Apps offering hotel amenities for day use offer a new way to take a break.
These daycations are worth diving into.
For those who can manage to escape work for a day or even just a few hours, there’s now a way to enjoy the amenities that hotels and beaches have to offer. People looking for pool time, spa services and fitness centers can get access to hotel facilities — without spending the night — for a nominal fee through startups like DayAxe, ResortPass, Day Use and Beach Now.
It’s no secret, after all, that Americans are bad at taking time off: Six in 10 Americans took a vacation last year, according to a January Gallup Poll, with people citing their income and employment status as reasons for not going away.
ResortPass, a service founded by 33-year-old Santa Monica resident Amanda Szabo, offers the use of amenities at luxury hotels like the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach and Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa in San Diego, Calif. To date, more than 80,000 people have taken a daycation through ResortPass.
“When I was living in San Diego, I constantly thought about wanting to go to a pool, lay out, swim and have a cocktail,” Szabo told Moneyish. “I snuck into a hotel once, but that felt uncomfortable and I was nervous I’d get kicked out — so it got me thinking.”
Two years later, Szabo said, she knew there was a market for this type of business — and she knew hotels could benefit from an additional revenue stream. “At first, hotels didn’t like the idea of ‘outsiders’ using their pool,” she said. “But once they learned that these would be registered hotel guests booking the hotel the same way as overnight guests and that they have complete control over managing access, it became a no-brainer.”
Through ResortPass, people can book day passes to pools, spas, cabanas and fitness centers without committing to an overnight stay. At the five-star property Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, users pay $25 for a pass that includes access to the saltwater pool, jacuzzi, fitness center, and poolside food and drink service; a 15% discount at restaurants on the property; and complimentary wifi and parking. A $100 daybed pass to the resort includes day passes for up to two adults and three children, a king-size daybed with shaded canopy, two bottles of Evian water, a fresh fruit plate and magazines.
Tatiana Maskaron, founder of the luxury hotel day pass app DayAxe, says it wasn’t always smooth sailing for her company. “I spent six months knocking on hotel doors, and nobody wanted to participate,” she told Moneyish. “Now every hotel wants to join and we have a big waiting list.”
So why the sudden interest? Maskaron said she’s learned that tourists and hotel guests don’t typically spend that much money on property since they’re busy sightseeing — but DayAxe customers spend an average of $60 per guest, all of which goes to the hotel. “An average hotel on DayAxe earns $42,000 per month from incidental spending by day guests,” said Maskaron.
Since DayAxe passes start at just $10, it’s possible to have a really affordable retreat without the overhead of a room, an added resort fee and other miscellaneous charges and taxes. And with more than 152,000 users, 30 hotels and five markets on DayAxe, Maskaron is working to expand her business by opening international locations in the off-season.
But if you’re looking for more than just amenities and your daycation requires an actual hotel room, the app Day Use provides users with a guest room for a few hours. The service allows for an inexpensive way to enjoy a hotel stay at 75% less than the standard nightly rate. The Hyatt Centric Times Square in New York City offers Day Use access starting at $135 for anywhere from four to seven hours between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. And the Freehand Chicago has rooms for $64 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., while the Parc 55 San Francisco has rooms for $109 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to being pet-friendly, the Parc 55 also boasts a bar, restaurant and outdoor pool.
And if sitting on a sandy beach with your very own cabana is the type of daycation you’re after, Beach Now, a luxury concierge beach service started by Alexandria Yalj, 36, offers a hotel-like experience with umbrellas, chairs, towels, games, snacks and food delivery at beaches along the Southern California coast. With prices ranging from $135 to $395, people can choose to have oak loungers, Pendleton towels, Bluetooth speakers, power charging banks, fresh fruit upon arrival, flat and sparkling water, sunscreen and food delivery at their disposal. (Just remember to book at least 24 hours in advance.)
“My brother, his wife and their two toddlers were visiting my very pregnant wife and I, and the thought of lugging everything we needed to Venice Beach sounded like a nightmare,” Jay Judah, a television producer in his early 30s who tried Beach Now, told Moneyish. For Judah, having someone provide everything and set it all up was a game-changer. “I’m not sure I’ll be able to go to the beach like a normal person ever again,” he said.
Some hotels are taking it upon themselves to offer daytime access to their sought-after summertime scenes. The Dream Downtown in New York just announced an elite membership program called Keyed In, which allows 100 members VIP access to the hotel’s pool and gym for $999 from July through October 1. Members also get access to a preferred entrance to the PHD Rooftop Lounge and Electric Room for themselves plus two guests, a complimentary house margarita between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., access to the Dream Beach and pool Monday through Friday, a complimentary glass of rosé, and an up to 20% discount on room bookings at Dream Hotel locations in New York, Miami, Bangkok and Hollywood.
“Keyed In has been a great way to uniquely engage New Yorkers and returning hotel guests,” Rohit Anand, who works in brand activation and partnerships at the Dream Hotel Group, told Moneyish. He also noted that the Dream Downtown’s program is different than the apps that offer access to hotel amenities. “We want to create a membership program that gives our repeat customers an elite, VIP status, and eventually roll this initiative out to additional properties in the hotel group to build overall brand loyalty and repeat customers,” he said.
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