Dreaming of: The Perfect Pools of Portugal

Our bodies may be confined to home, but our minds can still wander. Here, we take you on a visual journey through Portugal and its most dramatic, eye-catching swimming pools.

Dá Licença

The location: On 300 acres within the natural landscapes of Estremoz, featuring cork trees and 13,000 olive trees. The property’s original olive press building from 1904 now serves as an art gallery with a curated collection of pieces for sale. 

The pool: The main pool is 15 meters in diameter and surrounded by a sandy “beach,” with palapa-style umbrellas and lounge chairs. An additional rectangular pool located just outside of the main building is better suited towards swimming laps.

Design team: Local architect Graça Lapão helped restore and modernize the property, while all the interiors were designed by the owners Franck Laigneau and Vitor Borges. 

Opening date: Spring 2018

Number of rooms: Four rooms and five suites, two of which have their own private pools. 

Of note: The property is currently developing its farm, where the vegetables grown in the organic garden serve as the ingredients for the daily menus. 

The 15-meter circular sanctuary at DáLicença during sunset.

The lap pool at DáLicença is a slice of architectural beauty.

The lap pool is located behind the property’s library and lounge area with views of olive and cork trees.

DáLicença’s main pool overlooks Estremoz in the distance.

Savoy Palace

The location: Within the city center of Funchal, Madeira Island, walking distance from local sites and just 20 minutes from the international airport.

The pool: The 77-meter main pool runs the width of the property, parallel to the ocean, and is adorned with tiny glass mosaic tiles. Five additional pools are on the property, including a pair of rooftop infinity pools, a spa pool with hydrotherapy, and an indoor pool for lounging on cooler days. 

Design team: Nini Andrade de Silva and RH +Architects.

Opening date: July 2019

Number of rooms: 352 rooms and suites, including 14 pool suites with private pools on the balcony and a presidential suite with its own rooftop pool.

Of note: The 33,000-square-foot Laurea Spa is one of the largest in Europe and was inspired by Maderia’s UNESCO World Heritage Laurissila Forest. It features a halo therapy, sensory showers, Turkish hammam, beauty bar, hydrotherapy, cold plunge pool, rainforest walk, Himalayan salt room, meditation room, and 11 treatment rooms. 

The rooftop Jacaranda swimming pool at Savoy Palace, one of six pools at the property.

The main swimming pool at Savoy Palace runs 77 meters long.

The pool at the Laurea Spa.

A rooftop pool suite.

The indoor swimming pool at Savoy Palace.

Six Senses Douro Valley

The location:
Directly above the river on 19 acres in Portugal’s Douro Valley wine region, a UNESCO World Heritage site within the world’s oldest demarcated wine region. 

The pool: The unheated outdoor saltwater pool acts as a haven on hot summer days. Surrounded by cabanas, gardens, and a fully serviced restaurant, it’s the epicenter for relaxing and unwinding. An indoor spa pool accommodates lap swimming as well as hydrotherapy. Three additional pools are available for the Vineyard Suites. 

Design team: Clodagh Design in New York created the interiors, while the architecture was led Six Senses Architecture & Design, Bangkok.

Opening date: July 2015

Number of rooms: 60 rooms and suites. 
Of note: In March 2020, the property unveiled its new Vineyard Wing, complete with seven suites, three guest rooms, and a meeting and event space for up to 70 people.

The stunning saltwater pool at the Six Senses Douro Valley.

The indoor spa pool at the Six Senses Douro Valley.

One of the new Vineyard Suites, which has its own plunge pool.

The One Palácio de Anunciada

The location: In the heart of Lisbon, just off of the city’s posh Avenida da Liberdade.

The pool: At 18 meters long, the outdoor pool is located on a rooftop connecting the two wings of the 16th-century palace, which is now a hotel.

Design team: Chilean designer Jaime Beriestain created the interiors.

Opening date: April 2019

Number of rooms: 83 rooms and suites.

Of note: The Condes de Ericeira restaurant rests in one of the palace’s original grand halls overlooking the gardens and features the original architectural details like coffered ceilings and hand-painted frescoes.

The pool at the One Palacio de Anunciada has one of the few outdoor hotel pools in Lisbon.

The swimming pool at One Palacio de Anunciada beckons for a dip.

Tivoli Carvoerio

The location:
Located in the southern Algarve region, the property is set on 6.5 acres on the cliff-hugging coast, 40 minutes from the Faro airport.

The pool: The circular pool boasts a 16-meter diameter and stunning views over the rocky coast.

Design team: The hotel was designed by Broadway Malyan, with interiors by Mensagem Intemporal.

Opening date: April 1991

Number of rooms: 248 rooms and suites, one of which has its own hot tub.

Of note: Every Sunday, the hotel offers a Seven Hanging Valleys Trail walk, which takes place from the hotel along the clifftops, where seven streams have created valleys. The walk also stops at iconic spots like the Alfanzina lighthouse and the iconic Benagil Caves. 

The 16-meter swimming pool at Tivoli Carvoeiro in the Algarve.