America's Best Rooftop Hotel Pools

Overview of "The Beach" at Dream Downtown, New York. Photo by Dream Downtown
By Carrie Havranek

Can't take the summer heat? These amazing rooftop pools let you take a dip by day, then sip cocktails and mingle with beautiful people at night. Though some hotels only allow rooftop access for overnight guests, others let you join the party for the price of a cocktail or a spa treatment. As for the rooftop views, some would say they're priceless. We couldn't agree more.

Photo Caption: Overview of The Beach at Dream Downtown, New York
Rooftop pool atop The Colonnade Hotel, Boston. Photo by The Colonnade Hotel
Where: The Colonnade, Boston
The Vibe: Head to the 12th floor to swim in this heated saltwater pool, with views of Back Bay, Fenway Park, Copley Place, church steeples, and more. Popular with locals and hotel guests alike, the rooftop pool has hosted concerts (Bush, Mat Kearney), weddings, and more.
Why We Love It:
It's the only hotel rooftop pool in Boston, but its expansive menu and full-service bar is another reason to stop by. Try the Mediterranean mezze platter, "P" BLT (with pork belly), or crab cakes from the on-site Brasserie JO, or quench your thirst with a refreshing craft beer.
Who Can Enjoy It: Complimentary for guests after checking in on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday; $50 for local residents (Mondays-Fridays) for a full day or $25 per person from 3pm to closing, excluding weekends and holidays.
Crowd Control: This pool itself has a capacity of 200. Half the people who show up typically take the plunge; the rest are there to soak up the scene from the sidelines.
Hours of Operation:
8am-8pm Mondays-Fridays; 8am-6pm weekends(Memorial Day-Labor Day)
More Info: www.colonnadehotel.com

Photo Caption: Rooftop pool atop The Colonnade Hotel, Boston
Cabanas and grass surround the rooftop pool at the London West Hollywood. Photo by The London West Hollywood
Where: The London West Hollywood, Los Angeles
The Vibe:
The 10th-floor Rooftop by Gordon Ramsay offers panoramic views of Los Angeles to the east and the Getty Center to the west -- you can even see the famous Hollywood sign. Think English garden-inspired retreat in the middle of all the glitz and glamour, complete with (fake) grass.
Why We Love It: An all-day menu from Gordon Ramsay's team tempts with options such as shaken fresh fruits, crispy chicken dumplings, and more. Order refreshing cocktails, such as the "Strawberry Field's Forever," the "Behind Blue Eyes," or the "Hot Stuff." Four poolside cabanas come with a 32-inch flatscreen TV and a mini-fridge stocked with beverages and fruit. Book a poolside massage in one of these cabanas. Or if you don't want to splurge on VIP service, a pool concierge will offer you a cooling spritz, a complimentary mini-smoothie, fruit wedges, and reading material.
Who Can Enjoy It: Hotel guests only
Crowd Control: Though you may expect more people-watching than splashing, sun worshipers do swim in this pool.
Hours of Operation: 8am-10pm daily (year-round)
More Info: www.thelondonwesthollywood.com

Photo Caption: Cabanas and grass surround the rooftop pool at the London West Hollywood
Poolside cabanas and lounge chairs dot the rooftop pool at the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle. Photo by Four Seasons Hotel Seattle
Where: Four Seasons Seattle
The Vibe: This downtown hotel's rooftop offers views of the waterfront, Elliott Bay, and the Olympic Mountains. Music plays underwater in this heated saltwater infinity pool, and at night, the pool area's lighting scheme feels like the night sky.
Why We Love It: Take advantage of chilled towels, frozen grapes, housemade popsicles (with seasonal fruit from nearby Pike Place Market), fruit smoothies, and Evian spritzing -- all complimentary to hotel guests. Order a watermelon feta salad, or snack on market crudités and dips. For the ultimate relaxation, there's also an outdoor hot tub (also open seasonally), and a fireplace for those nights and mornings when there's a chill in the air.
Who Can Enjoy It: The pool is open to hotel guests. Nonguests can gain access by booking a spa treatment package 
Crowd Control: On sunny, warm days, swimming is popular with guests -- both adults and children alike. Overall, it's a laid-back scene; the pool's capacity is 20.
Hours of Operation: 6am-10pm daily (year-round); poolside amenities are only available Memorial Day through Labor Day
More Info: www.fourseasons.com

