Cool Off for Free at These San Diego Hotel Pools

Yes, the beach is right there, but sometimes sand and surf aren't enough -- sometimes the only thing that'll satisfy is a poolside cocktail. If you're one of the unlucky San Diegans who doesn’t have access to a pool, and you’d rather not worry about jumping fences into a neighbor’s backyard or running from hotel security, then you’ve come to the right place. The following hotel pools welcome outsiders, are free of charge, and might even provide a discounted drink or two.

Hotel Palomar

Also located Downtown, the similarly named Hotel Palomar offers a chic rooftop pool space for those seeking refuge from the heat. Level Four Pool Deck + Lounge has kicked off its Island Summers specials, which feature Half Day Fridays: where guests can enjoy half-priced bubbles, select beer, and drink specials from 1-5pm. Saturdays offer drink specials DJs spinning tunes all afternoon, while Sundays feature live bands, tiki cocktails, small bites, and a chill atmosphere -- all with free admission!

Hotel La Jolla 

Visit the Hiatus Lounge inside Hotel La Jolla for free pool lounging and seasonal imbibing. Tiki Saturdays kick off this summer with island beats and a throwback cocktail menu featuring tropical favorites like the Poolside Mai Tai, Mr. Lee’s Epic Mudslide, Frozen Sangria, and Caipirinhas. Show your appreciation for the gratis pool access by ordering a drink, or purchasing some of the poolside bites created by Chef Ingrid Funes.

Pendry San Diego

The Gaslamp’s newest hotel is also home to the Pool House: a rooftop pool and lounge area that's open to the public and just launched two events (Rooftop Social and Pool House Sundays). Monday through Friday from 5pm-7pm, guests can enjoy a rooftop happy hour featuring wine, beer, and cocktail specials, as well as $1 oysters and half-off appetizers. Every Sunday beginning at 1pm, the party begins with celebrity guests, flavorsome bites, as well as specialty cocktails. Best of all: no cover charge.

Hard Rock Hotel

Infamous for its summer Intervention parties -- which will return for the 4th of July and Labor Day weekends this year -- The Hard Rock Hotel’s Float Rooftop Bar offers cabana rentals, a full bar, and plenty of lounge space. It's open every day to the public, free of charge, except on Saturdays, when there's a weekly pool party featuring DJ’s, special hosts, and drink specials, with tickets starting at $20 each.

BONUS: ResortPass

All right, it's not actually free, but ResortPass is actually legitimately useful for the pool-bound San Diegan. Designed by an SD local, the site allows guests to select a resort (currently eight to choose from in the city) and purchase either a day pass, spa pass, or cabana rental. Day passes run anywhere from $20-40, but they still allow you to relax, sunbathe, or have a cocktail delivered poolside without renting a room at the hotel -- and better still, they often include discounts on food and drinks.

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Originally from Chino, California, Michelle moved to San Diego in 2000 to attend San Diego State University, and never left. The daughter of immigrant parents from Quito, Ecuador, she’s a fluent Spanish speaker, a lover of travel, a foodie, a wannabe yogi, and an accomplished freelance writer. Follow her life adventures on her website and on Twitter @MichellePoveda.