Lurking somewhere in the forgotten depths of LA.com is a list of hotels which allow non-guests to use the pool areas. When I read this, I was stoked - there's a pool where I work out, but it's a typical gym pool (and not too clean in the summer when it's heavily used), so no languishing poolside with a cocktail and relaxing, jumping in every so often to enjoy a dip - which is, of course the point of hanging out poolside at any hotel.
Two of the hotels on the list were the Bel Age and the W, both within striking distance of my house, so I thought I'd swing by after today's podiatrist appointment to enjoy a pool not filled with testosterone-jacked lap swimmers (the other two hotels listed were the Standard Downtown which I hate and the Lowes Santa Monica which requires a $25 day pass).
Did I mention that I have no air conditioning? I suppose that's the price I have to pay for a charming 1920's-era pad with loads of 'character' and French windows throughout (so no window-mounted units for me). My place doesn't have heat, either, but that's much less of a problem.
My first try was the W Hotel in Westwood. I marched into the lobby and cheerfully informed the concierge that I was there to use the pool - after all, LA.com said it was okay, right?
"I don't know who told you that", she said. "Our pool is for guests only. During the winter, non-guests may use the pool if they lease a cabana (for $300 per day), but during the summer, I'm afraid it's off-limits unless you have a room here".
For the record, she was very nice, but damn. The W has a terrific pool - I should know. I once worked on a movie that shot there, so I got a good look at it while I was wrapping cable and wishing I could jump in without having my toolbelt drag me to a watery grave in the deep end (or being drowned by my boss had he discovered me swimming while I should have been working).
Next stop, the Bel Age:
"Absolutely not" sniffed the guy at the front desk. "Besides the liability issue, we'd prefer our pool area remain exclusive. Which website was it that listed us? Our management would like to correct that error."
I'm sure at some point in the past, these places did allow non-guests in, otherwise a fine, upstanding website such as LA.com wouldn't have listed them.
Which means I missed the boat and am condemned to swelter this summer.
Couch of the day: