You might thank a small Spanish island for the current daytime pool-party scene in the Nevada desert.
Las Vegas has been called the new Ibiza, though in typical Vegas fashion, hotel casinos have taken the daytime electronic dance music scene and amplified it—with 32,000-watt subwoofers and custom lasers, international resident DJs, and cabanas with private infinity pools and beds for sleeping off the revelry. Add in beaches, swim-up gambling, and models as waiters, and it’s safe to say that Las Vegas pools have never been cooler.
With 40 million visitors hitting the Strip in 2013, many with a seemingly insatiable appetite for daytime drinking and dancing, it’s no wonder hotels are devoting pool real estate to pay-to-play mega venues. Relative newcomers like Daylight in Mandalay Bay and the expanded Wet Republic at MGM Grand can host up to 5,000 partiers.
To be fair, the dayclub pool concept isn’t brand-new in Las Vegas. Rehab, the legendary weekend bash at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, started the trend with its raucous parties back in 2003. What began as an excuse to extend the weekend became a rite of passage and the biggest meat market on or off the Strip. Meanwhile, DJs like Paul Oakenfold, who was in residence at the Palms, helped pave the way for electronic dance music fever.
Because of the profitability of this pool party model, this also means that the Vegas pendulum has swung back to a decidedly grown-up scene, where cabana rentals often start at $300 on weekdays and rise exponentially on weekends. (Keep in mind that the prices reflect minimum food and drinks spending; do the math for your group to see if a cabana works in your favor.)
Still, we’ve identified swimming pools where kids are welcome, as well as some oases that are free or blissfully serene, such as the private Cypress Premier Lounges at the Bellagio. And here’s a little-known secret: you can gain entry to one of the Strip’s most rarefied pool areas by renting a cabana, and for a comparatively low rate.
For details, dive in to our roundup of the best Vegas pool options, from family-friendly to adults-only, with some pools that bridge the gap nicely.