Ambassy Club (outdoor and indoor)
Slides, fountains and pool play-things galore, this former French Concession private club turns into a child-magnet come summertime. Even with all the youngsters, the relatively refined atmosphere and good location keeps us coming back. Drop in during the week for a quieter experience.
Open: Outdoor: May-Oct. Indoor: year-round.
Time: Outdoor: 9am-7pm Indoor: Mon: 11.30am-7pm, Tues-Fri: 9.30am-7pm, Weekend: 8am-7pm
Cost: Members only, but members can bring friends. Day passes are priced at RMB150/adult and RMB80/child. Members can bring a maximum of 3 friends per time (limited to twice a month).
// Ambassy Club (6437 9800 ext 133, www.ambassyclub.com.cn)
Bund Beach (outdoor)
While small, our local ‘beach’ down by the water, more specifically The Cool Docks, is a reliable good time. Sand courts for volleyball, lounge beds, meal and drink options, plus a small pool to cool off in. Once entry is paid, guests can come and go as they please.
Cost: RMB50, children under 1.3m free. Prices differ during events.
Get there: A quick cab ride from Metro Line 9 Xionanmen Station.
// Bund Beach (180 1640 6805)
Dakang Indoor Water Resort (indoor)
While you won’t get too much sun at this indoor mini-version of Dino Beach, it’s a good place to bring the kids for an afternoon. Inside you’ll find a wave pool, water slides, family lanes, a kiddie wading pool and a high-diving platform. Endless fun abounds.
Cost: Weekdays: RMB70, Weekend: RMB88/2 hours.
Get there: Metro Line 1 to Gongkang Lu Station, transfer to Dakang Indoor Water Resort shuttle bus.
// Dakang Indoor Water Resort (5640 6962)
Dino Beach (outdoor)
It’s no Wet ‘n Wild Waterpark, but it might be as close as we can get. You’ll find a smorgasbord of slides, a lazy river, inner tubes and, of course, hundreds if not thousands of people. There are lifeguards on deck, but we recommend steering clear on weekends for your sanity.
Open: June 20-Sept 7.
Time: 9am–12am until Aug 24, 9am-10pm after.
Cost: RMB150-200 (prices higher Fri-Sun). Free for kids under .8m.
// Dino Beach (6478 3333)
Located in Lujiazui, this pool offers sweeping views of the Huangpu River and the Shanghai skyline. The 20-metre long, 160-sqm indoor swimming pool is located on the top floor and is kept at a constant temperature of 27°C year round. You'll love the natural light that streams through the glass ceiling overhead.
Time: 7am -11pm
Cost: Free to in-house guests; Single entry: RMB298/per person; Monthly membership: RMB2,000/per person( incl. gym use) Annual membership: RMB22,000/per person( incl. gym use
// Grand Kempinksi Hotel Shanghai, 3867 8888
Hongkou Swimming Pool (outdoor)
The huge 1,400 sqm pool can accommodate nearly 600 swimmers, but even with all that space, you might still get splashed. Luckily for those who prefer to “really swim,” ample lanes are provided. A few slides wind their way around as well.
Open: July 1-Aug 31.
Cost: RMB35 in the daytime, RMB40 for night swimmers (both have 2-hour time limit).
// Hongkou Swimming Pool (5696 0676)
Hyatt on the Bund (indoor)
A 25m swimming pool is a good start, but what to do afterwards? Following your invigorating swim (and/or hour spent floating on your back) visit the Yuan Spa’s built-in hair salon or juice bar. You deserve it, probably.
Cost: RMB300/drop in, Membership: RMB15,000/year, Family membership: RMB25,000/year
// Hyatt on the Bund (6393 12340)
Jinshan Urban Beach (outdoor)
None of that phony fake-sand stuff here; if you want to dive into the sea, frolic in the waves and enjoy fresh seafood, take the trip out to this Shanghai suburb. You have to pay to get on the beach in the summer, but it’s free other times of the year.
