Friday Question of the Day – Where’s Your Favorite Hotel Pool in DC?

“Dear PoP,

I have received conflicting information from neighbors, but are there hotels that allow pay-for-use pools to the general public? I’ve been told the Hinkley Hilton and Omni, but have then heard no from some people – anyone know the real deal? Hilton keeps trying to sell me $150 a month pool memberships which I really have no interest in. Any help would be appreciated!”

While we’re waiting for the public pools to open – this is a great question. I know I’ve heard people mention great hotel pool deals (I think one is near Scott Circle) but I can never remember the details. So where are some good hotel/private pool options and how much does it cost?

35 Comment

  • Pay for a pool? DC Pools are actually something this city does well. Haines Point in the summer and Wilson Pool in the winter.

  • Seriously. Why would you want to go to a private pool in a city with such great public pools that are free to residents? I think Wilson Aquatic is one of the nicest pools (public or private) I’ve ever seen.

    • I think the OP is asking about outdoor pools. True there are plenty of nice free pools in the city but most of them are indoors. Significantly less desirable than taking a dip in an outdoor pool in the dog days of summer.

  • The Takoma Community Center Pool at 300 Van Buren Street is just as nice as Wilson. It has two huge indoor pools, basketball and tennis courts and a playground. It’s free to DC residents.

    • Actually, it’s not nearly as nice as Wilson Aquatic. And I say that as someone that swims at Takoma often. The Takoma pool itself is fine. But the locker rooms and bathrooms are not kept nearly as clean as those in Wilson. There is markedly less maintenance of Takoma relative to Wilson.

    • I always find the Takoma pools a little cold, they’re never set up as 50 meter and there’s no hot tub.
      So Wilson wins. But Takoma is quiet nice, too.

  • Come to think of it I went to a pool party at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel pool and I think their pool is open to the public for $15 but that was last year. I don’t know if their policies have changed.

  • I’m two blocks from the Takoma pool and also swim there and I agree about the locker rooms but it wasn’t like that in the beginning. Wilson is newer. The pool Wilson had before the present one was nice too until the locker rooms and bathrooms started to go. It will eventually happen to their present pool. Unfortunately I think it’s a DC maintenance issue.

  • The one on the roof of the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel is nice, particularly in the evening. They used to offer a combo gym/pool package, but it’s been years.

  • Maybe using the free public pools will finally be incentive enough to go and get my liscense switched to DC residency!

    • It’s totally worth it! And if you don’t have a car, switching to a DC license isn’t really that much of a hassle. The Georgetown DMV is pretty good.

    • I believe all you have to do is prove you’re a resident, so you could use a utility bill as well. So I’ve heard.

      • + 1. I’m a lazy ass who hasn’t switched my license over yet, and I’ve used my lease+photo ID to get into DC pools. No problem.

  • The Marriott in Woodley Park used to do a $10 a day deal for their pool. You go to the front desk and they give you a wristband.

    While DC public pools may be nice, they don’t serve drinks 😉

    • You can also get a monthly gym/pool membership from the Woodley Park Marriott. It’s $80 a month for the gym and pool, probably less if you just want the pool membership. Of course, the downside is you’re in Woodley Park, but hey.

  • The Washington Hotel on 14th and M or so sells pool memberships and has a large gay crowd. Loew’s hotel used to sell pool/gym memberships for relatively cheap.

    • >The Washington Hotel on 14th and M or so sells pool memberships

      Do you mean the Washington Plaza on Thomas Circle? They stopped selling pool memberships years ago. Did they start up again?

  • Omni Shoreham has a gorgeous pool, but the last time I checked on a neighborhood membership, they wanted something outrageous for a summer of access.

  • Capitol Skyline down on South Capitol has some pretty sweet pool parties on the weekends throughout the summer. If you are in the party mood, they have pretty good music and an outdoor bar. Not for the relaxing type though.

  • Capitol Skyline over by Nats Stadium has had pool parties (often themed) for the past couple of summers. Never been to them, but they seemed fun.

  • I don’t know about Scott Circle, but Donovan House at Thomas Circle has a rooftop pool…haven’t been there, but might be worth checking out?

  • Hinckley Hilton is $200 a month for a gym membership for a couple, which includes the pool. At the time I inquired, they were not offering pool-only memberships, but I know that they were doing so prior to Feb 1 because I was emailed about it. Pros: hotel-provided chairs, umbrellas, towels, food/drink service; the pool is salt water and can be heated so it is open 6 months of the year. There is a separate shallow pool for babies (pro or con? You decide). Cons: the pool is not a good fit for people who want to swim for exercise because it isn’t as long as public pools; they rope off lanes, but then sometimes tourists stand in them drinking beer; it gets insanely crowded. I wouldn’t bother unless you live near there, have the $$, and just want to get in the water as opposed to actually swim.

    • I was told the pool-only memberships were $150 per person. I spoke to the membership director about the plans for my husband and myself. We’re a military family, not rolling in it and there was no discount for military – even WSC, a crappy company, provides one (not major, but still…).

      $150 per month is ridiculous for the pool. The gym has a capped membership and they followed up with me to ask why I did not want to join. Uh…let me see…

  • why not throw on a howling wolf t-shirt and an FBI hat and walk right into any hotel pool?

  • Donovan House 🙂

  • As a side question, are there any public pools that are good for lap swimming?

    • Banneker pool on Georgia is awesome. But it’s an outdoor pool and not open yet. Marie Reed on 18th is an indoor pool and good too, but it is often crowded and the locker rooms kind of suck.

      • Banneker is great for hanging out, but I didn’t find it great for lap swimming last summer.
        They often didn’t have lanes set up, just a lap swimming section. I also found their lifeguards not very good at keeping non-lap swimmers out of the lap sections, being clear about whether they were whistling all the kids out of the pool or everyone.

        Upshur is also great for fun, terrible for laps.

        Lincoln (near North Cap and R) is the best outdoor pool I’ve found for lap swimming – it’s not usually crowded, and there are always lanes available after work.

        Indoors Takoma, Turkey Thicket and Wilson are good, reasonably clean and not insanely crowded (except Wilson on weekends)depending on where you live.

    • Wilson, Takoma, Kennedy (on Cap Hill next to Eastern Market).

      • Yes, “Kennedy”. If you ever need to find the pool near Eastern Market, just ask for “Kennedy”, and the locals will direct you there.


  • I’m the question asker – public pools are great, but the few times a season I have time to just lay around and enjoy the sun/water, I would rather not be around teens off from school if I can avoid it. Hilton was ridiculously overpriced for a membership – and I don’t want a membership, especially at $150 per month. Just the option of paying $10-$15 three times for the season or so and enjoy.

    Thanks for the responses, though – looks like Omni might be the only choice in NW

  • Lincoln (near North Cap and R) is the best outdoor pool I’ve found for lap swimming – it’s not usually crowded, and there are always lanes available after work.

  • I called the omni last year to ask about day passes and I’m pretty sure they said they don’t do them. Bit of a downer.

  • When do the DC public pools open – is it on Memorial Day or after? Was wondering if they’d be open next week; there’s nothing on the DC govt site I could find.

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