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By day or night, splashy pools are so L.A.—with a pomegranate mojito in hand, of course. From ritzy Beverly Hills and buzzing West Hollywood to the beach towns of Hermosa Beach and Santa Monica, pools are where guests socialize, lounge, and generally soak up the sun.
Undoubtedly, Beverly Hills hotels have some of the city's best pools. Among the newcomers, the trendy Thompson Beverly Hills has a two-story deck and heated pool that's a sleek retreat in the middle of the metropolis (310/273–1400 www.thompsonhotels.com). At the Philippe Starck–designed SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills (310/247–0400 www.slshotels.com), the pool's artsy look includes oversized metallic frames meant to do just that—frame views of the skyline. Private cabanas here come equipped with DVD players, video-on-demand, and fully stocked minibars. Elegant and intimate, the rooftop garden and pool at the Peninsula Beverly Hills (310/551–2888 www.beverlyhills.peninsula.com) is the ideal spot for a delicious breakfast of homemade granola and berries or afternoon cocktails.
In West Hollywood, the scene-y Mondrian (323/650-8999 www.mondrianhotel.com) offers underwater music at its rooftop pool; meanwhile, divans and beds are flanked by larger-than-life flower pots. High above everything else in the neighborhood, the London West Hollywood (310/854-1111 www.thelondonwesthollywood.com) allows for panoramic views of downtown and Century City. Have a pool "concierge" arrange for a spa treatment in your cabana, or on hot days, bring you complimentary orange wedges and smoothie samples.
In Long Beach, the Hotel Maya's pool is family-friendly though design-obsessed will love its saffron-hued cabanas and teakwood deck area (562/435-7676 www.hotelmaya.doubletree.com). At Santa Monica's Hotel Shangri-La (310/394-2791 www.shangrila-hotel.com), the black-and-white courtyard pool is surrounded by designer-perfect cabanas; live music is also part of the scene on weekend nights.
And, of course, you can't miss the biggest pool of them all: the nearby Pacific Ocean.
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