If there's anything the Shanghai expat community complains about, its the pastiness of their complexion and the pigment-eating paucity of outdoor pools in this city.
Though Mandarin City pool offers access for RMB 80, seating is very limited and it's way out in Gubei. Dino Beach is even more expensive and distant (RMB 200 Fri-Sun, RMB 100 weekdays, 45-min cab), though it does boast water slides, a wave pool, tubing and beach volleyball—so it's a great place to bring the kids.
But if a long commute, the sound of screaming children and the occasional rowdy drunken vacationer do not make up part of your perfect pool fantasy, then consider spending the day at the Marriot Tomorrow Square's seventh floor pool terrace. It's situated right downtown at People's Square, just steps from the Metro interchange.
What you'll find is a refined atmosphere, plenty of sunshine, great food, drinks and service; an abundance of cozy sunbeds and both indoor and outdoor pools. Those frustrated with the challenge of finding a pool they can swim laps in will rejoice when they see that the indoor pool is actually divided into lanes, a very rare sight in Shanghai indeed.
Day passes are RMB 150 (kids under 12 get in free), but if you take advantage of the Marriot's "Poolside" promotions you can get a whole lot more. RMB 500 buys you a choice of one of three packages: Wine & Dine, Y+ Yoga, or the Mandara Spa experience.
For those who are not aware, Y+ is Shanghai's most expensive (and reputedly best) yoga studio.
For more info and booking call (86 21) 5359 4969. Reservations highly recommended.
All photos courtesy of the Marriot Tomorrow Square--thanks for the heads up, guys!