Making a splash: are these Dubai's best residential swimming pools?

Homes with private swimming pools have seen a rise in demand because of the pandemic

From infinity pools to those with glass walls or glittering skyline views, when it comes to swimming pools in the UAE, we’ve pretty much seen it all.

The country is home to some truly extraordinary properties – many of which offer unique experiences to dive into, literally. But for those looking for a truly private experience, nothing quite beats having your own swimming space.

This was particularly emphasised during the pandemic, as people spent more time at home. Stephan Hirzel, senior global broker at Luxhabitat Sotheby’s International Realty, says there has been an increase in demand for properties with swimming pools over the last year.

“In some destinations such as Palm Jumeirah, a private pool is a norm. In other areas such as Emirates Hills, Meadows and other villa communities, a private pool adds to the overall value… demand is surely higher with villas that have a pool than those without,” he says.

And with more people moving to secure properties in the UAE, the hot weather only makes swimming pools more desirable. “Dubai is all about enjoying the sun, so what’s better than your private pool?”

Take a look through the photo gallery above to see more of the city's more interesting residential pools.

A child-friendly, chemical-free pool

Sarah and Antony De Fonseka purchased their Jumeirah Islands home in June 2019. Even though it had a swimming pool, the couple spent a year renovating it. Their lavish, temperature-controlled pool – complete with a sunken seating area and fire pit – is now what they describe as their “dream pool”.

“We have two young children and we designed the house and the pool with our new and small family in mind. When we moved in, we had a 7-month-old and a 3-year-old and we wanted a space where we could teach them to swim and enjoy the day with them,” says Sarah.

This is why the pool has been created with a shallow area where the children can “just sit and be comfortable” while the water is chemical-free. Sarah says they usually try to be as energy efficient as possible, with the little in-built fountain feature helping keep the pool aerated.

“The pool is our greatest joy,” says Sarah. “The family is in the pool for almost two hours every day and it’s the highlight of our time at home.”

It’s particularly important to them, as, even with restrictions easing, the family prefers to isolate. “We built this pool keeping in mind the time period we’re living in – the pandemic, having young children, and also my 75-year-old mum who lives with us.”

A Mykonos beach club-themed pool

Having a private pool definitely reduces the urge to leave the house, says Darren Bingley, who moved into his Meadows villa in 2019.

“I think we saved money because we don’t feel like we need to go on holiday – we have a holiday right at home. We used to be members of a hotel beach club and used to go there every weekend, but now we don’t need to because we can just relax in our garden. It’s nice to have the privacy within.”

Bingley and his wife Hayley spent three months renovating their villa, their inspiration being the pools commonly found in Palm Springs and Mykonos.

“A lot of Dubai pools are very much the same, very cookie cutter. We wanted our pool to be minimal, sleek and spacious,” says Darren who, along with his wife, scanned through Pinterest while creating the design.

The end result is a spacious rectangular pool, sunbeds to the side and a fire pit. It also features a barbecue area, complete with a mini fridge, and a neon sign that reads “Bingley’s Beach Club”.

Maintenance “isn’t as hard as most people think", says Darren. Like most people with a private pool, he has a company for regular maintenance and says there has been no difference to his Dewa bills. The grass is fake and all the foliage is desert plants that thrive with minimal water in the UAE heat. “We only need to water our garden once a month.

“But it’s a spacious place, great for entertaining guests, having cookouts, working from home. At night, it all lights up, and there are beautiful Dubai skyline views."

A private pool surrounded by greenery

The low-maintenance factor of having a private swimming pool is echoed by Emma and Kristian Barber, who purchased their villa in 2014. Their swimming pool came with a private Jacuzzi, and is surrounded by palm trees, in what Emma describes as a soothing space.

“It was just really great to have during the lockdown. It’s temperature-controlled and has some shallow areas, making it a good family pool. It’s really fun, a place where we can have parties and make good memories, but it’s peaceful when it needs to be,” she says.

“Every week, we have Jacuzzi Thursdays, where we sit in there and talk about the week we’ve had and eat,” she says.

Even though there may be small maintenance issues – a problem with the pump or the heater not working – she says it’s all worth it, especially during the pandemic. “The pool has been a godsend, really,” she says.

New pool trends – and a “vintage” design, with a slide and sculptures

Working as the executive director of United Technology and Trading, which is in the business of creating pools in the UAE, Pooja Asarpota has seen her fair share of stunning designs.

The company, run by Naveen Asarpota and Sanjay Asarpota, has been in the business for 45 years, and Pooja took some inspiration from their creations over the years when designing her family pool about 20 years ago.

“At that time, rock work was very much on trend, which is why I call this a vintage pool. We had the slide, because my father loves children, and I have my own children. And I love the space. Pre-Covid, it could accommodate up to 25 people,” she says.

Of course, even during the pandemic, it came in handy. “It was the only entertainment the children had – every day at 5pm, they would jump in.”

However, she says that today pool trends are quite different. “Everyone wants an infinity pool, lighting to accentuate the area at night. Overflow channel pools, sunken lounges and sunken pool beds are all gaining traction with home pools.”

While many of these might be considered ostentatious, she insists private pools can be built according to different budgets and spaces.

“For example, in Palm Jumeirah, we have a lot of clients who don’t want their garden space consumed. If you’re constructing a villa in that area, you can even get a rooftop pool installed.”

“It’s all about finding a pool to suit your budget, space and load constraints.”

Updated: August 6th 2021, 10:22 AM