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May 11, 2011

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If it's too hot, dive right in

With the temperature getting warmer, there's no better way to cool down and relax than by taking a dip in a swimming pool.

And swimming also has health benefits. It is widely considered as one of the best activities for overall physical fitness, because all of the body's major muscles are exercised.

Swimming is particularly beneficial to women seeking perfect hips and a slim midsection, or men who want to broaden their upper torso.

So, with summer fast approaching, we discover some of the best places for swimming in Shanghai.

The Peninsula Shanghai

The Peninsula Shanghai's Roman palace-style pool, with a blue-and-white floral mosaic at the bottom, creates a very romantic feel and demonstrates the hotel's unique design.

Many swimmers often worry about too many people in the pool or too many pollutants in the water, but they can rest assured that this pool is uncrowded and very clean.

Sunlight from a glass louver is sprinkled across the water, and rows of palm trees at the side create a distinctly Mediterranean feel.

A glass door at the side of the pool opens onto a terrace allowing a panoramic view of the bustling streets below. Guests can also enjoy Roman palace-style dining near the pool, with a sumptuous post-swim breakfast or brunch, or simply some snacks accompanied by an iced tea or cup of coffee.

The swimming pool is also available for private parties that can be tailor-made to the customer's requirements.

Address: 32 Zhongshan Rd E1

Tel: 2327-2888

Pool size: 25 meters by 7 meters; 1.35 meters deep

Cost: Free to hotel guests

Hyatt on the Bund Hotel Shanghai

Located on Shanghai's landmark riverfront, Hyatt on the Bund features a large temperature-controlled indoor swimming pool.

The pool is part of the hotel's extensive leisure facilities which also include a spa, fitness center and juice bar.

The mocha-colored walls contrast with the deep-blue swimming pool to provide the perfect environment for aquatic relaxation.

And this being a swimming pool located in a five-star hotel, expect exquisite poolside service with a team ready to provide towels and slippers and attend to any other needs.

The high-end feel and facilities extend to the changing rooms, tropical rain forest shower, Jacuzzi and sauna which are also accompanied by swift and attentive service.

Address: 199 Huangpu Rd

Tel: 6393-1234

Pool size: 25 meters by 12 meters

Cost: 480 yuan per day/5,000 yuan for three months/8,000 yuan for six months/15,000 yuan annually

Le Meridien She Shan Shanghai

The size of the indoor and outdoor swimming pools at Le Meridien She Shan Hotel are not the biggest, but when it comes to the views and natural surroundings, the hotel immediately gains a competitive edge.

The indoor swimming pool maintains a constant temperature all year round with the daily room and water temperatures on display near the entrance.

There are two depths of water (1.4 meters and 1.6 meters) in the indoor pool to cater for beginners and more experienced swimmers. The outdoor pool (opened during the warmer seasons) is only a short walk away and as an infinity pool, swimmers get the impression the water flows all the way to the nearby lake.

The evening is the best time to use the outdoor pool so as to avoid the harmful sun rays and relish in the sound of cicadas singing in summer.

Address: 1288 Linyinxin Rd

Tel: 5779-9999

Pool size: Indoor pool, 12 meters by 40 meters; outdoor pool, 25 meters long

Cost: 1,800 yuan for 10 visits/5,000 yuan for three months/8,000 yuan for six months/15,000 yuan annually

Park Hyatt Shanghai

As swimming experiences go, a dip in the indoor infinity lap pool at the Park Hyatt Shanghai Hotel's Water's Edge health club will be memorable - for being so close to the sky.

As one of the world's highest swimming pools, Water's Edge is located on the 85th floor of Pudong's iconic Shanghai World Financial Center building.

Although it is almost 400 meters above the ground, the pool uses an extraordinary cleaning system, that ensures the water is always in good condition. The Water's Edge facilities include not only the 20-meter-long infinity swimming pool but also a whirlpool, tai chi courtyard, two treatment rooms and steam rooms. And with a range of spa treatments available, the expertly skilled therapists and the grand views are guaranteed to revitalize.

Address: 100 Century Ave

Tel: 6888-1234

Pool size: 20 meters long, 1.2 meters deep

Cost: Free to hotel guests

InterContinental Shanghai Puxi Hotel

Located near Shanghai Railway Station, InterContinental Shanghai Puxi Hotel may be a little bit noisy during the day, but at night it offers a better place to stay during the summer.

Along with its distinctive design and professional service, the hotel's swimming pool is quite popular. A blue-and-white mosaic surface gives the entire pool a clean and fresh feel, and through the glass ceiling people can appreciate an amazing view of the night sky while swimming.

A special heating system ensures swimmers can walk barefoot around the pool with no fear of a cold floor.

The deepest part of the pool is 1.7 meters but buoyancy aids are available for less experienced swimmers to also be able to enjoy the vantage point of the night sky.

Address: 500 Hengfeng Rd

Tel: 5253-9999

Pool size: 25 meters by 10 meters; 1.2 meters to 1.7 meters deep

Cost: 6,000 yuan for six months/10,000 yuan annually

Cheaper places to swim in Shanghai

Jing'an Sports Center Swimming Pool

This pool is located within a sports complex that also features a gym, yoga, badminton and ping-pong facilities. There are a total of four pools, two warm-up pools, a children's pool and a standard-size pool, The cost is only 30 yuan per person for a one-and-a-half-hour session.

Changning Swimming Pool

An indoor swimming venue that actually offers two pools. The larger one is 25 meters by 15 meters, and the smaller one is 10 meters by 4 meters. Entrance is around 20 yuan per person.

Hongkou Swimming Pool

This outdoor pool has a history of more than 80 years. In summer it is a swimming pool but during the winter it is transformed into an ice skating rink popular with local teenagers. Entrance is around 20 yuan per person.


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