Get ready for a different kind of “best hotel pools” list.
Are some of the hotel pools glamorous? You bet! But I’m basing my list on experiences as a travel writer, busy business traveler, vacation taker and mom so it’s a bit more varied and doesn’t only include luxury hotels.
Some of the pools below make the cut because we found them unexpectedly scenic or fun – or because they allowed me to combine business with pleasure, like watching my family enjoy themselves while I worked guilt-free on my laptop. My top picks – with pics, in no particular order:
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Marriott Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Beach
This isn’t the fanciest pool but it makes the list because my son, good friends and I recently enjoyed the pool and deck. While sitting in deck chairs with built-in shades to protect our faces from the sun, we were able to take in the view of the Atlantic Ocean and Fort Lauderdale’s beach strip across the street. My son especially appreciated the life-size chess game, while I liked the ability to get frozen daiquiris at the outdoor bar. The cool mist coming out of the bar’s roof was a bonus, as was the music that leaned on the pop-electronic dance side.
Moon Palace, Cancun
At the all-inclusive Moon Palace, my family and I had a special fondness for two of the resort’s many picturesque pools. This one (below) gave me access to a great laptop friendly cabana so I could combine work with pleasure – that is, watching my family play as I caught up with work. My husband took awesome GoPro video of our youngest son doing flips off his shoulders. We liked another pool because of the resort staffer who played card games with us with a waterproof deck and floating table top.
Four Seasons Baltimore
The Four Seasons Baltimore’s outdoor infinity edge has a killer view of the city’s Inner Harbor that my family and I didn’t expect, so we fell in love with it. If that weren’t enough, we just happened to be there on a day that sail boats and clipper ships packed into the harbor, giving us a magnificent show. Memories galore!
Gansevoort Park Avenue, New York
Some of you who know the might be surprised to hear that my family and I have great memories of the Gansevoort’s rooftop pool since it’s known as an adult destination. But one morning during an icy cold Manhattan winter weekend, my kids had a great time swimming in the outdoor rooftop pool in the shadow of the Empire State Building. The pool has a neat indoor-outdoor option thanks to a retractable glass door. Normally, though the pool is an adult scene, especially during the hotel’s Sunday DJ parties with well-known DJs like Paul Oakenfold.
Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles
I love this pool at the in the estate-filled hills above Beverly Hills because of its sheer old-Hollywood glamour. I took a dip of about five minutes early one morning before rushing to catch my flight. If I ever return, I’ll want to be there during the heat of the day and eat a skewer of frozen grapes to cool down.
Readers: What’s the best pool that you’ve experienced — and, more importantly, why?