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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Perfecting the art of the Las Vegas pool party

Perfecting the art of the Las Vegas pool party

Story by Brian Hurlburt


This writer is a veteran of several Las Vegas summers spent as a life guard at a variety of Las Vegas resorts including MGM Grand, the Hilton, Bally’s Las Vegas, the old Frontier and Dunes, and others.

It was as good a job as a teenage kid from Las Vegas could get in the summer. Days spent by the pool earning tips while watching bikinis seemed like a dream come true.

Back then (unfortunately several decades ago), the pools at the resorts were a budget line item that hurt the bottom line. The pool areas were nice, but were basically an afterthought and a necessary amenity. Some had nice restaurants and bars, and there was limited entertainment at times, but the pool was basically a spot for relaxation to kill time between bets at the tables.

My, how times have changed.

These days, the pool areas of the resorts are still budget line items, but the revenue generated per square foot is among the best of the entire resort. It goes without saying the pool area now improves the bottom line. Pool parties generate as much—or more—than nightclubs, and the party is on nearly as soon as the sun comes up.

World class DJs, fine cuisine, swim up bars, blackjack tables, bottle service and more are now the norm and not the exception in Las Vegas.

Here is the Las Vegas Golf and Leisure guide to the best and biggest Vegas pool parties. In general, there are admission fees for the parties and they are 21+ events.

It’s time to get your swim on.

Rehab Beach Club at the Hard Rock

Any guide to the Las Vegas pool scene pretty much has to start with Rehab, the party that started a new generation of entertainment in Las Vegas. Rehab rocks the Hard Rock each summer and still is as epic today as it was in its beginning a little over a decade ago. As a recent article in the Las Vegas Weekly stated, “Rehab is still sizzling after 10 years.”

“Our goal is to always make Rehab better than it was the season before,” says Joe Bravo, director of nightlife/daylife at Hard Rock Hotel. “We wanted to refocus our programming to enhance the party. Guests can expect another wild season of debauchery and never-before-seen experiences as we continue to set the standard for Las Vegas dayclubs.” 

This year, Rehab will add an influx of electronic dance music (EDM) artists to its lineup and will host exclusive DJ residencies with Bingo Players, Flux Pavilion, Knife Party and R3HAB*. The legendary dayclub will also bring back DJ Pauly D for exclusive show engagements.

Rehab was featured on Travel Channel’s “21 Sexiest Beach Bars” and hosts called it “the must-see place on a Sunday afternoon.” The party was also deemed the “best known, biggest and craziest pool party” by the Los Angeles Times and is said to be “legendarily raucous” by Travel + Leisure. In 2013, it won the “(DAY) Lifetime Achievement Award” in Vegas Seven’s Daylife Awards.



Encore Beach Club at Encore

The dayclub at Encore took decadence and world-class entertainment to the next level when it was created. There are day and night parties at Encore Beach and some of the biggest DJs in the world play Encore.

Encore Beach Club at Night returns for its third year. The weekly nighttime event is a vibrant mixture of the daytime pool elements with the excitement and entertainment of a nightclub. This season, EBC at Night expands to two nights to add a one of a kind Friday night pool party event in Las Vegas. Las Vegas’s most anticipated Sunday night pool party is arguably XS Sunday NightSwim.

The big news from Encore this year is that Avicii, who is retiring from the DJ world, will be making his final appearances in Las Vegas at Encore and XS nightclub. Avicii’s Wynn Las Vegas 2016 residency will be the only and final time to see him live in Las Vegas.

"We spoke with Avicii’s team and, although we are sad to see him retire, we are happy to report that he is honoring all of his upcoming dates at Wynn Las Vegas (Encore BeachClub and XS) through June,” says Christie?who is this?. "We support Tim’s who is Tim? journey in life and wish him the very best. He knows our door is always open should he decide to tour again.”

Avicii is scheduled to appear on June 18 and June 25 at Encore Beach Club, and June 24 at XS Nightclub.



Ditch Fridays at The Palms

Another legendary Vegas pool party is Ditch Fridays at The Palms. This epic bash continues to impress and has stood the test of time.

