Have celebrities always lounged beside pools? Did the rich and famous soak up the sun at the “Great Bath,” which was dug during the 3rd millennium BC at Mohenjo-Daro in Sindh, Pakistan and considered to be the first swimming pool? Private, backyard pools made a splash after World War II, and celebrities were there waiting for their close-ups. Design takes on a new meaning when it involves unlimited funds, resources, and connections. “The rich are different than you and me,” said F. Scott Fitzgerald in a 1925 short story. Their swimming pools, it seems, are different too.
Drake‘s insanely huge property in the Hidden Hills was purchased for $7.7 million from Saddle Ranch owner Larry Pollack. The rapper claims to have wanted the house years before he purchased it. “I was like, ‘What are the world’s craziest residential pools?’ and when I searched online, this came up … This house was the desktop image on my computer years before I bought it.”
Complete with waterfalls, iron torches, a grotto that includes a bar, television and lounge area, what more could you want?
9. Jayne Mansfield
Jayne Mansfield’s “Pink Palace” was destroyed in 2002, but the unique Beverly Hills home, with its heart-shaped accents, was a landmark in its day. According to Hollywood legend, the starlet demanded a heart-shaped house and a heart-shaped swimming pool as a precondition for her marriage to Mickey Hargitay. While the 40-room Mediterranean-style mansion wasn’t heart-shaped, the Pink Palace did have a heart-shaped pool, a heart-shaped indoor spa, and a fountain bubbling with pink champagne. Mansfield’s pool was the first custom-built, heart-shaped swimming pool in Hollywood.
8. Ellen Pompeo
Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo’s 1920s Mediterranean-style home looks like it belongs nestled in the French Riviera, not the Hollywood Hills. Pompeo worked with Los Angeles-based interior designer Martyn Lawrence to create a home and outdoor setting with French flair. The pool area isn’t large, lavish or ostentatious, but private and elegantly sophisticated; it can only be accessed through a series of terraced gardens. The pool is set against a stand of Cypress trees, which emphasize privacy and give the setting a distinct Cote d’Azur vibe. The outdoor space features a sofa designed by Lawrence-Bullard.
7. Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber
Cindy Crawford helped usher in the age of the supermodel and was frequently on the cover of Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar. In 1995, Forbes named Crawford the highest paid model in the world. Purchased in 1998 for a modest $1.85 million, Crawford and Gerber’s Malibu, California home includes four-bedrooms, three bathrooms, tiered decks, and a number of guesthouses.
However, the property is perched high above the beach and best known for its infinity pool; the view of the Pacific Ocean is as stunning as a supermodel at Fashion Week.
6. Rob Lowe
One-time Brat Packer Rob Lowe nearly had his acting career derailed by a 1988 sex tape scandal. However, America is a country of second chances and eventually Lowe was able to rebound from his ill-advised dalliance in an Atlanta hotel room. From 1999 to 2003, Lowe played Sam Seaborn in the acclaimed TV series The West Wing; his performance earned him two Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor.
Lowe’s Neo-classical mansion is located on six-acres in southern California with citrus groves and a view of the ocean and mountains. Interior designer Monique Lafia describes it as a “visual feast.” Apparently, Lowe has a love of 18th century English manors, and the south façade of the Santa Barbara property would look equally at home in the English countryside. The pool area is simple yet elegant; the white and beige, Georgian-style color scheme gives it an airy finish.
5. Cher- Now Beyonce & Jay Z
This home was purchased by none other than the queen of pop miss Beyonce. Knowles purchased the home from another singing queen, Cher, for $41 million just last May.“This house … this house wraps its arms around me. The infinity-edge pool is where I spend all of my time in the summer,” said Cher. Cher commissioned Ron Wilson, an interior designer and long-time friend, to help her design a summer home in Malibu, California.
