hey’re carved into rocks, they jut into oceans, they’re perched over cliffs: today’s swimming pools are wild and wondrous. Designers are going bold with new technologies, and when builders sculpt backyard environments, they transport homeowners into the realm of fantasy. “Setting matters,” says Tom Casey of Anthony & Sylvan Pools in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The company builds pools across the US, from vanishing-edge models elevated over oceans, to splashy renditions sited on hillsides to overlook city skylines. They’ve even engineered pools that flow through the interiors of homes. A cantilevered pool on an estate on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands is a triumph of design. It is on a private, three-acre estate called Celestial House, so named because it sits like an observatory on a ridge above the popular vacation villa area of West End, offering commanding views of the brilliant night skies. “The pool is phenomenal,” says Maritha Keil of British Virgin Islands Sotheby’s International Realty. With a 60ft curved horizon edge, the water seemingly cascades into the Caribbean Sea. Beaches, a national park and distant islands make up a breathtaking panorama. Of course, the more complex the project and less accessible the site, the higher the cost. But Keil estimates pools like the one at Celestial House “probably add over a million dollars” to the value of a property. The pool is what elevates a vacation home into a slice of paradise “you don’t ever want to leave”, she says.
Long BayBritish Virgin Islands
With classically designed interiors radiating refined luxury and a majestic location on Tortola’s northern shore, Celestial House is without a doubt one of the most desirable properties in the British Virgin Islands. This residence attests to its name in its elevated position above one of the island’s most renowned beaches. Palm trees decorate the vast complex with a wide variety of tropical and floral displays all year round. The estate features a dramatic wrap-around veranda and curved 82ft heated infinity-edge pool and hot tub.
$5,250,000 Property ID: 5JRVG4
British Virgin Islands Sotheby’s International Realty
Maritha Keil +1 284 340 5555
This modern alpine home is a true masterpiece, offering unparalleled amenities and the jaw-dropping canvas of Vail Mountain as its backdrop. The outdoor living space comes equipped with a full-sized custom saltwater pool, an adjacent hot tub, a full-size dining area and grilling station, a fire pit and a covered lounge area with a fireplace and television. Situated along Gore Creek, this home takes advantage of the Rocky Mountains’ natural beauty and sets a new bar for luxury.
$21,500,000 Property ID: 96TPBG
LIV Sotheby’s International Realty
Tye Stockton +1 970 471 2557
Embedded in the rocky hillside, this concrete and steel collaboration enjoys the dramatic backdrop of the Olympic Mountains and Strait of Juan de Fuca. Walls of glass retract to enable the natural flow from indoors to out, where an infinity pool appears to stream effortlessly over the hillside and a massive koi pond forms a moat around the natural rock landscape.
$CAD 6,250,000 Property ID: 6YHKYQ
Sotheby’s International Realty Canada
Glynis MacLeod & Kirsten MacLeod +1 250 380 3933
This spectacular newly constructed Mediterranean estate blends elegance with serenity to create the ultimate waterfront home. With its award-winning design and expansive ocean views, this is a premier residence of the private Ocean Reef Club. The glass-encased infinity pool and 16ft cascading waterfall connects the indoor and outdoor living areas to provide the perfect tranquil living space.
$22,000,000 Property ID: XW2C9C
Ocean Reef Club Sotheby’s International Realty
Eric Woodard +1 305 394 4461
Set in the heart of California’s Napa Valley, this glorious wine-country estate compound encompasses a contemporary residence, a welcoming guesthouse, a three-bay car barn and numerous outdoor spaces. Its swimming pool and spa are nestled within approximately three acres of lush lawn, mature trees and colourful gardens, and offer breathtaking vistas of the surrounding vineyards, mountains and sunsets. $22,500,000
Property ID: QFE2ZV
Sotheby’s International Realty – Wine Country Brokerage
Ginger Martin +1 415 516 3939
Iyna Bort Caruso is a journalist based in New York