Seven superior swimming pools – personally recommended

From a 1930s Parisian bathing house to a sky-high cantilevered pool in Doha

Paul Smith likes to swim at the Grecian-inspired pool at the Royal Automobile Club on London’s Pall Mall
Paul Smith likes to swim at the Grecian-inspired pool at the Royal Automobile Club on London’s Pall Mall

Paul Smith, fashion designer

“I swim every morning, and have done since the early 1990s when someone I met at a dinner party advised me that swimming would help my bad back. I joined the Lansdowne Club and then the Royal Automobile Club, and on Saturday my wife, Pauline, and I go for a swim at the RAC around 8am. Afterwards we go upstairs for a croissant and a coffee, and then we spend a couple of hours there just reading the newspapers.” Lansdowne Club, 9 Fitzmaurice Pl, London W1 (020-7629 7200; lansdowneclub.com). Royal Automobile Club, 89 Pall Mall, London SW1 (020-7930 2345; royalautomobileclub.co.uk).

Interior designer Juan Pablo Molyneux swims at the cantilevered pool on the 19th floor of the Torch hotel in Doha
Interior designer Juan Pablo Molyneux swims at the cantilevered pool on the 19th floor of the Torch hotel in Doha

Juan Pablo Molyneux, interior designer

“The Torch hotel in Doha is very contemporary and the swimming pool is cantilevered, hanging out over the edge of the building on the 19th floor with a magnificent view over the city. When you’re swimming, you’re not thinking about the view but about the engineer, hoping he used the right bolts.” Al Waab St, Aspire Zone, Doha (+974-4446 5600; thetorchdoha.com).

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Barnaba Fornasetti, artistic director of Fornasetti

“Whenever I’m in London, I stay at One Aldwych. It’s very well-designed, but what I love most is the swimming pool. I swim every morning, and this pool – which uses a special mineral solution instead of chlorine – is fantastic.” 1 Aldwych, London WC2 (020-7300 1000; onealdwych.com).

Conductor Sakari Oramo recommends the Allas Sea Pool in Helsinki for outdoor swimming in winter
Conductor Sakari Oramo recommends the Allas Sea Pool in Helsinki for outdoor swimming in winter

Sakari Oramo, conductor

“The Allas Sea Pool in Helsinki is a great year-round open-air pool with saunas, right in the centre on Katajanokka. Imagine swimming when the outdoor temperature is minus 20°C!” Allas Sea Pool, Katajanokanlaituri 2a (+35840-565 6582; allasseapool.fi).

The jeweller Silvia Furmanovich likes the spa at Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca, New York
The jeweller Silvia Furmanovich likes the spa at Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca, New York

Martin Grant, fashion designer

“In Paris, I cross over to the Ile de la Cité, via Pont Saint-Louis, to go swimming at the Piscine Pontoise, a beautiful 1930s pool on the Left Bank that’s been in films like Three Colours: Blue with Juliette Binoche.” 17 Rue de Pontoise, Paris 75005 (+331-5542 7788).

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Silvia Furmanovich, jeweller

“The spa in Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca, New York, is one of the most exquisite and relaxing places I’ve been to – a true oasis in the middle of the city. The 250-year-old barn beams that make up the swimming pool area were brought in from Japan.” Shibui Spa, The Greenwich Hotel, 377 Greenwich St, NY 10013 (+1212-941 8900; thegreenwichhotel.com/shibui-spa). 

Olga Polizzi, hotelier

“Newlyn is one of the largest fishing ports in Cornwall. I highly recommend a walk along the promenade to the Jubilee Pool, the newly restored enormous outdoor pool that’s set into the sea.” Battery Rd, Penzance TR18 4FF (01736-369 224; jubileepool.co.uk).

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