Bad news: Austin in the month of June has proved to be an unusually steamy city of high temperatures. Good news: A handful of Austin’s hotel pools are accessible for locals and not just guests to cool down in — and, in some cases, they are free for all of us.
Although some hotels, like Hotel San Jose on South Congress and Hotel Van Zandt on Rainey Street, offer locals access to their pool decks for drinks and snacks but not the pools themselves, many of Austin’s other top hotels do give anyone the chance to splash about this summer in an often sophisticated setting.
Here’s the lowdown on each hotel pool.
The Westin Austin’s Azul Rooftop Pool & Bar
Reportedly the tallest hotel rooftop bar in town, Azul boasts glorious views of the downtown skyline and the setting sun, offering a casual hangout by day and a chic lounge by night. (A more family-friendly atmosphere is present in the early hours.)
Azul offers drinks worthy of such a luxurious setting, everything from cocktails on tap — like the Bubbly Bee’s Knees with gin, lavender honey, lemon and prosecco — to frozen potions like the Raspberry F’rosé with with sparkling rosé, vodka, raspberry, peach and other fresh juices. There are also healthy snack bowls (poke, anyone?)
The pool and bar area is open to and free for locals but with more limited hours than for guests: 2 to 11 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, and 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays. Relax poolside at 310 E. Fifth St.
More information is at westinaustindowntown.com/austin-rooftop-pool.
Hotel Ella’s Pool
How about poolside relaxation in a stately setting? The former Mansion at Judge’s Hill has carved out a secluded outdoor lounge area where you can work on your tan, break in your new swimsuit or chow down on snacks from Goodall’s Parlor Bar.
The snacks can be as light or as filling as you want, from redfish ceviche to a full-on Goodall’s Burger. Pair those with a cocktail such as the bubbly Blunderbuss, containing Ford’s Gin, rosemary simple syrup, lemon and sparkling wine, or the Austin-themed West Campus Mule, made of Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka, lime, fresh mint or ginger beer.
Locals can join hotel guests at the pool with $20 passes available through Labor Day weekend. The passes get you access to the pool from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, free valet parking, a reserved chair and a pool towel. Book your staycation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information is at hotelella.com/experiences.
W Austin’s Wet Deck
Prepare to feel like you’re vacationing in paradise without leaving the city. In addition to a long, luxurious swimming hole, the trendy pool area features lounge chairs, private cabanas, two outdoor showers to rinse off with after a dip, and even a fireplace for the colder months.
The Wet Bar serves up refreshing beverages for sipping on the outdoor deck, and there is also a food menu with healthy cuisine options. Plus, the $20 popular summer event Soundwave, featuring DJ beats, has returned on Sundays through Sept. 4, with two special Mondays also for Fourth of July and Labor Day.
Locals can access the Wet Deck either with $15 day passes 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, an appointment at Away Spa, or — better yet — for free at happy hour starting after 5 p.m. Take a dip at 200 Lavaca St.
More information is at whotelaustin.com/austin-wet.
South Congress Hotel Pool
Catch some summer rays with a dip in the glimmering pool or some z’s in the cozy lounge chairs around it, each one protected by the sun with rad circular shades. The Michael Hsu-designed hotel has taken care with its rooftop pool.
That attention to detail extends to the cocktails at the Pool Bar, which has designed a menu to deliver quick poolside service to visitors. The summer sippers include the South Congress Water, with tequila, Cointreau, grapefruit and soda, and the lower ABV Aperol Spritz, with Aperol, sparkling wine and lemon. There are also canned wines and mostly local beers, with food delivered from Cafe No Se.
The pool is available to locals through Labor Day with $20 pool passes, which give you access 11 a.m. to sunset, as well as a pool towel and free valet parking. Book your dip at 1603 S. Congress Ave. by emailing email@example.com.
More information is at southcongresshotel.com/hotel-details/pool.’
Four Seasons Austin’s Luxury Pool
The oldest hotel in this bunch still knows how to deliver the resort experience. The Four Season’s circular outdoor pool is heated at a year-round 82 degrees, and it overlooks the scenic Lady Bird Lake to give you the true sense of a staycation.
Plus, of course, you’ve got a full menu of food and drinks to make a day of it in and out of the pool. Heartier options include the TRIO burger and fish tacos. And don’t forget a beverage, whether that’s a classic Bloody Mary (who said it was for brunch only) or the Texas favorite of a margarita.
For locals to gain access, we have to either purchase a spa daycation package for $225 — which includes an 80-minute massage, facial or body treatment — or simply a pool pass for $60. That’s worth it: Four Seasons, at 98 San Jacinto Blvd, includes additional treats like small snacks, books and magazine, and pool noodles in the cost.
More information is at fourseasons.com/austin/services_and_amenities/other_facilities_and_services/pool/.