Sick of reading all of the Facebook posts with smiling faces chilling in Colorado, the Hamptons, and Europe? Can't break away from work or break the bank for an extended long-distance sojourn? Embrace the Austin heat and fear not: One of the best-kept secrets in Austin is that you can enjoy the pools at some of the hottest, most exclusive, and priciest hotels for as little as $20 a day.
Here's where to take a dip this summer without ever having to check in.
South Congress Hotel
The "new kid on the block" has already been named to the 2016 Travel + Leisure It List, and the buzz continues to build. Why not find out what all the fuss is about yourself and catch some summer rays? For $20 per day, non-hotel guests get access to the rooftop pool and bar, free valet parking, and fresh towels. While you lounge, order snacks from Café No Sé or a fruity cocktail from the pool bar. Rumor has it that both Ryan Gosling and Quentin Tarantino have stopped by for a drink.
Pool passes are available Monday through Thursday, 11 am to sunset. Space is limited. To book your pool day, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Westin Austin Downtown
This downtown hotel has a rooftop pool and bar called Azul that, until recently, was only open to guests. Now you can swim among skyscrapers with the perfect view of downtown Austin — for free. Azul serves up refreshing cocktails, wine, and beer in addition to light bites and specialty hot dogs.
Open to the public Monday through Thursday from 3 to 9 pm, and Sundays, 11 am to 9 pm.
W Austin Hotel
The W has the reputation of being the place where you can take a walk on the wild side, and summer days spent poolside at the Wet Deck certainly go a long way to bolster that claim. If a "daycation" is more to your liking, a $30 non-guest day pass will let you lounge by the pool. Additionally, the Wet Deck's Sunday Soundwave parties with tunes from DJ Bird Peterson are $20 for non-guests. If you're looking for a more relaxing escape, book a treatment with the Away Spa. Texas residents get 30-percent off their services as well as free access to the pool and fitness center Monday through Thursday.
Subject to availability. Book online or by calling 877-822-0000.
The Four Seasons
The grand dame of Austin luxury hotels is the go-to location for rock stars and executives alike. Making a day of it at this downtown oasis is as simple as reserving a pool pass for $30. Better yet, what about a day at the spa? The Spa Daycation package offers a 50-minute spa treatment; lunch at Trio; and access to the pool, steam room, and fitness center starting at $175. There is also a spa happy hour, where you receive $50 off 50- or 80-minute treatments and a glass of sparkling wine.
Spa Daycation and Pool Day Passes are available Monday through Friday. Spa happy hour is available Sunday through Thursday, 4 to 8 pm. For reservations and availability call 512-685-8160.
Lake Austin Spa Resort
This world-class health and wellness destination is far from the madding crowd, but still just a short drive from town. Guests who opt for the Full Day or Half Day spa packages are invited to hang out at Lake Austin Spa Resort's stunning pools and enjoy other luxe amenities like saunas and hot tubs — because nothing says "pamper me" like a poolside session in the Hill Country.
Subject to availability and promotions change frequently. For current spa information and reservations visit the website.