Aside from the obvious focus on music and arts, festival season means one thing: pool parties. It’s all about sipping Skinny Cucumber Coolers with one foot casually in the water. Splashing around while the DJ spins. Soaking in those sweet desert rays. Let’s be real, if you haven’t ’grammed at least one selfie tooling around on a giant swan float, were you ever really here?
A good pool’s got to have a good bar. It’s a fairly simple recipe: personable service, craft drinks, scenic setting. But don’t you need to be a hotel guest to get in? Not at these splashy pool bars. (That said, we recommend phoning ahead, as hours — and day rates — may change during festival weekends.)
In the mood to sip and soak? These heliophile haunts will do the trick.
This chic modernist hotel in Uptown Palm Springs is well-loved among influencers for a reason. Each space has been thoughtfully designed with the vacationer in mind, and that begins with the poolside restaurant and bar, Reservoir. If you’re staying here, heads- up: The indoor-outdoor hangout doubles as guest check-in and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But we’re here to talk booze — and they pour it well. You’ll find a curated selection of wines by the glass; microbrews by the bottle, can, or draft; and cocktails like the Smoky Paloma (mescal, grapefruit, lime, and soda) and the Celery & Basil (gin, tonic, and citrus, with an absinthe rinse), topped with photo-worthy garnishes. Open to the public, no pass required.
PHOTOGRAPH BY PHILLIP BUTLER
Arrive Palm Springs, recommended by Dazey LA clothing designer Danielle Nagel, has an indoor-outdoor poolside bar that also serves food and acts as guest check-in.
2. Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa
There are seven lush, palm-rimmed pools at the Hyatt in Indian Wells. There’s even a 60-foot spiral waterslide. At the adults-only pool, you’ll find adults-only beverages such as the Fountain of Youth (acai vodka, pomegranate juice, agave nectar, and soda) and Lava Flow (Cruzan rum blended with piña colada mix and strawberry purée), plus nonalcoholic spritzers and smoothies. Day passes are $25 at resortpass.com, or $40 in person.
760-776-1234; indianwells.regency. hyatt.com
3. Hotel Zoso Palm Springs
Hotel Zoso knows how to party. That’s why, at this pool, you can rent an inflatable beer-pong table or unicorn float to level up your swim day. Rather avoid the noise? Hide out in a private cabana. The poolside menu touts sandwiches and salads, shareable plates, plus drinks for every palate.
4. The Saguaro Palm Springs
This fabulously hued hotel serves breakfast, appetizers, and lunch by the pool. Though the poolside cocktail menu is not particularly expansive, pitchers are available — so it’s an ideal spot to please the squad. You can also get bottle service. Sample the red or white sangria, or opt for the Mermaid Bait (vodka, Campari, watermelon, and lime) or Hornitos margarita (tequila, jalapeño, watermelon, and ginger or hibiscus). Open to the public; no pass required unless it’s a ticketed event.
5. Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa
A sunbather’s favorite for its sandy beach entrance, waterfalls, and central bar. Day passes will run you $30 and are available at resortpass.com; you can also book a cabana, equipped with a flat-screen TV and fruit platter, for up to eight people.
6. The Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa
The main pool has a 75-foot waterslide and plenty of places to saturate in the sun. Grab a $25 day pass at resortpass.com and stoke the vacation vibes with a blended tropical drink, beer, or smoothie.
7. Morongo Casino Resort Spa
Those looking to get away from the desert’s festival bustle will relish the short jaunt up to Cabazon for an afternoon at Morongo’s sanctuary pool — a sprawling site modeled after resorts in the South Pacific, with a lazy river, lounge chairs positioned on a tanning shelf in the water, and a sandy beach area. The indoor-outdoor Sunset Bar’s menu offers everything from breakfast burritos to poke bowls to mango shave ice, and if you’re really parched, you can order your cocktail in a yard-long souvenir cup to take home. A day pass is $30 in person, and you must be 18 or older to get in.
