Austin Motel might be most well-known for their trademark marquee—whose bold, red color and board with ever-changing quips has made it an essential Instagram stop for tourists and locals alike. However, the true gem at this quirky South Congress hotel is located beyond the sidewalk strip, their famous kidney-shaped pool, which is just as worthy of a space on your grid. Decked with red-and-white umbrellas swirled in the pattern of a peppermint candy, the retro atmosphere, along with one of their frozen peach martinis, will transport you to the nostalgic era of motor courts and Route 66. And, while day passes are available, you can make the relationship with the Austin Motel pool more permanent with one of their Swim Club memberships that allow you unlimited visits, as well as a free plus one.
It can be hard to reach full relaxation with the constant noise from the city’s traffic and pedestrians echoing in your ears. Instead of trying to block out the hubbub by blasting your AirPods full volume, find some peace of mind, and save yourself from potential hearing damage, by heading to Lakeway Resort and Spa. Located 45 minutes outside of Austin on the banks of the gorgeous Lake Travis, you’ll feel like you’re a world away—without the hassle of actually having to travel the world. And, with Lakeway’s separate adults-only pool complete with swim-up bar, you can also find relief from all the splashing caused by cannonballing eight-year olds.
To paraphrase a young Ms. Cyrus, the pool at The LINE Austin truly allows you to get "The best of both worlds.” The Downtown hotel’s locale, which literally borders the majestic stretch of the Colorado River that cuts through the city, offers the perfect touch of outdoor scenery to their poolside area. In other words, you can still get all the endorphins that come from basking in a plant-framed view of the river, while getting to lay down in a luxurious lounger—a much more comfortable way to experience the natural wonder, as opposed to the standard rental kayak. To top it off, you can end your relaxing day spent in the rays by digging into the excellent crispy rice at Arlo Grey, the restaurant headed by Top Chef winner, Kristen Kish, located inside the hotel.
The minimalist exterior of the Carpenter Hotel might make first time visitors walk right by the entrance. However, while that initial trip might require a consult of Google Maps, once you enter the cozy, yet trendy, hot spot, you won’t again forget it. The Carpenter’s Coffee Bar is already a serious go-to for young, laptop-totting professionals—and their pool is the perfect place to relax between Zoom calls (or, if you're muted with your camera off, during). And, in addition to being able to order as many of the Coffee Bar’s espressos as you can down while sitting poolside, you can also buzz up your end of the day round table by ordering drinks, such as the tempting C.R.E.A.Msicle Spritz, and food from a special pool menu.
By venturing to Deep Eddy, you not only get a refreshing break from the oppressive heat, you also get to check off an essential Austin experience from your must-do list. Deep Eddy is the oldest swimming pool in all of Texas—this much-loved, historic community hangout has been helping city residents cool off since 1915. The fact that it is filled with water from natural springs only adds to the inherent authenticity of the place— tapping into the original spirit of Austin itself, this municipal pool is open for, and welcoming to, everyone. Considering it is a public place, it does get crowded, especially on weekends. However, you can wait out the scene at two great spots nearby: tiki-themed food joint, Pool Burger, and longtime Austin libation institution, Deep Eddy Cabaret.
Just like the street from which it takes its name, South Congress Hotel is endlessly hip (seriously, this place even has an on-site motorcycle shop). And, you better believe that the spot has a pool that lives up to its cool credentials—which means, in the traditional style of chic, boutique hotels, it is located on the roof. Don’t let the sky-high height fool you though. Lush with greenery, and dotted with cheery, yellow umbrellas, the space’s atmosphere is surprisingly intimate and tranquil. However, should you forget you’re soaking in style, one glance at the pool’s extensive food and drink menu, which is provided directly from the hotel’s downstairs restaurant, brunch-time favorite, Café No Sé, will be sure to remind you. Try to save some stomach room to grab a post-pool meal at South Congress Hotel's newest restaurant, Maie Day, a fantastic steakhouse whose offerings include a must-have, high-end blooming onion.