When the sun comes out, plenty of New Yorkers take off to the Hamptons – but what of those who can’t afford to up sticks from the city for the summer? Mercifully, New York City is bursting with sky-high swimming pools with sparkling views. Looking to beat the heat this summer? Take a dip in one of the best rooftop hotel pools in NYC.
Best Rooftop Hotel Pools in NYC
At 60 feet long, the Vale Pool is NYC’s longest outdoor pool. Floating 22 storeys above ground level, it also boasts some of the best views, with sparkling vistas over the East River and Manhatten skyline. You can rent a daybed or go the whole hog and get yourself a private poolside cabana. Westlight, the poolside bar, is open all day, serving up a delicious range of artisan cocktails, including the crowd-pleasing frozen mai tais and cucumber margaritas. It’s free for guests and day passes cost $99 on a weekday. Covid-19 restrictions may still be in place, so it’s worth ringing ahead to book your reservation.
The Williamsburg Hotel pool is a relatively new addition to the rooftop pool scene in NYC, but it’s fast becoming one of the most popular. The long strip of turquoise is surrounded by stripy sun loungers, cabanas and sofas, plus a rooftop bar and counter. At weekends there are live DJ sets, as well as rooftop yoga for those who prefer more sedate activities too. Unlike most of NYC’s member’s clubs, it’s refreshingly accessible – $65 will get you a day bed. The views over the Manhatten skyline are sensational.
Soho House is hardly a stranger to a superlative and this particular establishment makes frequently hits the top 10 for the world’s best rooftop pools. It sets an extremely high bar with its open-air rooftop bar, with views of downtown Manhatten. Fans of Sex in the City will recognise the pool deck from Season 6, when Samantha Jones manages to crash the members-only social club – only to get kicked out. Conditions are just as strict for entering today, over a decade later. First off, you’ll need to be a membership, which requires a cool job in the creative industry and at least two recommendations from current Soho House members. Then, you’ll need to foot the $2,000+ membership fees. Or, you could book a room for the night and make the most of the amenities the next morning.
Formerly known as the Gansevoort Park Rooftop, Royalton Park Avenue is one of NYC’s longest established rooftop pools. Perched on the 20th floor of the hotel, the roof deck features a 40-foot plunge pool surrounded by comfy sun loungers. It’s popular in the daytime but it’s impossible to resist at nighttime when the fairy lights come out. You can see the Empire State Building from here too, as well as most of Manhattan’s most iconic skyscrapers. The rooftop restaurant and bar serves up an impressive menu of seasonal cocktails and light bites, all served poolside. Towels are provided too and there’s also a lifeguard, which is helpful if you’re travelling with little ones.
5. SIXTY LES
For an alternative view of the city, head to the Lower East Side to Sixty LES. It’s guest-only, so you’ll need to have booked a room but rates are happily affordable. The pool is surrounded by plush lounge seating and cocktail tables, with a full bar and small plates from a Japanese restaurant by Sushi Izakaya. There’s even a fresco of Andy Warhol painted onto the bottom of the pool.
This is a pool for floating, not for practising your strokes – so if you’re looking to burn off calories, you’d best look elsewhere. The small, but perfectly formed, pool is just the sort of rooftop establishment you’d expect from swanky 1 Hotel. There’s ten storeys between the deck and the bustling streets below, but the two feel worlds apart. Located a stone’s throw from Brooklyn Bridge, it offers brilliant views of Manhatten’s soaring skyscrapers too. There’s a bar serving up handcrafted cocktails and canapes to accompany the views too. It’s guest access only, but it’s well worth the room price.
7. TWA Hotel
As lovers of all things quirky and kooky, we just couldn’t help including the TWA Hotel rooftop pool in the list. It may not boast sky-high views of the Manhatten skyline, but that doesn’t make the rooftop infinity pool any less thrilling. The hotel is located at JFK airport, which means thrilling views over Runway 4 Left and 22 Right – a real rooftop view with a difference. It’s technically a ‘pool-cuzzi’, heated to 95 degrees Fahrenheit which makes it perfect for year-round swimming too. The pool is inspired by the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Cap d’Antibes in France and even includes ‘beach’ entry and underwater seating.
It’s only available to hotel guests and you’ll need to make a pool reservation to nab a spot for one hour and 45 minutes. Certainly makes a lay-over more thrilling!