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Pools in high places
Plunge Bar and Lounge at The Gansevoort

If public pools elicit visions of apathetic lifeguards and dingy lounge chairs, think again. These open-to-everyone basins are luxe respites from the swimming hole--and don't have a zinc-covered nose in sight:

Dream Downtown The expansive Beach Club at the Dream Downtown evokes Côte d'Azur glamour with plush lounge chairs and a sand-surrounded cocktail bar. A day pass ($175) gets you access to the rooftop pool and fitness facilities, plus two cocktails. The glass-bottom pool peers directly into the lobby--so don your best suit. 355 W. 16th St. (between Eighth and Ninth aves.); 212-229-2559 or dreamdowntown.com

The Gansevoort We savor Hudson River sunsets on the rooftop lounge of this hip hotel, which doubles as a sophisticated spot for sunbathing. The day pass ($325) includes unlimited access to the heated pool, a treatment of your choice at the opulent Exhale Spa and a specialty cocktail like the Ginger Park, made with spicy cognac and white cranberries. Visit during the week to avoid Saturday afternoon partygoers. 18 Ninth Ave. (at Gansevoort St.); 212-206-6700 or hotelgansevoort.com

The Capri With recent installations of a Nobu outpost and a Cynthia Rowley boutique, this hotel is quickly becoming the gem of Southampton. When Mecox beach is bustling and your pool boy's off duty, head to the hotel's splendid, retro Bathing Club. The quiet rooftop deck offers a peaceful place to read, with comfy daybeds and tasty, organic smoothies. Best of all, it's free to guests and visitors alike. 281 County Rd., Southampton; 631-504-6575 or caprisouthampton.com

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