The result is an Italian Renaissance-style home located above the beach and a mile from the water that looks as though it belongs on the Amalfi Coast. The highlight of the property is the rear façade -a spacious loggia that looks out over the pool and ocean. A garden and patio flank the blue-mosaic tiled, infinity-edge pool.
4. Celine Dion
Maybe Grammy-award-winning singer Celine Dion was inspired by nearby Disney World. Instead of opting for a classic pool like many of her contemporaries, the Canadian singer built a full-scale waterpark at her Jupiter Island home in Florida. Celine Dion’s backyard mini-resort features two swimming pools, water slides, and a lazy river that is crossed by two bridges and brings swimmers into one of the pools.
According to reports, Dion has been fined numerous times for using up Jupiter Island’s fresh water supply. The singer finally had wells installed on the 5.5 acre property to keep the water flowing and the waterpark open. In 2013, Celine Dion put the Jupiter Island mansion on the market. The asking price: a titanic-sized $72.5 million.
3. Sylvester Stallone
“Now tell me, do you think this place is pretentious?” asks actor Sylvester Stallone about his Miami home in an interview with Architectural Digest. The ‘80s action star goes on to say, “Because I’ve always hated those Palm Beach piles with a forty-foot dome over an Olympic swimming pool lived in by some four-foot bald guy.” Set on 14-acres, Stallone’s Neoclassical-style villa isn’t pretentious, but the swimming pool might best be described as ostentatious. A bronze, life-size statue of Rocky Balboa graces one end of the large rectangular pool –an homage to the character that put Sly Stallone on the map in 1976. White marble tiles surround the pool and two intricately designed stone vases adorn the corners, adding to the distinct Greco-Roman feel. Off-setting the bronze Rocky statue, a lone tree stands majestically at the opposite end of the pool.
Over the years, Stallone has bought and sold properties faster than he’s made sequels to Rocky, Rambo, and The Expendables. While the actor no longer lives in the Neoclassical Miami estate, one can’t help but wonder if his “likeness” is still hanging out by the pool, triumphantly bronzed and pumping a victorious fist in the air.
2. Mark Wahlberg
In-demand architect Richard Landry is the king of Beverly Hills mansions. Landry has designed homes for Haim Saban, Wayne Gretzky, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Rod Stewart, among others. He recently completed a 30,000 square foot French manor-style mansion for actor Mark Wahlberg. Landry had the following to say about the project: “There are no ginormous rooms here -there’s no ballroom, no bowling alley, no indoor basketball court. I’ve done most of those kinds of things in other projects, but here it’s really a good traditional family house with no craziness to it.”
While Wahlberg’s house might not have any “craziness to it,” what it does have is the kind of pool the guys in Entourage would love. The HBO series was loosely based on Wahlberg’s experiences as an up-and-coming actor in Hollywood. The large, rock-scaped, resort style pool features waterfalls, grottos, and cabanas. Landry even built a diving rock into the hillside. And while there’s no ballroom or bowling alley, there’s a putting green and tennis court just a short walk from the pool.
1. Hugh Hefner
The Playboy Mansion was introduced to the world in 1973, and over forty years later the property is still a lavish adult playground and the embodiment of a modern-day Xanadu. Located in Holmby Hills, the 5.3-acre estate features a Gothic/Tudor-style home that was designed by Arthur R. Kelly in 1927. It was Hefner’s massive renovation, however, that turned the property into one of the most distinct and storied residences in America, and the highlight of that renovation is the Playboy Mansion swimming pool.
Surrounded by gardens and stone walkways, the large, freeform pool features a waterfall, decorative rocks and aquatic plants. The swimming pool’s most famous (or infamous) feature is the grotto, a cave-like structure equipped with built-in benches and several whirlpools. The grotto is the stuff of legends, the storied site of sexual bacchanals by a parade of A-list celebrities. Over the years, the swimming pool and grotto have been used in countless Playboy photo shoots; as a result, the lagoon pool in the wealthy Los Angeles enclave is one of the most famous in the world.