Growing up in the 1980s on the North Shore of Long Island, I usually attended pool parties that comprised of a few bags of Doritos, Metallica on the boom box, hours of sunbathing on floating chaise lounges and – when the girls showed up – a handful of legendary chicken fights. I’ve tried to recapture this glory for years. And I’ve failed miserably. Until I discovered some of the pool parties in Las Vegas.
Most of these experiences are called “dayclubs” for the way they bring the nightclub experience into the day. Big-name deejays laying sick beats outdoors? Check. Full bar service with amazing hand-crafted cocktails? Check. Throngs of beautiful and surgically enhanced people wearing next to nothing (or, in some cases, only bottoms) while they cavort like gods and goddesses in the warm water? Check.
I’ve investigated most of these pool parties in Las Vegas over the years. And some are better than others.
DJ plays to the crowd at Encore (photos courtesy of Encore Beach Club)
No. 1 on my list: Encore Beach Club at Encore. The reasons: Lots of space, views of Las Vegas Boulevard, and deejay lineups featuring electronic music stars such as Avicii and Eric Prydz. I also really like those giant umbrella-shaped showers positioned strategically around the pools.
Another fave: Ditch Fridays, the weekly bash (also on Saturdays) at the Palms Casino Resort, just east of the Strip. The big attractions here are the celebrities – Busta Rhymes and Diddy kicked off the season in May – and a trio of unique bars, one of which is tucked behind a cascading waterfall.
A number of pools would vie for the third spot on my personal rankings.
The Bare Pool Lounge (at The Mirage) rocks for its upper-deck infinity pool, which has a see-through wall that essentially creates a human aquarium.
Crowd goes wild at Encore (photos courtesy of Encore Beach Club)
I also would return to the Liquid Pool & Lounge (at Aria Resort & Casino) for the cabanas that feature flat-screen televisions with PS3 game consoles and a selection of Madden, NBA Live, and Tiger Woods Golf games.
If you like drinks, the biggest reason to visit Tao Beach (at The Venetian) is the frozen Tao-tini, made with Absolut Mandarin, Stoli Raspberry, Malibu Rum, cranberries, and fresh lime juice. Seriously, I dare you to drink just one.
This summer, Wet Republic, at MGM Grand, is sure to be great fun; most of the deejays that have signed deals with Hakkasan, the resort’s newest nightclub, also have agreed to spin at Wet. This means that on any given weekend, pool-partygoers might be grooving to the likes of Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, or Steve Aoki.
Viewfinder Tip: Arrive at Vegas pool parties early to get a good spot.
Finally, no snapshot of Vegas pool parties is complete without homage to Rehab, the Sunday shindig that celebrates its tenth anniversary this summer at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. To be clear, with yard-long beer bongs and lots of splashing, this bash is more like a frat party than a summer soiree. Ironically, however, Rehab is the closest I’ve ever come to recreating those high school afternoons; perhaps I’m not as sophisticated (or grown-up) as I’d like to think.
What’s your idea of a great pool party?