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An animation of a figure running and diving into a pool.
(Li Anne Liew / Los Angeles Times)

Cool off in 10 of L.A.’s hottest pools with day passes

Temperatures are rising and so is the excitement for summer vacations. Many are itching to make up for lost travel time, but with steep gas and flight prices, maybe a staycation doesn’t sound too bad. Don’t worry, there’s a way to cool off without dropping a few paychecks.

L.A. is brimming with phenomenal hotel pools, and you don’t have to spend $500 a night to take a dip. Instead, buy a day pass — one of the closest things to vacation you can find without actually traveling anywhere.

For as little as $15, you receive access to pools and other hotel amenities. Some less expensive day passes include Hotel MdR Marina del Rey, while day-pass prices can climb to $75 at hotels such as Le Parc Suite Hotel in West Hollywood.

Spend a day lounging beside a posh pool, drinking margaritas and nibbling on fish tacos while palm trees sway overhead, then return home — all without paying a room charge.

Some of the most popular day-pass bargains can be found at rooftop pools that overlook Los Angeles, with spectacular views from the Hollywood Hills to the Pacific Ocean. You can grab a lounge chair and while away the day by yourself, or visit with friends and splurge on a cabana, which may set you back $300.

You can access deals through sites such as ResortPass and Daycation, but other companies also advertise day passes. While some hotels handle their own day-pass reservations, many use third-party services. Resort Pass, which is located in Los Angeles, tends to have more local options than Daycation.

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Day-pass programs are a relatively new market, with several hotels in their first few years. Shalesha Kennedy, front office manager of Long Beach’s Hyatt Centric the Pike, said that locals would constantly come in and ask to visit the pool prior to the day-pass program.

“It felt so bad having to turn them down, but at the same time, we want to make sure our guests can enjoy it too,” Kennedy said, adding that a limited amount of day passes allows crowd control while boosting accessibility. “We get people almost on a day-to-day basis for the pool whether the weather’s great or not, so it’s great for the hotel, and then it’s good for people who just want to come hang out.”

As the hotel industry rebounds from the pandemic’s travel restrictions, some day-pass programs have incorporated special events. The Marina Del Rey Hotel launched its annual summer pool parties, attracting about 150 to 200 people every Sunday — the bulk of whom are day-pass users.

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“It is so nice to be able to do things like this again. It is incredible to be able to host an event,” said marketing manager Jessica McLin.

And day-pass users can do more than just splash around. “People can take advantage of the lovely pool, have lunch and add on a massage or a facial,” said Sam Jagger, general manager at Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, a Santa Monica oasis with gilded gates, an incredible 140-year-old fig tree in the entrance courtyard and a garden pool you’ll never want to leave.

How does it work? When you arrive at the hotel, “we have someone escort you to a chair or table at the pool and introduce you to the staff,” he said.

North Hollywood resident Elena Richardson, who spent time last summer at the W Hollywood‘s pool with friends, loved her experience. “The hotel took my breath away. I felt like I was relaxing in elegance,” she said.

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“When you walk through the doors, you know you’re in a special place. I live in North Hollywood, so being able to just go down there — it was so close — and have a daycation was incredible. My girls and I had a chance to do something luxurious without spending a lot of money.”

We took a quick look at some hotels to let you know what kind of deals you can find in the Los Angeles area. Starting prices are listed below, which may be available only when the hotel is not crowded. For the price breakdown, $ signals under $30, $$ denotes under $50 and $$$ is for all other prices.

An insider’s travel guide that takes you beyond the mouse ears, selfie spots and Golden Gate Bridge.

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A view of the rooftop pool at the Andaz Hollywood.
(John Russo / Andaz Hollywood)

Andaz West Hollywood

West Hollywood Hotel $$
Grab a Moscow Mule at the pool bar and settle in for a day of fun at this Hollywood icon on the Sunset Strip. Led Zeppelin, the Who and other classic rockers once frequented this boutique hotel and it still appeals to rock enthusiasts and visitors looking for fun on the Strip. Andaz has the highest rooftop pool in Los Angeles (it’s on a hill), which means great views in every direction, from downtown skyscrapers to the Pacific Ocean.

Day pass: $40; cabana, $300
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A view of the pool at Beverly Hilton.
(Beverly Hilton)

Beverly Hilton

Beverly Hills Hotel $$$
Yes, this hotel usually plays host to the Golden Globe Awards and the official Academy Awards luncheon. It’s legacy Hollywood and will make you feel like a star as you lounge at the Aqua Star Pool, which claims to be the largest heated pool in Beverly Hills. A pass is pricy but includes a comfy lounger.

Day pass: $65; cabana, $400
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A view of the W Hollywood hotel pool
(W Hollywood)

W Hollywood

Hollywood Hotel $$
You can’t get much closer to the Hollywood vibe than the W Hollywood, a massive complex at the famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine. The hotel is known for its palm-fringed rooftop pool called Wet Deck, which has expansive views of the Hollywood Hills and downtown Hollywood and is considered one of the liveliest pool scenes in town.

