It's no secret that rooftops are highly sought-after spots in New York City -- the striking city and river views, plus the distance from honking cabs and pedestrian-filled streets, make for a slice of paradise. Rooftop bars, like at Wythe Hotel and The Standard High Line, are nearly always packed with New Yorkers and tourists alike, but during the heat of summer, it's the city's pools that see the most buzz. While several hotels have lovely pools on lower levels inside or out (The William Vale and McCarren, for instance), there's something far more alluring about a rooftop pool. We rounded up the best of these in NYC, so you can beat scorching temps with refreshing dips alongside gorgeous vistas and cooling breezes.
The 114-room James New York is a stunner, stylishly designed to fit in with its location in SoHo. Although the David Burke-helmed American restaurant, exquisite local artwork carefully selected by the hotel curator, and luxurious rooms are all enough to lure locals and tourists, the property’s rooftop pool is a highlight during the summer. The city and Hudson River views are gorgeous, and an adjacent bar means the vibe is relaxed and fun. Open from Memorial Day until Labor Day, the pool is available to guests during the week, as well as to non-guests on weekends during the Jimmy Summer Pool Parties that start at 3 p.m.
A celebrity and local hot spot, the Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC is a hip, upscale property that is particularly well-known for its rooftop bar and pool, Plunge. Bottle service is common, and doormen will turn away those in anything less than “dressy casual” attire, but the scene-y vibe and gorgeous vistas make it extremely popular. A huge perk is that unlike seasonal hotel pools, the Gansevoort’s is heated and open year-round. It can be accessed from morning until late, though poolside cocktails during sunsets are especially Instagram-worthy. A day pass, known as the Play Hooky Day Pool Package, costs $200 and includes access until 4 p.m., a drink voucher, bottle of water, and copy of the New York Post.
3. Soho House New York
Beautiful, sophisticated, and luxurious, Soho House is a members-only club that caters to the film and media industries. Prices are steep, but rates include chic, urban-inspired rooms, plus access to top-notch amenities like a buzzing restaurant, bar, and lounge space. In the summer, however, most activity takes place up at the rooftop pool terrace, where there are cushy lounge chairs, striking city views, and deep-pocket guests (many with celebrity status). This is one of the most coveted summer spots in Manhattan, and fans of “Sex and the City” may remember when Samantha snuck into the club to use this pool. You’ll have to be a guest or score an invite via a member to enjoy the exclusivity here.
This other Gansevoort is located in a less trendy location, but its outdoor heated plunge pool with Empire State Building views is worthy of a dip. The 20th-floor pool deck bleeds into a spacious terrace and bar with tons of chic seating and indoor and outdoor fireplaces. The pool is exclusively open for guests throughout the year, accessible from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tasty brunch fare, lobster rolls, and happy hour specials at the poolside bar make spending a full day on the roof an alluring option. As with the sister hotel, a day pass costs $200 and includes access until 4 p.m., a drink voucher, bottle of water, and copy of the New York Post.
Just one block from Central Park, The Empire Hotel dates back to the mid-1890s and can easily be spotted with its iconic rooftop neon sign. Businesspeople on laptops can be found here during the day, but evenings bring a party atmosphere as the rooftop bar and pool heat up with tourists and locals (it frequently hosts A-list events). Open between Memorial Day and Labor Day, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., the tiny pool is available exclusively for guests (except during private functions). Pretty views, a poolside bar, and shaded cabanas, plus DJs on the weekends, make it a chill place to hang out on the Upper West Side.
Located in the Chelsea neighborhood, the Hotel Americano is a sleek, boutique property with an artistic bent. The 14th-floor rooftop grill, lounge, and seasonal pool are standout features. The eatery offers a tasty menu of tacos, margaritas, and oysters, while the pool comes with nice views and a surrounding deck with lounge seating. Plus, lively weekend pool parties have DJs, though swimming isn’t allowed while they are happening. The most affordable option of the bunch, a day pass here costs $40 from Monday through Friday, and is free to the public during weekends.
The 727-room Le Parker Meridien is a four-pearl property boasting a Michelin-starred Indian eatery, popular Burger Joint, expansive spa, and excellent location just south of Central Park. Although it’s technically inside, the rooftop pool occupies the 42nd floor, providing stunning vistas of the park and surrounding high-rise buildings. An outdoor terrace provides a spot for sunbathing too. Day passes are available for $150, but with rates sometimes around $350, it may be worth booking a full stay.
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