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Auberge Resorts Collection

Where to Find Picturesque Poolside Dining Across the Bay Area

Summer’s just beginning around here. Celebrate the season with a poolside lunch at these destinations

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True summer weather hits the Bay Area when most people in other parts of the country are thinking about back-to-school shopping and the return of pumpkin spice lattes. As August wanes and kids head back to the classroom, maximizing the fleeting fun of the season and its signature heat feels best achieved poolside. Strawberries, avocados, fresh fish, and the requisite burger make regular appearances on the region’s best pool menus. (Also, lots of labneh.) But nothing is regular about this roundup of the Bay Area’s best poolside food, conceived of, prepared, and served by the staff at luxury estates, boutique hotels, and historic properties.

Indulge in these experiences as a staycation hotel guest or with a day pass, available at a few spots. And if any area community pools offer excellent food, please let us know.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Hotel Healdsburg

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Available only to hotel guests, a dip in the pool at Hotel Healdsburg is worth staying overnight for — heated just so, a manageable size, and surrounded by olive trees and hedges that make the swimmer feel tucked into an experience of intimate luxury. Local farms and vineyards encircle the town of Healdsburg, informing the menus at restaurants that line the central square, including iconic chef Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen, on the hotel’s first floor. But it’s straightforward casual Italian cuisine served by popular plaza spot PizZando that caters to the hotel’s poolside diners. Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant offers classics like panzanella salad and the requisite (for good reason) Northern California little gems caesar with boquerones, as well as pastas, pizzas, wine, beer, cocktails, and mocktails.

Picobar at Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection

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The light at Solage always appears hazy and dreamlike, painting patrons in an other-worldly hue. Perhaps it’s the location in an area famous for mud baths and magical geothermal waters. Whatever it is, food and wellness rituals marry at this Calistoga outpost of the Auberge collection, and finding time and budget for a stay becomes a worthy goal. Open to hotel guests and spa guests for an additional fee, the multiple geothermal pools range from frigid to hot, and moving between them is suggested for optimal health. For those who believe the stomach is a superior route to happiness, spa-adjacent casual restaurant Picobar serves all day and is open to non-hotel guests. A new poolside cabana experience includes fresh margaritas prepared a la minute, and signature dishes like gulf shrimp ceviche and tacos al pastor. At $850 it’s not cheap but gets four people all-day access to poolside Napa Valley luxury.

Auberge Resorts Collection

Dr. Wilkinson's Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs

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The small but mighty onsite restaurant for Dr. Wilkinson’s Resort and Spa in Calistoga, House of Better offers an all-day Southwestern eclectic menu made for snacking, either on the patio, in-room, or at one of the hotel’s two outdoor, geothermal mineral pools. A perfect foil for a hot day in wine country, the fiery chile is celebrated throughout the menu: in nachos, salad dressings, tacos, posole, and even pie. And because pie is always a good idea, the signature apple-chile-cheddar with its crumble topping makes a perfect breakfast or lunch dessert. Tasting flights of dips, salsas, and guacamoles, accompanied by tortilla chips or fresh vegetables, are natural poolside choices. Excitingly, Dr. Wilkinson’s is now available on ResortPass, so you don’t have to stay overnight to get this poolside food experience. 

Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa

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For a hotel that’s nearly a century old, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa has done a beautiful job staying both relevant and desired by travelers and locals. Healthful relaxation and rejuvenation are central, with its coveted location atop an ancient hot spring. Mineral pools feature water sourced from said hot spring, both throughout the spa and at the main pool. The main pool features a proper poolside food and drink menu at the five-seat Water Tower Bar or ordered from a chaise lounge. The seasonal cucumber-honeydew gazpacho with spiced yogurt is cool and subtly sweet, and the fried, lime-doused Brussels sprouts are addictive. Salads, poke, and sandwiches like Nashville hot chicken or a fried green tomato po’boy round out the menu at this casual, social spot that offers, in addition to an expected alcoholic drink selection, several wines and house-batched cocktails on tap — it’s wine country, after all. 

Carneros Resort and Spa

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The American Viticultural Area of Carneros and the hotel of the same name share a few important qualities: they’re sprawling, idyllic, and producers of memorable food and wine experiences. Quintessential modern wine country, Carneros Resort is home to fine dining spot FARM and uber popular brunch spot Boon Fly Cafe, both open to the public, or for hotel guests only, dining at two pools, one adults-only and one intended for families with kids — with menus to match. Grownup offerings are ample and range from more expected poolside dishes involving tomatoes, salads, or fish, to seasonal takes on a quesadilla, with whipped goat cheese and summer squash, and heartier dishes of steak frites and burgers. For families, snacky hummus and sweet potato fries join kid favorites including the ultimate grilled cheese, as well as poke and a grilled chicken wrap. Notably, alcohol is available at both pools.

