Putting the water in L.A. watering holes
Among the guests frolicking at the pool of the W Los Angeles in Westwood on a recent Sunday afternoon, promoter and night-life impresario Allison Melnick cuts a striking profile in a metallic gold bikini (and matching shoes, of course).
“This is best way to spend a Sunday,” she raves, waving her hand at the relaxed scene from one of the hotel’s poolside cabanas. “Especially after a long night of partying,” she adds, taking a sip of a piña colada. “Let’s just say I’m still kind of feeling the effects of last night.”
Surrounded by a circle of friends celebrating the birthday of dancer Kenny Wormald, Melnick buzzes around the pool area greeting the growing crowd of party guests. A massive grill by the bar is piled with burgers and ears of corn. Wormald’s girlfriend, Lauren Bennett of girl group the Paradiso Girls, shows off an elaborate new tattoo that winds from her foot around her ankle.
“Isn’t this what summer in L.A. is all about?” Melnick asks rhetorically before leading more guests into a cabana.
With the proliferation of scenic (and scene-driven) poolside bars in and around Los Angeles, it’s a point well taken. From the DJ-powered parties that have made the reputation of the pool deck of the Standard in downtown, to the serene and sophisticated setting by the pool of the Avalon Beverly Hills, Los Angeles offers a pool option for any style.
This Philippe Starck-designed pool deck is all about exclusivity -- it’s accessible only to hotel guests. Boasting two pools (one is reflecting with lounge chairs set up in the shallow end; the other is for swimming), the high-end amenities include poolside manicures and pedicures as well as sun-assisted poolside hair-conditioning treatments at the adjacent SLS/Christophe salon.
Looming high above the Sunset Strip atop the hotel once known as the “Riot Hyatt,” the rooftop sun deck at the Andaz is all about the surrounding scenery. With views of the Hollywood Hills, down the Sunset Strip and all the way to downtown Los Angeles, you’re on top of the city.
Tucked away in a corner of Westchester next to LAX, the pool area of the Custom Hotel has become a regular hot spot for fans of underground dance music, with a regular calendar of DJ-driven events. Local promoters Electech host “Salt & Pepper” every Saturday, bringing in such high-profile guest DJs as France’s I:Cube. The space also hosts notorious annual “Wet” pool parties.
This cozy, Moroccan-themed poolside bar is one of downtown L.A.'s not-so-secret gems, hiding in plain sight just a few blocks away from Staples Center. The dark, sultry décor is ideal for a romantic rendezvous. It also has the distinction of landing in the July issue of Esquire magazine as one of the best bars in America.
Surrounded by cabanas, this old-school 1950s-style pool literally glows electric blue, casting a cool light in this swank spot off of Olympic Boulevard. Blue on Blue offers fine cuisine, courtesy of Scott Garrett, and a list of fancy cocktails including its signature Blue Avalon, which blends rum, Sprite, pineapple juice and blue Curacao to get the proper hue.
Poolside bars Where: The W Los Angeles Westwood, 930 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles.When: Sunrise to sunset; cabanas available 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.Price: Free for guests. Nonhotel guests: Mondays to Thursdays must pay $30 for a chaise longue or $200 for a cabana based upon availability. Fridays and Saturdays must pay $30 for a chaise longue or $400 for a cabana based upon availability.Contact: (310) 208-8765; www.starwoodhotels.com.Where: Altitude at SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, 465 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. When: Open to hotel guests 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Not open to the public except for spa guests.Price: No RSVP required for pool chairs. RSVP required for cabanas; from $200 for half-day.Contact: (310) 247-0400; www.slshotels.com.Where: Andaz West Hollywood, 8401 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood.When: Open to guests from sunrise to sunset (Fridays and Saturdays open until 10 p.m.).Price: Free. The only charges are for food, beverage and poolside massages.Contact: (323) 656-1234; www.andaz.com.Where: Hopscotch Pool Bar & Grill at Custom Hotel, 8639 Lincoln Blvd., Los Angeles.When: 5 to 11 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 1 to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.Price: Varies depending on event; call ahead.Contact: (310) 645-0400; www.customhotel.com.Where: Veranda Bar at Hotel Figueroa, 939 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles.When: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.Price: FreeContact: (213) 627-8971; www.figueroahotel.comWhere: Blue on Blue at Avalon Beverly Hills, 9400 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills.When: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.Price: FreeContact: (310) 277-5221; www.avalonbeverlyhills.com.