“What’s the best hotel you’ve ever stayed at?”
As professional travel writers, we get asked that question a lot.
It’s a tough one to answer – because we’ve been fortunate to stay at places where the “wow” factor punches off the charts.
How do you compare beautiful colonial-style casonas in a magical UNESCO-listed Mexican town, or romantic hotels in Europe, with over-the-water bungalows in Bocas del Toro (Panama) with dive-off-your-deck snorkeling?
We can tell you that villa resorts with private pool suites tend to be some of the most luxurious.
27+ Ultra-gorgeous villa resorts with private pool suites
We’ve splashed out in the following villa resorts with private pools. (Who said “work” is no fun?)
They’re so fabulous that it’s worth booking a holiday just to stay in one of them!
Here they are – in Mexico, Africa, Greece, Fiji, Bora Bora, Thailand, Bali, Sri Lanka, the Caribbean, Costa Rica and the USA.
Mexico hotels with private pools
1) Thompson – Zihuatanejo
A cool suite with your own private plunge pool? And it faces one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico?
Say hello to the Thompson Zihuatanejo!
Hugging Playa La Ropa in the beach town of Zihuatanejo, the newly renovated luxury resort (formerly a Viceroy) features oh-so-sophisticated rooms and suites.
Decorated in muted tones of coffee, they’re kitted out with exposed wood ceiling beams, Oaxacan clay lights, contemporary Mexican artworks and pebble stone floors.
All suites in the 56-room property have private plunge pools; some have bigger infinity pools.
Confession: We actually didn’t spend any time in our private pool because the public spaces were so nice! The resort has a trio of outdoor pools (two for adults).
Plus, La Ropa beach is just so darn alluring!
What’s especially appealing is there’s so much space at the resort’s beach area. No lounge chairs cheek-to-jowl here.
Instead, super-comfy teak beach beds are spread out under palm trees and umbrellas – and it never feels crowded.
And when you’re hungry?
Hao, the resort’s alfresco beachside restaurant, serves up both your morning eggs as well as cocktails and appies when the sun sets.
2) La Casa Que Canta – Zihuatanejo
Like the Thompson resort with private pools (#1), La Casa Que Canta is also in Zihuatanejo, with access to Playa La Ropa.
La Casa Que Canta means “the house that sings.” And this boutique hotel is as beautiful as its name.
Of the 25 oceanfront suites, 11 have private plunge pools.
As well, the hotel has two fabulous 4-bedroom villas. Each comes with their own infinity pool and a private chef.
See our detailed review! La Casa Que Canta Review: The House That Sings in Zihuatanejo
3) Grand Velas Riviera Maya – Playa del Carmen
Sip a margarita as you lounge in your own private plunge pool, soaking in splendid sea views.
All 90 suites in the Grand Class section of the Grand Velas Riviera Maya have oceanfront balconies with private plunge pools.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll be impressed with the food (which is amazing!) at this top-notch all-inclusive resort.
See our review of the Grand Velas! Grand Velas Riviera Maya Restaurants: aka The 9-Step Foodie Un-Diet
4) Banyan Tree Cabo Marques – Acapulco
Tucked away in a lush gated community, the Banyan Tree Cabo Marques is an elegant hideaway, with beautiful Asian-style villas on stilts.
The views of Acapulco Bay from our plunge pool kept us spellbound. As did the orange and magenta sunsets.
It was fun to see parrots, vultures and seabirds flying above our heads too.
Indeed, this is one villa resort where we happily spent a lot of time in our private pool.
Mind you, we tore ourselves away to eat at the resort’s Thai-themed Saffron restaurant. Always delicious…
See our detailed review! Asian Style in Acapulco! Banyan Tree Cabo Marques
Romantic getaways with private pools in Africa
5) Baraza Resort & Spa – Zanzibar
As soon as you see the Swahili arches, gauzy gold curtains and beautiful antiques, you get an inkling your stay at Baraza Resort & Spa is going to be pretty special.
Then when you’re sipping the resort’s signature Dawa cocktails (made from vodka, lime and honey) on their pure white beach, you know you’ve checked into one of the best resorts in Zanzibar.
By the way, the beach – Bwejuu Beach – has been ranked among the world’s top 30 beaches by Conde Nast Traveler.
We also think it’s one of the prettiest beaches in the world.
Others think this Zanzibar beach resort is pretty dreamy too.
Baraza, which has just 30 one- and two-bedroom villas (all villas with private pools, of course), was ranked #4 in the “Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Africa” in the 2019 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards.
