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Last updated: 25 May 2023

Make a retro-style splash at our favourite old-school-cool pools

Summer holidays feel all the more satisfying once you’ve bagged a boutique hotel with an aesthetically-pleasing pool. This is, after all, where you’ll likely be spending most of your time – whether you’ve come to dip, dive, or simply sip spritzes beneath a candy-coloured parasol (in true Slim Aarons Poolside style). We’ve set our sights on a vintage-inspired, nostalgia-inducing selection of hotel pools which will have you itching for your film camera and most fabulous swimwear.

1. Hôtel Lou Pinet, Saint Tropez – France

Hotel Lou Pinet

Designed to feel like a beautiful holiday home you would share with friends in Bardot-approved Saint TropezHôtel Lou Pinet has a wonderfully vintage vibe thanks to its sixties-inspired interiors by architect of Mediterranean chic, Charles Zana. Rooms and suites are filled with light and colourful graphic prints handpicked by the art collecting owners, many of which open directly onto the swimming pool lined with cherry red umbrellas and surrounded by private gardens scented with lavender, jasmine and cypress trees.

2. The Plymouth South Beach, Miami – USA

This four-storey luxury hotel is a peach-and-cream Art Deco icon with a contemporary twist. Think metro-tiled bathrooms, vintage-inspired Restoration Hardware furnishings and a dash of golden-age Gatsby glamour. Many rooms at The Plymouth South Beach also boast glittering pool views, making it the perfect place to soak up a South Beach sunrise over the deliciously pastel parasols.

3. Punta Tragara, Capri – Italy

Photographed by Slim Aarons in 1974, the iconic cliff-side pool at Punta Tragara is a swimming, sunbathing, and limoncello-fuelled oasis with the most glorious sea views. Designed by Modernism pioneer, Le Corbusier, as a private villa in the Twenties, this burnt-orange beauty teeters above the renowned Faraglioni rock formation and is cooled by a salty sea breeze. In the late Sixties, Count Goffredo Manfredi chose Punta Tragara as his Capri residence – these were the years of La Dolce Vita, when the international jet set frolicked along the Amalfi Coast.

Punta Tragara

4. Gecko Hotel & Beach Club, Formentera – Spain

A blissed out, barefoot beach retreat on one of Formentera’s best stretches of sand, rooms at Gecko Hotel & Beach Club overlook the shimmering Mediterranean or palm-filled gardens, while suites come with private plunge pools surrounded by hammocks and terraces with sink-into sofas. Little touches like beach bags and towels are all thought of, so all you have to do is decide how you’d like to relax – our favourite spot is on a Balinese bed by the pool, shaded by blue and white nautical-style umbrellas with an island cocktail in hand.

Gecko Hotel
Gecko Hotel
Gecko Hotel

5. Villa La Madonna, Piedmont – Italy

Verdant hills, vineyards, and terracotta roofs – the Bormida Valley in Piedmont is a timeless spot where life slows down. And overlooking this sleepy valley is Villa La Madonna. When you’re not wining and dining amidst the vines, or hunting for truffles, the vineyard-fringed pool is the perfect spot to sink a Barolo wine (or two). Pull up a wicker stool at the green and white striped pool bar for an afternoon aperitivo, or sink into a sofa around the poolside piazza for some post-swim pasta – homemade recipes, of course.

Photography by Annica Eklund Studio

6. Le Nessay, Saint-Briac-sur-Mer – France

Sitting atop the rugged Nessay Peninsula, Le Nessay is a redbrick turreted château which is just steps from the sandy shoreline. Check-in to La Maison du Nessay, a standalone cottage available for private hire, which is the epitome of laidback Breton living. There’s an undeniably vintage vibe throughout the six gorgeous rooms, which flows onto the private swimming pool and gardens. Freshly baked goods from the hotel’s pâtisserie in nearby Saint-Briac-sur-Mer are delivered to your deck chairs, and there are plenty of puzzles and board games to play with poolside. You’re also just a short stroll from La Plage du Bechet, which is lined with retro beach huts.

Le Nessay
Le Nessay
Le Nessay
Le Nessay

7. Topping Rose House, Bridgehampton – USA

A renovated 19th-century mansion near Long Island’s eastern shore, Topping Rose House blends stylish heritage with cool, contemporary comforts. You’ll be staying in Gatsby territory, and the hotel’s pool is a rustic take on the Hamptons’ Gold Coast glamour. Try to time your visit for one of the hotel’s oyster and rosé happy hours, then take a seat under a citrus-yellow striped parasol dotted around the fragrant gardens.

Topping Rose House
Topping Rose House

8. Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà, Verona – Italy

Most guests at Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà are the creatively inclined rather than the poolside-reclined type – who are drawn to the art-packed interiors, colour-popping furniture, and contemporary exhibitions (world-famous names from Marc Quinn to Damien Hirst feature). A little bit accidentally Wes Anderson, the grand Venetian-style villa sits in a beautifully manicured five-acre Italian garden, which conceals an elegant deck-level swimming pool and Aperol Spritz-hued umbrellas.

9. MUSE Saint-Tropez, Ramatuelle – France

Ultra-exclusive MUSE Saint-Tropez effortlessly captures the essence of Côte d’Azur glamour with its creamy, cooling interiors and ecological Mediterranean gardens. Pristine white loungers have been cleverly arranged around the tranquil pool so that guests can dip their toes in the water as they soak up the sunshine, while the elegant cabanas make perfect poolside dining spots. The minimalist suites are individually designed, and named after famous muses from Audrey Hepburn to Sophia Loren. Sit back on a sunny terrace overlooking the sea, or take a dip in your private plunge pool with a glass of local rosé in hand (straight from the suite’s own wine cellar).

10. The Pillars Hotel & Club, Florida – USA

Exclusively set on the Intracoastal side of Fort Lauderdale Beach, lapped by warm Atlantic waters, The Pillars Hotel & Club is where the yachting crowd come to see and be seen. Boats cruise past, the city lights glimmer in the distance, and the Thirties home-turned-hotel is awash with a calming, coastal air. The puddle-shaped pool has an Art Deco edge, and is surrounded by orange-and-white striped loungers with Beverly Hills-chic bolster pillows.

The Pillars Hotel & Club

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