Located on the fourth floor of the luxury hotel W Shanghai on North Bund, this outdoor pool is the place to see and be seen: it's got a stunning view of the Lujiazui skyline, topped off with mosaic flower pool tiles, stylish sunbeds and a sleek poolside bar. The heated indoor pool is equally as Moments-worthy, set under a red glass roof and surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a panoramic view of the river.
Opening hours: Outdoor pool: 10am-6pm daily. Indoor pool: 9am-9pm daily.
Entry: 580RMB (single entry); 3,000RMB (monthly); 28,000RMB (yearly). Swimming hats optional.
Fourth Floor, W Shanghai The Bund, 66 Lvshun Lu, near Dongchangzhi Lu, Hongkou district.
One of the most popular outdoor pools in Old Xuhui, the Grand Plaza Club House is situated inside the same compound on Julu Lu as Mexican restaurant Maya, thus known widely as the ‘Maya pool’. Though it’s a small swimming area with not much surrounding poolside space and packs out quickly with sun-seekers, it's hard to beat for location and convenience for many.
Opening hours: 9am-9pm daily.
Entry: 100RMB. Swimming caps mandatory.
568 Julu Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu, Jingan district.
Photograph: courtesy Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental
It’s hard to overstate the luxe factor at this lovely pool. A total 4,400 square metres of crystal-blue swimming territory awaits you, with outside pools surrounded by a man-made sandy beach, rows of loungers, bars, palm trees and faux-Mediterranean architecture. It’s a little bit of a journey from the centre of town, but is walkable from Sheshan station on Line 9 and not being downtown only helps to add to its retreat vibes. As you’d expect, everything inside is also rather wonderful, with shiny clean changing rooms, top-notch gym and general loveliness.
Opening hours: Indoor pool: 7am-10pm. Outdoor pool: 7am-7pm
3388 Sichen Gong Lu, near Jiasong Nan Lu, Songjiang district.
The original branch of New Star is one of our favourite bathhouses in the city, but it may not seem like an obvious place to head to when temperatures outside are hitting the mid-30s with a hefty dose of humidity on top. Yet hidden out the back of the main bathing area is a great outdoor swimming area with a small section for kids, a medium-sized pool for adults and a handful of sun loungers on the side. It’s not the biggest outdoor pool in the city, but rarely is it overcrowded.
Opening hours: 9am-7pm daily.
Entry: 108RMB (includes bath and sauna). Swimming caps mandatory.
Lane 258, 1 Jinhui Nan Lu, near Hongquan Lu, Minhang district.
A one-time affair unless you are or are with a member. This pair of indoor and outdoor pools are inside a private club complex that includes a restaurant, squash courts and a gym. The indoor pool is perfect for serious swimmers who want to do rounds without disturbances while the outdoor one is shallow, family-friendly and great for soaking up some Vitamin D. Expect a lively scene with kids on the weekends. One-time trials for the whole club are 150RMB (adult) or 80RMB (kid).
Opening hours: Indoor pool: 7am-9pm (Mon-Fri); 8am-9pm (Sat-Sun). Outdoor pool: 11.30am-6pm (Mon); 9am-6pm (Tue-Sun).
Entry: 150RMB; 7,000RMB (year membership). Swimming caps mandatory.
1500 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Wulumuqi Zhong Lu, Xuhui district.
Photograph: courtesy JW Marriott Shanghai
Perched on the top of 60th floor above downtown Puxi, JW Marriott Shanghai Tomorrow Square's two outdoor circle pools overlook the heart of Shanghai's commercial and shopping district, reaching as far as The Bund. Neither of the pools are heated, so they're best saved for a sweltering summer afternoon.
Opening hours: Indoor is currently under repair; outdoor: 9am-9pm (daily).
Entry: 288RMB. Swimming caps mandatory.
399 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Huangpi Bei Lu, Huangpu district.