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11 Toasty Outdoor Pools in Snowy Places

1. Riffelalp Resort
11 Toasty Outdoor Pools in Snowy Places
As the temperature plummets, forget about packing away your bathing suit. Instead, dive into the welcoming, therapeutic waters of a heated pool. Whether it’s to soothe achy muscles after a day on the slopes or to soak in some much-needed winter sunshine, head to one of these properties that prove outdoor swimming pools aren’t just for summer.
By Nicole Trilivas
Nicole Trilivas
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    1. Riffelalp Resort
    1. Riffelalp Resort
    Zermatt, Switzerland

    At over 7,000 feet above sea level, this is Europe’s highest pool. (Also, with a temperature of a toasty 95 degrees Fahrenheit, it may just be its hottest too.) While you’re on top of the world, the majestic Matterhorn feels close enough to smack with a snowball. This ice-blue pool is the highlight of the Riffelalp Resort’s wellness center, which also includes a steam cave, Finnish sauna, and grotto of saline baths and waterfalls. It’s not easy to reach (getting to the resort takes a mountain railway and a snowmobile), but the views of the 29 Alpine summits are worth the uphill journey. 

    riffelalp.com
    Courtesy of Riffelalp
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    2. Residences at The Little Nell
    2. Residences at The Little Nell
    Colorado, USA

    Aspen favorite, The Little Nell, has an impressive outdoor pool, but the stylish rooftop pool of the Residences at The Little Nell—available to rent or own—is unrivaled. Yes, this rooftop pool is sleek and chic with its 360-degree views, but it’s also functional: In the spring and summer, the landscaping is designed to feed bees and butterflies. But we prefer it in the winter when the vapor curls off the pool’s mirrored surface and the snow flurries—straight off the Rockies—twirl overhead.

    thelittlenell.com
    Curtsey of Shawn O'Connor
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    3. Ion Adventure Hotel
    3. Ion Adventure Hotel
    Selfoss, Iceland

    This design-forward, boutique hideaway is located on the stark, alien-like terrain of Iceland’s volcanic Mount Hengill. Sustainability and the surrounding countryside play heavily on the Ion’s aesthetic, as seen through the use of locally salvaged driftwood throughout the hotel. This minimalistic and modern trend carries over into the partially exposed Lava Spa with a heated soaking pool. While unwinding on what feels like the edge of the Earth, keep your eyes peeled for the Northern Lights dancing across the sky.

    ionadventure.ioniceland.is
    Courtesy of Design Hotels
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    4. Ski Portillo
    4. Ski Portillo
    Región de Valparaíso, Chile

    Ski Portillo is an extreme skier’s dream in the heart of the secluded Chilean Andes. The magic of this uncluttered, raw landscape is best appreciated from the hotel’s pool deck, which overlooks the crystal-colored waters of Laguna del Inca. The wild terrain is legendary, but you don’t even need to venture to the piste when the pool is this good. (Not to mention the cruiselike hotel is packed with amenities for its 450 guests.) Plus, Portillo is known for its sunny weather during ski season, which—because of its location in the Southern Hemisphere—runs from June through October.

    skiportillo.com
    Photo by Morton Anderson
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    5. Hôtel Mont-Blanc
    5. Hôtel Mont-Blanc
    Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France

    In the fairytale village of Chamonix, this chic chalet hotel has a warm, milky-blue pool with awe-inspiring vistas of Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest mountain. With some of the best (and most challenging) skiing in the Alps, winter-sports enthusiasts will appreciate the soothing hot tub and snow bunnies will love the lavish Clarins spa.

    hotelmontblancchamonix.com
    Courtesy of Hôtel Mont-Blanc
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    6. Hotel Ullensvang
    6. Hotel Ullensvang
    Lofthus, Norway

    Set on the shore of a spectacular fjord with views over the Folgefonna glacier, the family-run (and family-friendly) Hotel Ullensvang offers jaw-dropping scenery in every season. But there’s just something special about Scandinavia in the winter, especially when you’re floating in a 288-foot, wrap-around pool channel heated to the balmy mid-80s.

    hotel-ullensvang.no
    Courtesy of Hotel Ullensvang
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    7. Nishimuraya Hotel Shogetsutei
    7. Nishimuraya Hotel Shogetsutei
    Toyooka, Japan

    Not technically a pool, the Japanese onsen is a communal hot springs bath. (Also, unlike in a pool, an onsen is enjoyed silently and sans swimsuit!) Nishimuraya Hotel Shogetsutei is a peaceful, hot-springs ryokan (authentic Japanese inn), located in the scenic forests around Mount Kuruhi. It has both indoor and outdoor onsens, along with some private dips (should you be feeling shy).

    nishimuraya.ne.jp
    Courtesy of Nishimuraya Hotel
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    8. Amangani
    8. Amangani
    Wyoming, USA

    The exclusive Amangani has a refined Wild-West vibe inspired by the surrounding majesty of nearby national parks Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Finished in quartzite and steaming with heat, the outdoor pool and whirlpool are designed for relaxation after a long day of skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, or snowmobiling in the great outdoors.

    aman.com
    Courtesy of Aman
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    9. El Lodge
    9. El Lodge
    Sierra Nevada, Spain

    Snow isn’t the first thing to come to mind when you think of southern Spain, but high in the mountains of Andalusia, you can find this ski-in/ski-out retreat blanketed in white. After taking a dip in the outdoor pool and hot tub fashioned from Finnish timber, après-swim at the outdoor bar, The Sun Deck, where you can dry off in front of the free-standing fire pits with faux-fur blankets and warming cocktails.

    ellodge.com
    Courtesy of El Lodge
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    10. Fairmont Banff Springs
    10. Fairmont Banff Springs
    Banff, Canada

    Snuggled in an evergreen forest of the Canadian Rockies, the historic Fairmont Banff Springs was built as a grand mountain getaway in 1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Today, this massive hotel, called the “castle of the Rockies,” has an indoor saltwater pool, a spa with waterfalls and mineral pools, and a year-round, 66-foot, outdoor pool.

    fairmont.com
    Courtesy of Fairmont
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    11. Boutique Hotel Wachtelhof
    11. Boutique Hotel Wachtelhof
    Hinterthal, Austria

    It’s easy to hide away from the world at this impeccably appointed Austrian mountain lodge. Boutique Hotel Wachtelhof is tucked into the powdery slopes of the Austrian Alps and fuses Old-World accents (think antlers, timber beams, and roaring fires) with contemporary luxury. Tucked under blankets of snow, the 16th-century-farmer’s-lodge-turned-spa looks like a gingerbread house dripping with icing. The spa boasts three different saunas (Finnish, herbal, and infrared), as well as an outdoor pool lit by lanterns and lampposts under snow-capped pine trees.

    hotelwachtelhof.com
    Courtesy of Boutique Hotel Wachtelhof
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    Courtesy of XV Beacon