Hotel Pool Day Passes: 8 Spots for Summer Fun in Austin
Get some sun, a cool drink and well-deserved downtime by a pool with a view
Story and photographs by Casey Chapman Ross
Who’s ready for a pool day? After a year of staying home and a particularly difficult winter season, spring has arrived in Austin and summer is right around the corner. It’s the perfect time to plan a daycation that includes some sunshine, a swanky pool, cold drinks, cool music and plenty of time to relax and recharge. Here are eight of Austin’s best poolside hot spots, all located at hotels where day passes are available at a fraction of the cost of an overnight stay. Seize the daylight — you deserve it.
The kid-friendly Fairmont Austin tops our list with its spacious pools (one heated, one not), whirlpool, lounge space with ping-pong, as well as an outdoor dining area and bar. Towels, poolside wifi, a touchless sunscreen application booth, onsite parking and gorgeous views of downtown are all included for $40. Feeling like a VIP? There are multiple ways to upgrade your pass!
The JW Marriott pool is what you would expect from a luxury hotel pool — but not over the top. The large, heated pool has ample seating, a decent view of downtown, a rooftop bar and restaurant. The dining and firepit area adjacent to the pool overlooks the Texas State Capitol and most of iconic Congress Avenue. A day pass for $40 includes use of the pool, wifi and discounted parking. If you go during the week, it’s one of the quieter places to relax, swim and get some sun.
For a more boutique experience, The Westin fits the bill. While smaller overall, its poolside bar, Azul, has drinks, small bites and includes a great view of downtown. You’ll definitely feel like you’re on vacation when you enter the pool deck and hear ice shaking from the bar and Brazilian beats filling the air. Still, it’s a quiet and chill atmosphere where you could drift off for a poolside nap. The pool area is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and only for visitors over 21. The $40 day pass includes complimentary wifi and two lounge chair tickets. Parking not included.
Although it’s one of the older properties on this list, the kid-friendly Hyatt Regency Austin on Lady Bird Lake has an unbeatable, across-the-river poolside view of downtown Austin’s ever-changing skyline. Tour boats coming and going from the shore below add to the fun, day-at-the-lake vibe. Food and drinks aren’t available by the pool, but guests can order from the hotel’s restaurant or front desk and dine inside. The $25 day pass includes wifi and towels, but not parking.
The exclusive Line hotel pool is beautiful and tree-lined with a lakeside view – but the mid-century architecture steals the show at this family-friendly spot. Lounge chair seating is somewhat limited but cabanas, available through Resy.com for American Express cardholders, offer private poolside dining rooms. There are a couple of options for food: Arlo Grey at the Line, the debut lakeside restaurant by Kristen Kish, and a walk-up window for Veracruz All Natural. A $40 day pass includes the saltwater infinity pool, towels, complimentary wifi and self-parking.
At just $25, the Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark is a less expensive option about 10 miles south of downtown. If the traffic noise doesn’t kill the vibe, it’s also a great spot for kids. The pool is spread out with two large outdoor sections and a connected, indoor section with a jacuzzi. The outdoor lounge areas are plentiful and there’s even a basketball hoop. Food and drinks are available to order at the front desk or bar. Parking out front is a breeze (and free). Towels and the sauna are included.
If you’re looking for a quieter spot and don’t need too much luxury, the Sheraton at the Capital may be the perfect fit. For $25, you can use the indoor/outdoor heated pool, and kids will love playing yard games like corn hole in the pretty outdoor area. Self-parking, wifi and access to the fitness center (for 16 and up only), locker rooms and showers are included with the day pass. Food is available at a café near the front desk, or guests can order something for delivery using a delivery app like GrubHub.
The quiet rooftop pool at The Omni Downtown may not get the “new Austin” attention of some of the other properties, but that can be a bonus if you’re trying to avoid party crowds. There aren’t a lot of frills and the pool itself is narrow, but the eastern views are gorgeous. Food and drinks are available for purchase at the pool (though the bar may not be open on weekdays), the Atrium Lounge in the lobby or at Morsel’s coffee bar. Wifi and self-parking are included. For $25, this daycation is a pretty good deal.