The ultimate weekly pool party “Ditch Fridays” returns with non-stop entertainment and is the perfect excuse to skip work or school on a Friday. Since its inception, “Ditch Fridays” has grown into one of the city’s most renowned pool parties, and this year shouldn’t disappoint.

Other elements of Ditch Fridays include new over-the-top bottle presentations with props including a red “Ditch Fridays”-branded child-size Mercedes Power Wheels SUV, champagne guns that hold a magnum size bottle of champagne, an interactive game garden featuring oversized dominos, kids-size basketball hoops, chess, Jenga, connect four, corn hole and beer pong, and the Bud Light Experience—a rooftop retreat overlooking both pools, featuring drink specials, a relaxing lounge area and a variety of interactive games.



Wet Republic at MGM Grand

Wet Republic is the MGM Grand’s ultra pool and offers guests a nightlife vibe merged seamlessly with poolside pampering and relaxation. The hot spot recently underwent a two-year remodel. The first phase of the remodel debuted in 2013 and welcomed a newly renovated and expanded DJ booth, an upgraded LED display, expanded bar, along with new furniture and finishing touches.

The second phase debuted in 2014 and transformed itself once again into a whole new experience by adding an additional 1,500-square-feet to the destination. Poolgoers have the chance to indulge in six new VIP Bungalows equipped with plush furniture, TVs and misting fans, all accompanied by three private plunge pools providing guests with the ultimate daytime VIP experience. The 54,500-square-foot venue also adds convenience to the guest experience with a number of newly installed restroom and shower facilities and an extended shaded area. 



The Pond at Green Valley Ranch

A popular local pool party for residents is the Pond at Green Valley Ranch Resort. The parties are free Wednesday through Sunday and Bikini Blackjack kicked off Memorial Day weekend.

The Pond also will feature movie nights each Sunday plus a summer live music series each Friday and Saturday starting at 7 p.m.



Tao Beach at The Venetian

TAO Beach, the daytime incarnation of TAO Nightclub located at The Venetian, transports visitors to an exotic Balinese escape. Exclusive cabanas, day beds for lounging and lush horticulture, including 40-foot tall bamboo trees, highlight the day to night venue, while world-renowned talent commands the center stage DJ booth.



Drai’s Beachclub at the Cromwell

Perched atop The Cromwell, Drai’s Beachclub takes partygoers to new heights with the Las Vegas Strip’s first rooftop dayclub. There are multiple pools, daybeds below palms trees and tremendous views. The 2016 pool season will feature high-caliber sets by some of the most sought after DJs, including: Party Favor, Mija, BassJackers, Brody Jenner x Devin Lucien, DJ Esco, Morgan Page and others. Drai’s Beachclub offers a full-service gourmet kitchen and two outdoor bars.



Foxtail Pool at SLS Vegas

This party is new to the scene with the opening of the SLS. Foxtail pool party features live performances featuring world-famous pop and hip-hop artists. Every Saturday this summer, Foxtail Pool Live! brings a wild series of poolside partying to one of the newest, most exciting outdoor venues on the Las Vegas Strip. Additionally, guests can keep the party going with Foxtail’s Sunday pool parties, which will feature high-energy performances, playful themes and vibrant colors—all taking place against the gorgeous Foxtail Pool backdrop starting Sunday, June 5.



Marquee Dayclub at Cosmopolitan

There is so much pool action at the Cosmopolitan that they named the entire area The Pool District. The District is anchored by Marquee Dayclub but also features Boulevard Pool and the Bamboo Pool. Guests can soak up the sun in a relaxing environment Monday through Thursday and party the day away Friday through Sunday as Marquee’s resident DJs turn up the sound.

A destination for the world’s premier music talent, the dayclub’s sixth season will be highlighted by top electronic music artists and unique production elements. The venue features two pools, several bars and a gaming area, along with cabanas boasting infinity edge dipping pools and luxurious overnight bungalows overlooking the party. Specialty cocktail and food menus from Corporate Executive Chef Ralph Scamardella make the party that much better.



