5 NYC Hotel Pools Worth Booking a Room For

See recent posts by Jane Reynolds

Although they're ignored for the better part of the year, outdoor pools in NYC (most of which are found at the city's trendiest hotels) become a hot commodity once again once it's, well, hot. Visitors seek a cool dip mid-sightseeing, and locals hope to slip their way onto the pool deck for a multitude of reasons -- chief among them being that many of these rooftop spots are decidedly hip. 

Plus, these hotel pools can provide a relatively inexpensive means of splashing around for locals who don't want to spend the cash to head for the Hamptons; even booking a room for a "staycation" is cheaper (and significantly less stressful) than fighting the traffic for a weekend on the South Fork, and pool day passes are available at some as well.

So here are five outdoor hotel pools in NYC worth booking a room, purchasing a day pass, or, in some cases, simply buying a cocktail for.

1. Dream Downtown

The 316-room Dream Downtown is a futuristic-looking hotel located directly behind the Maritime in Chelsea, near the border of the trendy Meatpacking District. The hotel blends public spaces together in a unique way: The fitness center has portholes overlooking the pool, and the pool itself has a glass bottom that looks down into the lobby. The hotel’s scene is decidedly hip, especially at the pool and it’s accompanying “beach.” Non-guests can purchase weekday day passes or reserve cabanas to guarantee entry; however, both guests and non-guests alike are denied access when the roof is reserved for a private party (which happens often in the summer) — so be sure to call ahead.

2. Gansevoort Park Avenue

This 249-room hotel with flashy decor features an outdoor pool that’s got amazing Empire State Building views. Non-hotel guests cannot access the water, while hotel guests can dive in during business hours (the pool is open till 6 p.m.). But here’s the loophole — non-guests can get in with guests; that is, if they booked the right room. Rooms with king-size beds grant pool entry for three people, and suites and rooms with double-double beds grant entry for four (guests and visitors alike). Regardless, anyone can access the rooftop space for cocktails and sunset views starting at 6 p.m.

3. The James New York

This 114-room SoHo boutique — with a stunning rooftop bar and pool, great freebies (including free Wi-Fi and free nightly wine and cheese), a restaurant by David Burke, and a hotel art curator — embodies the hip, creative neighborhood it inhabits. You’ll only really be able to dip your toes in the water (the pool technically closes at 4 p.m. during the week and 2 p.m. on weekends), but the rooftop pool deck hosts “Summer Pool Parties” every Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day; it’s a popular scene, attracting visitors and locals. If you’re a hotel guest, though, you can enjoy free morning yoga followed by a swim before the party starts.

4. Trump SoHo New York

Donald Trump’s first hotel in downtown New York has the attention to detail and hands-on service you’d expect from a luxury property, but the slightly hipper vibe and great SoHo location cater to a younger set. You’ll have to book a room if you want to be able to swim (teeny-tiny) laps in the pool this summer, but the sexy space opens to the public in the evening as “Bar D’Eau” for those seeking pricey drinks — with a side of bocce ball.

5. Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC

This 187-room hotel is more than its lauded rooftop pool — but let’s just focus on that, shall we? About 20 blocks southwest of the Park Avenue outpost, this Gansevoort (in the trendier Meatpacking District) has a similar pool policy; hotel guests can get non-guests in depending on their room type. And it, too, becomes open to the public in the evenings, attracting a trendy crowd that comes for the fruity cocktails and small plates.

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