- Katey Psencik American-Statesman Staff
We’re in the dog days of summer now, folks. The heat seems stifling and neverending, and it’s no longer exciting to have the prospect of a long several months of warm, sunny days laid out in front of us. Last month, we told you about five hotel pools that offer free hours or day passes for locals, so we decided to round up a list of pools that you can enjoy with a cold drink in your hand. Some are free, some have fees, but we can promise you, they’ll all put an end to your summertime blues.
Austin Motel - 1220 S. Congress Ave.
Pool for motel guests and special events only.
The recently remodeled motel serves up vintage vibes on one of Austin’s most beloved streets. The pool is currently open to guests only, but the motel is working on programming poolside events, including a workout on the pool deck every Sunday from 10 to 11 a.m. And everyone knows there’s nothing better than a cold cocktail after a workout.
Azul Rooftop Pool Bar + Lounge at the Westin Austin - 310 E. 5th St.
Free and open to the public. 2-11 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, noon-11 p.m. Sunday.
It claims to be the tallest rooftop bar in town, and its Cuban theme will take you to Havana while you overlook Austin. Their signature cocktails are perfectly refreshing for a Texas summer: blood orange cosmopolitans, frozen passion fruit mojitos, sangria and more.
And who can argue with that view?
Four Seasons Austin - 98 San Jacinto Blvd
Access for hotel guests and those who have purchased spa packages or pool passes.
This is the definition of treat yo’self: get a spa package or a pool pass for the Four Seasons, then lounge poolside all day and pretend you’re fancy. Your passes even include snacks, books and magazines and pool noodles.
Geraldine’s Austin / Hotel Van Zandt - 605 Davis St.
Pool open to guests only; pool deck open to the public during evenings and special events.
The bar and restaurant at this Rainey-area hotel is serving up some of the most unique cocktails in town. The pool is open to hotel guests only, but non-hotel guests are still able to hang out on the pool deck for drinks and snacks in the evening and during special events. Guests can reserve a poolside cabana with included bottle service (your choice of three bottles of champagne or a bottle of Tito’s vodka).
Hotel Ella - 1900 Rio Grande St.
Day passes are $20 and available through Labor Day, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
This trendy campus-area spot, previously Mansion at Judges Hill, offers cocktails like the Longhorn Margarita (featuring orange liqueur, of course) and the Lady Bird Daiquiri.
Hotel Saint Cecilia - 112 Academy Dr.
Open to guests only, 24 hours a day.
Need another option for a staycation? The Hotel Saint Cecilia is a perfect option with amenities like a lending library for guests and pool access 24 hours a day (yeah, you read that right). And it’s only 14 rooms, so you’re guaranteed plenty of privacy.
Not to mention it’s one of most Instagram-worthy pools in town, with the now-famous “SOUL” sign above the pool, and they’ve got one of the most delicious-looking margaritas in town.
Hotel San José - 1316 S. Congress Ave.
Open for swimming to guests only, but non-guests can enjoy patio cocktails.
Located just a hop, skip and a jump down the street from the Austin Motel (two pools, one day?), the wading pool is open to guests only, but you can still hang out there while having a cocktail. The pool may be smaller than some of the other hotels, but their frosé is arguably some of the best in town.
Free and open to the public from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily, cabanas available for reservation.
So many rooftops, so little time. Here’s another: at the JW Marriott’s rooftop pool bar in the heart of downtown, you can drink out of a pineapple. Need we say more?
Kitty Cohen’s - 2211 Webberville Rd.
Open to the public, obviously.
It’s not glitzy and glamorous like the hotel pools are, sure, but it’s definitely the most authentically Austin pool of the bunch. Kitty Cohen’s, the East Side patio bar and cocktail lounge, has a pool right smack dab in the middle of it. And they serve delicious frozen concoctions in the summertime.
Lake Austin Spa Resort - 1705 S. Quinlan Park Rd
Open to overnight guests or those with spa packages.
Sit by the pool, go for a swim and look upon beautiful Lake Austin. Lake Austin Spa Resort is the type of place where you can do as much -- or as little -- as you want, and there’s no judgement here.
Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa - 8212 Barton Club Dr.
Open to guests only.
If downtown rooftop pool views aren’t your thing, try this one that overlooks the Hill Country. Plus, the indoor pool is open for swimming year-round (and it’s heated). Just imagine yourself sipping a peach margarita that you didn’t even have to leave your lounge chair to order.
Omni Austin Hotel Downtown - 700 San Jacinto Blvd.
Open to guests only.
Relax poolside and gaze upon downtown Austin year-round in the heated pool.
RIO Austin - 601 Rio Grande St.
Open to the public.
Maybe all of these pool options are too serene for you. Maybe you’d like more of a party. Rio, a downtown club, features a rooftop pool and hosts pool parties throughout the summer.
South Congress Hotel - 1603 South Congress Ave.
Monday-Friday day passes available for $20 through Labor Day. Pool access 11 a.m. to sunset.
The summer drinks available at the South Congress Hotel include the South Congress Water (which is definitely not water. It’s tequila) as well as canned wines and local beers. The poolside menu also offers food delivered from in-house restaurant Cafe No Se.
Wet Deck at the W Hotel - 200 Lavaca St.
Day passes are $15 (or free with a spa appointment) from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday; pool is free after 5 p.m.
Last but certainly not least, the W Hotel’s Wet Deck has something for everyone: on weekends, the pool deck packs with sunkissed Austinites attending the hotel’s Soundwave parties, part of the hotel’s summer pool party series (tickets available here). The pool also offers free access during happy hour (after 5 p.m.) on weekdays, sometimes featuring live music and almost always featuring a really delicious rosé cocktail.
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