Summer’s On, And You Can Use Hotel Resort Facilities Even When Not Staying As A Guest

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. 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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I dislike this trend. Recently stayed at La Concha resort outside of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Property itself was fine but the selling points are the three pools and private beach.

    Well… Not so much. It was very clear that many (most?) of the folks taking advantage of the hotel amenities were locals (fairly obvious because hotel guests were given wristbands). Too many people, too many kids, not a great experience.

  2. Disappointed in this article. Encouraging your readers to cheat. Pure and simple it’s devious and wrong. Someone someday may figure out a way to steal from you. I’m unsubscribing.

  3. @fred
    LOL- most cities don’t even prosecute “theft of things”. Theft of services isn’t even a real thing and basically the absolute worst thing that will happen to you is you will be asked to leave. I see no downside to trying, other than the pseudo-moral argument that you should pay for sitting somewhere. Buy an overpriced lunch or drink at the bar and you’re good to go.

  4. So Jerry thinks it is OK to steal if you can get away with it. You don’t need to be moral, just “pseudo-moral.”

  5. Gary, this content from you is disappointing. Please rethink and remove it.

    You’re encouraging unethical behavior that has a direct, negative, impact on the enjoyment and satisfaction of fellow travelers who’ve paid sometimes significant $$$ for these amenities.

    Legit purchased day passes are fine. I’ve purchased them from time to time myself.

    But how happy would you have been, experiencing this at your recent stay at Point Grace hotel in Turks & Caicos? If scammers from the beach, fitting in with the typical look, took the last available chairs at the pool you and your family wanted to use? Since you were paying $600-$1200/night for the expectation of available amenities? Not to mention increased risk from non-paying guests wandering around resort properties, chatting up guests, looking for easy targets of opportunity?

    Maybe this example is a different level than wandering in off the street to grab a donut from the Hyatt and don’t stay and take up a seat. But in spirit it’s the same thing. You’re still potentially impacting fellow travelers who’ve paid for the right to expect available services.

    I don’t understand at all why someone with your experience and education, whose reputation in, and respect of, the travel community should matter to them, would advocate some of the practices you are in this article.

  6. @Mohan M: Are you considering the definition of “Pop a squat,” meaning sitting to sit down on any seat? Older adults often use this phrase. So, hey, pop a squat over here.

    However, some might consider, “Is it illegal to pop a squat?”
    Peeing on a road trip is one of the most important reasons why urinating along the roadside is a bad idea: in most states, it is illegal. You could be arrested and charged with public urination. If you need a solution to the “pop and squat,” a Road Trip Potty can help to make your road trips much more enjoyable!

    Fun fact: Why can’t Westerners squat?
    Most Western adults cannot place their heels flat on the ground when squatting because of shortened Achilles tendons, maybe caused by the habit of sitting on chairs or seats.

    Another fun fact: How do you pop a squat and pee?
    Tips to perfect the squat:
    Feet apart, as far as you can, and still balance.
    Bend your knees and lean back on your ankles for support.
    Arch your back and lift your butt for better aim.
    Get as low as you can to avoid pee splash.
    Pee downhill for less splash.

  7. Kind of balances out all of the people that pay a resort fee but get no real resort services.

  8. At the Homewood Suites in Oakland, you don’t need to look the part to claim free breakfast. Homeless individuals wander in from time to time to avail themselves of free eats. Doubtless this occurs at other inner city limited service hotels in politically blue jurisdictions.

    Often the paid guests at such properties in red or blue jurisdictions aren’t much more thrilling. Voluntarily obese individuals are a dime a dozen in America.

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