Memorable moment: Bathing with clove-scented soap in our egg-shaped stone tub…
See our Baraza Resort review! A Sultan’s Palace? No, Baraza Resort and Spa
7) Simbambili Game Lodge – South Africa
You can’t beat the leopard and lion sightings at Simbambili Game Lodge.
It’s located in the wildlife-rich Sabi Sand Game Reserve, part of the world-famous Kruger National Park.
In fact, you’re pretty certain to see all the “Big Five” animals during a three-night stay here – we did.
Bonus: We also witnessed an impressive lion kill on our “Big 5” safari.
Villa resorts with private pools aren’t that common in safari game reserves.
Simbambili, however, has nine honeymoon-deluxe, thatched-roof bungalows with private plunge pools on huge rustic wooden decks.
Your deck faces a water hole in the distance, where you may see a parade of elephants, buffalo, antelope, kudu and other animals coming to drink.
Simbambili Game Lodge also organizes private bush lunches.
See our detailed review! Simbambili Game Lodge: Luxury Safari Stay in Sabi Sands
8) Chinzombo – Zambia
Wildly luxurious. Overlooking the Luangwa River. Just 6 bush-chic tented villas, each with their own pools. That’s Chinzombo, one of Zambia’s best safari camps.
You don’t even have to go on game drives to see wildlife – while floating in your pool, you can see elephants and other animals.
See our full review of Chinzombo! Chinzombo: Zambia Safari Camp Wows With Luxury and Killer Leopards
Hotels in Greece with private pools
9) St. Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas – Crete
The cure for overdosing on ancient Greek temples and ruins?
An escape to St. Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas on the island of Crete.
Stone-clad suites and villas with organic Coco-Mat mattresses and huge infinity pools, a private beach cove, a spa with a private seawater cave for couples, an authentic Greek taverna, and oh-so-soothing sea views will set you right in no time.
It did for us – though we needed a few days there to make sure we were really better before flying home :-).
A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, this 5-star Crete hotel is one of the best Greece hotels with private pools.
See our detailed review! St. Nicolas Bay Resort: Chilling at one of the Best Hotels in Crete
10) Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort – Santorini
Say what? Heidi Klum and Angelina Jolie have bedded down here?
But it doesn’t have those gawk-worthy sea views like Ikies, another Santorini hotel we’ve stayed at.
Oh, but you say we’ll be away from the tourist crowds, relaxing in a peaceful setting within an authentic Greek village?
And we can have our own private pool overlooking vineyards? And there are complimentary transfers to a private beach club?
Sign us up!
At Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort, we stayed in a Dorian Suite – which was lovely even without a private pool.
But the Olympian Villas have private pools.
See our detailed review! Vedema Resort, Santorini, Wows With Discreet Luxury
Fiji and Bora Bora hotels with private pools
11) Likuliku Lagoon Resort – Fiji
Sure, it’s nice to snorkel right from your deck of the overwater bungalows at Likuliku Lagoon Resort.
It’s the first resort with overwater bungalows in Fiji – and and dare we say, it has the best over-the-water Fijian bures?
But a string of 18 other ultra-luxe beachfront bures at this 5-star Fiji resort have private plunge pools, outdoor stone showers and huge shaded day beds. Also very nice!
Plus, there’s the huge main pool you can use too.
That’s not all…
Likuliku’s breezy restaurant serves up light gourmet fare with locally-grown organic produce. Steamed coral trout with cucumber and coconut cream? Mmmm…
Sailing and kayaking are complimentary. And its spa offers blissful warm stone massage treatments too.
See our LikuLiku review here! South Sea Dreams: Bures and Overwater Bungalows in Fiji
12) Four Seasons Bora Bora – French Polynesia
Now, an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora is dreamy enough, right?
But to really crank up the wow factor, you can book one with a plunge pool on your deck too. Perfect for rinsing off after snorkeling in Bora Bora’s popsicle blue lagoon!
The glass panel in the living room floor is pretty cool too – is that a cute baby shark in the water below?
Read more on the Four Seasons Bora Bora! A Little Slice of Paradise at Four Seasons Bora Bora
Hotels in Thailand with private pools
13) Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Krabi
There are Ritz-Carltons.
And then there are Ritz-Carlton Reserves – which are even more luxurious.
We were captivated by Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Krabi, Thailand.
Each of the 54 opulent villas has a butler.
Our butler appeared like a genie whenever we needed him.
Upon our check-in, he even bathed our trip-weary feet in a bowl of warm oil-scented water, sprinkled with rose petals.
Sinful confession: Overlooking a karst-studded bay, the main swimming pool with its curtained daybeds and complimentary coconut juice service was so alluring that we hardly used our own private pool.
