Day Pools Are The World’s Greatest Creation – Frolicking at The Four Seasons

Four Seasons pool

Growing up I thought the coolest thing ever was to a) have a swimming pool, b) know someone with a pool, c) go on a vacation at a hotel with a pool.  Hot summers were meant to be enjoyed either playing Marco Polo or lounging in a chair with a cold beverage.

Over the past several years there has been a new way to enjoy a pool whether you are traveling or hanging near home.  The Day Pool concept is genius.  Take a hotel or resort pool, bring in a DJ or live band, create a kicking bar and food menu, and then charge people to experience the hip vibe.  Las Vegas has perfected this business and it has expanded to places around the world.

I recently spent a night at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Houston, a facility that has been around for several decades.  It recently underwent a massive and expensive upgrade including the addition of a day pool.  The 100-degree heat that Saturday afternoon made for a perfect time to hop in the water and cool off with those poolside drinks.

Four Seasons has created Summer Saturdays, a weekly celebration of the season. Taking place Saturdays from 1:00 to 5:00 pm, guests can a enjoy a live DJ performance from BELLOSOUND, along with a new pool menu, drink specials, and pool games. The experience is open to hotel guests, but you can also be a visiting guest for the day to soak in the sun and vibes.

We arrived at 1:00p to check into a private poolside cabana and ready for lunch. But these cabanas aren’t your typical shaded-tent-with-a-couch cabanas.  The Four Seasons goes a step beyond and offers an actual hotel room on the 4th floor pool deck with a sliding glass door that opens directly to the sun and fun.

The cabana room has a king bed, refrigerator, TV, and full bathroom; a perfect place to pop in for some air-conditioning or private relaxation time.  Step outside and you’ll find an L-shaped couch and small table and chairs to host friends in your own secluded area.

A friendly waitstaff came by often to take drink and food orders – may I recommend the hummus plate and fresh sushi roll.  The DJ was playing great tunes at a volume that created a fun atmosphere but not too loud and over the top.

Cabana rentals start at $350 and include day passes for up to four people from 10:00a to 6:00p.  The room was so nice we wanted to stay the night but, alas, that’s why they call it a day pool.  If a cabana is not your style (or they are sold out), a standard pool pass is $65 per person.


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Since we planned to stay the night in a suite upstairs, we didn’t have to leave the hotel after the sun starting setting.  Instead, we quickly showered and changed into cocktail attire because we were about to experience Bandista, the hotel’s recently opened speakeasy.  Between a tough-to-get reservation, a concierge escort, a trip in a service elevator, a walk through a kitchen and winding hallways, I found the mecca of mixologists.  Bandista is a small speakeasy that feels like a 1920’s lounge. The quiet, Latin atmosphere has only 8 barstools and a few couches. The bartenders are some of the most knowledgeable cocktail makers in the city and the range of spirits stretches the length of the long, back wall.

Half the fun was being escorted to the super-hidden space and then entering a code to watch a Scooby Doo-style bookcase open up into one of the most secret rooms in Houston.


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If you’re looking for a unique and different dinner spot in Houston, Toro Toro should be near the top of the list. This Pan-Latin Steakhouse is the creation of Chef Robert Sandoval. The decor gives off vibes of a cozy churrascaria with an affable waitstaff.

Central and South American flavors abound in the meat cuts, fresh seafood, and even the cocktails. Food presentation is key starting with the special sushi and fresh oyster bowl with a spritz of dry ice.

The smoked guac and swordfish appetizers are flavorful and filling as you wait for the main course. The Peruvian Ceviche was a smart choice, too. Not too large with fresh Hamachi.

My group wasn’t hungry enough for the 52 oz. Tomahawk Chop (nor the $200 price) but it looked and smelled great at the neighboring table. Grilled Tiger Prawns and the Cusco Half Chicken were delectable choices.

I’m not a big dessert guy but the staff insisted we try La Bomba. If it’s not one of the best desserts in the city, the presentation certainly is. A large, half sphere of chocolate with vanilla, strawberry, and dulce de leche ice cream, brownie, berries and topped with vanilla and berry sauce. Get your video cameras ready as the waitstaff drops the shell on the table for the grand finale.

There is no need to stay at Four Seasons Hotel to enjoy Toro Toro, but it was very easy to ride the elevator to our room and relax after a decadent experience.


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The downtown hotel is centrally located and an easy walking distance to attractions like Discovery Green, Toyota Center, Minute Maid Park, and House of Blues. But between the hopping pool, the unique bars, and a top-level restaurant, there may not be a need to leave the property during your visit.

LISTEN to my full review and thoughts.  Courtesy “The High-Tech Texan Show with Michael Garfield” radio program and podcast.  KPRC 950AM/iHeartRadio

Four Seasons Hotel is located at 1300 Lamar Street. (713)650-1300