Summer is a scorcher in Houston — with temperatures reaching well into triple digits — and sometimes, the AC just doesn’t cut it. When you’ve had enough of hibernating inside, head to the pool, take a dip when it gets too steamy and order a cold, summery cocktail. Whether you’re looking for a place to party, work on your tan, get a relaxing massage or lunch poolside, there are plenty of hotels that are ready to oblige. We’ve got the inside track on five of Houston’s hottest hotel pools.
Imagine lounging poolside with a watermelon mojito in hand. The Jacuzzi gurgles in the background as the soothing sound of jazz wafts through the air. You’ve selected a treatment from the “spa tapas” menu of 15-minute poolside services offered by the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel’s full-service spa, and the therapist is kneading away the soreness of the day with an organic mango massage cream that smells divine. When your service is done, and you feel your body temperature rising, take a dip in the saltwater pool. The water acts like a cool balm, silky and soft on your skin. As your appetite creeps up, venture a few steps to the misted area underneath the pool bar, where you can order lunch, dinner, snacks, cocktails and frozen smoothies. (We suggest the cheddar-jalapeño poppers for a great snack.) It’s utter relaxation in a calm, soothing environment.
For the stay-cationer: Take advantage of the Big Chill package (available for Friday and Saturday arrivals only), where your second night’s rate equals the day’s recorded Fahrenheit high temperature.
For the spa-goer: Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., enjoy the Lunchtime Retreat Spa offer, which includes a gourmet Four Seasons lunch (such as a portabella mushroom panino or a Cobb salad) and a 25- to 30-minute treatment of choice, with pool privileges.
From the minute you enter the pool area at Hotel ZaZa in Houston’s Museum District, it feels as if you’re at a swanky party, the atmosphere similar to what you’d experience in Las Vegas. Upbeat music pumps through the outdoor sound system. You’ll find a full-service bar (try a Big Flirt with Absolut Mandrin, X-Rated liqueur, pineapple juice and fresh berries), a ping-pong table, hidden alcoves with double lounge chairs for getting cozy and awesome private cabanas, perfect for small groups or canoodling à deux. Want a poolside spa service? Outdoor treatments can be arranged with the gorgeous ZaSpa. Work on your tan while lounging on the boldly striped lounge chairs, or enjoy the shade under a bright yellow Veuve Clicquot umbrella, dozing away to the sounds of splashes, laughter and waterfall fountains. As a bonus, when the temperatures are particularly sweltering, the staff will pass out complimentary frozen popsicles and iced scented face towels to alleviate the heat. Super cool, indeed.
For the stay-cationer: Need a quick getaway? Book a Stay and Play offer, a one-night package that includes a $50 food and beverage credit, and $60 spa credit, along with two complimentary cocktails.
The pool at Hotel Sorella CityCentre has that certain je ne sais quoi. Located on the rooftop with expansive views of the contemporary CityCentre complex in Houston’s Memorial City district, the gleaming white pool is flanked by modern loungers and cabanas adorned with gauzy, flowing white fabric, the epitome of Miami or L.A. chic. It looks like the background for a swimsuit shoot. Sip a cocktail from the adjacent Monnalisa bar (try the signature tipple that’s infused with blackberry), or nosh on items such as the grilled watermelon salad. Come sunset, the pool is transformed into this glowing blue body of water set against a backdrop of twinkling city lights. Even better, live music is featured Wednesday through Saturday. While the hotel doesn’t have a spa or a Jacuzzi, you can pay $15 for access to the adjacent Lifetime Fitness Athletic Club, a 140,000-square-foot facility that features additional indoor and outdoor pools, steam rooms, saunas, a Jacuzzi and a rock-climbing wall.
For the stay-cationer: Go for the Ti Amo – I Love You package, which includes accommodations, breakfast for two in your room or at The Bistro, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries.
If you crave seclusion, privacy and opulence, look no further than the Tuscan-themed pool at Four-Star Hotel Granduca. Nestled in a gorgeous courtyard flanked by plush, rust-colored loungers, the aquamarine saltwater pool is immediately relaxing. You’ll feel as if you’re at a luxurious Italian villa as you lean back in the lounge chair and soak up the surroundings. (Or opt for a private cabana, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis.) Soothing jazz and contemporary music sets the mood for an afternoon in the sun or an evening of lounging, with a full-service bar and light pool menu for snacks (such as prosciutto, melon and mozzarella) and a light meal (grilled shrimp with spicy aioli), if you can pull yourself out of the water.
For the stay-cationer: Get the Best in the West Summer Adventure offer and, with a minimum two-night stay, you’ll receive a complimentary suite upgrade and $75 food and beverage credit.
Tranquility permeates the deck at the elegant Four-Star St. Regis Houston, where the sound of water spilling forth from the pool fountains helps create an oasis that whisks you away from the busy outside world. While laying out on the comfortable beech wood chaise lounges, or in between strokes in the pool, order a frozen peach bellini to cool off, or sample the spa menu’s grilled chicken wrap with chipotle-lime savoy cabbage salad, served with chili-grilled corn on the cob. A gym and spa are conveniently located within steps from the pool. Before you leave, rinse off in the spa shower stocked with Kerstin Florian products.
For the spa-goer: Get the Lavender Dreams Ultimate Experience, wherein minerals are combined with lavender’s healing properties in an invigorating full-body exfoliation, followed by a pressure-point massage using healing stones to draw out toxins as it balances the senses. SPF 30 is applied to the entire body at the end of the service so that you can return to the pool to lay out.
Photo Courtesy of Hotel Sorrella City Centre, Hotel Zaza Houston and Hotel Granduca