8. Caliente Tropics
Back in the day, Sinatra and the Rat Pack gathered at this quirky Polynesian-themed hotel, famous for its Congo Room bar, now called The Reef. Libations are tiki-inspired and ideally meant for sipping in the sun. Day passes to the pool and adjacent lawn area, where well-behaved pups are welcome, are $20 at the front desk.
9. Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Buy a day pass for $35 at resortpass.com for access to the Splashtopia water park, complete with lazy river and two 100-foot waterslides, as well as the adults-only pool. If you’re thirsty, order from your lounge chair. What to try? A Skinny Cucumber Cooler (Hendrick’s gin, St. Germain, agave nectar, lime, and cucumber) or a good old-fashioned Icee — spiked with vodka or rum, of course.
10. Avalon Hotel and Bungalows
This cheery property is bright and modern and everything you imagined your Palm Springs adventure would be. To hang at the pool, stop by the spa and purchase a $30 pass. When the clock strikes Drink:30, you can’t go wrong with a Spicy Cactus (Pisco, agave, lime, cucumber, and serrano) or Avalon Essence (vodka, coconut water, and pineapple).
11. Riviera Palm Springs
Can you say no to an Antioxidant Mojito (rum, pomegranate, mint, lemon, and fresh blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries)? One can only assume knocking this drink back is equivalent to taking a multivitamin. Pool passes are $10 Monday to Thursday and $15 Friday to Sunday.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY RIVIERA PALM SPRINGS
12. Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs
The Kimpton will get you high — seven stories high, in fact. Here, the pool sits atop the roof, providing panoramic views of Greater Palm Springs. The aptly named High Bar serves artisanal snacks and cocktails.
PHOTOGRAPH BY TIENLYN JACOBSON
For a real desert fix, try the Highway 111 (bourbon, demerara, roasted dates, and bitters). Day passes are available Monday through Friday for $30; the pool is closed to the public on weekends.
13. Desert Hot Springs Spa Hotel
Sun and soak in seven natural hot spring pools, ranging in temperature from 90 to 104 degrees, or take a few laps in the Olympic-size pool. Day passes range from $4 to $9, depending on the day. Though there is no walk-up bar by the water, you can order poolside.
14. L’Horizon Resort & Spa
Book any spa treatment and you’ll get automatic entry to L’Horizon’s dreamy, intimate pool. The drinks are as pretty as the property. Go for a Lavender Gin Fiz (Valor gin, lemon, simple syrup, house-made lavender tincture, and egg white) or a Caipirinha (cachaça, lime, and a sugar cube).
15. Ace Hotel & Swim Club
Whether you’re craving a date shake (medjool dates, whole milk, and vanilla bean gelato) or a Cranky Coyote (vodka, grapefruit, rosemary, and lime), the Ace in Palm Springs is well-equipped to quench your thirst.
PHOTOGRAPH BY EMILY CHAVOUS
The bar has 21 craft beers on draft — some you’ve probably never heard of — as well as an array of wines including Outsider Cellars, bottled in BPA-free plastic for a reduced carbon footprint and zero chance of a shattered-glass party foul by the pool. Swim Club day passes are $20 Monday to Thursday and $30 Friday to Sunday.
16. Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa
Head to resortpass.com and pay $25 for access to two pools, lawn games, and Quench, the poolside bar serving desert staples — like watermelon slices with Tajín, beers from the Coachella Valley and La Quinta brewing companies, and the epic hangover curer, a Miramonte Mary (vodka, bloody mary mix, shrimp, bacon, and a pickle).
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY MIRAMONTE INDIAN WELLS RESORT & SPA
For an additional $5, upgrade to a spa pass, which gets you into the resort’s two more-secluded and intimate saltwater pools (think modern grottos), as well as the eucalyptus steam room.
17. Colony Palms Hotel
This Palm Springs escape is a favorite among celebrities for its secluded Spanish-style suites, and has been since the Old Hollywood days. The pool is typically for guests only, but if you book a spa treatment you can add a pool pass for $35. It’s a hop, skip, and cannonball from the outdoor Purple Palm bar to the water.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY COLONY PALMS HOTEL