In the city that never sleeps, the best views of the glittering metropolis are from above. And many of NYC’s top vantage points also feature outdoor swimming pools – by far the best places to cool down and relax during the warmer months. Head up to any one of these rooftop pools and see for yourself.
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Soak up sweeping views of Manhattan as you sip on a house cocktail
Sporting a futuristic, glass facade, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is an eco-conscious hotel straddling the banks of NYC’s East River. Just a stone’s throw from Brooklyn Bridge, it’s privy to one of the city’s most sought-after vistas, best enjoyed from the tenth floor and the slim plunge pool that overlooks the river towards the soaring skyscrapers of Manhattan. The arresting views are worth enjoying from the The Brooklyn Heights Social Club bar adjacent to the pool, with a signature cocktail in hand and maybe a lobster roll in the other. Keep an eye out for Lady Liberty, too, cutting a regal figure on the horizon.
A picture of Andy Warhol is painted on the bottom of this rooftop pool
Amid the gritty but glamorous Lower East Side, Sixty LES is an arty hideout complete with a rooftop pool. Escape up to the roof where you’ll find a slice of blue water broken up by a stark picture of Andy Warhol painted on the bottom of the pool. Cognac-coloured lounge chairs and metallic accents grace the rooftop area, a continuation of the hotel’s on-trend interior, . If you’re stopping by with a few friends, consider renting the poolside cabana; a relaxed space that houses a wet bar, booming sound system and fully-stocked refreshment area. Order a selection of small plates from the Japanese restaurant on site and celebrate long into the night – there’ll be plenty of sun loungers to recover on come the morning.
The Williamsburg Hotel
Lounge on the pinstriped sunbeds or hang out at the rooftop café
There’s an effortless cool to The Williamsburg Hotel. The brainchild of the architects behind Soho House Berlin, it’s a modern hotel with innate class. And the pool is no different; a long strip of aquamarine that stretches across the roof, it’s surrounded by a collection of pinstriped sunbeds and pot plants. Linger over some of New York’s most prized views, of stately Manhattan and the red brick architecture that Williamsburg is known for. The terrace has a rooftop café for when you’re done with swimming, and you should try to hang around until sundown to head up to the hotel’s water tower, which is well versed in the dark arts of mixology and late-night dancing.
Royalton Park Avenue
This rooftop pool looks especially good at night, lit up with festoon lights
What was once the Gansevoort Park Rooftop has now been rebranded as the Royalton Park Avenue, but the roof continues to magnetise trendy New Yorkers and their acolytes. This Park Avenue pool can be found high up on the hotel’s 20th floor. Up here, it’s a veritable oasis; a 40-foot plunge pool is overlooked by a wall cloaked in ivy, while sunbeds dot its perimeter. The pool is at its most magical at night though, when tangles of festoon lights criss-cross overhead, lonely candles are scattered on the tables and in the distance, you can see the illuminated Empire State Building illuminates. It’s a quintessential view of the New York City skyline, just about unforgettable provided you effectively moderate your consumption of the pool bar’s delicious cocktails.
The William Vale
The artisan cocktails and Manhattan views are this pool's main draws
Unsurprisingly, Brooklyn is home to one of the most stylish pools in New York City. Enter The William Vale, a new addition to the Williamsburg neighbourhood that’s a vision of the future. This hotel’s pool sets the precedence for game-changing design – at 60 feet in length, it’s the largest hotel pool in the Big Apple. A sweep of blue and dove grey, the pool looks out over the East River for views that capture New York at its most majestic. It’s a welcoming spot for all manner of guests, including families who will appreciate the lifeguard service. Though the biggest draw has to be the poolside bar, Westlight. Artisan cocktails such as frozen mai tais and cucumber margaritas are the speciality here, boosted by sensational skyline vistas. Snag yourself a spot at this 22nd-floor drinking den and raise a toast to the boundless panorama. And don’t forget to eat – the hotel restaurant is award-winning, with a focus on coastal Italian cuisine using wood-fired cooking techniques – the kind of niche but exciting approach you might expect from a Williamsburg hotel.