Carneros Resort and Spa

Stanly Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection

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A winding route through vineyards leads to the newest Auberge property in wine country, themed after the ranch land it sits upon. The hotel’s main pool is kept bathtub-warm year round, and its adjacent restaurant, Basin Bar, serves directly to lounge chairs. Eating from the pool menu is sublime, like a casual afternoon at an outdoors, Michelin-starred restaurant, with most vegetables sourced from the onsite garden. The staggering list of ingredients made in-house includes black limes dehydrated on site; seeded crackers made from flaxmeal and chia; hamburger buns and other breads baked on property; even a take on a Magic Shell chocolate syrup, produced by the pastry team to harden atop chocolate-vanilla oatmilk soft serve. Seared ahi lettuce cups with kelp noodles and grapefruit ponzu are a must, as is the cashew-miso dip accompanied by raw and lightly fermented garden vegetables. Throughout the afternoon, staff members also deliver edible “amenities” to pool goers — sliced local stone fruit drizzled with honey and a sprinkling of Turkish urfa biber, or perhaps a fresh grating of that housemade black lime. Popular tequila cocktails like the Ranch Hand and Sunriser transport guests to Mexico.  

Stanly Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection

Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa

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The most accessible staycation spot for East Bay residents, Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa is like a quick trip to Europe without the hefty price tag. The petite, shallow pool is open to hotel guests or spa guests with a special upgrade (ask ahead). The Park Bistro’s menu celebrates hotel classics with California produce and products (think, Dungeness crab) and can be procured via a dedicated on the pool deck on weekdays, or from your chaise lounge on weekends, when there’s live service. Seasonal salads are a hit, especially when they feature ripe nectarines and strawberries on a bed of feta-labneh cream. Avocado toast features the fruit two ways, schmeared and charred, with blistered cherry tomatoes atop a runny poached egg. Garlic confit deepens the flavor of a levain grilled cheese with white cheddar and swiss, joined by a cup of roasted red pepper or other seasonal soup. Burgers, hearty sandwiches, and protein-driven main dishes round out the lunch menu. At breakfast, a swim can end with any manner of omelet, quiche du jour, or french toast with mascarpone cream.  

Laura Borrman

Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Francisco

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Dining at the Palace Hotel is a well-known, and worthy, San Francisco tradition. Every local should have a chance to experience afternoon tea at the breathtaking Garden Court restaurant in the hotel’s atrium, followed by a stroll along the mirrored walls of the grand room, and a gaze at the gargantuan Austrian crystal chandeliers overhead. Second only to this experience is an elegant lunch relaxing alongside the Palace’s own indoor pool, with a domed glass ceiling and a view of the city. The full in-room dining menu is available to hotel guests poolside, from a breakfast of Palace benedict with the signature rosemary ham or blueberry pancakes to a lunch or dinner of petrale sole, shrimp and chips, or that herbaceous wonder, the Green Goddess salad, served with crab in season, or pesto shrimp, fried chicken or flat-iron steak.  

Palace Hotel

Phoenix Hotel

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The Phoenix Hotel and its restaurant Chambers eat + drink are absolute San Francisco gems — and the pool has landmark status. One of only two pools with that distinction in the country, it anchors the tropical oasis courtyard with its vibrant artwork. Though the pool is swimmable for hotel guests only, restaurant patrons are welcome to dine in the courtyard poolside. Chef Joel Godden hails from some of the best restaurants in the country and brings experience in Italian, French, and Nordic fine dining to the menu. Housemade focaccia is chewy and crispy at once; spicy patatas bravas the perfect drinking food; salmon gravlax with labneh and an apple-fennel slaw makes an ideal as a starter for Sunday brunch or dinner; and a tortilla espanola showcases why egg and potato together is the best all-day food around. Numbered cocktails show the bartenders’ chops, with a vodka drink designed for warm weather sipping and a take on a lemon drop using limoncello, vodka, dry vermouth, curacao, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Chocolate panna cotta for dessert recalls pudding skin dreams of childhood.

A plate of avocado toast from Chambers eat + drink sits atop a poolside table. Emily Billings

Rosewood Sand Hill

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What from the street appears to be a Silicon Valley office park gradually reveals itself as a rambling luxury resort. Navigate the pathways around understated cottages and Michelin-starred Madera to arrive at the majestic, expansive pool of Rosewood Sand Hill. Lined by more than 100 chaise lounges, the pool beckons hotel guests and day-pass customers alike. Acclaimed chef Seamus Mullen presides over the resort’s food program, and the pool menu is a thoughtful selection of light, warm-weather food, leveraging olive oil and spice to maximum effect. Most popular are grilled halibut tacos, lifted with mango salsa, coleslaw, and lime. Other essentials include avocado “dip”; coconut milk-doused ceviche with taro chips; and housemade cracker-like flatbread turned out of the property’s own wood-burning oven. The killer “spicy with tequila” cocktail features lime, agave, chartreuse, bitters, and serrano-infused tequila. Finish with fresh fruit paletas sourced from the Mission or a San Francisco classic, the IT’S-IT.

