This summer seems like the hottest one yet, especially in Orlando. A bit too far from the beach to catch coastal breezes, it can get sweltering around these parts. Step out of the car to grab a bite to eat and you’re bound to hop back into a 100-degree vehicle with a steering wheel that may or may not scald your palms.
So, just how do we beat the heat on the street? We take it to the roof ... well, the rooftop pool that is. Orlando has a handful of stellar rooftop pools, some a bit harder to get into than others, that are perfect for getting a tan, sipping a summer beverage and beating the heat. A few of these are located in some of Orlando's best hotels, so be sure to bookmark them for your next stay.
Here are a few of my all-time favorites:
As if the ultra-artsy, trendy décor of the hotel wasn’t enough, the Grand Bohemian went ahead and put its pool on the roof. As someone who loves a good skyline, my jaw dropped upon my first visit. Often lending itself to wedding parties, the GrandBo rooftop is a highly coveted sun-soaking area during hot months. The vibe is calming-yet-chic, and the view of Downtown Orlando is unmatched. The pool is also heated for those hoping to swim during those two frigid winter weeks in Orlando. Did I mention that crystal chandeliers hang above the deck? Word of advice: get a chair early, order up a drink and soak it all in.
The hotel was recently renovated, and Doubletree held nothing back. I was here for a wedding last summer and couldn’t wait to enjoy a cool drink on the sundeck and then take a few laps (read: people-watch) in the pool. Coincidentally, it is close enough to my office for me to daydream about taking a plunge on über-hot days. With sun chairs large enough for couples to lounge together and panoramic views of Downtown Orlando and Lake Ivanhoe, this rooftop pool is a great escape from the hustle-and-bustle of downtown.
Sure, the Reunion Resort is renowned for its amazing golf course and water park, but the real piece de resistance is the South Beach-inspired pool on the 11th floor. I’ve visited twice and have always found pure delight in sitting on a cozy tropical blue lounge chair with a handcrafted libation in hand. There is no better way to relax and beat the heat in this part of town.
Many a hi-rise condo community sports a rooftop pool in Downtown Orlando. After all, how else are the young, upwardly-mobile natives supposed to cool off in the tiny concrete jungle? But 55 West offers an expansive rooftop pool—sometimes similar to a club—scene. Covered cabanas are reminiscent to an island resort, and the sweeping views and perfectly placed palm trees don’t hurt the cause either. Ideally, it helps to know a resident in order to get up here and see it for yourself, but trust that when you do, you won’t want to leave. Weekends can make this a real party scene and the location (right in the middle of Church Street) is perfect for a quick costume change and a fun night out on the town.
This new boutique hotel Winter Park was built as a unique fund-raiser for Rollins College. Walking distance to attractions, shops and restaurants on Park Avenue, the Alfond Inn also features an impressive collection of contemporary art and a second-floor rooftop pool. Now that's what I call chic.
These are just a few of the best rooftop pools in Orlando. Been to one you would recommend? Let us know.