best hotel pools

Take a dip in an amazing pool or cool off on the stunning beach — you decide! (Photo: Marriott International)

Beach Travel

Hotel Pool vs. Beach Showdown: Where Would You Rather Kick Back and Cool Off?

Life is full of big decisions. Choosing where to relax when on vacation shouldn’t be one of them.

So whether you’d rather hang out at a beautiful beach or kick back at an amazing pool, this matchup features some key Marriott International properties across North America that make for great beach destinations as well as classic pool hangouts (plus one location that is awesome for both.)

Either way, it’s time to book a flight and bust out the swimwear. Like, now.

Pool: JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa, Aventura, Florida

best hotel pools
Let the day float away. (Photo: Marriott International)

Seventeen miles north of Miami in suburban Aventura you will find this 300-acre tropical oasis featuring not just a pool, but also its very own water park. Tidal Cove is JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa‘s popular on-site water park complete with seven waterslides, 25 cabanas, a free-fall loop, raft ride, lazy river and stationary surfing machine.

Grab tropical cocktails from the resort’s Surf House Bar & Grill and kick back in the Oasis Pool as the kids tackle the attractions at the world-class water park. For those seeking an even more relaxed environment, head over to the hotel’s adults-only Mediterranean-style Cascata Pool or the crystal-blue shallows of the Laguna Pool.

Pool: The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, Arizona

best hotel pools
Beat the desert heat. (Photo: Marriott International)

What better way to beat the infamous Arizona heat than by renting your very own “island”? At The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, you can do just that on their unique Tommy Bahama Relaxation Reefs, private sections of the resort’s lazy river surrounded by water with daybeds and lounge chairs.

Once you’re ready for more action, head over to the resort’s Adventure Water Park, where you’ll find a 110-foot-long waterslide, shady poolside cabanas, the aforementioned lazy river and a FlowRider surf simulator.

Later in the evening, hit the adult Aquamiel Pool for a quiet retreat featuring lap lanes, a hot tub and private cabanas. The best part about this pool? It’s open 24 hours.

Pool: The Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain; Blue Mountains, Ontario, Canada

Situated about two hours northwest of Toronto in Ontario’s picturesque Blue Mountains region near the shores of the Georgian Bay, the unique Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain creates its own pedestrian-only village near the base of Blue Mountain Resort, the largest ski resort in Ontario.

When you’re not swooshing down the slopes, kick back in the Westin Trillium House’s heated all-season outdoor pool, where you can get comfy in lounge chairs while ordering drinks from the resort’s on-site Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill.

But the gorgeous outdoor hot tub, complete with a gentle stone waterfall and picturesque views of the idyllic location, is where you’ll really want to linger for a while.

Pool: JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, San Antonio, Texas

best hotel pools
Float the lazy river in San Antonio. (Photo: Marriott International)

If you’re looking for pools, you’ve come to the right place.

Nestled amid 600 acres of oak-covered hills in the famed Texas Hill Country region, this luxurious oasis starts off with the River Bluff Water Experience, a nine-acre water park complete with an 1,110-foot-long lazy river, a 650-foot action river ride, body slides where you can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, and the 60-foot-drop Canyon Oak Twister.

If water parks aren’t your thing, no problem, as the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa is also equipped with its own 261,000-galloon Activity Pool, a serene Adult Pool with infinity edge and waterfall, and a playful Sand Beach Pool where you can build sandcastles or relax in a cabana with service from the resort’s Rivertop Grill. Who needs the beach, anyway?

Beach: The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, Miami Beach, Florida

best hotel pools
Bal Harbour beaches await. (Photo: Marriott International)

South Beach may get all the attention, but if you’re looking for some peace and quiet in Miami, point your GPS toward the more laid-back northern stretch of Miami Beach.

Here you will find the upscale community of Bal Harbour and the exclusive Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond–rated St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, nestled along the Atlantic Ocean’s gorgeous one-mile Bal Harbour Beach.

With pristine white sand, clear turquoise waters and a tranquil vibe far removed from the perpetual noise of South Beach, it’s the perfect spot to wander down the ocean jetty, stroll the beach walk or simply admire the view from your posh oceanfront villa.

Beach: JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, Marco Island, Florida

Wow, this beach is simply stunning. With soft white sand extending out into the horizon as far as the eye can see, this is Florida as it was meant to be.

Simply walk out from your room at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort (one of the most majestic resorts in the entire Marriott International portfolio), let your feet touch the sand and be immediately transported.

Rent a beach cabana, do some parasailing or watch the sun set directly over the beach in between bites of delicious local seafood (the grouper tacos are a must!) from the resort’s beachside restaurant, Quinn’s on the Beach, with a cold blackberry lemonade in hand.

As the sun sets, enjoy a fun demonstration of a traditional fire dance on the beach put on by the hotel or listen to live bands who have set up shop on the Quinn’s patio. Later in the evening, a quiet beachside walk illuminated by the moon is the perfect way to end another perfect day.

Beach: The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Punta Mita, Mexico

best hotel pools
Chill out in Punta de Mita. (Photo: Marriott International)

If you’re looking to drop your bags at your hotel room and disappear to the beach for the duration of your vacation, The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort is the place to do it.

Situated on a lush peninsula an hour northwest of the hustle and bustle of Puerto Vallarta, this intimate 22-acre hideaway is the perfect place to prop up your feet in the sand and forget about life for a while.

The St. Regis Punta Mita Beach extends along the length of the entire 1,500-acre resort, offering endless opportunities for quiet beach days that feel a world away from the spring-break-styled madness of Puerto Vallarta.

Surrounded by white sand, pristine waters and lush tropical flora, you won’t want for much else. But in case you do, the 5-star resort has you covered with personal butler service.

Beach: Delta Hotels Prince Edward, Prince Edward Island, Canada

As Prince Edward Island’s only waterfront hotel, Delta Hotels by Marriott Prince Edward could not be in a better location. Not only is it perched in the heart of Prince Edward Island’s ever-charming capital of Charlottetown, it is also located close to several of the island’s famous beaches.

Your closest (and likely best) option is Brackley Beach, located about a 15-minute drive north of the resort within the scenic shores of Prince Edward Island National Park. Majestic dunes and miles of rugged sandy beaches give off a remote, edge-of-the-world vibe, and a walk down the beach (and an exploration of the rural farming community of Brackley Beach) is a must for any resort guest.

Additional beach options are too many to mention but also include the lesser-known Blooming Point Beach and the popular Cavendish Beach.

BOTH: Sheraton Kauai Resort, Kauai, Hawaii

best hotel pools
There no need to choose between pool or beach — have them both! (Photo: Marriott International)

Sometimes you can’t decide between the beach and the pool. And that’s okay. For those times, there’s the Sheraton Kauai Resort.

Perched in prime position in the heart of the iconic Poipu Beach on Kauai’s sunny southern shore, this breathtaking resort offers the best of both worlds with endless opportunities for classic beachside recreation on the golden sands of Poipu Beach, including snorkeling, surfing and sunbathing cooled by peaceful sea breezes.

But if you’d rather enjoy the beach views from the comfort of the pool, you’re in luck, as the resort’s gorgeous oceanfront swimming pool provides all the beachside location you need amid the luxurious pool’s thatched huts and tasteful rock elements. Don’t you wish all of life’s decisions were this hard?