Laura Borrman

Hotel Healdsburg

Available only to hotel guests, a dip in the pool at Hotel Healdsburg is worth staying overnight for — heated just so, a manageable size, and surrounded by olive trees and hedges that make the swimmer feel tucked into an experience of intimate luxury. Local farms and vineyards encircle the town of Healdsburg, informing the menus at restaurants that line the central square, including iconic chef Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen, on the hotel’s first floor. But it’s straightforward casual Italian cuisine served by popular plaza spot PizZando that caters to the hotel’s poolside diners. Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant offers classics like panzanella salad and the requisite (for good reason) Northern California little gems caesar with boquerones, as well as pastas, pizzas, wine, beer, cocktails, and mocktails.

Picobar at Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection

Auberge Resorts Collection

The light at Solage always appears hazy and dreamlike, painting patrons in an other-worldly hue. Perhaps it’s the location in an area famous for mud baths and magical geothermal waters. Whatever it is, food and wellness rituals marry at this Calistoga outpost of the Auberge collection, and finding time and budget for a stay becomes a worthy goal. Open to hotel guests and spa guests for an additional fee, the multiple geothermal pools range from frigid to hot, and moving between them is suggested for optimal health. For those who believe the stomach is a superior route to happiness, spa-adjacent casual restaurant Picobar serves all day and is open to non-hotel guests. A new poolside cabana experience includes fresh margaritas prepared a la minute, and signature dishes like gulf shrimp ceviche and tacos al pastor. At $850 it’s not cheap but gets four people all-day access to poolside Napa Valley luxury.

Auberge Resorts Collection

Dr. Wilkinson's Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs

Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs

The small but mighty onsite restaurant for Dr. Wilkinson’s Resort and Spa in Calistoga, House of Better offers an all-day Southwestern eclectic menu made for snacking, either on the patio, in-room, or at one of the hotel’s two outdoor, geothermal mineral pools. A perfect foil for a hot day in wine country, the fiery chile is celebrated throughout the menu: in nachos, salad dressings, tacos, posole, and even pie. And because pie is always a good idea, the signature apple-chile-cheddar with its crumble topping makes a perfect breakfast or lunch dessert. Tasting flights of dips, salsas, and guacamoles, accompanied by tortilla chips or fresh vegetables, are natural poolside choices. Excitingly, Dr. Wilkinson’s is now available on ResortPass, so you don’t have to stay overnight to get this poolside food experience. 

Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa

For a hotel that’s nearly a century old, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa has done a beautiful job staying both relevant and desired by travelers and locals. Healthful relaxation and rejuvenation are central, with its coveted location atop an ancient hot spring. Mineral pools feature water sourced from said hot spring, both throughout the spa and at the main pool. The main pool features a proper poolside food and drink menu at the five-seat Water Tower Bar or ordered from a chaise lounge. The seasonal cucumber-honeydew gazpacho with spiced yogurt is cool and subtly sweet, and the fried, lime-doused Brussels sprouts are addictive. Salads, poke, and sandwiches like Nashville hot chicken or a fried green tomato po’boy round out the menu at this casual, social spot that offers, in addition to an expected alcoholic drink selection, several wines and house-batched cocktails on tap — it’s wine country, after all. 

Carneros Resort and Spa

Carneros Resort and Spa

The American Viticultural Area of Carneros and the hotel of the same name share a few important qualities: they’re sprawling, idyllic, and producers of memorable food and wine experiences. Quintessential modern wine country, Carneros Resort is home to fine dining spot FARM and uber popular brunch spot Boon Fly Cafe, both open to the public, or for hotel guests only, dining at two pools, one adults-only and one intended for families with kids — with menus to match. Grownup offerings are ample and range from more expected poolside dishes involving tomatoes, salads, or fish, to seasonal takes on a quesadilla, with whipped goat cheese and summer squash, and heartier dishes of steak frites and burgers. For families, snacky hummus and sweet potato fries join kid favorites including the ultimate grilled cheese, as well as poke and a grilled chicken wrap. Notably, alcohol is available at both pools.