Day pass: $35; daybed, $50; cabana, $100; fire pit table, $50
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The Hollywood Roosevelt's pool area
(Rosemary McClure)

Hollywood Roosevelt

Hollywood Hotel $$$
This is the place to take your aunt and uncle from Kansas when they visit — or anyone else who’s impressed by Old Hollywood. The hotel, across the street from TCL Chinese Theatre, opened in 1927 and was once the home of Marilyn Monroe. (It’s supposedly haunted by Monroe, Montgomery Clift and Errol Flynn.) The large, ground-level pool is California cool with lots of palm trees and comfortable lounges.

Day pass: $100, reserved lounge chair; $180, two reserved lounge chairs, with $20-per-person food and beverage minimum per person
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The Fairmont Miramar Hotel is surrounded by lush greenery.
(Fairmont Miramar Hotel)

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

Santa Monica Hotel $$
Is the ocean calling you? The 5-acre Fairmont Miramar, at the edge of Santa Monica’s bluff-top Palisades Park, overlooks the Pacific and is within walking distance of the pier. It’s also close to 3rd Street Promenade’s shops and restaurants, but you likely won’t want to leave after you settle in to the park-like grounds surrounding the pool. The vibe is pure luxury.

Day pass: adults $35; kids $20
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Hilton Universal City's pool includes a hot tub and poolside service.
(Hilton Universal City)

Hilton Universal City

Studio City Hotel $$
Just across the street from Universal Studios Hollywood, this 24-story glass spectacle offers a spacious pool and hot tub. Lush grass, plenty of trees and well-groomed flower beds craft an oasis in a crowded city. After poolside service, guests can wander into the Atrium Lounge in the evening to enjoy live piano music. Parking is discounted.

Day pass: $30; daybed, $95; cabana $165 (six people), with $75 food and beverage minimum
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The wall-sized mural distinguishes the Hotel Figueroa's pool area.
(Rosemary McClure)

Hotel Figueroa

Downtown L.A. Hotel $$
This downtown property, founded in 1926, has seen a lot of Los Angeles history, and now it’s offering locals a chance to decompress without leaving DTLA. On-site perks and amenities for day-pass guests include $20 to $45 food and drink credit from the outdoor La Casita Restaurant, a reserved poolside lounge chair and pool access for four hours, high-speed Wi-Fi, complimentary towels and self-parking for $5 with validation.

Day pass: $45 for a four-hour morning, $55 for a four-hour afternoon, $100 for all day
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A view of the Marina Del Rey Hotel pool.
(Jim Bartsch / Marina Del Rey Hotel)

Marina del Rey Hotel

Marina del Rey Hotel $
Blue water laps at deck-level at this hotel’s freshly renovated pool, accompanied by a matching hot tub and bar. As the hotel name suggests, guests enjoy a marina view while poolside. On summer Sundays, bubbles drift through sunscreen-scented air as the DJ amps up for vivacious weekly pool parties. Cocktails like the $20 lemon drop are pricier than Sunday tickets, which sit at only $15 and include all day-pass amenities from 1 to 6 p.m. Parking is $20 valet on Sundays, but there are cheaper metered lots within walking distance.

Day pass: $40; day bed, $150 (six people); cabana, $200 (10 people); $15 on Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m.
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The rooftop pool at Hyatt Centric the Pike Long Beach offers ocean views.
(Hyatt Centric the Pike Long Beach)

Hyatt Centric the Pike Long Beach

Long Beach Hotel $$
From this relaxed rooftop pool, guests overlook the Aquarium of the Pacific, Shoreline Village and harbor cruise ships — all a brief walk away. Ocean breezes sweep up from below as seabirds chirp overhead. Cozy up on vibrant couches and chairs as you check out the panoramic views. Games like Connect Four add a personal touch, and you can drink $13 cocktails at the rooftop Top Sail Bar. As an added bonus, grab shaved ice in the Pike Outlets just outside the hotel lobby.

Day pass: $35; day bed, $90 (two people); cabana, $150 (four people)
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A view of the Beverly Wilshire pool.
(Beverly Wilshire)

Beverly Wilshire

Beverly Hills Hotel $$$
Modeled after Sophia Loren’s Italian villa, this Mediterranean-style pool boasts top-tier service and amenities. Nestled in the famed Rodeo Drive, this 14-story hotel has a spa, restaurant and 94 years of history. Guests can buy a day pass during the non-summer off-season or splurge on a fully shaded cabana, TV included, while enjoying the two-story fitness center and complimentary valet parking. A day pass is pricy, but so are the hotel rooms, which range from $1000 to $25,000 per night. This daycation offers a glimpse into what it’s like to stay at a luxury hotel.

Day pass: $65 (only available during off-season); cabana, $250 (three people)
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