by Andrew Hind
How low does it go?
Every reputable hotel has a pool. The better ones have pools that are elevated from an amenity to an attraction. But there is no pool anywhere like the Y-40 Deep Joy at Hotel Millepini near Venice.
The pool drops down—way, way down—to a depth of 42.15 metres; that’s deep enough to easily submerge a 13-story building. The Y-40 Deep Joy is certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s deepest pool. “In recent years there have been several attempts in various European countries to surpass Y-40,” says Hotel Millepini press manager Iris Rocca, “but none have succeeded.”
Hotel Millepini, located in the Montegrotto Terme resort area—home to the largest area of thermal springs in Europe—has been a five-star property since it opened in 1978. With luxury accommodations, fine dining and world-class spa facilities that make use of the famed thermal springs in the area, it’s not as if the hotel was lacking in allure. Yet the Y-40, which opened in 2014, takes Hotel Millepini to the next level. Like a siren’s call, the 21-metre by 18-metre pool lures guests from the world over (100 countries at last count, according to Rocca).
Beyond its sheer dimensions, the pool is like no other. It features levels of various depths, underwater caves to train scuba divers to negotiate sub-aquatic landscapes and a suspended transparent viewing tunnel allowing spectators to watch the divers in action. Unsurprisingly, scuba enthusiasts and freedivers—aquatic athletes who can spend minutes at depth on a single breath—have enthusiastically embraced Y-40, just as was hoped when the pool was conceived.
The pool was the brainchild of architect Emanuele Boaretto. “Boaretto, who had long been a fan of underwater activities, wanted to think of a new use for the area’s thermal resources. It was intended to revive interest in the Euganean territory, a place where the warm waters have naturally flowed for millennia, being used mostly for health reasons given its anti-inflammatory properties,” explains Rocca. The pool is filled with 4.3 million litres of this thermal water. It’s kept at a temperature of 32°C to 34°C, allowing divers to plunge without the skin suits they’d need in open seas or lakes, where the water’s temperature would plummet at such depths.
Since opening, the Y-40 has benefitted not only the Hotel Terme Millepini, but also the Euganean region as a whole. “The Municipality of Montegrotto Terme, where the swimming pool is located (which, for some time, had registered a decrease in tourism) has now seen an increase in the number of tourists,” explains Rocca. “This is thanks to a new target market, particularly young people and sportsmen from all over the world.”
Though the pool naturally appeals to experienced divers, any hotel guest can enjoy Deep Joy, and really, who wouldn’t want to lay claim to having swim in the world’s deepest pool? Freediving and scuba courses are hosted here, and the pool has also been used for underwater filming, photo shoots and underwater scientific research.
With its lounge chairs full of contented people basking in the sun, diners savouring delightful meals at an elegant restaurant and robe-clad guests making their return from a relaxing spa treatment, Hotel Terme Millepini has always been straight out of an elegant holiday advert.