When it's this hot outside, we get to thinking about ways to cool down in Texas. Here's our take on Houston's coolest hotel pools, and you won't believe the last one: It's a showstopper.
Hotel ZaZa, Houston Museum District
Hotel ZaZa preserved the ooh la la when it purchased the historic Warwick Hotel in the Museum District, updating the Old World opulence with the brand's trademark ZaZa personality. Insiders are quick to book the villas around the perimeter of the pool, which offer balcony views of the action or direct access to the trendy cabanas. Guests can now start the day with complimentary yoga by the pool with NamaStay at ZaZa. Poolside offerings include house-made hummus, spiced ahi tuna tacos and exclusive bottle service. Access is reserved for hotel guests or those indulging in signature ZaSpa treatments.
Hotel ZaZa, Houston Museum District, 5701 Main, 713-526-1991, hotelzaza.com/#houston.
Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE
The rooftop pool at Hotel Sorella has a cool South Beach vibe that transitions from quiet luxury during the day to happening nightspot for local hipsters with live music at the Monnalisa Bar. We're digging the summertime pop-tails, which have flavors that change as the popsicle melts. Houston's trademark is the Valencia squeeze, flavored with Bacardi Silver Rum, Midori, pineapple and lime juices and garnished with a cucumber and mint popsicle. White, gauzy, flowing fabric covers several of the cabanas, with bright pops of orange and purple accents. This second-level rooftop pool with flickering lights and color-changing hues gets the party started while overlooking the action on CITYCENTRE plaza.
Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE, 800 Sorella Court, 713-973-1600, hotelsorella-citycentre.com.
The Whitehall sports an edgy second-story pool that offers spectacular views of Midtown, delighting guests with its exclusive cabanas, cobalt-blue decor, and Mexi-South cuisine served poolside from Edgar's Hermano, Buffalo Bayou and the brand-spanking-new outdoor bar, Part & Parcel. It's the pool's Welton Becket and Associates-designed irregular shape that sets it apart from the pack, with its angled nooks and crannies for lounging the afternoon away. The entire mid-century property just underwent a $5 million renovation, including the pool area, bringing a contemporary swank to the first four-star hotel ever built in the state of Texas.
The Whitehall, 1700 Smith, 713-739-8800, thewhitehallhouston.com.
Four Seasons Hotel Houston
Find the action at this luxury downtown hotel with plush lounge seating, Saturday flicks on the deck, a saltwater pool with adjacent hot tub and monthly DJ jams. Guests get the star treatment with poolside “treats” delivered hourly, be they snacks, drinks, an eyeglass cleaning or even an oh-so-cool Evian spritzer. Locals can get in on the action by purchasing one of the hotel's day pool passes, which come with perks like midday access to a hotel room, two frozen cocktails, a discount on spa services and even poolside mini foot massages at a modest price.
Four Seasons Hotel Houston, 1300 Lamar, 713-650-1300, fourseasons.com/houston.
Marriott Marquis Houston
Marriott Marquis Houston is bringing Las Vegas bling when this 100,000-square-foot, 1,000-room hotel opens in fall 2016. This downtown hot spot features a Texas-shaped lazy river on the sixth-floor terrace and a heated infinity pool overlooking Discovery Green. When you're not floating down the Rio Grande, the pool area also features a pedestrian bridge that passes over Del Rio, another that passes just east of the panhandle, and multiple event lawns. By day, sunbathe around the Houston star, then watch the pool transform into a party zone with ambient lighting at night.
Marriott Marquis Houston, 1777 Walker, 713-654-1777, marriott.com/hotels/travel/houmq-marriott-marquis-houston.