Cost: TBD (Varies with events, typically RMB50–RMB200)
Get there: Take Metro Line 1 to Jinjiang Leyuan Station, transfer to Shimei Bus and take a taxi from the terminal station.
// Jinshan Urban Beach (5793 6507)
JW Marriott (outdoor and indoor)
Conveniently located in the center of the city, the outdoor pool is shallow and tiny, making this location better for a sophisticated snooze and tan.
Open: Outdoor: May-October. Indoor: Year-round.
Cost: Weekends: RMB450/person, includes welcome drink and RMB300 food and drink voucher to use at the pool bar. Weekdays: RMB250/adult, RMB100/child under 12. RMB600/family. Monthly memberships also available. Free for hotel guests.
Mandarin City (outdoor)
With a swim-up bar that serves drinks and food, and featuring a relatively large water space, this is a hot spot for pool parties. Come early if you want to get a chair or even a space to drape your towel – it fills up quick. During parties, occasional drink deals are offered with the entrance fee.
Cost: RMB80, RMB50/kids.
// Mandarin City (6405 0404)
Mandarin Oriental (indoor)
A heated 25m pool with nearby “vitality pool and children's pool”? Yes please. Located just across the river in Pudong, the Mandarin Oriental is flush with swimming, relaxing and eating options for kids and adults alike (providing you’ve got a bit of cash for the membership).
Time: 7am-11pm (24-hours for hotel guests).
Cost: Members only. Please contact the hotel for details. Special rates available when two or more people join at the same time.
// Mandarin Oriental Pudong (2082 9896)
The Mansion (outdoor)
A party house with beach, pool and cheap drinks, plus outdoor movie nights, karaoke and acoustic concerts. If you want to improve your party-cred, they have an in-house DJ school. What’s not to like? Private events can be scheduled.
Open: Year-round, weather permitting.
Cost: RMB100, includes 3 drinks.
// The Mansion (186 0177 3399)
Le Meridien Sheshan Shanghai (outdoor and indoor)
Dive into the divine. Located right on the edge of a nationally-protected forest, gaze onto the greenery from the edge of their infinity pool or the real sand beach. They do a great weekend buffet deal, making the lush lounging all the more delightful.
Open: Outdoor: June-the end of Oct. Indoor: Year-round.
Time: Outdoor: 10am-7pm, Indoor: 6:30am-10pm.
Cost: Weekdays: RMB300, half price for kids under 1.2m. Free for hotel guests and gym members.
MOB Fitness (Indoor)
After a dip in the full-sized lap pool, how about a jazz dance class? Tai chi? Muay Thai? MOB’s two facilities are decked-out with every conceivable fitness apparatus, from free weights to hot yoga. Might not be the best place to sleep on a deck chair, but if you need to burn off some summer pounds, MOB welcomes you with open, beefy arms.
Open: Year round.
Cost: Members only. RMB3,500/6 months, or RMB5,888/year
// MOB Fitness (6083 7100)
New Star (outdoor and indoor)
Not only do they offer hot tubs, cool baths, steam and dry saunas, showers, a restaurant and a lounge, but you can also get fit in their gym or go for an afternoon snooze in one of their cabanas. Not a bad deal, even if it isn’t located directly in the city center.
Cost: RMB88 for pool and baths, more for massage/food.
// New Star (3432 0777, 3432 1717)
New World Shanghai Hotel (outdoor)
It’s the largest hotel pool in Puxi and, while pricier than some of the ground-level spots, is quiet and has a fantastic view. An ample number of lounge chairs and a decent-sized outdoor terrace promise a relaxing afternoon escape.
Open: May to Oct.
Cost: RMB250/person, per time or a half year membership card costs RMB6,000.
