Lonely Planet Writer

How travellers can access swish pool and spa facilities in high-end hotels

If you have ever looked jealously at guests of a fancy hotel plunging into their swimming pool as you returned to your spartan hostel … then a new app may be the answer to your prayers. The Dip App promises to “unlock” the amenities of swish hotels for tourists staying at other more basic accommodation, and for locals who wish to take advantage of facilities without the expense of an overnight stay.

Couple relaxing in swimming pool on hotel rooftop, facilities in high end hotels
A new App allows travellers experience five star amenities,  Image by Getty Images

The premise of the app is simple – pairing, for instance, a quiet hotel pool with people who just want to jump in for a swim or lounge on a sunbed. Dip CEO Dylan Bushnell explained to Lonely Planet: “oftentimes, hotels don’t have a relationship with locals [and other non-guests] … I found this odd, so we built Dip as a new way for hotels to engage with customers.”

Hotel Shangri La in Santa Monica: non guests are allowed to buy pool access for $25 on a weekday.
Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica: non guests are allowed to buy pool access.

The app, which is in the early stages of development, has just successfully trialled with the art deco Hotel Shangri-La, in the Californian city of Santa Monica.  Non-guests were allowed to buy pool access for $25 on a weekday, with a premium for Saturdays and Sundays when the price rose to $45. The hotel also offered chic cabanas that overlook the pool, and were available for outside rent for between $200 and $300.  Reservations for daybeds and loungers were also allowed for between $45 and $75 so non-guests could hang out poolside for the entire day.

Dylan Bushnell said: “we are now ready to expand to hotel properties throughout the US. We will also be expanding our service to include spa reservations.”  The idea is a win-win for both the hotels and for non-overnighting guests. Hotels can reach customers they would never otherwise meet through the app and keep amenities – like pools and spas – from lying idle. For tourists or locals who might just want to spend an afternoon lounging by the pool or relaxing in a jacuzzi, it means chilling out can now be done on a budget.