Summer’s Hot Resort-Living Trend Doesn’t Require a House

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Dallas’ most outlandish backyard and pool

Homeowners’ backyard pools are being used with abandon as people will continue to avoid public spaces throughout the summer. Those with even more wealth have their compounds with home gyms, media rooms, putting greens and tennis courts. A veritable Disneyland of activities that may see more use this summer than in all their summers past.

In the past week, they’ve also been burning up the lines to security companies in full-whispered panic as over a century of chickens came home to roost.

But big buck single-family homes aren’t the only place to enjoy a bevy of recreational activities and security measures. Condos and apartments offer all this and more. Sure, many have/had closed these amenities at some point during stay-at-home orders, but some are reopening and some never closed. And between gates, electronic fobs, keys, and staff, high-rises have never had to worry about security as crime is almost non-existent. High-rise residents don’t hunker down, they hunker up.

Managing Disease Transmission

And what about COVID-19 cooties?  Realize that those amenities and surfaces are being scrubbed down with abandon. Here at the Claridge, every door gets its knob polished daily, elevators are wiped down with anti-bacterials and the lobby has an array of sanitizing options – and that’s before you even get to the gym (that never closed). These extra precautions are being taken by the vast majority of condo and rental buildings to keep everyone healthy.

Once you enter our gym, there are alcohol wipes and hand sanitizers galore. In addition to daily cleaning, every week, the gym is electrostatically disinfected from top to bottom.  And while gyms are probably the most used amenity in condos and apartment complexes, varying your visit outside peak hours (early morning) and you’re likely to be alone.

The other thing single-family homes offer is outdoor space. Well, multi-family living offers residents several outdoor choices.


Let’s start with the smallest – the balcony. Cabin fever has been a chief misery in lockdown (next to your kids and spouse). Just being able to walk outside is calming (and like eating in the car, balcony drinking doesn’t count). While some jumbo units have thousands of square feet in terraces, typical balconies are a few hundred square feet. My Athena balcony was about 230 square feet, at the Claridge I have about half that while the Penthouse Plunge Claridge unit has two balconies.

I’ve been wondering if residents in buildings that allowed balconies to be enclosed have been rethinking that decision recently – I’m looking at you Athena, 3525 Turtle Creek, Park Towers and even the Claridge.

Cement Ponds: Pools

Pools are pretty much outdoors and another amenity high on the resort living checklist. Now that summer is here, we should all understand the potential COVID-19 dangers. As far as the pool is considered, there’s no danger bobbing around in a pool – the chemicals or excessive salinity pretty much kill everything. The only dangers surrounding pool use are the same as those experienced walking down the street – stay a safe distance away from others and wear sunscreen.

And if the pool is outdoors any breeze disburses the cooties – and pools are outdoors at 3525 Turtle Creek, Gold Crest, Park Towers, Claridge, Preston Tower, Turtle Creek North, 21 Turtle Creek, Vendome, 1999 McKinney, 2011 Cedar Springs, Canton Lofts, Azure, Beverly – heck, the only mid- or high- rise condo I can find with an indoor pool is the Athena.  The only one without a pool at all seems to be The Centrum.

Amenity Decks

Often lumped with pools, amenity decks offer more than a splash. There are outdoor kitchens, pavilions, dog parks, putting greens and lounge areas. Many have cabanas (book one for a new work from home “office”). Museum Tower has a bocce ball court (yes, it’s a court, I looked it up). The Bonaventure’s pavilion rests in the middle of their own lake. Preston Tower, Bonaventure, and Warrington have tennis courts – Warrington and Bonaventure have Pickle Ball too!

Newer rental complexes have decks outfitted with all that and fire pits, plus if you’re at the McKenzie, a “Secret Garden Oasis”.


Expanding your “yard” further, many don’t think multi-family living has plain, un-coiffed land. Not necessarily true. While perhaps not perfect, generally speaking, the older your condo or apartment complex is, the more generous the green space. Think about Dallas’ oldest residential high-rise, 3525 Turtle Creek. It sits on 2.8 acres and that’s after it sold 2.09 acres to the developer who built Vendome next door. Or maybe “21” Turtle Creek with 3.16 acres. Or the granddaddy of them all, Bonaventure’s 7.6 acres. Compare that with more recently built Azure’s 1.3 acres or Museum Tower’s 1.55 acres or Museum Tower’s coming neighbor The Atelier Lofts’ 1.03 acre plot.

Sheltering in place in a building with generous grounds afforded residents their own back/side/front yard.

Trinity River Park


Moving offsite, if you’re lucky enough to live on Turtle Creek you have green space from the Dallas Country Club to Reverchon Park with nary a hiccup. There’s also the Katy Trail for an expanded radius of residents.

I have to say being new to Turtle Creek that the number and variety of birds is surprising. I see eagles, heron, egrets and a bunch of others I don’t recognize – and unlike the Athena, no pigeons!

If you live over in the Design District, there’s the Trinity Levee series of parks to explore with breathtaking views of downtown or more pastoral views northwest to Regal Row and way, way beyond.

Indoor Amenities

If you tire of fresh air, there are lots of things to do indoors outside of your home. Buildings have meeting rooms, media rooms, wine rooms, libraries, and if you’re at the Claridge, a handball court. When socially distant returns to being a choice, there are catering kitchens, private dining rooms, and even a ballroom (Stoneleigh) or two if you’re at the Ritz, Mansion, or W residences.

Multi-family living has always offered the secure, resort living many are craving this year but with one keen difference from a single-family home – it won’t be you out there peering through peepholes for strangers nor will you be skimming, shocking, and scrubbing the pool, mowing the lawn or in general keeping things extra clean.


Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is's condo/HOA and developer columnist, but also covers second home trends on An award-winning columnist, Jon has earned silver and bronze awards for his columns from the National Association of Real Estate Editors in both 2016, 2017 and 2018. When he isn't in Hawaii, Jon enjoys life in the sky in Dallas.

Reader Interactions


  1. Sharon Quist says

    No argument here. Even with protestors walking right past my condo building, I felt safe & protected. Sheltering in place has been quite easy in a high-rise & the housekeeping ladies & gentlemen are sterilizing the elevators, doors, fitness center, etc. every 3 hours. All packages & food deliveries are delivered right to one’s door, they ring the doorbell, then stealthily disappear with no human contact. I’ve had a socially distanced dinner in our private reflection pool park, and the building even had a guitar concert in the park for residents, with seating all around appropriately distanced & a surprise choice of red or white wine or champagne for each couple/family/person attending (by reservation only). Almost no reason to get in one’s car.

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