No doubt Austin is set to have a long, hot summer. But we can take sweet refuge in the magnificent hotel pools downtown. That’s right – not all hotel pools are for guests only. A handful of them offer pool passes for locals or are completely free during set hours, and they can be our warm-weather havens.
Here’s the lowdown on each pool.
The Westin Austin's Azul Rooftop Pool & Bar
310 E. Fifth St.
Reportedly the tallest hotel rooftop bar in town, Azul boasts glorious views of the downtown skyline and the setting sun, as a casual hangout by day and a chic lounge by night. (On weekends, those under 21 must be accompanied by an adult guest of the hotel starting at noon.)
Azul offers drinks worthy of the fun-loving setting, such as the Raspberry F’rosé, Pineapple Mai Tai and Peachy Palmer. There are also snack bowls and bentos.
The rooftop deck is open to and free for locals, no pool pass necessary, but with more limited hours than for guests: 5 p.m. to midnight daily. Dip your feet into the water while watching a sure-to-be lovely sunset.
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Hotel Ella’s Pool
1900 Rio Grande St.
How about poolside relaxation in a stately setting? The former Mansion at Judge’s Hill has carved out a secluded outdoor lounge where you can work on your tan, break in your new swimsuit or chow down on snacks from Goodall’s Kitchen.
Of course, doing all of these things with a cocktail in hand is always more enjoyable. The mixed drinks (or “prescriptions and remedies,” as the Ella Parlor Bar calls them) include the Austin -themed Longhorn Margarita featuring El Jimador Blanco, orange liqueur, lime, strawberry and passion fruit puree.
Locals can join hotel guests at the pool with $25 passes that get you access to the pool from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday. The passes also provide valet parking and a pool towel. Book your staycation up to a week in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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W Austin’s Wet Deck
200 Lavaca St.
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 have all the needed accessories for a good time poolside: 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, and there is also a food menu with healthy cuisine options. Plus, the downtown hotel hosts regular events on the Wet Deck, such as the $15 Thursday NightSwim and the $30 Soundwave Sundaze that feature live music and DJ beats.
Locals can access the Wet Deck either with $10 day passes 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, an appointment at Away Spa, or – best yet – for free at happy hour starting after 5 p.m. on weekdays.
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South Congress Hotel Pool
1603 S. Congress Ave.
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 created a menu designed to deliver quick poolside service and, in the past, featured summer sippers such as the South Congress Water with tequila, Cointreau, grapefruit and soda. Food is delivered from the on-site Cafe No Se.
The pool is available to non-hotel guests with $30 pool passes that give you access 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday to both the pool and the pool bar. A pool towel is also provided. Reserve your day of relaxation by emailing email@example.com.
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The Four Seasons Austin Pool
98 San Jacinto Blvd.
After last year’s renovation that rejiggered the dining concepts at this downtown hotel, among other changes, the Four Seasons is again opening its saltwater pool to locals. This year, we have three different ways to access the pool, depending upon the type of experience we’re looking to have and how often we want to have it.
The most basic way is a $60 day pool pass, available 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday, that gives us access to the pool, locker rooms, fitness center, eucalyptus steam rooms, towels and pool toys. Free amenities, including frozen grapes and mini popsicle cocktails, are offered throughout the day.
There are also $199 summer daycation packages – which come with a 50-minute spa treatment, lunch at on-site restaurant Ciclo and access to the hotel's pool – and, for the first time, pool memberships that offer plenty of perks to locals throughout the summer and can be purchased as single, dual or family memberships. Call 512-685-8160 for pricing.
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The Line Austin Pool
111 E. Cesar Chavez St.
One of Austin’s newest hotels – in the building near the Congress Avenue Bridge that formerly housed the Radisson – has been strikingly designed, but you just may feel called outside to the infinity pool overlooking Lady Bird Lake.
Fortunately for locals, the Line Austin has launched $25 weekday pool passes opening up this little urban paradise starting at 11 a.m. Monday-Thursday. The passes come with parking validation and are available for purchase at Dean’s One Trick Pony, the hotel’s casual restaurant.
That’s also where you’ll want to go to make sure you can lounge outside, soaking up those lakeside views, with a cocktail in hand. Dean’s offers bar snacks (Disco Fries, anyone?) and drinks like the frozen Aperol pink lemonade called the Pink Pony.
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