For some, summer doesn’t start until the wet drops from their kid’s perfectly executed cannonball lands on their body. Lounging and playing in the pool are huge parts of summer fun and many hotels created programs to extend that fun in new directions, thus creating the perfect poolcation.
Guests of Fashion Island Hotel don’t have to get out of the pool just because the sun drops. Evenings are now filled with Dive-In Movies. Every Friday night, all summer long, swimmers can discover a new favorite from the hotel’s rotating line-up of recent box-office hits without having to dry off. Guests can lounge in chairs poolside or on a floatie with snacks and cocktails to please everyone in the crowd. Fashion Island Hotel has special offers that include free perks and entry to a fun family poolcation. Visitors are welcome with a $10 admission fee.
The Hilton Orlando loves its poolcation programs too. Along with the summer Dive-In Movie sets, they’ve invited local critters to also come and play. In a partnership with local wildlife preserve and unique amusement park Gatorland, alligators and other wildlife are brought poolside for an educational, up-close-and-personal meet and greet. And you won’t have to get out of the pool to do it! Visitation dates run through summer and into September. Check with the hotel for specifics.
Minutes away from the Hilton Orlando is the Orlando World Center Marriott with a water park to rival the ones operated by the Big Boys. Its 104-step waterslide tower offers adventurous pool lovers two, 200-foot winding waterslides and one 90-foot speed waterslide. For the smaller kids, a nearby Splash Zone offers them a zero-entry pool and playground. But the poolside fun doesn’t stop when evening arrives. Nighttime brings a brilliant laser-show to light up any poolcation.
Not to be outdone, the Grove Resort Orlando not only has two waterslides that drop into the lazy river but also a Flowrider, a surf simulator where ocean lovers could practice skills on a stand-up or boogie board.
On the other side of the country is Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa with two scream-for-your-life waterslides and three more mellow ones for younger kids, plus a play structure with bridges and water guns. One of its three pools has sounds of whales singing underwater. But the best part is the Rainbow Reef glass- and faux rock-enclosed snorkel lagoon. The Rainbow Reef is stocked with 40 varieties of 1,000 fish that swim in a cooler version of their ocean home. This is perfect for those who prefer the pool to the ocean but also want to view the exotic fish that live there.
If you like a bit of whimsy and history on your poolcation, you won’t want to miss a swim in the pools of Hearst Castle. Once owned by William Randolph Hearst, a media mogul from the turn of the last century, the castle is inspired by the European travels Hearst took as a 10-year-old boy with his mother, Phoebe. Once visited by celebrities like Joan Crawford and Charlie Chaplin, the normally closed-to-the-public Neptune Pool just underwent its third renovation since its construction in 1924. Now you too can wade in these historic waters. Also available for a refreshing, but rare, dip is the Roman Pool Room. Tiled in azure blue, from floor to ceiling, and modeled after the intricate Roman bath houses, the vibrant room is adorned by alabaster statues and Art Deco pieces. There are four dates available in 2019 to swim in the Neptune Pool and one for the Roman Pool. Your admission money will be used to support the preservation of Hearst Castle by its foundation.
The Westin hotel group is particularly adept at creating — and maintaining — family-oriented yet kitsch-free environments that are upscale without being stodgy. The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa, just east of Palm Spring’s city center in residential Rancho Mirage, epitomizes the hotel group’s philosophy. With upgrades in the works for 2020, including an on-site bowling alley, it offers a tranquil desert mountain setting, convenient location off major roads, and a cozy community feel that makes visitors feel a little less like tourists.
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