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Watered Down

City hotels that welcome kids in their pools

New York summers would be way more delightful if we all had easy access to decent swimming pools. But fantasies aside, there is one interesting alternative to over-crowded public pools: hotels. Surprisingly, even some of the fanciest ones in town welcome kids at their pools. The catch, of course, is the price you pay—in most cases, a one-night’s stay. It’s a splurge, to be sure, but perhaps worth every penny on those sticky August weekends.

Thompson LES
The outdoor rooftop pool at the just-opened Thompson LES hotel welcomes pint-sized guests to splash around while parents can nosh on decent sushi and tasty caipirinhas (not that we’re recommending drinking while on lifeguard duty). From $375 a night.

Mandarin Oriental
Everything at the MO is gorgeous—including its serene indoor pool. Family swim hours for guests are 11am to 3pm on weekends. Children are welcome at other times, but may be segregated to a certain area, away from lap swimmers. Beach balls, noodles, and rubber ducks are all on hand.  From $695 a night.

Hotel Gansevoort
The Meatpacking District hotspot has a guest-only policy for its rooftop pool, which is outdoors during the summer and looks over the Hudson River and city skyline. Kids are welcome any time. From  $425 a night.
Le Parker Meridien
This often-overlooked Midtown hotel is the only one we found that allows drop-in access to its pool: fees are $100 per day for adults ($75 for children), and include unlimited use of the indoor rooftop pool and fitness center. (Hotel guests, of course, have free access to the pool as well.) Be sure to bring a photo ID to access the pool. From $350 a night for a junior suite.
The Peninsula
Children are invited to use the indoor pool at any time, provided they are guests and accompanied by an adult. For an over-the-top indulgence, a new family package, the “Family Spa-cation” provides one-day access to the pool, spa, and fitness area, along with swim lessons for the kids, spa treatments for parents and a poolside lunch for $620 (for two adults and two children); through September 6. From $795 a night.