Photo Caption: Poolside cabanas and lounge chairs dot the rooftop pool at the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle
Marquee Dayclub at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas. Photo by Warren Jagger
Where: Marquee Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
The Vibe: During the week, the pool and sprawling Marquee Dayclub on the 17th floor is fairly relaxed, but come the weekend, look out -- it's Vegas, baby. The dayclub turns into a serious party, with DJs from around the world.
Why We Love It:
Eight grand cabanas share seven heated, infinity-edge dipping pools; each cabana comes with a personal cocktail server (with a food-and-beverage spending minimum). You can also nap on one of the 21 daybeds (also with a food-and-beverage spending minimum). Three-story bungalows also line the club with overnight sleeping quarters and open-air party decks with private plunge pools.
Who Can Enjoy It: Open to public; cover charge can be free to up to $100, depending on the event, but generally gains you access for the entire day.
Crowd Control: People do swim in this pool, and the number of people in the pool is carefully monitored.
Hours of Operation: 11am-Sunset, Friday to Sunday
More Info: www.marqueelasvegas.com; www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com

Photo Caption: Marquee Dayclub's main pool at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas
"The Beach" at Dream Downtown, New York. Photo by Dream Downtown
Where: Dream Downtown New York City
The Vibe: This pool may be in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, but Dream Beach feels more like Côte d'Azur with a white-and-blue design scheme -- and two tons of imported sand.
Why We Love It: A translucent pool bottom enables swimmers to spy on the lobby activities below -- and vice versa. Picnic on several kinds of ceviche, and sip signature cocktails with whimsical names such as "Dream Girl," and "Frisky Fling." Pool boys come by with Evian mists. Evenings sometimes bring pool parties and may mean celeb spotting. A winter enclosure goes up during cold weather so you can still enjoy the The Café, bar and outdoor area, but the pool itself is removed. Note: You're not on the rooftop per se -- it's the second floor of 11 -- but details like that don't really matter.
Who Can Enjoy It: Hotel guests only; a day pass includes use of the pool, gym, towels, and a drink voucher. The pool deck, bar, and café are open to the public, and there's no admission fee.
Crowd Control: You won't be doing any diving here, as the pool is only four feet deep. Guests are more likely to sink their toes in the sand, soak up the rays, and jump in for a quick soak.
Hours of Operation: Pool (11am-5:30pm daily Memorial Day weekend-Labor Day weekend); pool bar and café (5:30pm-10:30pm daily year-round)
More Info: www.dreamdowntown.com

Photo Caption: The Beach at Dream Downtown, New York
Rooftop pool at The James Hotel New York. Photo by The James New York
Where: The James Hotel, New York City
The Vibe: Come for the unobstructed view of Manhattan and the cool architectural elements, such as a halo roof over the Rooftop Plunge Pool. Models, hipsters, and fashion industry types flock here -- it is in SoHo, after all.
Why We Love It: That uninterrupted view will likely stay that way (the hotel borders two protected public art spaces). Order the Margherita flatbread from Jimmy, the enclosed, all-season bar and lounge -- it, too, has great views. Pool parties take place from 3pm onward (Saturdays-Sundays).
Who Can Enjoy It: Hotel guests only; nonguests can hang out at Jimmy for nighttime drinks and snacks (5pm-1am Sundays-Wednesdays; 5pm-2am Thursdays-Saturdays).
Crowd Control: People do jump into this pool (maximum capacity of eight at a time).
Hours of Operation: 8am-5pm Mondays-Fridays; 8am-7pm Saturdays-Sundays (May 1-Oct. 1)
More Info: www.jameshotels.com

Photo Caption: Rooftop pool at The James Hotel New York
Evening at the rooftop pool at The Joule Dallas. Photo by The Joule Dallas
Location: The Joule Hotel, Dallas
The Vibe: From this heated saltwater pool, you can soak in sweeping city views of the Pegasus Horse and the Kirby Tower. In the evenings, the pool itself closes and the space turns into a lounge. On Friday and Saturday nights, the 10th-floor pool deck has DJ spin sessions from 9pm.
Why We Love It: This Luxury Collection Hotel's rooftop cantilevered pool extends eight feet off the side of the building, giving swimmers the sensation of floating off the edge. Don't worry, it's encased in Plexiglass. Eight cabanas available for rent shelter you from the sun. Tangerine mojitos, cucumber sage margaritas, and grape coolers are all available by the glass -- or the pitcher. Complimentary poolside amenities include frozen grapes, cooling lavender mists, and sunglass spritzing to de-smudge the lenses. You can also order from the on-site City Hall restaurant by Charlie Palmer.
Who Can Enjoy It: Open to hotel guests only during the day; open to the public from 7pm when it turns into a lounge scene -- and there's no admission fee.
Crowd Control: People do indeed take the plunge; who wouldn't want to try such a unique swimming experience? Pool capacity is 120.
Hours of Operation: 10 am to 10 pm, Mid-April through October
More Info:  www.thejouledallas.com

