Parasol Paradise: Eight Gloriously Retro Hotel Pools

From a 24-karat-gold-lined Versace splash pad in Miami to a lavender-scented English oasis, these are the eight retro hotel pools to dive into this summer.

Planning a summer getaway has our gaze veering poolside. But forget vertiginous infinity affairs and tubular monstrosities (aka waterslides). Rather, we've locked eyes on our favourite poolsides of old, which come complete with ice-cream shades, colourful stripes and scandalous backstories. From historic oases tucked into the LA sprawl to contemporary copycats soaking up the Saint-Tropez sun, these retro hotel pools are where we're heading for a splash-out summer. There's only one question: who's bringing the lilo?

Our favourite retro swimming pools to sip a spritz by this summer


Parker Palm Springs

Palm Springs, California, US

Deserts and ice-blue swimming spots make good company. At this iconic mid-century-modern stay, palm trees fan the sky and huddle over the pool's perimeter. When the Californian sun gets too intense, take shelter under the lemon- and white-striped umbrellas and hit up the vintage-feels lemonade stand. Coordinating your beverage to your bather feels so right here.


4200 E Palm Canyon Dr Palm Springs CA 92264 United States

The Beverley Hills Hotel pool


The Beverly Hills Hotel

Los Angeles, California, US

Fran Lebowitz said it best: "Los Angeles is a large city-like area surrounding The Beverly Hills Hotel." A beacon of Hollywood glamour and the nucleus of A-list living, the gilded hotel has its fair share of siren stories. Faye Dunaway enjoyed a post-Oscars breakfast here in March 1977, dressed in silk and heels. Katharine Hepburn once dived into the pool, fully clothed. It was even the site of a notorious private pool party hosted by The Beatles. We'd suggest switching the red-carpet dress for a Dos Swim one-piece as you recline on a bubblegum-pink lounger. As for pool-party antics? That's up to you.


9641 Sunset Boulevard Beverly Hills Los Angeles CA 90210

The Hockney-painted pool at The Hollywood Roosevelt
Photo credit: Murphy O'Brien


The Hollywood Roosevelt

Los Angeles, California, US

If there's one thing David Hockney is known for, it's his knack for painting enticing scenes of LA's swimming pools. In November 2018, the artist's aquamarine-infused Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) became what, at the time, was the most expensive work of art by a living artist to have been sold at auction. The Roosevelt's piscine isn't the one depicted in the record-breaking painting, but the hotel does have its own Hockney story. In 1988, the bespectacled artist spent a morning covering the pool bottom with a pattern of swooping half-moon marks, which remain intact today.


7000 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, US

The Profumo pool at Cliveden House


Cliveden House

Berkshire, UK

Flanked by cream calico parasols and borders of fluttering lilac lavender, Cliveden's outdoor pool is a picture of English pleasantness. But don't be deceived. It's also the home of a very English scandal. It was while dipping into the gin-clear rectangle, in 1961, that government minister John Profumo first cast his eyes on the model Christine Keeler, marking the beginning of an affair that would forever alter British politics. Last time we took in a few laps, there were no Whitehall ministers hanging around the 350-year old estate, and scandal has since been replaced by spa treatments, with the pool forming part of the historic hotel's wellness centre. But who doesn't love a backstory?


Cliveden Rd, Taplow, Berkshire SL6 0JF


The Villa Casa Casuarina

Miami, US

Mainlined Ryan Murphy's The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story? Dip your toes into the late fashion designer's 16m, 24-karat-gold-lined "million mosaic pool" - a play on his famous 1990s Marine Vanitas collection. It's pretty gauche - naturally - but if you're partial to a bit of OTT design, the gilded extravagance will entice.


1116 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, US


Faena Hotel Miami Beach

Miami, Florida, US

A cross-shaped pool is always a punchy move and, frankly, we wouldn't expect anything less from this Miami Beach hangout. At Faena, the colour code is maraschino-cherry red and Colgate white - just look at those candy-striped parasols and loungers. For 1950s maximalist glamour, North Beach is where it's at.


3201 Collins Ave, FL 33140

The pool at Villa Lena, in Tuscany, Italy
Photo credit: Lottie Hampson


Villa Lena

Tuscany, Italy

Italy. Summer. Striped parasols and wet footprints splashed across warm terracotta tiles. The marbled shimmer of the water. The sound of cicadas in the early afternoon. Oh wait, are we quoting André Aciman? Our bad. Welcome to the sun-scorched swimming pool at Tuscany's Villa Lena - a paradigm of la dolce vita. This hybrid hotel pairs farm living with creative retreats, but if we're honest, it's the pool tucked beneath the coral 19th-century villa we're making a beeline for. Dangle your feet in, absorb the saturated colours of this sun-kissed escape and daydream about your cameo in the Luca Guadagnino film adaptation.


Strada Comunale di Toiano 42 Toiano Palaia PIace Italy

The retro pool at Hotel Lou Pinet in St Tropez, France


Hôtel Lou Pinet

St Tropez, France

Pack your headscarf for this swish St Tropez stay, which oozes 1960s style, right down to its enticing sea-green-tiled pool. Surrounded by French farmhouse-style suites and crisp white parasols, the cool oasis is the pièce de résistance of this very French hotel, and the perfect spot from which to enjoy a little people-watching, Provençal-style. Grab a watermelon juice, hide behind big sunnies and watch fellow guests waft by.


70 Chemin du Pinet, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France

This article was updated on 29 June 2022. It contains affiliate links, which means SUITCASE may earn a small commission if you click through and book.

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