// New World Shanghai Hotel (6240 8888, www.shanghai.newworldhotels.com)
Oasis Riviera (outdoor and indoor)
For the Gubei bunch, it’s not as nice as its next-door Mandarin neighbor, but easier to get into. Here you’ll find a more family-friendly atmosphere, but if you’re looking for fun in the sun, you’ll find it 10 blocks south at Mandarin City.
// Oasis Riviera (3208 2003)
Portman Ritz-Carlton (outdoor and indoor)
Nothing less than chic and swanky (read: pricey), you’ll be part of the privileged if you claim a sunny spot here. Despite being smack in the skyscraper-filled city center, the regal haven still gets plenty of sunshine.
Open: Outdoor: May-Oct. Indoor: Year-round.
Cost: Members only. 1-month membership is RMB3,500.
// 7/F, Portman Ritz-Carlton (6279 8888 ext 5922)
Purple Mountain Hotel (outdoor)
This round rooftop pool sees a number of parties every summer. When the atmosphere isn’t filled with pumpin’ beats and partiers, you’ll find this a good place to catch some sun as the skyscrapers don’t block the rays. There’s also a kiddie pool that’ll keep the rugrats busy.
Cost: RMB160, varies depending on pool parties. Free for hotel guests.
// Purple Mountain Hotel (6886 8888)
Riviera Events 10th Anniversary Pool Party
Ditch the raincoat, slip on your fancy summer wear and crack open the Champagne with the event agency that brought Shanghai its first pool party. Stephane deMontgros and Benoit Thebaut teamed up in 2005 to bring Shanghai its first ever pool party. Since then, the company has grown to 50 people and four offices providing event management services to the high-end hospitality industry, luxury brands and top500 worldwide corporations. So 10 years later, the plan is to celebrate with a bang to mark the first decade of Riviera Events in China through what made them famous in the first place!
// JW Marriott Tomorrow Square, Saturday 15th August, 1pm-8pm, RMB200/person, inbludes glass of Tattinger chanpagne and one bottle of Perrier water, Dress Code: French Riviera swim and summerwear, For table bookings, call 6095 7071. www.rivieraevents.com
Shanghai Grand Plaza (outdoor)
Cheap and convenient, if tiny and not as fancy as some of the other cool pools, it’s easy to reel in a group of friends to gather here. Not to mention margaritas and sangria await downstairs at MAYA. Make sure to bring everything at once – they won’t let you back in once you leave.
Cost: Weekdays: RMB80, Weekends: RMB100.
// Shanghai Grand Plaza (6289 4835)
Shanghai Racquet Club (outdoor and indoor)
Situated above the club tennis courts is a more relaxing environment: exotic plants and palm trees, an outdoor pool and man-made beach with volleyball net. A pavilion-shaped pool bar serves meals and cocktails which can be charged to a membership card.
Open: Outdoor: May-end of Aug. Indoor: year-round.
Time: Outdoor: 9am-6pm, Indoor: 7am-10pm.
Cost: Members only (RMB60,000/membership). Full-time, year-long members can bring a limited number of friends for free Mon-Fri.
Get there: A quick cab ride from Xujing Dong Station on Metro Line 2. For members and guests, a free shuttle bus runs from the Kerry Center via Carrefour Gubei 8 times a day, every day.
// Shanghai Racquet Club (2201 0188, www.src.com.cn)
Shanghai Sun Island Golf & Spa Resort (outdoor and indoor)
Surf’s up dude! This massive pool makes waves with its “real imported sand” beaches and twisty slides. More of a luxury weekend getaway than a day trip, you can also go rock climbing, play on their 36-hole golf course, rent go-karts and ride horses.
Open: Outdoor: Mid June-Oct, Indoor: Year-round.
Time: Weekdays: 9am–4.30pm Weekends: 9am-6pm.
