Move over, staycations. Hotels now sell daycations

Craving a lazy day by a dreamy hotel pool but don’t want to pay for a room?

Book a day pass.

An increasing number of hotels and resorts are opening their pools to locals and travelers who aren’t overnight guests and are using outside services like ResortPass, DayAxe, Daycation and DayPass to peddle the passes.

For about $30 and up per person, guests get to lounge for the day without packing an overnight bag, and hotels bring in extra money, including orders for umbrella drinks and poolside food.

Day passes are most prevalent in warm-weather vacation spots, including Florida, Arizona and southern California, but have spread to city hotels, too, with a few available in New York City; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta and Dallas. International destinations, including the Caribbean and Dubai, are also available through some booking services.  

You can splash around a 2.5-acre water playground at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch. The resort offers day passes through ResortPass. (Photo: Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch)

Fees and availability vary by hotel, day of week and season because overnight guests remain hotels’ priority. Some hotels and resorts only offer pool access with a pricier cabana rental. Others only offer spa day passes. A few have added passes for activities, including kids’ camp and rock climbing walls. The booking services receive a commission for the day passes. 

Amanda Szabo, founder and chief executive officer of ResortPass, said the passes are most popular with locals looking for a quick getaway. ResortPass has 150 hotel listings in 45 states, triple the number from a year ago.

“They have so many unique things at these hotels,” she said. “It’s really an opportunity for locals to experience all these things that hotels offer.”

Newer sources of business: travelers staying at an Airbnb or other vacation rental, which generally don’t come with resort-like pools, and cruise ship passengers in town for the day.

DayPass, which offers passes to a lineup of luxury international hotels and resorts, calls day passes a “game changer for play.” 

Its pitch: “You can now experience the quiet thrill of world-class hospitality for the day.

5 things to know about hotel day passes 

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