Rooftops, formerly the place you’d find elevator plant, aircon units and the odd satellite dish. Maybe a Beatles concert. But never glamorous. Until now.
In no time at all roofspaces have become the most desirable real estate in town. From the Dorchester cannibalising their penthouse suites to create London’s hottest pop-up to Century Club’s recent doubling of their famed rooftop terrace, sky’s the limit. And the most glamorous thing you can do with your rooftop? Pool it up.
It may be normal for California, but a rooftop pool is a novelty over here. Yet it’s one that’s catching on, and fast. Here are some of our favourites…
White City House
Soho House deserve credit for really hammering home the rooftop pool concept here in London. Shoreditch House, arguably a pool with a club attached, was quickly followed by others. And finally we had a reason to go to White City.
Shepherd’s Bush was always going to be a slightly harder sell to potential Soho House members. With the TV execs cleared out of Television Centre to Manchester or central, the borderline suburban area isn’t your usual Soho House territory.
The borderline suburban area isn’t your usual Soho House territory...
But add in a pool and suddenly there’s every reason to make a beeline there, and if you live close (and a lot of potential members do) part with your hard earned cash for membership and the right to lounge poolside.
WHERE: 2 TELEVISION CENTRE, 101 WOOD LN, SHEPHERD’S BUSH, W12 7FR
The Berkeley, a hotel that’s no stranger to superlatives, sets a high bar with its rooftop open air pool and secret garden.
And this summer we’re promised a much improved offering (were such a transformation possible, given how idyllic the current setup is) as the whole rooftop undergoes a refurb. Watch this space.
The pool is currently available to guests and spa-goers, and it’s worth doing everything possible to find a way up there this summer. Loaf around, take a swim, admire the views across Hyde Park and grab a treatment . Or just order in food and drinks and relax.
Best paired with a night at the hotel and an excellent meal at Michelin starred hotel restaurant Marcus or the summer seaside pop-up.
WHERE: WILTON PLACE, KNIGHTSBRIDGE, SW1X 7RL
Every summer non-members set about lobbying their Shoreditch House friends, begging and bartering to be able to sit on one of the famed stripey sun loungers at Shoreditch House.
If you can’t secure a place pool-side then the adjoining Italian restaurant, downing Prosecco and gorging on pizza, is an acceptable second best.
Every summer non-members set about lobbying their Shoreditch House friends...
All you need to do now is find out which of your friends is a member at Shoreditch House. Not too difficult, because they tell everyone!
WHERE: EBOR STREET, SHOREDITCH, E1 6AW
The Mondrian Shoreditch
When we heard that The Curtain Hotel had ceased trading a little part of us (the shallowest) panicked – what about the pool?
Fear not. The members’ club and hotel has been acquired by Handbook favourite Mondrian as their new London base and things are set to get even better.
The club will Pheonix in the same spot, but we’re also going to be able to get back out on that deck.
WHERE: 45 CURTAIN ROAD, SHOREDITCH, EC2A 3PT
Another Soho House creation, The Ned, incorporates the group’s signature move with a rooftop pool.
But even other Soho House members are off limits at this exclusive pool. While the restaurants in the cavernous hall downstairs are open to the public, and so-called ‘Friends of the Ned’ receive goodies, the real prize eludes all but those willing to fork out for membership.
But, arguably, it’s well worth the price. Especially if you work nearby.
WHERE: 27 POULTRY, THE CITY, EC2R 8AJ
Embassy Gardens Skypool
I’ll be honest, I assumed this was a wind up for ages. A health-and-safety nightmare of a PR stunt aimed at flogging flats. Like the time a developer decided to publicise that they were incorporating a crocodile park into their build. But I’ve been pleasantly proven wrong.
I assumed this was a wind up for ages...
It was only as they craned the transparent pool into place that I finally believed, and more, was converted. The Skypool at Embassy Gardens, built by Ecoworld Ballymore, does exactly what it says on the tin, suspended above the street below and providing London’s most extraordinary swimming experience.
The catch? You need to be a resident at the Vauxhall development and that doesn’t come cheap…
WHERE: NEW UNION SQUARE, 5 NINE ELMS LANE, SW8 5BL