Photo Caption: Evening at the rooftop pool at The Joule Dallas
The Hotel Miami. Photo by Mark Roskams
Where: The Hotel of South Beach, on Miami's Collins Avenue
The Vibe: Unlike the rest of flashy South Beach, the scene here is totally private and laid-back. From the rooftop, take in views of the beach (just a block away) and the Art Deco architecture of neighboring buildings.
Why We Love It: It's a quiet rooftop sanctuary that's all about relaxing and enjoying the view. Cabanas are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Duck into one of them to escape the sun -- or to book a massage. Order up a refreshing Wish salad, with radish, cucumber, endive and a ginger-lime dressing, or the popular grilled chicken sandwich with pickled rutabaga and carrots (the light bites menu is available from 12pm-11pm). We hear there's a staircase that's unlocked 24 hours a day and leads directly to the rooftop pool, perfect for midnight swimming. The pool has also garnered buzz for its permissive approach toward topless sunbathing.
Who Can Enjoy It: Hotel guests only
Crowd Control: Don't show up expecting to swim laps. It's more common to find people sunbathing than swimming.
Hours of Operation: 8am to sunset daily (year-round)
More Info: www.thehotelofsouthbeach.com

Photo Caption: The Hotel of South Beach, Miami
The Donovan House rooftop pool, Washington, D.C. Photo by Kimpton Hotels
Location: Donovan House, Washington, D.C.
The Vibe: Situated on the 14th Street section, this hotel is four blocks from the major monuments and museums. The rooftop pool area, typically quiet during the day, buzzes at night with lobbyists, pop stars, politicos, and journalist types. Singer Norah Jones was recently spotted up there, along with a former First Lady (sources won't reveal who).
Why We Love It: With nary a federal building in sight, take a dip in the heated pool with views of Thomas Circle and nearby brownstones and church spires. Sip refreshing cocktails such as Handlebars (Wild turkey rye, carpano antica, campari & citrus fruit leather mustache) and Bent Training Wheels (Herradura blanco, watermelon squares, lemongrass, yuzu, falernum). Order from the hotel's restaurant, Zentan, from Yo Matsuzaki -- Robata Skewers or sushi rolls are signature items. No big list of poolside amenities as of yet, but stay tuned.
Who Can Enjoy It: Hotel guests only. The pool itself closes to everyone in the evening -- sorry, no night swimming. Donovan House Rooftop Bar opens to nonguests from 5pm (weekdays) and from 7pm (Saturdays-Sundays) through 1am.
Crowd Control: Most come to chill out, but you may find people taking a dip every now and then.
Hours of Operation: 7am-5pm 
More Info: www.donovanhousehotel.com

Photo Caption: The Donovan House rooftop pool, Washington, D.C.
Andaz Hotel San Diego rooftop pool. Photo by Andaz Hotel San Diego
Where: Andaz San Diego
The Vibe: This heated saltwater pool is one of the largest hotel rooftop pools in San Diego. Enjoy views of the city's Gaslamp quarter and out to the harbor. Relax during the week but on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, expect pool parties, a fire pit, and DJs.
Why We Love It: Take advantage of food-and-beverage service; try a Hot Mess (Champagne and St. Germain, over ice). Once the Ivy Rooftop Pool closes for the evening, the place transforms into a hotspot -- especially when the nightclub is open (Thursdays-Saturdays). Celeb spotting is common -- Prince Harry recently came to party. Get the VIP treatment with one of the cabanas that come with bottle service, Wi-Fi, a TV, and a dedicated food-and-beverage server.
Who Can Enjoy It: Not a hotel guest? Nonguests can gain pool access by booking a cabana (with a minimum food-and-beverage purchase). Pool closes at 7pm for everyone.
Crowd Control: This is the place to be, and it's typically full of beautiful people soaking up the sun and dipping in their toes.
Hours of Operation: 6am-7pm daily (year-round)
More Info: http://sandiego.andaz.hyatt.com

Photo Caption: Andaz Hotel San Diego rooftop pool
The W Hotel Atlanta Midtown rooftop hotel. Photo by W Atlanta Midtown
Where: W at Midtown Atlanta
The Vibe: A quiet, relaxed scene in midtown Atlanta, with views of Colony Square and Piedmont Park.
Why We Love It: Cool off with the chilled towels and the complimentary platters of fruit (frozen grapes, ginger-marinated watermelon skewers). You can also order lunch and cocktails. There are four private rental cabanas, each come with ceiling fans, Wi-Fi, a flatscreen TV, a personal mimosa bar with Champagne and variety of juices, bottle service -- and robes on request.
Who Can Enjoy It: WET is typically exclusive to hotel guests; in the summer, nonguests can join "Silent Sundays," a low-key party for lunching and lounging ($25 admission covers a food-and-drink minimum)
Crowd Control: Capacity in the pool is 80, but people typically use it for quick dips rather than swimming.
Hours of Operation: Sunrise to sunset daily (May-October)
More Info: www.starwoodhotels.com

Photo Caption: The W Hotel Atlanta Midtown rooftop hotel
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