The Shanghai Pools Report 2023: Here's Where to Go Swimming
Hot town, summer in the city. All the pools you need for a swim day in Shanghai....
The pool at the Amara Signature Hotel on Changshou Lu in Jign'an: It's got a central location and it's open to the public, which means it's going to be crowded on the weekends. That's going to be the theme throughout this roundup. Central pools are best visited during the week if you're lucky enough to have a working schedule that allows for a sneaky pool day on a Tuesday or something. This is good for that. And there's a small kid's pool as well. Seasonal passes are also available.
Opening Hours: 8am-6pm, until mid-September
Price: 198rmb on weekdays; 238rmb on weekends (half price for children)
Amara Hotel Pool
600 Changshou Lu,
near Jiaozhou Lu
A dependable pool destination, Ambassy Club has indoor and outdoor pools that get -- wait for it -- really busy on weekends. The indoor pool requires a swimming cap but not the outdoor one. Bring your own towel to both. The outdoor pool is currently open and will close in October. You could do worse, you could do better.
Opening Hours: 11am-6pm (Monday), 9am-6pm (Tuesday-Sunday)
Price: 300rmb for adults; 160rmb for kids under 14-years-old
Ambassy Club (Xuhui)
1500 Huaihai Zhong Lu,
near Wulumuqi Lu
This is the Ambassy in Jinqiao, coming to us with a bit more of a resort kind of feel, although maybe showing its age a bit. Previously, it was only open to members, but now it's open to the public. It's open daily except on rainy days. A few pluses: good F&B options; both indoor and outdoor pool; and, yeah, it gets busy on the weekends, but not overly so. It's also very kids friendly, with pools and play areas for the little ones.
Opening Hours: 8am-8:30pm
Price: 198rmb for adults; 298rmb for one adult with one child
Ambassy Club (Pudong)
588 Hongfeng Lu,
near Mingyue Lu
It doesn't get more central than this classic pool destination on Julu Lu. It's not the biggest pool in town, but it's super clutch, in particular, for those mid-week pool days. A ticket will get you in, rent you a towel, and give you access to the sauna and jacuzzi. The price goes up on the weekend as does the turn-out. There is a shop in the lobby that has some nice grub for you to eat poolside under one of the shaded tables to the right-hand side. Nice and simple. We like it.
Opening Hours: 9am-10pm
Price: 150rmb on weekdays; 200rmb on weekends; 80rmb for kids under 1.2-meters-tall
Grand Plaza Club House
568 Julu Lu,
near Shaanxi Nan Lu
Formerly the Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental, the Handwritten Collection Hotel is a bit of a trek from the city center but it's worth it. It's really nice. Indoor and outdoor pools are open in a luxury hotel-type environment with no reservations required. A green and spacious option if you're looking to make a proper day of it. There is a poolside bar offering drinks and beers for adults and family-friendly diversions for the kids.
Opening Hours: 9:30am-7:30pm, until October
Price: 300rmb for adults; 150rmb for kids under 1.2-meters-tall
Handwritten Collection Hotel
3388 Sichen Lu,
Another really well-known pool in central Shanghai. We guess. Central-ish. Great place to neck some Pina Coladas poolside on a rooftop, but the 388rmb entry fee for adults makes it a little on the steep side for what it actually is – shallow and small. You need to bring your own swim cap and goggles, but they provide towels, slippers, body wash, and bottled water for free.
Opening Hours: 8:30am-9:30pm
JW Marriott Tomorrow Square
399 Nanjing Xi Lu,
near Huangpi Bei Lu
The Mandarin! The Manda-reeeen! It's back, baby! It's back! After a few years closed to the public, Shanghai's favorite mid-tier pool destination is back open for the summer. This one's a long-time daytime favorite of hungover DJs, bartenders and venue managers, and underemployed English teachers. It's popular for its reasonable entry fee, poolside bar, and ample room to swim and lounge. You can actually swim laps in this if you wanted to, and then swim over to the bar and undo all that exercise.
Opening Hours: 9am-9pm
Price: 150rmb until August 31; 1,400rmb for a 10-visit pass, 2,500rmb for a 20-visit pass
Mandarin City Pool
Rear of Club House,...
This is one of the nicest-for-the-money bathhouses in Shanghai. Korean style, you get to strip and splash around in hot rooms and cold pools (sex segregated) and then move upstairs where there are huge rooms of armchairs to relax, plus these little heated igloos to kick back in. Add a good Korean restaurant and the good draft beer served in iced mugs and you could easily kill a whole day in here. It's open all the time, too. The outdoor pool also has a kid's water playground, so that's nice. Highly recommended on a cold, grey day.
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Price: 108rmb; 75rmb on their WeChat Mini Program
New Star (Minhang)
Lane 258, Jinhui Nan Lu
Oriental Spring: the only legit hot spring on this list, and it's also the only one that doesn't require you to travel hours outside of town. The entire three-floor water resort is dedicated to a 15,000-square-meter hot spring, including fifteen (!) outdoor pools with different features and five indoor saunas. They've also got a variety of restaurants, recreational activities, books, massages, and so forth. SmartShanghai has an exclusive deal. Find out more on SmartTicket here.
Opening Hours: 10am-11pm
Price: 108rmb for adults; 49rmb for kids
No.1, Lane 2088 Wuzhong Lu,
Great place for a good ol' poolside knees-up. Purple Mountain is a big pool surrounded by lots of space with decent views of the city. This makes it an ideal spot to party. And it was a pool party destination back in the day. Good times...
Guests are required to wear a swimming cap, which could mess with your vibes if you’re trying to look hot.
Opening Hours: 10am-10pm
Price: 200rmb for adults; 100rmb for kids
Purple Mountain (Pudong)
778 Dongfang Lu,
near Zhangyang Lu
This one's a huge pool in Lujiazui with a sandy beach landscaped with rocks and trees and all kinds of pleasant stuff. It has long been a go-to place for weekends for its sizeable beach area. An extra bonus is the entry fee gets you access to their gym and indoor pools too. It's also right in the middle of a market area where you can pick up supplies. Not open on rainy days. No cap needed.
Opening Hours: 12pm-10pm (Monday); 10am-7pm (Tuesday-Sunday)
Shimao Riviera Garden Pool
Lane 1 & 2 Weifang Lu,
near Pucheng Lu
Pudong actually has some nice outdoor pools. The ticket price for this is really good for what you're getting: a giant pool and an atmosphere reminiscent of a resort in Thailand or something. There's also a really good coffee shop at the poolside. If you're looking for a great place to relax and soak up some sunshine, you can't go wrong with this one. Remember to bring your own towel. There's also a convenient bar where you can purchase drinks and food too.
Opening Hours: 10am-7pm
1988 Yunshan Lu,
near Mingyue Lu