A great staycation can be getting a room at a local resort and enjoying everything they have on property, but you can do this without even booking the room. Many resorts offer day passes, and some people go without buying the pass. And it can make a great place to kill time before the airport, especially if you don’t have guaranteed late checkout where you’re staying.
A day pass offers a way for you to luxuriate poolside at a hotel that you could never afford otherwise. They range in price, depending on if you want a full-on cabana or to just to pop a squat on a lounge chair. Food and drinks will almost always be extra, so add that into your budget or, pro tip, pack some snacks inconspicuously in your Chanel knockoff.
In some places you can go to a hotel pool starting at just $15, such as the Hilton Miami Airport Blue Lagoon. It’s something to do while killing time before a flight, and cheaper than an airport lounge day pass. At most places $50 is a more common price point.
ResortPass.com will sometimes have pricing that’s lower than what hotels offer directly, but hotels that vary their pricing a lot will often be cheaper on their own site.
Of course at large resorts you can usually just park and walk inside. The pool area might require a room key for access, but you follow someone else inside. Similarly, you can walk into limited-service hotels for their free breakfast like at a Hyatt Place or an Element hotel – especially if you look like a middle-aged white business traveler. Not a recommendation, more commentary on what it means to ‘look the part’ versus not.
The Hyatt Regency Lost Pines is about 15 minutes from the Austin airport. I wouldn’t recommend it for an airport overnight with an early flight departure during the week, because the trip to the airport is heading into the city and you are likely to run into traffic. But it’s much closer to the city than you’d think.
They vary pricing for things like cabanas, whether staying as a guest or not. On peak days in-season they might get as much as $500 for four hours. But they’ll drop the price as low as $100. And it comes with a food and beverage credit, waters, and a huge fruit plate. And of course hotel spend when you’re not staying as a guest still earns with World of Hyatt.
Maybe I wouldn’t recommend Lost Pines for an airport overnight, but what about an afternoon by the pool before flying out – say you don’t have late checkout at your hotel? Think of it like a Virgin beach departure lounge.
Some readers will do this with… better apartment complexes, too. They have pools and lots of visitors, and may have guest parking too. Once you’ve been somewhere once you have the confidence to return, knowing where things are and able to blend in.
I’ve often met people in the lobbies of hotels I’m familiar with. Some even have complimentary coffee and soft drinks. Radisson Hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa used to have a program called ‘Our World, Your Lounge’ where elite members of their program were invited to visit hotels, use their internet, and have a free soft drink when not staying as a guest. That, to me, was the ultimate expression of hospitality.