All Photos by Garrick Ramirez
Does a perfect, glistening swimming pool rank high on your hotel wish list when booking a warm-weather escape? Showered with oodles of sunshine, Santa Cruz abounds with destination-worthy pools. Whether you like to lay out with a good book, perfect that summer tan, or challenge the kids to a rousing game of Marco Polo, you can make a splash at the following cool pools.
The stunning waterfront setting at the Dream Inn’s pool—overlooking Cowell Beach—is reason enough to grab the colorful inflatables and book it on over. But a sparkling new multi-million dollar renovation and fun poolside activities are what push it over the top. Throughout the summer, swimsuit-clad guests will enjoy a daily lunchtime taco stand, and on weekends, a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar and evening BBQs. Add ping-pong and a new beach shack-style waterfront bar, and the Dream Inn pool scene has all the feels of a luxury cruise!
Sleek Design + Stylish Cabanas
Part of Marriott’s stylish Autograph Collection, the Hotel Paradox stands out with a sleek design that extends to its chic pool deck. A glimmering pool - heated to a comfortable 80 degrees year-round - is ringed by daybeds, chaise lounge chairs, and a towering redwood tree that inspired the property’s modern woodsy motif. Solaire, the hotel’s indoor-outdoor restaurant and bar, offers poolside service so guests can sip Moscow Mules and nibble pork belly tacos without ever leaving the lounger. Plus, new luxury cabanas equipped with fire pits allow guests to lounge in even more comfort. During the summer, Saturday and Sunday mornings begin with sunrise salutations thanks to weekend yoga classes by the pool.
A happy discovery in the town of Aptos, the Best Western Seacliff Inn hides an unexpected oasis with six landscaped acres that feature a tropical lagoon with cascading waterfall and colorful koi. Follow an arched footbridge over the lagoon to the resort’s heated swimming pool which is tucked amidst the property’s scenic garden walking paths. After working up an appetite playing Sharks and Minnows, nab a patio seat next to the lagoon at the inn’s popular restaurant Severino’s Bar & Grill.
Pools with a View
Big dramatic views are the name of the game at Seascape Beach Resort thanks to its cliffside setting overlooking the Monterey Bay. It’s these same views that enliven three lagoon-like pools that blend into the resort’s blufftop ponds and gardens. All three pools make for an incredible sunset locale, but the middle pool features a warming fire pit, and is steps from the cocktails and nibbles at Sanderlings, the resort’s signature restaurant.
Nature and Nurture
For a dip in a beautiful natural setting, head to Chaminade Resort & Spa. Like the resort itself, the large swimming pool is situated on a peaceful hilltop ringed by towering eucalyptus trees. It’s fun in the sun for guests, but it’s also one of the resort’s many wellness amenities. The pool is the perfect way to cool down after strolling Chaminade’s numerous hiking trails that cut through a diverse landscape of the property’s nearly 300 acres. Plus immediately adjacent to the pool deck, you’ll find the only fully-equipped day spa in Santa Cruz, a 1,700 sq. ft. facility that encompasses treatment rooms, modern fitness center, and a scenic meditation garden.
Want to extend your water recreation beyond inflatable pool loungers? Check out our site which features exhaustive lists of local beaches and outdoor activities, from kayaking to stand-up paddle boarding in the Monterey Bay.