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Dive Into These Pool Party Scenes This Summer

You know, if we ever actually get a summer.

Phoenix Hotel pool

Phoenix Hotel pool


In theory, summer arrives this week. Soon we’ll be sweating bullets and seeking out places for a dip. Or, more likely, Karl the Fog will roll in, in which case we’ll be fleeing the foggy city in search of an oasis that offers summer elsewhere. Whichever is the case, we’ve got you covered—here are ten of the best pools around California to cool off in this summer, five here in town and five in parts afield.

Bay Area

Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Get your wine tasting on poolside at this Napa Valley swimming hole which just opened daily for summer, right in the center of Francis Ford Coppola’s winery. Chaise lounges surround two large pool, but the 4-person cabins are the way to go. If you tire of the water, migrate to the bocce courts. Day passes and are available in advance (they usually sell out ahead of time, so don’t wait until the last minute). 

The Phoenix
When pool parties aren’t sounding off at this iconic rock ‘n’ roll hotel run by cheeky hospitality group, Joie de Vivre, poolside brunches on the midcentury modern patio are the best way to pretend you’re anywhere but the Tenderloin (you wouldn’t know it from the Palm Springs-inspired interior courtyard). Work off the eggs benedict coma with mimosas in a no-reservations-required cabana. 

Nob Hill Spa
If June gloom is hampering your pool party aspirations, it’s worth booking a treatment at this chichi hilltop spa near Grace Cathedral, if only for the fact that it gives you access to its stunning indoor pool. Tread water in the deep end while watching the fog tumble across the skyline on the other side of the floor to ceiling glass windows, then slip into the whirlpool or sauna. Or, skip the pricey massage and score a day pass for $50 Monday through Thursday. 

Tucked away in the foothills of Carmel Valley, this day spa has more than a half-dozen cold plunge pools ranging in temperature from the Pacific Ocean to an icy river. The hydrothermal therapy conceit suggests you alternative between the cold pools and hot tubs or saunas, then chill out in a lounge chair by one of the fire-pits or waterfalls. For $40, it’s well worth spending an entire day. 

Claremont Hotel Club and Spa
Not staying overnight at this iconic Berkeley resort? A spa treatment will get you into this hotel’s amazing outdoor pools, which includes a lap and recreation pool, that has views stretching across the Bay to San Francisco. The stately white architecture and grounds have a classic country club feel, pockmarked with bright blue umbrellas and palm trees. 

Further Afield

W Hotel, Los Angeles
This scene-y West Hollywood pool is perched on the hotel’s roof overlooking LA’s skyscrapers. Don’t come for relaxation—this pool is always going off with DJs, drinks, and the occasional redeeming detox workout. 

The Andaz, San Diego
Break from the crowded beach for this fancy rooftop pool with private cabanas, topshelf cocktails, and organic salads. After sunset it turns into a mellow nightclub lounge, lit by the pool light. 

Squaw Valley High Camp Pool and Hot Tub, Lake Tahoe
Situated on a granite mountaintop at 8,200’ elevation, catch the aerial tram up the mountain to this no-frills pool and hot tub that strikes an agreeable balance with families, couple, and groups of friends. 

The Saguaro, Palm Springs
The pool at this Crayola-colored hotel is backed by the dramatic San Jacinto Mountains, and is perpetually packed with a lively crowd of weekenders. Astroturf lawns, sun-colored lounges, strong drinks, and a DJ spin you into a desert trance.  

Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club, Santa Barbara
Don’t expect a pool party scene at this classic Southern California pool. As part of the Four Seasons Biltmore, this storied Hollywood escape dates back to the 1930s and has maintained its air of class ever since—as well as views of the ocean. 


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