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Can You Swim In A Hotel Pool Without Staying There? Maybe For A Small Fee?

An indoor pool of a luxurious hotel.

It’s 100 degrees outside with about 1,000 percent humidity. You seriously need a swimming pool. Yesterday. The only pools around, though, are in someone else’s back yard or at the hotels in town. Since the neighbors aren’t fond of people sneaking into their back yards, that leaves the hotels.

The question is, can you swim in a hotel’s pool if you’re not a guest? Could you pay a small fee for such a thing? Many years ago, there was a motel on the nearby Interstate that let the kids and me along with other families swim in their pool for a small fee. The motel covered over the pool years later due to insurance problems.

When that happened, the kids and I had recourse to the neighborhood pool. You paid a fee for the whole summer. The kids and I used it religiously. But what if you don’t have a neighborhood pool? What if a hotel pool is the only pool going on? Can you swim in one if you pay for it?

What The Hotels Say

A hotel outdoor pool with rattan chair.

It’s illegal to slip into a hotel to use their swimming pool. It’s called trespassing and is penalized by up to 90 days in the pokey or a $500 fine. Hotel amenities are for paying guests and paying guests only.

Day Passes

A woman relaxing on a massage.

However, there are ways to enjoy a hotel’s swimming pool, breakfast buffet, gym, and other health and wellness facilities. Hotels are competing with bed and breakfast inns, Air BnB homes, and boutique hotels to name just a few. Thus, they’ll do whatever it takes to gain your custom.

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A day pass is one of the ways hotels gain and keep your patronage. You’ll pay a fee for which you’ll have access to pools, spas, gyms, restaurants and lounges, and other hotel amenities.


A woman relaxing on an outdoor pool.

Some hotels, especially local ones, allow non-guests to have memberships. This might cover only the pool, or it might cover the gym, restaurants, and other amenities. The fees vary by hotel and services or amenities. The memberships might be for one, two, or three months. The pool is only open during the hot months, so memberships will vary.

Special Allowances

Some hotels will allow non-guests to swim in their pools on the following days and times:

  • Free for use from September 1 to May 1 or during winter.
  • Free after 5 pm in summer, but the fees rise if you swim in the daytime in the summer.
  • Free the day before or the day after a major holiday, but you’ll pay a fee if you want to swim the day of the holiday.

Swimming In Hotel Pools During The Pandemic

We’ve been going through something for two years now that we’ve never seen or for which we’ve been prepared. You might not want to swim in a hotel pool because you don’t know if it’s (a) properly cleaned, or (b) practices social distancing. It’s worth a few questions before you pay a fee to swim in a hotel pool for the sake of your family’s health.

What The Law And Insurance Say

You’ve read above what the law has to say about swimming in a hotel pool without paying for it. It’s basically stealing because you’re not paying for the privilege. That leaves insurance problems into which hotels could run. What’s that all about?

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Insurance Concerns

A room key with house keychain.

Hoteliers have more concerns than the towels and complimentary toiletries being boosted. They have to worry about hackers cloning electronic key cards, guest information in online reservations being stolen, guests slipping and falling on the wet pavement around the pool, rules and regulations not being posted, and more.

Each infraction of the rules, each hack, and each slip and fall cause insurance rates to rise dramatically. Most hoteliers aren’t insurance-savvy, so they aren’t always aware of what coverage actually covers. What this adds up to is hotels telling people “no,” when they want to swim in their pool for a fee.

This is more true than ever for hotels in neighborhoods. Those in resort towns or convention towns don’t necessarily have locals asking to swim in their pools. It’s the hometown hotels running into insurance troubles. More and more of them are covering their pools for safety’s sake.

It isn’t just slip and fall episodes that concern insurance companies. Guests who don’t stretch properly before diving into the pool get muscle cramps. Some guests might have asthma attacks or even heart attacks if they don’t take their meds. Families sue hotels over things like that, which makes insurance rates rocket.

It’s the wise hotelier who keeps lifeguards on duty at all times. He also educates his guests regarding preparatory health concerns, as well as slips and falls, diving in shallow water, and putting flotation devices on their children. An ounce of prevention, and all that, keeps insurance rates down, so you can pay to swim in a hotel pool.

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