Liquid Pool Lounge at ARIA

The ultimate in poolside opulence, Liquid Pool Lounge is “defined by contemporary ambiance and ultra VIP service.” This pool lounge features high-tech amenities and eight private cabanas plus seven U-shaped banquettes on the main pool deck, 17 elite daybeds, 27 banquettes and tables and eight L-shaped banquettes.

Music is spun by world-class DJs and two luxury pools create a tempting and cool oasis from the hot Vegas sun and overlook the main pool deck. Multiple bars and a mouthwatering menu complement personalized chaise lounge and daybed services, which provide the perfect summertime refuge.



Bare Pool Lounge at The Mirage

Go bare at Bare Pool Lounge, a European-style sunbathing spot that features the hottest DJs. Offering an outlet to unwind after a long day, Bare's comforting atmosphere and tropical ambiance seduces guests while being pampered by VIP staff. A variety of specialty drinks, ranging from spicy Bloody Marys to an array of flavored mojitos, will be available to help guests stay cool throughout their poolside escapades. Bare’s intimate 16,000-square-foot environment offers five newly remodeled cabanas, eight VIP beds, eight daybeds, four VIP tables, 48 chaise lounge chairs and two luxury dipping pools.



Moorea Beach Club at Mandalay Bay

Another European-style pool is Moorea Beach Club, which overlooks Mandalay Beach. This upscale pool created the word “toptional”, and caters to adults 21 years of age or older. The exclusive outdoor environment features high-energy music, poolside massage services and personalized attendants in a sophisticated Las Vegas environment.




Family Fun

Even though the original Wet ‘n Wild that opened three decades ago is no longer around, the newest rendition of the water park located in southwest Las Vegas more than lives up to the original (other than the unique Strip location of the first WW). Wet' n' Wild Las Vegas features more than 25 slides and attractions covering more than 20 acres, and is a perfect summer destination for both thrill seekers and families.

For the more daring, the park features the Rattler, the first slide of its kind in North America, and Constrictor, an extreme water slide featuring some of the tightest turns. Families and those desiring a more relaxing experience enjoy Paradise Falls, the interactive children’s area with kid friendly slides and a giant dumping bucket, Colorado Cooler lazy river, and Red Rock Bay wave pool. Season value passes are available.


Cowabunga Bay is the alternative to Wet ‘n Wild and is located near the Galleria Mall in Henderson. Cowabunga Bay features multiple slides including the Zuma Zooma, a ride where sliders fall instantly from 73 feet in the air into a high-speed horizontal 360-degree loop. The ride features a unique “launch capsule” with a trap door that drops out from below, instantly sending riders on a thrilling adventure. Also at Cowabunga is a wave pool and a kids' area, plus delicious food and VIP cabana experiences. Season value passes are available.



Top 10 Tips for a Backyard Pool Bash

Not interested in hitting a hotel pool bash or partaking in the madness of a water park? Then throwing your own pool party might be the best answer. Here are the top 10 tips to make your party epic.

  1. Towel off - Provide all guests with towels to dry off and plastic bags to store wet clothes once done splashing around.
  2. Tune it Up – Gauge your guest list and push play on Pandora to ensure the right vibe for the party. Pandora’s various options make it easy to play something for everyone throughout the day.
  3. Night time is the right time – Forget a day pool party. The hot Vegas nights make for the perfect atmosphere for a party. Throw in an outdoor movie and your party will rival the big boys.
  4. Drink it up – Supply both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages in plastic cups for no breakage. Come up with cool concoctions and have them readily available in a jar near the pool.
  5. Game time – Many pools are set up for pool volleyball or other games. These activities break the ice and are a lot of fun.
  6. Super soaker – For the kid in all of us—or the actual kids at the party—having some super soaker squirt guns laying around can provide for dastardly fun.
  7. Made in the shade – Be sure there are umbrellas or ample shade for relaxation for all partygoers.
  8. Warm it up – Even during the day, turn on the hot tub if you have one so people can enjoy some warmth and relaxation.
  9. Grub it up – Serve some easy to manage food like burgers, tacos or dips and chips. Fruit also goes well by the pool.
  10. Lifeguard on duty – If there will be small kids at the party, hire a teenager or make sure someone else is watching the pool at all times and serving as a lifeguard.
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