Even in ancient times a swimming pool
spoke of elegance and wealth. That concept has been taken to heart
in Hawaii, where resort hotels long have made pools a key
ingredient in defining luxury. As I am a swimmer who rates pools
with a critical eye, here's my selection of Hawaii's best hotel
pools, places that, one way or another, tell you it doesn't get
much better than this.
I start with the
island of Hawaii because I think two of the best pools in the state
are to be found there, at resorts in Kaupulehu and Waikoloa. The
term "swimming pool" understates what each facility offers, which
is a series of pools beautifully integrated into resort
The Four Seasons
Resort Hualalai, an elegant 243-room enclave on the North Kona
Coast, boasts three distinctive oceanfront pools. My favorite is
the King's Pool, a veritable aquarium in which guests can swim and
snorkel. It's accessed from surrounding lava rock ledges, where you
can relax away half a day in poolside lounging. The pool, fed by
underground streams, is crystal clear, refreshingly cold and home
to native fish.
If swimming with
fish is unappealing, guests can head to either the long, free-form
Seashell Pool, which opens to the blue waters offshore, or the
blue-tiled Beach Tree Pool, a multi-armed, free-form pool under the
palms. The latter includes a number of lounge areas and shallow
At the Hilton
Waikoloa Village, poolside elegance also means a collection of
imaginative and fun pools on a grand scale, masterfully integrated
into beautiful grounds.
The Lagoon Tower
Pool starts with a spiraling water slide and then winds its way
beneath artificial rock caverns, wood-plank swinging bridges and
swaying palms. It ends in a sheltered, beachfront kid's
A short walk
beyond is the Lagoon, a natural coastal feature integrated into the
hotel grounds. Access to the open sea allows for visits by green
sea turtles and fish. Paddleboats and kayaks can be
The Kohala River
Pool is a series of pools and lounge areas linked by water slides,
walkways and monumental, marble statuary personifying the 12 signs
of the Chinese zodiac.
hotelier Chris Hemmeter had an eye for visual impact and the pools
at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club prove that point. One
integrates pool and hydrospas into a circular design inspired by
the architecture of San Simeon and is great for distance
The main pool is
large, free-form and tropically landscaped. Both have expansive
At the Grand
Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Poipu, the multi-level pool complex
meanders amid lushly landscaped grounds that surround smaller
lounge areas. A water slide is unendingly popular with kids. The
pool complex widens into a sandy-bottomed lagoon with a stretch of
beach for easy entry.
infinity pool at the Princeville Resort on the island's north shore
isn't large, the setting, with the pool's edge aimed at Hanalei Bay
and the mountains of the Na Pali coast, makes it
The pool at the
Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, set on a hillside that
overlooks the ocean, is long enough for a good swim. Spa facilities
are adjacent and poolside food service is first-rate.
top-ranked pools, in no particular order, are at the Grand Wailea
Resort Hotel & Spa; the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua; the Hyatt
Regency Maui; the Sheraton Maui Resort; and the Hotel
The Grand Wailea
Resort Hotel & Spa integrates formal fountains into its large
free-form pool, with extensive lounge areas surrounded by
meticulously maintained grounds adjacent to the beach.
The large double
pool at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua faces the ocean in a grand
expanse of lawn that offers a sense of elegance.
The first of
Hyatt Hawaii's signature pools, the complex at the Hyatt Regency
Maui Resort and Spa boasts faux rocks, slides and falls on
pool at the Sheraton Maui leads to Kaanapali's widest stretch of
beach. Tall palms and lush grounds surround several lounge
The infinity pool
at the Hotel Hana-Maui borders a hillside lawn that slopes toward
the ocean. Tall palms provide shade.
Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa's "Super Pool" was a
highlight of its 1988 renovation. Shaded by palms, the
10,000-square-foot Super Pool includes the tiered Keiki Pool for
kids. Despite its grand scale, the facility gets crowded when the
hotel is full. The Hilton also has the Tapa Pool and the Kalia
At the up-market
Halekulani, the orchid on the bottom of the pool provides the
luxury hotel with an iconic image -- and guests with an elegant,
oceanside retreat -- in the heart of Waikiki.
To contact reporter Allan Seiden, send e-mail to [email protected].