Soaked in San Diego


A cool pool on a hot day — it’s the quintessential Southern California summer pastime. 

Now expand the concept to a weekend of pool pleasures and you’ve got the perfect excuse to pop down I-5 to San Diego. Whether you prefer swimming with the kids, lazing in sunny serenity or posing by a party pool, a spurt of new and revamped hotels has given San Diego a pool for just about every preference. 

Here are a just few:   

If you’re into tropical themes, the swaying palms and wide open views of Mission Bay and its beaches create an island-like ambiance around the pools of the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa ( Revamped during the Hilton’s massive 2009 redo, the poolscape now includes a kiddie pool, a shady koi pond and a free-form main pool. Private cabanas add a luxe touch, with a flat screen TV, CDs, sweet and salty snacks, beverages and a personal server. Poolside ping pong, a giant checkers board and afternoon Kids Klub activities provide family fun. The mood kicks into party mode with live music and a poolside happy hour Wednesday through Sunday afternoons through Labor Day.       
If you dig the Vegas pool party scene, check out “Intervention Sundays” at the nearby Hard Rock Hotel San Diego ( VIP lists, premium bottle service and top deejays rock the rooftop Float pool bar and deck every Sunday through September.  Sun seekers can chill in style on sleek daybeds and inside poolside cabanas tricked out with mini bars, flat screens and other amenities. 

You don’t have to give up family fun to be downtown. The newly expanded pool area at the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina ( — on the bay near the Gaslamp Quarter — reopened in May (following a $200-million revamp) with a profusion of water features, lush landscaping and the new poolside Tequila Bar & Grille. Sleek new cabanas provide hideaways around the large, meandering adult pool.    

On Coronado Island, three gleaming pools — one for adults, one for kids and one for everyone — plus two whirlpools and loads of activities add up to vibrant good times for couples and families at Loews Coronado Bay Resort ( Set on a private islet, these pools are popping with action through Labor Day. Kids from toddlers to teens have their own schedule of poolside fun, from children’s yoga to pizza-making. 

If you have a passion for the past, dive into history in the Johnny Weissmuller pool at the Lafayette Hotel & Swim Club ( in San Diego’s artsy North Park neighborhood. Opened in 1946 as a stopover for Hollywood glitterati on their way to party in Tijuana, the 65-year-old, nearly Olympic-size terrazzo pool is legendary, supposedly designed by “Tarzan” star and Olympic swimming champ Weissmuller. Today, it’s as trendy as ever, attracting summer sun-worshippers and celebrants with a whirl of special events, deejays and bands.  

Barbara Beckley, Custom Publishing Writer



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