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As we told you last fall, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Studios would be opening on March 31st and today, the property lived up to its promise as the resort's first guests began checking in.
You can learn more about what the guest rooms have to offer here but for now, check out this dive tower water slide that drops you out into the 10,000-sq.ft. zero entry pool in the Cabana Courtyard ("Castaway" is the name of one of the guest room towers.)
The hotel will also unveil a lazy river experience, a first for the Universal Orlando Resort hotels, on June 16th (along with Hideaway Bar and Grill, the Tower family suites and standard rooms.)
Right now the hotel is offering a special opening offer for a family suite at a standard room rate. Rooms were sold-out this weekend but we did find a family suite for $239 a night next weekend. That room can sleep up to six people (it is kind of cramped, you've been warned) and it gives the family early access to Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction, along with a few other benefits.
[Photo: Cabana Bay Beach Resort]
As long as the list of London hotels is, there aren’t that many that come with a proper pool, and between space restrictions and historic buildings, it’s not that easy to just add one in. The solution? Dig down, which is what Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park did to accommodate a new 17-meter (56 foot) twin-lane, stainless-steel pool, fitness centre and changing areas.
Like we’ve seen at Piccadilly, the busy streets of Knightsbridge give little away of what lies underneath. As you step into the marble-filled lobby of the hotel, take the stairs on the left towards the spa, where down the long corridor, the elevator can now take you a level further into the ground, provided you have a guest key to activate it (or have one of the limited and rather expensive memberships). Rather than having the hotel above you, it’s the palatial apartments of One Hyde Park, the Candy & Candy development that arrived a few years ago amid much publicity and more than a little bit of controversy as the symbol of what real estate in the city has come to.
Our recent reminiscing about a French Riviera killer view, combined with the – quite literally – cold reality of winter in large parts of North America and Europe, has us dreaming of long summer days, bright blue skies, fragrant air, and a lot of lazy pool-side lounging, Côte d’Azur-style.
Join us for a few minutes of escapism as we look at 8 Côte d’Azur hotel pools that will make you seriously wish summer was here – and that you’ve won the lottery to fund a few weeks of leisurely living in the Mediterranean sun.
1. Cap Estel: a small hotel (just 28 rooms and suites) between Monaco and Cap Ferrat on its own private peninsula, with right at the tip a gorgeous pool for swimming while surrounded by the sea on three sides.
Done talking about the polar vortex? We are, too. Instead, let's discuss ways we can make it feel more like summer, even in Chicago, even in February. These five hotels have impressive indoor pools that are ready to host impromptu pool parties this very weekend. Dive right into our list, below.
THE INTERCONTINENTAL CHICAGO This Mag Mile property has a famously gorgeous Junior Olympic pool that's jazzed up with Spanish tiles and an ornate fountain. There are even poolside yoga classes held regularly. Rates start at $179 a night.
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While we showed you a quiet alternative in Cabo San Lucas earlier this week, today we're looking at a more lively hotel spot--The ME Cabo. This is where pool, beach and party all come together in a neat little package, ready for you to rip open with life-affirming gusto. But before you go buckwild, we have some important tips to share.
1) Bring your best bathing suit—This is no time to shrink down into your beautiful white Bali bed. The ME experience focuses on the senses and this includes sight, so show what ya got even if you think what ya got ain’t good. Here, attitude counts. With Bali beds for two to eight, sharing and showing a little skin is what it’s all about.
2) Wear your party hat—Nikki Beach Club, known worldwide as party central for house music revellers, can be found right at ME Cabo. We’re talking bikini dancing here, folks. There’s a DJ spinning tracks in an open-air booth while the Nikki Girls (that’s right) try to get the crowd moving to the beat of the electronic drum. Make sure to try the Nikki Mojito, the signature drink Bacardi approached Nikki Beach to create and is found at all Nikki Beach Clubs.
ME Cabo also knows how to throw a good party at Passion, their indoor/outdoor club and lounge. When the music dies down at Nikki Beach, Passion gleefully takes the baton. We were there during the annual Halloween party (if you can, we recommend you try to go during a celebration of some sort as well) and it was packed with both guests and locals. To best describe the vibe that night and the well-dressed or well-costumed patrons, imagine a big-city nightclub owned by Salvador Dali. (We’re digging what you’re thinking right now.)
But in this digital age where everyone with a smartphone is taking pictures and uploading them to various social media outlets--is it even possible for this rule, er, request to be enforced? We took a quick look on Instagram and found a few photos of the pool scene but nothing too stalkerish. We even saw a photo of someone posing next to this sign.
So maybe people are obeying the No Photos rule after all. (Also, whoever can tell us WTF a harp was doing in one of the guest rooms, we'd very much appreciate it.)
Of course, we had to flaunt the rules ever so slightly to snap this shot of the cute, pink, To Go boxes from the Cabana Cafe. Inside lies a McCarthy Salad...for $30. But it's still cheaper than the $500+ a night room rate.
There is an additional reason to make it over to the top floor of London’s The Berkeley Hotel these days. Yes, there is the rare rooftop pool (synchronized swimming anyone?) and quiet courtyard garden (for winter cinemas), but now also a brand new Bamford Haybarn Spa.
