Boston Rooftop Pool Review: A Day at the Colonnade

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I love living in Boston, but I’m not a fan of the weather here: a six-month winter followed by two days of of spring, then an intense, all-too-brief summer, during which the city turns into a sweatbox.

Then came the nonsummer of 2009, when it rained nearly every day in June and July.  I had to go to Mexico to get an actual summer!

So now that we have a summer, a real summer, I knew I had to make the most of it — and I found myself at the rooftop pool at the Colonnade Hotel in Back Bay.

Believe it or not, this is the only rooftop pool in Boston that’s open to the public.  Hotel guests are free anytime; non-guests are permitted Monday through Friday.

The views are smashing — especially out the back, where you can look over the South End.

The atmosphere at the rooftop pool was calm and relaxing, and there was no better feeling than to sink into your chair, the sun shining on you, book in lap, cocktail by your side.  As a sun worshiper, I had come home.

The crowd was a bit of an odd mix.   There were quite a few twenty-something women at the rooftop pool, with other men and women in their twenties through fifties, including a few couples and several families.  Many more twenty-somethings showed up later in the afternoon.

There were around a dozen kids at the pool, all ostensibly hotel guests, but they never dominated the landscape.  This wasn’t a pool of screaming, cannonballing children — they kept it low-key.  Which I appreciated.

My chair was on a platform that was slightly back from the pool, which I would recommend if you wanted to stay as far away as possible from the kids.

The Rooftop Cocktail: Firefly sweet tea vodka and lemonade.  I dare you to find a more sensational cocktail for a hot summer day!

The Colonnade rooftop pool has a menu of light poolside fare.  The bruschetta, pictured above, was delicious, but what I love the most about the menu is that you can order Pizzeria Regina pizza — and they will actually deliver it straight from the North End!

Admission to the rooftop pool is $40, or $20 after 3:00 PM, which, frankly, is ridiculous.  In other cities, some pools charge half the price for an adults-only pool with a much more luxurious atmosphere.  And this is weekday pricing!

Then again, the Colonnade has a monopoly.  They literally have no competition.  If ever another rooftop pool in Boston were to open, I think we would see some changes.  Competition would be good for them and for us.

For now, I don’t mind paying $40.  It may be comparably expensive, but I think the experience makes it a worthy occasional splurge.

Overall, I loved the Colonnade rooftop pool, and I can think of no place where I’d rather spend a special summer ditch day from work.  (The Fens?  Revere Beach?  Nope.)  The most important thing — and I can’t emphasize this enough — is to make sure that you plan your day off when the weather is supposed to be nice!

Note: I received complimentary admission courtesy of the Colonnade Hotel.

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6 thoughts on “Boston Rooftop Pool Review: A Day at the Colonnade”

  1. Wow, $40 is expensive. However, those views did look awesome. Cities look so cool from above, don’t they. I regret to say that I’ve only made it to Boston once, even though we’re just a few hours South on 95. I should definitely take another trip out there. BTW – that Firefly Vodka has been a huge hit in the last couple years.

  2. This sounds like fun, but I agree, $40 is way too pricey. How long of a drive is it to get to the nearest beach from where you are?

    1. Hi, Gray —

      In a few minutes, my post about Revere Beach will be up — it’s just a short ride from downtown Boston via T. Nicer beaches aren’t that far. There are some beautiful ones up in Ipswich and Gloucester to the north and the Cape to the south — tons within an hour’s drive!

  3. As a life long resident of Boston I have known about the roof top pool for some years. I have would love to go and maybe treat my sister or a friend. What keeps me from doing so? The $40.00 admission fee times two and then lunch and cocktails. I think the fee, is what it is for a reason. That being the Colonnade, not wanting over crowding and undesirables of Boston to descend upon their roof top Castle. Such as life while the royals look down upon the peasants we know your up there.

  4. Wow that looks like a fun and relaxing experience… I am afraid of the heights though. I have been to Boston ones (round trip) but it is not for pleasure. It was purely business because of the so tight schedule. I heard so much about the promising hotels in Boston and I really wanted to go back and spend weekend vacation.

  5. I am not a huge fan of this pool as a hotel guest, I feel I should’ve had some priority for seating at the pool. Nope. All outsiders in the chairs. Very disappointing.

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