It’s safe to say that melting in the summer heat is not one of the perks of warmer weather. But posting up on a lounge chair with a fresh coat of sunscreen and a tasty treat in hand at a luxury hotel makes the scorching temperatures a bit more bearable. From the sandy shores of Hawaii to the bustling city of Baltimore, our Forbes Travel Guide inspectors have scoured the country for the best poolside offerings at top-notch hotels, and we’re here to share their picks. So grab a towel, break out the sunglasses and cool off with these refreshing pool delights.
Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore
The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel’s waterfront location makes it an ideal spot for escaping from the rising temperatures. What makes Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore even better is its fourth-floor pool that affords pristine views of the Inner Harbor. Snag one of the sleek chaise lounges and enjoy the complimentary services provided by staff, such as sunglass cleaning and Evian spritzes. Our Forbes Travel Guide inspectors especially appreciated the delicious frozen grapes and fruit kabobs that were passed around hourly, serving as a thirst-quenching snack on a hot day. In addition to its usual perks, this summer, the Charm City hotel is offering a refreshing cocktail program—created by beverage director Tiffany Soto—with fun “poptails” (boozy popsicles) for $9 each. Fun flavors include red-white-and-blue sangria, classic mojito, raspberry-Beaujolais-cheesecake (complete with graham cracker crumbs), strawberry-sage-sauvignon blanc and Baltimore orange crush dreamsicle.
Head to Honolulu’s famous Waikiki Beach for a stay at this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel, whose heated freshwater pool is a sight to be seen with its mosaic design of a Cattleya orchid, made of 1.2 million South African glass tiles. While you’re soaking up the rays, be sure to indulge in the various treats the staff distributes throughout the day. When our inspectors visited Halekulani in the spring, they were impressed with the limoncello popsicles. Now the resort provides a variety of handouts throughout the day, including fresh-baked muffins (served at 10 a.m.), ice water (11 a.m. and 1 p.m.), pineapple slices (noon) and Melona creamsicle bars in strawberry and honeydew melon flavors (2 p.m.). Staff is also at the ready with cold towels and magazines.
Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles
Saying Hotel Bel-Air has poolside pampering down to a tee is an understatement. The Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel, located in Los Angeles’ posh Bel-Air Estates neighborhood, pulls out all the bells and whistles while you sit back and relax by its oval-shaped pool lined with stark white umbrellas and plush lounge chairs. Complimentary treats run the gamut here, including bite-sized ice cream sundaes, white and dark chocolate-dipped banana coins, frozen grape skewers, fresh fruit sorbet push-pops (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and mini lemonade slushes, among other items. You can also opt to order food from the pool menu, which is filled with plates such as Thai-style chicken salad, grilled garden vegetable pizza and sautéed Maryland crab cakes.
Acqualina Resort Spa, Sunny Isles Beach, Fla.
Retreat to Florida and soak up the sun at this glamorous beachfront resort. While the warm sand is sure to be a focal point during your vacation, the service and amenities at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel’s four pools make for a tempting alternative. Acqualina’s Beach Club Pool is well suited for families with little ones in tow, whereas the Tranquility Pool is an adults-only space. No matter where you choose to lay down your towel, though, the staff is on hand for beverage requests, setting up your chair and doling out tasty bites. Our Forbes Travel Guide inspectors found the mini strawberry smoothies served on a tray to be refreshing, and current offerings also include mini fruit salads, frozen lemonade, samples of sangria for adults and Rice Krispies treats for kids.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
One of the many impressive facets of this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star resort is that it doesn’t just have one pool—it has seven. There’s something for everyone, whether you’d rather relax by the oceanfront Beach Tree Pool, or prefer an adults-only scene at the Palm Grove Pool. One thing is for sure, though: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai doesn’t skimp on its poolside amenities. Our Forbes Travel Guide inspectors loved the dollops of aloe handed out by staff to ward off any post-sun irritation. While the rotation of passed fruit, cocktail samplers and popsicles changes regularly, you can expect to find items such as Bloody Marys, mimosas or melon ball mojitos at the Palm Grove Pool (drinks here are made with herbs from the poolside garden), or smoothies and Evian spritzes at the family-friendly Beach Tree Pool.