Pooling Together

The best spots in town to beat the heat

West Houston’s The Moran CITY CENTRE is proof that size doesn’t matter, at least when it comes to pools. The property’s pint-sized oasis may not be lap worthy, but its cabanas and view are certainly popular after dark, thanks to the adjacent Monnalisa Bar. Set on the second floor of the hotel, the pool and lounge overlook the buzzing CityCentre plaza, drawing guests for signature drinks and live music by local, state and national bands.

TagHotel ZaZa  — Houston’s answer to Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel — is a hub for pretty young things and wild antics. Reserve one of the chandelier-and-TV-equipped, outdoor cabanas overlooking Mecom fountain; grab a cocktail; or catch some rays atop a chaise lounge. For double the fun, book a pool bungalow suite, which opens directly onto the pool for prime people-watching opportunities.

The 262-room Embassy Suites-Houston Downtown opened in February 2011, making it the first privately-developed, full-service hotel built from the ground up in Houston’s Central Business District in nearly three decades. Set adjacent to downtown’s Discovery Green park, the property boasts 6,000-square-feet of private-event space, a street-level café and wine bar, as well as a rooftop pool and jacuzzi.

Starwood property fans have a new place to rest easy in H-Town. In spring 2011, the 267-room Westin Houston Memorial City opened its doors on the southwest corner of I-10 and Gessner Road. The newly-constructed hotel—which flanks the Memorial City Memorial Hermann Medical Center—boasts premium views of the city skyline, extensive meeting spaces, a gym and an 18th-floor infinity pool, which offers panoramic views of Houston’s skyline.

Three years and $25 million later, the Four Seasons Hotel Houston is ready to impress with revamped guest rooms, a resort-style pool area, a grand lobby and the hotel’s award-winning Quattro restaurant. When you’re ready to unwind, venture to the fourth floor for a dip in the property’s saltwater pool, surrounded by palm trees, a water wall and full-service bar.

For an urban escape, head to the rooftop pool at downtown’s Magnolia Hotel. While the oasis might not be the largest in the city, it makes up for it with a fitness center, jacuzzi and one of Houston’s most impressive views. Still looking for excuses to visit? Guests staying at the 314-room property are invited to the Magnolia’s nightly happy hour reception and bed time cookie buffet.

Hidden among 18 wooded acres in the Galleria area, The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa blends the allure of a nature retreat with the convenience of an urban resort. In addition to Four Diamond accommodations, guests have access to the 125,000-square-foot Fitness Center and pool complex. Choose from three pools—the sports, garden or resort pool, the latter of which features a 32-foot-long slide, waterfalls and geysers.

Set in the shadows of some of the city’s most stunning mansions—in the exclusive River Oaks neighborhood—the St. Regis Houston has remained a popular destination among elite visitors and residents for more than 25 years. Rub elbows with well-heeled guests—and the occasional celeb—at the 800-square-foot, mezzanine-level pool, which is adjacent to the Spa & Fitness Center.

Set on the edge of Houston's upscale Uptown Park shopping center, Hotel Granduca offers guests a luxury, Italian-inspired escape in the heart of the city. Beyond its 122, well-appointed rooms and award-winning Ristorante Cavour, Hotel Granduca also shines with a sparkling courtyard pool. There, trickling fountains and lush landscaping add to the R&R appeal, as do curtained cabanas and chaise lounges. 

Situated on 12 well-manicured acres, the Galleria-area Omni Houston is centrally located with 378 spacious guest rooms, a full-service spa, fine dining restaurant and two outdoor pools, which overlook a small pond. (Keep an eye out for the black swans that call the water feature home.) In between fruit-fueled drinks, sneak a workout in at the adjacent poolside gym.

Located a block from the Toyota Center and two blocks from Minute Maid Park, the Hilton Americas-Houston offers visitors more than 1,203 guestrooms, three restaurants and a spa, there’s also an indoor infinity lap pool on the 24th floor. In between backstrokes, take in views of the downtown scape or venture outside for sun on the adjacent Skyline Terrace.

Written by: Zach McKenzie