Back in the day, the neighborhood kids used to spend summer afternoons waiting for old man Fenton to go golfing before piling over his fence and appropriating his pool. The adults told us it was wrong, but we never believed that our hijinks were hurting anyone.
Today, the neighborhood kids are all grown up, and although the neighbors wouldn't tolerate a bunch of half-naked miscreants slinking around their backyard, still, we don't see the harm in sneaking a dip at a few places known for their hospitality. That's why CityBeat put together this guide to San Diego's finest, and most poachable, hotel pools.
Sure, the signs say "for hotel guests only" but visitors are guests. Aren't they? Besides, with the City Council cutting public pool hours, an ancient water works dumping millions of gallons of raw sewage into our ocean, 'Zonies-another form of solid waste altogether-clogging our beaches and Fenton's pool covered long ago by a strip mall parking lot, we don't really have anywhere else to go.
Gaining admittance to a few of these hotel pools can be a little dicey but, as all of the neighborhood kids out there know, getting in is half of the fun. Some may require a key and others may have a guard. But if a pimply faced pool boy asks for your room number just tell him your room isn't ready yet and he can minimize the inconvenience by fetching you another margarita.
At the Manchester Grand Hyatt, anyone can stroll right in and enjoy the main pool's beautiful Roman-bath setting, which boasts two hot tubs, a fire pit and views of downtown. Or check out the quieter "adults only" spa pool overlooking Coronado and the bay. The pool at the Marriott Hotel and Marina next door is just as easy to get into but much less glamorous. Though with tons of convention traffic, it's our pick for the place to entertain a large group.
Two other smaller, and more heavily guarded, downtown options include the ultra-swanky, 20-story W Hotel, which despite persistent rumors does not have a pool on the roof but offers a very small sunning area and an even smaller pool on a second-floor patio. The better choice, the Hilton Gaslamp, has a small pool with keycard entry. Its padded queen size lounge chairs are well worth the hassle.
If you're near the coast, it's just a short stagger from the Barefoot Bar and Grill at the Paradise Point Resort and Spa to the main pool, which offers comfy lounging under luscious palms. If little kids creep you out, check out one of the other four aquatic options scattered throughout the resort. The Catamaran Resort Hotel is another low-key possibility near the beach that is less crowded and offers ample parking.Over the bridge, the Hotel del Coronado is an easy score with two pools adjacent to the beach. More confident pool hoppers can try the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, which offers three pools amid a very posh setting.