It’s cold outside and you want to go swimming but not be just another dumpling bobbing in the soup. You need a five-star pool, someplace to lounge around in shorts or a swimsuit on a mini-vacation from the cold and the crowds. We went around the city’s luxury hotels and picked eight of the nicest heated pools — almost all open to the public, for a fee — for taking a winter dip.
Mainland China’s highest infinity pool is in the heart of Lujiazui’s skyscrapers. In fact, it’s in them, as part of the Park Hyatt, which takes up more than a dozen upper floors in the Shanghai World Financial Center, the bottle opener.
The Park Hyatt’s pool is on the 85th floor, with pretty crazy views across the city and the Huangpu River. Non-hotel guests can access the pool with a monthly gym membership, though to be honest it’ll cost you about the same price as just staying in the hotel for a night.
Price: One-month, half-day (10am-2pm) membership, 2,850rmb
If Park Hyatt is all about height, Banyan Tree is all about size. The North Bund hotel has an indoor pool (24m x 8m) as well as three sizable hot tubs (they call them relaxation pools) set at three different temperatures.
Two bonus points here are Banyan Tree’s reputation for spa facilities, and the gym – it really can’t get any bigger. Also, you can get a single day-pass without staying at the hotel.
Opening hours: 7am-11pm
Price for Single Day Pass: 480rmb
Accessed via a long, shadowy passageway, the Bulgari pool stretches out before you. At first glance, it’s hard to believe that this 25m jade-green pool is in the basement when the entire space is bathed in warm light. There’s a touch of beauty everywhere you look - louvered ceilings, marble columns, partially covered four-poster poolside loungers for extra privacy, fresh tropical plants - you name it.
No need to check in to enjoy the pool – they do day passes.
Shielded behind a bamboo screen in the heart of Jingan district, the Puli hotel pool is perfect if you’re looking for a secret hideaway. The interiors are minimalist and Zen. The 25m heated infinity pool is on the 3rd floor, and it has a floor-to-ceiling, wood-screened window that looks out onto Jing’an Park. Is there a more beautiful backdrop for an indoor pool than lush greenery?
Unfortunately, this one is not open to the public, but rooms start around 1,800rmb per night.
Price: Room rates hover around 2,000rmb
Perched on the 53th floor of a Pudong skyscraper, the Ritz-Carlton is classic luxury, and actually one of the more affordable options for a luxury swim. This high up, you get great views of the city on a clear day, and five floors up is Flair Bar to retire to, post-swim.
Price: 445rmb day pass, 4,000rmb monthly pass
The Middle House pool runs to 33m in length if you count the baby pool at the end, and is a quiet, modest option to get in some laps. Moody and well-lit. Nice poolside lounges as well.
Price: 350rmb day pass
On the South Bund, Wanda Reign takes much pride in being Shanghai’s first (self-claimed) seven-star hotel. So much crystal, gold, jade, marble, velvet and silk.
The infinity pool here may be a bit too flashy and futuristic looking (and surprisingly small) to appeal to everyone, but it’s certainly unique. Features include a massive LED screen on the wall at one end and a reflective ceiling that sparkles like a sky of diamonds. Great for a romantic gateway if you want some eye-dazzling glamour.
Opening hours: 6am-11pm
Price for Single Day Pass: 288rmb
The Sukhothai’s location, like its neighbor The Middle House, make it an ideal place for a midweek power dip. This lemongrass-and-basil-scented haven reflects the aesthetic philosophy of the hotel: simple and sophisticated.
The pool area is subdued and calming, with gray walls and white lounges offset by the blue water.
Opening hours: 6am-11pm
Price for Single Day Pass: 600rmb