There are plenty of ways to cool off in Austin when summer's triple digit temps hit—tubing in New Braunfels, a day spent at Schlitterbahn, cannonballing into Barton Springs—but sometimes you need to get a little fancy, you know? That's where a handful of Austin's best hotels come in, offering day passes to their pools for non-guests so that you can lounge in style (without having to pay a hefty room fee). Call ahead to secure a pool pass, slather on the sunscreen and head to one of Austin's swankiest pools for a luxurious dip.
South Congress Hotel: The South Congress Hotel pool, which offers views of the downtown skyline, is open to non-guests from Monday through Thursday, 11am to 5pm—sick day, anyone? Day passes are $30, and you can make a reservation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (passes are offered from now until Labor Day). Poolside catering is available from the hotel's Café No Sé, and you'd be wise to leave the pup at home—no dogs are allowed in the pool area.
W Austin: There's always a ton going on at W Austin's pool (dubbed the WET Deck), whether you're staying at the hotel or are just stopping by for a dip. Day passes are available for $10 on Monday through Friday, 11am to 9pm (tickets must be purchased here). If you're heading here for happy hour after work, though, pool access is free anytime after 5pm. They also have a summer pool series, dubbed Soundwave, that is open to the public on Sundays.
Hotel Ella: From now until Labor Day, those of us who aren't staying in Hotel Ella's downtown digs can reserve a $20 pool pass from Monday through Thursday, 11am to 5pm (book your pool day by calling 512-495-1800 or emailing email@example.com). Poolside dining is available from Goodall's Kitchen, so you can do some serious snacking while you lounge. Can't make it during the week? Friday and Sunday walk-ins are accepted based on availability, so it's worth a shot.
Four Seasons Hotel Austin: At $60 for a pool pass, you'll definitely want to make a day out of a trip to the Four Seasons Austin's pool. The outdoor saltwater pool offers beautiful views of Town Lake, plus you'll probably spot a celebrity or two (even the Dalai Lama has spent the night here). Reservations can be made to use the pool Monday through Friday, 6am to 10pm (512-685-8160); with your pass, you'll also receive access to the hotel's luxe fitness center and spa, plus complimentary valet parking.
The Westin Austin Downtown: You'll find one of the best views of the city from Azul, the rooftop pool and bar at the Westin. Even better: the pool is free to non-guests, though only during specific hours (Monday through Wednesday, 2-11pm; Thursday 2pm-midight; Friday and Saturday, 7pm-midnight; Sunday, noon-11pm). Reservations aren't needed, though spots are limited—just ask the front desk for a key to get access to the roof.
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