We swung by to see how the original Cotswolds health retreat translates to a central London location and liked a lot of what we saw. This isn’t a glitz-filled space with marble and gold everywhere that you may expect in many of the city’s high-end spas. Broad wooden planks painted white and grey tones line the walls, with potted lavender bringing bright pops of green and purple. Products are from the Bamford Body Collection, with skincare by British company Oskia. Options range from individual treatments (say, a 55-minute de-stress massage at £100/$160) to a full-day spa experience, including five treatments, lunch, and a gift certificate, at £570/$920 (a figure that does make us gulp a bit).
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There's something about a swim-up bar that gets hotel guests excited, but the one at Cancún's Nizuc Resort & Spa truly blows our socks off. The pool is still pretty pristine as the hotel has only been open since March, so there's no wear-and-tear as of yet.
Also, Nizuc is not an all-inclusive, so this bar isn't three-deep in 18-year olds clamoring for cloyingly sweet margaritas and cervezas. No, this is a more civilized ( and pricey) experience in an infinity pool with a sleek, dark blue hue, rather than the traditional garish turquoise coloring. The over-sized serving area is manned by a crew of talented bartenders who mix up such concoctions as the Rocket (made with reposado tequila, lime juice, and cranberry) and a green powerhouse of a drink made from local chaya leaves and vodka ( a healthy-boozy drink!).
One of the many waiters will bring your drink to your bali bed (no charge, first-come, first served) or lounger and from there it's just you and the incredible scene you see above and after the jump.
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We're in summer's full throttle, and if you're in New York we let you know here where to find sanctuary in the sun.
But what about the rest of the world? You too need some shelter from the swelter, right? That's why we've come up with some rad Hotel Pools Worth The Plunge.
Some are available for guests only, others come with a fee, and still more offer free access--usually when there's a pool party going down.
So, don a retro high-waisted swimsuit (or not!) and take one of these refreshing dips and dives.
W Hollywood Hotel and Residences, LA
It goes without saying that LA is a pool-centric place. You'd be hard-pressed to find a hotel that didn't offer a decent spot for some aqua-fied R&R. However, if you want to make it a rhythm and relax affair, head to the top-floor Wet Deck during the week to camp out in a cabana or laze in a lounge chair. On the weekends, a DJ comes in to pump up the jam and the adults-only crowd.
The outdoor, elevated pool deck puts the A's best views of Skyline on display. Ogle them from the water, or book a private cabana. Don't want to share your view with others? Book one of the hotel's four Pool Suites which have private plunge pools on the room's terrace.
Hôtel Americano's La Piscine is the place to see and be seen, with its trendy Chelsea Riviera location.
The whining in New York City is at an all-time high. Seems like folks just can't handle the July heat. From Twitter to Facebook and all points in between, the cries about the temperatures are soaring as high as the humidity.
While some folks are lucky enough to escape to the Hamptons for a bit of relief, not everyone has that option. So, in the spirit of tradition, we've come up with a few hotels that are allowing non-guests to enjoy their rooftop pools.
New York does it right with parties and yummy, cold drinks to go along with their cool-down experience, so hopefully this will help cease the moaning and groaning. You know, until winter comes and there's complaints that it's too cold. Sheesh!
La Piscine is the rooftop pool at Grupo Habitat's Hôtel Americano in Chelsea. Cozy cabanas and daybeds surround the space, which makes it the ultimate chill-out spot for stressed-out New Yorkers. Plus, the view of the High Line and the mezcal menu don't hurt, either. Call 212-525-0000 for reservations if you're not a guest.
Every Saturday and Sunday starting at 3pm, JIMMY at The James hotel offers pool parties for guests which includes specialty cocktails like the Grilled Pineapple Mojito, food by David Burke (tuna tartare tacos!) and a live DJ. If you happen to play hooky during the week, or are on vaca, take advantage of the teak bedecked pool when its available for guests only and chill on the plush chaise lounges. Guests can also take advantage of the free poolside yoga classes, which we recently mentioned.
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Summer doesn't officially (like, calendar-wise) begin until Friday, but at W New Orleans, things have been heating up since the beginning of this month, when the hotel kicked off its "Adults/Swim" series—a weekly rooftop pool party with DJs, specialty cocktails and cabana packages.
Fashionistas will want to pay attention to this next part, though: on the last Sunday of each month, the Adults/Swim party will be followed by an exclusive poolside fashion show, presented through a partnership between W New Orleans and Fashion Week New Orleans.
Dubbed "Strut +Swim," the shows will take place on the fourth floor Wet Deck, featuring local designers, boutiques, and hair and makeup artists telling you exactly what to wear, how to wear it, and why it's trendy. (This could be especially helpful for those of you trying to revamp your wardrobe this summer—these guys are experts, after all). Different designers and beauty experts
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If you had to pick your favorite hotel poolside cabana anywhere in the world, where would it be?
To be honest, it's not something we've ever given much thought to (seen one cabana, seen 'em all)—until, that is, we visited the fifth floor garden terrace of Singapore's Parkroyal on Pickering the other week.
We mentioned last year, before it opened, that the hotel would drip with tropical gardens, and indeed, it is certainly one of the lushest hotels we've seen in a while. Wild flora grow up and down the building's exterior, creating a sort of "secret garden" 120 feet above ground.
This effect is best seen from one of the poolside cabanas—large, sturdy structures that look like human-size birdcages—that are built right on the edge of the fifth floor terrace. Mini-worlds unto themselves, the cabanas are furnished with mountains of pillows and cushions so that once you've entered and plopped down on the floor (preferably with a cold Tiger beer in hand), you never want to leave. Ever.