Carneros Resort and Spa

Stanly Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection

Stanly Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection

A winding route through vineyards leads to the newest Auberge property in wine country, themed after the ranch land it sits upon. The hotel’s main pool is kept bathtub-warm year round, and its adjacent restaurant, Basin Bar, serves directly to lounge chairs. Eating from the pool menu is sublime, like a casual afternoon at an outdoors, Michelin-starred restaurant, with most vegetables sourced from the onsite garden. The staggering list of ingredients made in-house includes black limes dehydrated on site; seeded crackers made from flaxmeal and chia; hamburger buns and other breads baked on property; even a take on a Magic Shell chocolate syrup, produced by the pastry team to harden atop chocolate-vanilla oatmilk soft serve. Seared ahi lettuce cups with kelp noodles and grapefruit ponzu are a must, as is the cashew-miso dip accompanied by raw and lightly fermented garden vegetables. Throughout the afternoon, staff members also deliver edible “amenities” to pool goers — sliced local stone fruit drizzled with honey and a sprinkling of Turkish urfa biber, or perhaps a fresh grating of that housemade black lime. Popular tequila cocktails like the Ranch Hand and Sunriser transport guests to Mexico.  

Stanly Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection

Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa

Laura Borrman

The most accessible staycation spot for East Bay residents, Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa is like a quick trip to Europe without the hefty price tag. The petite, shallow pool is open to hotel guests or spa guests with a special upgrade (ask ahead). The Park Bistro’s menu celebrates hotel classics with California produce and products (think, Dungeness crab) and can be procured via a dedicated on the pool deck on weekdays, or from your chaise lounge on weekends, when there’s live service. Seasonal salads are a hit, especially when they feature ripe nectarines and strawberries on a bed of feta-labneh cream. Avocado toast features the fruit two ways, schmeared and charred, with blistered cherry tomatoes atop a runny poached egg. Garlic confit deepens the flavor of a levain grilled cheese with white cheddar and swiss, joined by a cup of roasted red pepper or other seasonal soup. Burgers, hearty sandwiches, and protein-driven main dishes round out the lunch menu. At breakfast, a swim can end with any manner of omelet, quiche du jour, or french toast with mascarpone cream.  

Laura Borrman

Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Francisco

Palace Hotel

Dining at the Palace Hotel is a well-known, and worthy, San Francisco tradition. Every local should have a chance to experience afternoon tea at the breathtaking Garden Court restaurant in the hotel’s atrium, followed by a stroll along the mirrored walls of the grand room, and a gaze at the gargantuan Austrian crystal chandeliers overhead. Second only to this experience is an elegant lunch relaxing alongside the Palace’s own indoor pool, with a domed glass ceiling and a view of the city. The full in-room dining menu is available to hotel guests poolside, from a breakfast of Palace benedict with the signature rosemary ham or blueberry pancakes to a lunch or dinner of petrale sole, shrimp and chips, or that herbaceous wonder, the Green Goddess salad, served with crab in season, or pesto shrimp, fried chicken or flat-iron steak.  

Palace Hotel

Phoenix Hotel

A plate of avocado toast from Chambers eat + drink sits atop a poolside table. Emily Billings

The Phoenix Hotel and its restaurant Chambers eat + drink are absolute San Francisco gems — and the pool has landmark status. One of only two pools with that distinction in the country, it anchors the tropical oasis courtyard with its vibrant artwork. Though the pool is swimmable for hotel guests only, restaurant patrons are welcome to dine in the courtyard poolside. Chef Joel Godden hails from some of the best restaurants in the country and brings experience in Italian, French, and Nordic fine dining to the menu. Housemade focaccia is chewy and crispy at once; spicy patatas bravas the perfect drinking food; salmon gravlax with labneh and an apple-fennel slaw makes an ideal as a starter for Sunday brunch or dinner; and a tortilla espanola showcases why egg and potato together is the best all-day food around. Numbered cocktails show the bartenders’ chops, with a vodka drink designed for warm weather sipping and a take on a lemon drop using limoncello, vodka, dry vermouth, curacao, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Chocolate panna cotta for dessert recalls pudding skin dreams of childhood.

A plate of avocado toast from Chambers eat + drink sits atop a poolside table. Emily Billings

Rosewood Sand Hill

Laura Borrman

What from the street appears to be a Silicon Valley office park gradually reveals itself as a rambling luxury resort. Navigate the pathways around understated cottages and Michelin-starred Madera to arrive at the majestic, expansive pool of Rosewood Sand Hill. Lined by more than 100 chaise lounges, the pool beckons hotel guests and day-pass customers alike. Acclaimed chef Seamus Mullen presides over the resort’s food program, and the pool menu is a thoughtful selection of light, warm-weather food, leveraging olive oil and spice to maximum effect. Most popular are grilled halibut tacos, lifted with mango salsa, coleslaw, and lime. Other essentials include avocado “dip”; coconut milk-doused ceviche with taro chips; and housemade cracker-like flatbread turned out of the property’s own wood-burning oven. The killer “spicy with tequila” cocktail features lime, agave, chartreuse, bitters, and serrano-infused tequila. Finish with fresh fruit paletas sourced from the Mission or a San Francisco classic, the IT’S-IT.

Laura Borrman

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