by Zoe Dare Hall, The Telegraph, July 28, 2017
From dance floors that retract to reveal hidden watery depths to swimming in your living room, we take a look at the latest trends in cool pools.
A big trend in high-end homes is to have a hidden pool – a dance floor or entertaining space that turns into a swimming pool at the swipe of an iPad. Or some owners simply lower the floor a fraction to leave a shallow pool adorned with tea lights as a water feature.
“It’s a great solution for a multi-functional space. One client had an orchestra to play in the room before opening it up to the pool,” says Dominic Searle of Aqua Platinum, who has designed the hidden pool with hydraulic moveable floor at Hadley House in High Barnet.
If you budget £300,000 to build a pool, double it to turn it into a retractable one. Or spare yourself the hassle and buy the five-bed Kensington house that Hamptons have on sale for £13 million, where the dance floor conceals a hidden pool.
With water as mesmerising as Antigua’s, there are few better places to have an infinity edge pool that provides the permanent feeling of diving into its breathtaking blueness. Pure Turquoise is one of the huge estate homes available to rent from $35,000 a night (including private chef and butler) on the private island of Jumby Bay, just off the Antiguan coast. The view from the house of the 18,000 sq ft infinity pool is hypnotic.
Tucked away down a cobbled mews in the heart of Primrose Hill village in North London is a very modern house with a spectacular swimming pool – set in a glass box in the middle of the double-height reception room, with a retractable ceiling. The pool – along with the rest of this cylindrical five-bedroom house, whose curved walls are supported by huge steel ribs – was designed by the late Richard Paxton and is on sale through John D Wood, with offers invited around £9 million.
In Clerkenwell, the Grade II-listed Infinity House, on sale through Sotheby’s Realty for a fiver under £7 million boasts something similar. In the excavated basement of this five-storey Georgian house is a glass-sided pool that can be seen through the glass floor of the reception area above.
One of the most anticipated features of any new development in London – due for completion imminently - must surely be the suspended, 90-ft long glass pool that straddles two towers at Ballymore’s Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms. The last remaining penthouse at the development is on sale for £3.5m through Johns & Co.
If you want your own private suspended pool, however, you could zoom across to Zil Pasyon, a private island resort in the Seychelles, where the new villas, designed by Richard Hywel Evans of Studio RHE carved into the granite cliffs have pools in the living room ceiling. The island is called Felicité, and that’s precisely the feeling that having one of these in your house would inspire. The villas cost from €4.862 million through Sphere Estates .
Go one step further than zero edge and turn the sides into a waterfall. There is much to gawp at in the design for this 10,000 sq ft house, set on a 1.4-acre waterfront estate in quiet, upmarket Bridgehampton, two hours from New York City – not least the price tag of $44.9 million. But the standout feature of this house that is just breaking ground now has to be the beachfront pool, with waterfalls on two sides.
In the Bridgehampton of the Home Counties – the multi-millionaires’ enclave of the St George’s Hill estate in Weybridge, Surrey – developers Octagon have designed a pool along similar lines, with a waterfall infinity pool in the one-acre garden. The five-bedroom house is on sale through Savills for £7.5 million.
If you like your holiday home to look like a mini resort in its own right, then Lazy Lizard – a five-acre estate home on the private Caribbean island of Jumby Bay, available to rent from $11,995 a night – has a 6,000 sq ft pool that any hotel would be proud of. British architect Andrew Goodenough has gone for a Thai-inspired design, with a dozen pavilions housing various rooms dotted around the free-form pool, which includes a floating dining area.
The upmarket Quinta do Lago resort on the Algarve is known as much for its cutting-edge modern mansions as its golf – but one new-build villa, designed by the German architect Jutta Hoehn, has a feature like no other: five inter-connecting pools whose depths can be seen through the wall-to-wall windows of the rooms in the light, bright basement. The six-bedroom golf-front villa, on sale for €6.995 million, is a vision in white minimalism – and its underwater rooms are quite a view to wake up or work out to.
With wild swimming all the rage, it’s no surprise that pool owners are going au naturel too with eco-friendly, low-maintenance and cost-effective swimming ponds whose aquatic plants clean the water and provide a haven for wildlife. There are no chemicals, no heating costs and no need to cover it up in winter. Prices start at around £50,000 for an 80m2 swimming pond, says Paul Mercer of The Swimming Pond Company .
On sale for £1.95 million through John D Wood is a five-bedroom house in Toot Baldon, South Oxfordshire, with a swimming lake fed by natural springs, an ornamental waterfall and a secluded summerhouse with a Bose sound system and broadband.
For the most playful pools in the world, there are few better than those belonging to the Soneva resorts in the Maldives. At Soneva Fushi Private Residences on Kunfunadhoo island, the nine-bedroom Villa 11 - on sale for $15 million - is said to be the largest villa in the Indian Ocean and includes a lagoon-like swimming pool of 6554sq ft with a sunken lounge area with daybeds and an over-water trampoline accessed by a bridge and waterslide.
But even that size seems modest when at Soneva Jani, on Medhufuru island, you essentially use the sea as your pool, with a slide that descends from your over-water villa – accessible only by boat – into almost impossibly beautiful ocean. These villas cost from $3 million, also through Sphere Estates.
In Chelsea’s Tregunter Road, there’s a perfect example of the kind of trompe l’oeil that you see in some of the swankiest pools these days. With a black slate wall that forms one side, the pool appears to descend to bottomless depths. The house is on sale for £30 million and it – along with its pool - has been designed by Rabih Hage. He, however, is quite a stickler for making sure the pool is worth it. It needs to be at least 11 metres long, for a start – otherwise you can’t have a decent swim – and he thinks wide pools are pointless. “In my house in the Luberon, I have a pool that’s 22m long and just two-metres wide - just enough for one person,” he says. The basement pool at Tregunter Road comfortably allows two to swim in tandem and is lit by natural light from above.
A similar effect is at play in another Chelsea basement, whose pool designed by Aqua Platinum has a seamless transition with a wall on three sides.