The most exotic spot in the home can often be the outside space. Credit new trends in pool design that have made watery retreats smarter, sleeker and even a little bit magical.
“People are looking to their pools for an experience,” says Rick Pendleton, founder of Artisan Home Resorts, a San Francisco-based luxury landscape design and pool firm. “It enhances and enriches their lives, a distraction from all things we’ve been dealing with for the past two years. It’s an escape, a sanctuary.”
Pool designers are thinking outside the rectangle lap lanes to give homeowners a total water experience that is relaxing, refreshing, therapeutic and entertaining. Sloped-entry pools evoke the beach, while pools with transparent walls bring aquariums to mind – think swimming in a giant fish tank. And then there’s the elevator pools, which Pendleton says “are catching on”. At the push of a button, the patio lowers like an elevator and water streams in from all sides. This patio-to-pool transformation “is straight out of James Bond”.
Designs can also evoke atmospheres of holiday destinations. The outdoor pool at a 10,085sq ft estate in the San Diego suburb of Rancho Santa Fe “makes you feel like you’re in Italy,” says Linda Sansone, of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty in Rancho Santa Fe. “The only thing missing is the gondola.”
The residence is on a three-acre plot, one of just a handful located right on the golf course in the prestigious community of The Covenant. Back doors open up to a massive zero-edge pool with a waterfall, spa, dipping pool and grotto.
Technology and innovative design can overcome installation problems and plunge and cocktail pools, sometimes known as a spool (spa pool), are an option for space-challenged urban spaces.
Depending on the location, complexity of design and features, installation costs tend to range from $500,000 to $5 million. While the residential pool market in the US is the largest, the Asia Pacific and the Middle East regions are fast-growing.
“Having a pool is really soothing,” says Sansone. “There’s a peacefulness in looking into a crystal clear pool and hearing the sounds of the water – even if you don’t go in.”
Rancho Santa Fe, California
Escape to a private, lushly landscaped, fenced and gated three-acre oasis at this prime Covenant golf course location. Exceptional French farmhouse architecture and exquisite materials create a timeless residence. The traditional floor plan incorporates modern living influences, where rooms flow into one another and to the outdoors, on to sheltered loggias, and the dramatic zero-edge pool with stone detailing, waterfall, spa and dipping pool, and mature gardens with golf course views.
Property ID: Q7VTXQ
Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty
Linda Sansone 858.775.6356
There’s something magical about driving through the redwoods to this hilltop retreat with “top of the world” views. A carpet of green, a bay of blue spread out before you.
The town of Woodside is just 6.5 miles away, with easy access to Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Exploring the 11-acre grounds you will appreciate the full usability and total privacy, with its multiple level lawn areas, a resort-inspired pool pavilion with outdoor kitchen and an infinity-edge saltwater pool. Other features include an orchard, a cleared sunny space ready for a vineyard, walking paths, and then there’s the impressive multi-level property that features 10,650 sq ft of living space with five bedrooms.
Property ID: XHEX47
Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty
Shaler Barnes +1 650 814 3451
Located in prime Royal Hills, this Mediterranean-style gated compound is a stunning custom estate. Sitting on a lot that spans more than 17,500 sq ft, the property boasts a main house, guest house and sprawling backyard with breathtaking views.
The main house, with five bedrooms and seven bathrooms, is full of natural light and vaulted ceilings. Custom from top to bottom, the home features detailed woodworking, moulding, closets and extensive use of Porcelanosa tile, cabinets and slate. The backyard oasis is the perfect outlet for relaxing or entertaining.
Property ID: KTGVN4
Sotheby’s International Realty – Encino Brokerage
Kevin Pane +1 818 290 5560
New Tecumseth, Ontario
Tucked away in the Simcoe County countryside is The Villa, a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired oasis constructed with European-sourced features. Only an hour away from downtown Toronto, this mid-century modern residence enjoys 50 acres, with opportunities for future development. Designed to unify outdoors and indoors, natural sunlight is prioritised with grandeur windows in every room. As you walk through the double door entrance, you’re greeted by a two-story atrium featuring large plants growing directly from the earth. The lower-level spa features an 80,000-litre natural indoor pool, with filtered water from the estate’s pond and naturally heated by the air, a coffee bar, changing rooms, a two-piece powder room, a soaker tub, a rain shower, a six-person sauna and a large lounge area for entertaining, constructed with a ceiling sound absorber so as to not disturb the rest of the home.
Property ID: SIRC729585
The Mantle Group Sotheby’s International Realty Canada
Michela Mantle +1 905 330 4077
Sona Vida, Spain
This breathtaking stately property consists of a plot area of approximately 9.000sq m offering complete privacy. Due to its location and being built on a hillside plot, this exclusive property boasts beautiful views overlooking the nearby mountains and the Son Vida’s golf course, and is within a 10-minute drive from Palma’s city centre. In 2020/21 the property was equipped with the latest mobile technology including a solar station.
The main property consists of nine spacious bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and further bedrooms with bathrooms located in the side building. In the outside area there are several waterfalls and amphoras as well as ancient statues surrounding the perimeter.
Furthermore, there is a tennis court, a separate gym as well as a spa with a jacuzzi and steam sauna area, which together with the pool offer a sporty and relaxing atmosphere. There is also a counter-current system plus two waterfalls.
Property ID: RS9ZEC
Mallorca Sotheby’s International Realty
+34 971 721 000
Elevated on a green hill in the province of Messina, this modern and exclusive home dominates the surrounding space while also integrating with the natural environment.
The design invites natural light in and fosters an invigorating yet harmonious atmosphere. Although divided into several spacious levels, the home revolves around a double-height central living space. Along the sides of the property, ramps wind sinuously up to a roof that opens up to a solarium. One of the most intriguing amenities is the swimming pool, where water flows through two different levels, evoking the soft motion of waves.
Price Upon Request
Property ID: EZFKGT
Italy Sotheby’s International Realty
Danila Addario +39 093 117 40119
This monumental estate in the heart of Capri is immersed in the greenery of its private park consisting of eclectic gardens, elegant patios and spectacular terraces. This beautiful property consists of two villas and one annex.
The main villa offers six bedrooms, and showcases the typical Capri architectural style featuring a magnificent double terrace and a captivating panoramic swimming pool carved into the rock.
Price Upon Request
Property ID: 2R5J3J
Italy Sotheby’s International Realty
Sabrina Majello +39 06 7925 8888
This is a rare offering of one of only six beachfront parcels in Maui’s famed Kaanapali Resort. With an acre of land and over 11,000 sq ft of living space, this gracious home has eight bedroom suites, a media room, formal and informal dining spaces, a library/games room, gym and a chef’s kitchen. Designed for indoor-outdoor living, the kitchen opens to an outdoor kitchen and dining area surrounded by reflecting ponds. The living room features spectacular two-storey pocketing glass doors on both the mauka (mountain) and makai (ocean) sides, opening the living space to beautifully landscaped grounds and the magnificent pool. An inner sanctuary with koi ponds creates a serene setting. The pool has the feeling of a secluded lagoon, formed by Maui’s flowing waters, with a hidden spa, tucked away for privacy yet with views of the ocean. A relaxation pavilion takes centre stage, with panoramic ocean and sunset views framed by tropical gardens and tiki torches.
Property ID: WW66YH
Island Sotheby’s International Realty
Courtney M Brown +1 808 250 0210