Where to Picnic Poolside in New Orleans This Summer

Eater New Orleans — Lounging by — and in — a pool is one of the greatest survival techniques during the long, swampy New Orleans summer. Since we don’t all have friends with pools, the next best thing is diving into one of the resort settings that welcome locals — for a fee of course. Being able to drink frosty cocktails and munch on elevated snacks just sweetens the deal. Some hotels work with Resort Pass for advance reservations, so start your staycation there, or call the businesses directly to figure out the best way to sidle up poolside with food and drinks.

The Drifter Hotel

The Drifter is party central, particularly on the weekends — expect loud music, crowds, and delicious frozen drinks. The Drifter doesn’t have a kitchen, but food vendors set up shop most days, particularly on weekends, serving tacos, oysters, and more. Annual memberships are $300, but two-hour day passes start at $10. Then there are passes for weekend parties, like for Pride in June or evening DJ sessions.

The Chloe

The Chloe’s backyard pool is a sweet spot, surrounded by a back deck and pool bar. The hotel offers locals access from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for $30 during the week, $40 on weekends, with a Turkish towel included. Enjoy the bar and green space, but no pets and no in and out. Once you’re done, you’re done.

The Pool Club at Virgin Hotels New Orleans

A day pass at Virgin Hotel pool is $30 on weekdays and $50 on the weekends, and locals pay just $10 on Mondays. Expect lots of promos and DJs for fun and games by the pool. Seating is first come, first served, with lounge chairs reserved for hotel guests. A towel is provided and there are drinks and bites like a fried chicken sandwich or Gulf shrimp roll on the menu. Happy hour, or “Golden Hour” runs 4 to 6 p.m., and the panoramic rooftop views are free of charge.

NOPSI Hotel, New Orleans

Resort Pass for the rooftop pool at the NOPSI Hotel starts at $50, with cabana’s for up to four people running $200. The Above the Grid bar offers all kinds of cocktails along with snacks like boudin balls and truffle fries. The pool is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and cabana hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and include water and a bottle of Prosecco on the weekends. There’s a DJ on Sundays.

Margaret Place

Rising Sun is the cafe and coffee shop that opens into Margaret Place’s lovely courtyard, with its air of graceful authenticity and expansive outdoor seating. There’s a pretty little pool that is offered gratis — yes, you read that right — to diners and guests, with frequent DJ entertainment and all kinds of other surprises.

The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel

The Roosevelt’s pool is a serene rooftop oasis and for $65 on weekdays and $130 on weekends, you can take a dip. Bring the kiddos for another $35 each. There’s a hot tub, poolside food and drink menu, and specialties including the signature Frozevelt, little gem Caesar and grilled Gulf fish sandwich.

Alto at the Ace Hotel

The rooftop pool at Ace Hotel draws crowds of sun worshipers who pony up $10 Monday to Thursday and $30 to swim weekends, starting from 9 a.m. Add a daybed for $40 or a lounge chair for $10, might come in handy. Alto serves all kinds of yummy dishes, including different spiedini, skewers of grilled tuna, beef, or melon. Try a frozen Eternal Summer, a bracing blend of vodka, coconut cream, orange, and lemon.

Hyatt Centric French Quarter New Orleans

Expect a lively pool scene at the newly renovated Hyatt Centric on the corner of Iberville and Bourbon. Day passes start at $30 on Resort Pass. Yoga is offered Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. for $25; add $15 to swim all day after. Casting Call serves light bites and cocktails poolside Wednesday through Sunday.

Windsor Court

The always elegant Windsor Court is making a splash with its newly renovated pool, cabanas, and pool bar. A $75 day pass gets access to the 65-foot saltwater escape, a rooftop sanctuary now equipped with its own restrooms, poolside food and drinks, free WIFI, towels, and sunscreen. For a luxe treat, $750 gets a cabana for two, with a daybed or a lounge and TV, and a dedicated server. That includes a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, snacks, non-alcoholic drinks, and parking for two cars, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Country Club

The Country Club’s lushly landscaped outdoor pool in Bywater attracts a lively over-21 crowd. Pay $20 for the day (or $499 for the year) and enjoy chef Chris Barbato’s yummy crawfish beignets, sandwiches, and salads. Happy hour is Monday through Friday, 4 to 7 p.m., and the pool stays open every day til 11 p.m. A big draw for the bachelorette crowd.

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