With at least two months of extremely summer high temperatures ahead, Austinites in search of respite may find it in the form of a hotel pool day pass.
Although pricier than a day at Barton Springs or Deep Eddy pools, day passes often come with perks, such as free parking and the option to drink poolside. Here are 13 local hotels where you can cool down:
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sun., $20 Mon.-Thurs and $40 Fri.-Sun., reservations required
The South Congress mainstay offers passes for three-hour blocks at its iconic kidney-shaped pool. There's a pool bar, and kids under 5 can join in for free. There are also adult night swim passes available for a discounted price.
10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., $25, reservations required
This chic South Austin hotel, just down the street from Barton Springs, offers four-hour pool passes on weekdays, with access to the full hotel menu, shade for summer reading and buckets of beer.
Colton House Hotel
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sun., $20, reservations required
This brand new boutique hotel on South Congress offers daytime pool passes, parking and towel service included. Kids under 2 are free. There's also a coffee and cocktail bar, Simona's.
East Austin Hotel
12-4 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 12-4 p.m. Sun., $40, reservations required
Nestled along East Sixth Street, this hotel offers a hidden escape, with complimentary parking and poolside food and drink service for four-hour reservation holders. Kids under 5 are free.
6 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., $150-$600, reservations required
Austinites can reserve a cabana at this luxury downtown hotel's rooftop pool and enjoy unique perks, like an automated sunscreen kiosk, complimentary Evian facial spritzes and chilled towels. Cabanas come outfitted with a 50-inch television and provide great skyline views.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Thurs and Sun., $25, reservations required
This historic boutique hotel in West Campus offers daytime pool passes, with access to the hotel restaurant, Goodall's.
12-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., $40 for day pass, $100 for daybed, $200 for cabana, reservations required
This downtown pool features the Edge Pool, four floors above Congress Avenue and marked with a Texas state outline. Locals can reserve cabanas or book a spa treatment, which comes with free pool access Monday through Thursday.
Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt
11 a.m.-sundown Mon.-Sun., $38 for day pass, $100-$500 for cabanas, reservations required
High above Rainey Street, this hotel pool offers choice views of Lady Bird Lake, complimentary sunscreen and rentable cabanas that can fit groups of up to 12 people.
10 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., $40, reservations required
This instantly recognizable hotel offers half- and full-day passes to its heated salt water infinity pool, which overlooks the Congress Avenue bridge and Lady Bird Lake. Complimentary parking and access to the hotel's Veracruz walk-up window included.
Omni Austin Hotel Downtown
9 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Sun., $35, reservations required
This downtown hotel's rooftop pool is another hidden gem, with complimentary parking and food and drink service available.
South Congress Hotel
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., $30, reservations required
Surrounded by lush gardens and overlooking South Congress Avenue, this rooftop pool pass comes with free parking and access to the hotel restaurant, Cafe No Sé.
11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. $30, reservations required
This hotel wet deck, high above downtown, offers pool access, rental cabanas, tanning shelves and a pair of outdoor showers to rinse off at the end of the day.
The Westin Austin
1-9 p.m. Mon.-Sun, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun., $40 for two reserved lounge chairs, $70 for daybed, $200-$300 for cabana, reservations required
This downtown hotel pool pass comes with reserved poolside lounge chairs and access to Azul, the tallest hotel rooftop bar in the city.
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Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
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Austin Public Health and other clinics around Austin are now providing booster shots for all three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to fully vaccinated individuals after both Pfizer and J & J were approved by the CDC on Wednesday.
APH and Austin clinics, which were already administering the approved Pfizer booster, will begin distributing shots as soon as Friday.
Those who received the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine more than six months ago are elligble to receive a booster if they are over 65 or if they are over 18 and:
- Live in a long-term care environment
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Work or live in high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals or correctional facilities
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a media Q&A Friday that APH is encouraging boosters just as much as they have urged residents to get their first and second doses.
"Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low," Walkes said. "If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community."
Eligible residents are free to choose the same booster as their first doses or "mix and match," per the CDC announcement.
Those looking for another dose can simply bring their vaccination card to APH centers or the dozens of Walgreens and CVS locations in the metro, which began administering doses Friday.
Additional updated guidance from the CDC allows for all eligible individuals to choose which vaccine they receive as a "mix-and-match" booster dose. It is advised to remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card showing the original doses with you when going for booster shots.
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