14) Six Senses Yao Noi – Phang Nga Bay
A 45-minute speedboat ride from Phuket – but a world away – is the Six Senses Yao Noi.
We yearned for a romantic escape, and we found it here at this intimate hideaway on the ultra-peaceful island of Koh Yao Noi.
Rooms are thatched-roof villas (that feel like treehouses), with breezy indoor/outdoor bathrooms and huge terraces with private pools.
Inside, the eco-chic décor is equally seductive, with mosquito netting suspended above huge beds.
We’d spend days bicycling quiet country roads, lazing about by the beach and napping on a daybed by our pool.
Then at night, we’d dine on fresh organic salads picked from the garden and delicious Italian and Thai specialties.
Bali resorts with private pools
15) Alila Villas Uluwatu – Bukit Peninsula
Bali is blessed with heavenly villa resorts with private pools – we’ve bedded down in many of them. (See our guide to the best luxury hotels in Bali.)
But when it comes to luxury clout, Alila Villas Uluwatu tops our list of most luxurious Bali hotels with private pools.
For one thing, its one-bedroom villas are ginormous – larger than 3,000 square feet in size – with window walls that open up completely.
We loved that we could almost roll from our living room daybed into our pool.
The ocean views from the resort’s cliffside perch are also stupendous.
See our detailed review! Is Alila Villas Uluwatu the Most Luxurious Hotel in Bali?
Sri Lanka hotels with private pools
18) Ulagalla – Anuradhapura
To visit Sri Lanka’s incredible UNESCO sites in the Cultural Triangle, base yourself at the lovely Ulagalla.
After bicycling around ancient temples and climbing up rock monuments, you’ll relish the luxury of cooling off in your own pool.
Keep an eye out for monkeys! They can often be seen swinging about in the treetops.
Then when the sun sets, dine by candlelight on delicious local curries and organic salads in the eco-resort’s historic mansion restaurant.
Costa Rica hotels with private pools
22) Papagayo Luxury Villas – Guanacaste
Spread out in your own luxury vacation condo or villa in Costa Rica’s exclusive Papagayo Peninsula (home to the Four Seasons Costa Rica).
Jane Moore at Papagayo Luxury Villas expertly manages a dozen gorgeous properties with pools. (We stayed in Vista Hermosa.)
You have a concierge too, who arranges private chef services and child care.
See our Papagayo Luxury Villas review! Costa Rica’s Secret Papagayo Peninsula (and a Golf Buggy Ride by Moonlight)
23) Makanda by the Sea – Quepos
Celebrating a honeymoon or special occasion?
This 27-room, adults-only boutique hotel near wildlife-rich Manuel Antonio National Park is made for romance.
Upgrade to a villa at Makanda by the Sea for your own private pool in the rainforest.
Caribbean resorts with private pools
24) Blue Waters Resort – Antigua
Blue Waters is a lovely British colonial-style resort on the Caribbean island boasting 365 beaches – Antigua.
It has 3 super luxurious villas (Pelican House, Turtle Cottage Rock Cottage), each featuring private pools.
No doubt Prince Harry bunked down in one of them. (He’s a past guest of the hotel.)
English broadcaster Piers Morgan, who’s also stayed at Blue Waters, has said: “It was as close to perfection as a Caribbean holiday could get.”
What’s cool is that the hotel also has Cove Suites and Penthouses in separate buildings offering exclusive access to several infinity pools reserved just for guests in these suites.
True, you can’t go skinny dipping.
But these secluded pools are quiet – and they feel almost private (but without the price tag of the villas).
See our Blue Waters review! How to Holiday Like Royalty at Blue Waters, Antigua
25) Jade Mountain Resort – St. Lucia
On St. Lucia, we stayed at Anse Chastanet – but it doesn’t have private pools. Jade Mountain Resort does, however.
And it’s one of the most romantic Caribbean resorts, with breathtaking views of the incredible Piton Mountains.
Bridges through lush gardens lead to your infinity pool sanctuary. What’s completely wow is that one wall of your suite is completely open to the views, bringing the outdoors in.
For an ultra-special splurge, book a Galaxy pool suite – enjoy 2,000 square feet of grand space with a 900 sq. ft. infinity pool.
The slightly smaller Sun, Moon and Star pool suites are just as gorgeous, however.
Hotels with private plunge pools in USA
Luxury hotels with private pools
So there you have it – our round-up of some of the world’s best villa resorts with private pools!
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Photo credits: 33, 34 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Lead image courtesy St. Nicolas Bay Resort & Villas | Remaining photos courtesy of the respective private pool resorts