely by the hole in the cathedral-like roof. Tree roots dangle down in a dramatic fashion, as if tomb raiders were about to invade this idyll by sliding down ropes.
Palau's Ongeim'l Tketau (Jellyfish Lake)
Instead of swimming with basking sharks, whales or dolphins, why not try diving into a pool full to the brim with slippery, slimy jellyfish to prove how tough you are? A swim in Jellyfish Lake has become one of the major tourist attractions in the archipelago - here swimmers can brave massive jellyfish the size of basketballs and (usually) live to tell the tale
Sanctuary Swala Camp, Tanzania's Swimming Safari
Just make sure you're not going for a dip in the local watering hole - local lions and buffalo might take it amiss if you and your inflatable banana invade their territory! Luxury resort Sanctuary Swala Camp in Tanzania offers swimmers a perfectly positioned pool with view of zebra, leopard, giraffe and co, who have their own waterhole a safe distance away from the camp, but within full view of swimmers. That's got to be a contender for one of the world's most amazing swimming pools, right?
And Now for Something Completely Cold: Antarctica Polar Plunge!
Swimming trunks may not be the first thing you'll think to pack when travelling to Antarctica, but the permafrost continent is the place to go for a polar plunge. Several cruise ship lines offer passengers the opportunity to hop off the back deck. No, you're not made to walk the plank because your small talk didn't impress at the Captain's Table! You'll be secured with a rope before you jump and medical supervision is on stand-by. Or go for a plunge in a protected bay at Deception Island in the South Shetlands, if you want freedom from ropes and gawping cruise ship passengers.
Floating within Deckchair Distance: the Sarojin, Khao Lak, Thailand
For the ultimate luxurious swim, try the Sarojin resort in Khao Lak, Thailand, where hotel planners have installed glamour-puss sun beds actually inside the pool and have positioned the bar within crawling distance of swimmers. Just stick one arm out of the pool and magically a cocktail will appear in your fist. This has got to be one of the most thoughtfully planned, amazing swimming pools in the world of luxury hotels! Perfect R&R or the ultimate in laziness?
Let the aquatic adventures begin. From floating underground to splashing around at the top of an urban precipice, are you ready to take on these dips with a difference?
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