The 7 Best Pools in Los Angeles
Where to socialize, swim laps or even get back to nature
You’re so, so hot. And the beach is so, so far (or maybe you just don’t feel like dealing with all that sand and parking hassle). So what’s the alternative?
Make a beeline to these Los Angeles pools, sorted by what you’re in the mood for. Socializing, swimming laps, even just a quiet sunbathe--it’s all here. Because there’s more to life than lying on a crowded patch of sand.
Best Quiet Sunbathing
The Mondrian’s days of being a 24-7 throbbing hot spot are over. Now it’s positively quiet, especially during the weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., when there’s no charge to loll by the rooftop pool with a breathtaking view of West Hollywood. (Be advised that valet parking costs $14 for three hours.)
Mondrian Los Angeles, 8440 Sunset Blvd.; 323-650-8999 or morganshotelgroup.com/mondrian
Best Under-the-Radar Tryst
There’s lots of retro charm at this ’50s-style motel just over Mulholland, which has a wide pool deck with a tiki bar proffering frozen margaritas. The hotel is being renovated to include a glam mini-mall, so get in on the free poolside fun before this becomes a retail destination. Admission is $20.
Sportsmen’s Lodge, 12833 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; 818-769-4700 or sportsmenslodge.com
Best Aquatic Workout
Built for the 1932 Olympics, then basically left to decay, the John C. Argue Swim Stadium was renovated in the early aughts and now boasts a huge pool with a movable bulkhead that doubles the number of lanes for 25- and 50-meter lengths. Plus, there’s an adjacent huge kids’ wade pool. Admission is only $3.50.
John C. Argue, 3980 Bill Robertson Lane; 213-763-0125 or laparks.org
Best Moonlit Soak
The oceanfront Annenberg Community Beach House has history (the site of William Randolph Hearst’s manse for his mistress Marion Davies), views (it’s bang on the beach) and midday crowds. So instead go for a relaxing sunset swim, since it’s open until 9 p.m. Reserve your pool pass three days ahead. Admission is $10.
Annenberg Community Beach House, 415 Palisades Beach Rd., Santa Monica; 310-458-4904 or annenbergbeachhouse.com
Best Family Time
Imagine a huge--and by huge, we mean 3,000-person capacity--shallow lake in the middle of the San Fernando Valley; that’s the Hansen Dam Aquatic Center. We like that there’s room enough for kids to play on the water slides while we settle back quietly on the sand. Admission is only $2.50, but you’ll want to rent a shade canopy for $18.
Hansen Dam Aquatic Center, 11798 Foothill Blvd., Lake View Terrace; 818-899-3779 or laparks.org
Best “Entourage” Set Piece
The SLS Beverly Hills rooftop pool has giant urns and is lined with mirrors, the better to reflect both the Beverly Hills views and the bodies that flock there to wade in the zero-entry sloping pool. The pool is, strictly speaking, just for hotel guests, or you can rent a cabana for $300 on weekends and invite your closest pals. On weekdays, we’ve been known to sun quietly uninterrupted.
SLS Beverly Hills, 465 S. La Cienega Blvd.; 310-247-0400 or slshotels.com
Best Natural Setting
Is this a great town or what? A mile off the trailhead at the Malibu Creek State Park, you come upon a quiet volcanic rock pool fed by the main watercourse of the Santa Monica Mountains. Work up a sweat prior to taking a dip by hiking a few miles into the hills to see where the original Planet of the Apes and M*A*S*H were filmed.