Cost: Weekdays: RMB80/members, RMB130/non-members, Weekends: RMB120/members, RMB200/non-members
Get There: Drive from Yan’an Elevated Road to the A9 highway and get off at Zhujiajiao exit. Turn left at Jufeng Lu and left at Chenzhuan Lu. Turn right onto Chentai Lu, and drive straight to the resort. For public transport, go to the Puan Lu bus stop and take the Huzhu Line to Zhujiajiao station and transfer to the Line 3, which will take you to the resort.
// Shanghai Sun Island Golf & Spa Resort (6983 3888)
Shimao Riviera Garden Pool (outdoor and indoor)
Plenty of swimming space and a fair-sized stretch of beach; when we head here, we stay all day. A few volleyball courts are usually set up and there’s also a workout pool inside, but with a bar outside serving up cocktails and beer (albeit on the pricier side) you won’t find too many of us swimming in those lanes.
Open: Outdoor: May-Oct. Indoor: Year-round.
Time: Outdoor: 9am-7pm. Indoor: 7am-10pm.
Cost: RMB120/adults, RMB60/kids.
// Shimao Riviera Garden Pool (6888 8108, www.shimaousa.com)
Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental (outdoor and indoor)
Dotted with islands and playgrounds, the outdoor swimming pool extends 4,400sqm and is bordered by a beach with real sand from Vietnam. The poolside bar offers choices of beer, champagne and cocktails and there is also an indoor heated swimming pool.
Open: Outdoor: May-Oct. Indoor: Year-round.
Time: Outdoor: 8am-7pm, Indoor: 6am-10pm.
Get there: A quick cab ride or 15 minute walk from Sheshan Station on Metro Line 9.
// Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan (3761 8888 ext. 1526, www.sofitel.com)
Sunny Beach Bihaijinsha (outdoor)
The largest artificial beach in China with 650,000sqm of water and 80,000m of sand, its name – which means blue sea and golden sand – is particularly apt. There are water trikes, volleyball nets and surfboards for rent. Just like a real beach. Food is also welcome, so take along your picnic baskets.
Open: June 21-Sep 9.
Cost: Mon-Thurs: RMB40, Fri-Sun: RMB60. Half price for kids under 1.3m.
Get there: Take Metro Line 1 to Xinzhuang Station, transfer to Xinhai Bus to Shuizha Station.
// Sunny Beach Bihaijinsha (5712 7811)
Yanlord Riverside Garden Hongqiao (outdoor and indoor)
Possibly the best facility over in Hongqiao, the outdoor pool is massive and there’s also a man-made beach. Pays to know a member for help getting in, as guest entry is cheap, cheap, cheap. A foreign convenience store stocks well-priced bottles of wine, ice cream and other poolside treats.
Open: Outdoor: mid-June to mid-Sept. Indoor: Year-round.
Time: Outdoor: 9am-9pm, Indoor: 7.30am-10.30pm.
Cost: Members only. Guests: RMB25, RMB15/children 1.5m and under.
// Yanlord Riverside Garden Hongqiao (5206 9188)
Yanlord Garden, Lujiazui (outdoor and indoor)
On the opposite side of town you can find the twin pool of the Yanlord pair. It offers two decent-sized outdoor infinity pools plus a Jacuzzi with a small palm tree in the middle. Although it’s no beach, it has one of the greenest compounds in Shanghai. You won’t hear us complaining!
Open: Outdoor: June 20-Sept. Indoor: year-round.
Time: Outdoor: 9am-9pm, Indoor: 7am-10pm.
Cost: Members only. RMB25/guest, RMB15/children 1.5m and under.
// Yanlord Garden, Lujiazui (5876 9988)
Vizcaya (outdoor and indoor)
Look sexy in the sun at this Spanish-style villa with pool. It’s pretty shallow (.8-1.5 m) but large and impressive and even the kids’ side pool is something to ogle. The indoor pool is similarly sized and heated, so even when the temperature begins to fall, you can still escape to this saucy spot.
// Vizcaya Club (5030 4519 ext. 133)
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