It seems every hotel that's any hotel has converted at least part of their pool to a night club/beach party/lounge area. I've been to several, so I'm going to provide my reviews for anyone interested in checking one out during a vacation. A few things to know about these parties in advance:
1. It usually costs mucho dinero to get in, more for tourists than locals, more for men than women. Most will allow you to purchase a bottle and reserve a small VIP area. This may help you avoid the cost of getting in and avoid the lines that form, which brings me to my next point...
2. There will be a line. There's always a line. Not because there isn't enough room inside, but because the "bouncers" aka lifeguards think the wait will increase the pool's street cred. More people waiting to get in = more exclusive = more people WANT to get in.
3. Scantilly clad ladies abound. You will see all sorts at these parties, but for the most part, the women are wearing itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikinis. Dress accordingly.
4. Drinks are even more expensive inside the pool parties than they are outside of the pool parties, if you can believe it. For example, a typical beer at the MGM pool is $5. A typical beer at Wet Republic at the MGM pool is $10. Just know you will be dropping cash once you get into the party. The best way to go if you are with a small group--buckets of beer and bottle service.
Now for my reviews:
1. Rehab - Hard Rock Hotel: This used to be THE pool party in town. It was the first and only until about 2 years ago. It's even been the subject of a reality show. On Sunday morning the line would start to grow until people were wrapped around the casino waiting to get in. It used to take hours just to make it to the front door. Now, with all of the other parties in town, Rehab has died down a bit. It's still hip, it's still a huge party, it's still busy. It just isn't as busy as it once was. Be prepared--this is one of the most expensive pool parties in town. If you haven't been to the pool and want to check it out, Rehab is always an option. If you want to check out the pool but don't want to deal with the half nude ladies and oil rubbed men partying in every inch of the water, go during the week. You don't need to be staying there hang out at the pool if you go during the week. My beef with Rehab? Well, all of the beef. No kidding, it's like 10 meatheads to 1 scantily clad lady at this party. Plus, I am hesitant to get in the water. It's a shade of yellow that just immediately turns the stomach.
2. Ditch Fridays - Palms: AKA the calmer cousin of Rehab. This party occurs on Fridays at the Palms. I've been once and it was dead. I've heard (mainly from Jeff and his friends) that it's better now than it was when it first opened. Very beautiful people taking shots at 10:00am on a Friday. My favorite part of Ditch is the music, which is DJ'd by one of the local radio stations. Not the biggest or the best party in town, but it's definitely your best option for a Friday. Plus, it's cheaper than some of the others (though not "cheap" by any means).
3. Tao Beach- Venetian: There are lots of pros and cons with this one. First of all, the bathrooms are extremely hard to find and the lines are out of control. The drink service absolutely sucks. It was so bad that almost everyone was ordering two drinks at a time vs. maneuvering through the line each time a drink was in order. Bottle service is the way to go here, trust me. Otherwise, prepare to stand the whole time. The good news--this pool has a dance floor area. The bad news--it's always full of people just standing there (not dancing) because there's nowhere to sit! But the fact that they have a dance floor does give Tao a bit of an edge, assuming you are into that.
4. Moorea Beach- Mandalay: If you stay here, it's much easier to get in to the beach. No line and no cost, at least in my experience. Just check in with the VIP host and tell him you are staying there. The line can get out of control depending on what time you decide to go. DH calls this party a "sausage fest" where the guys outnumber the girls by about 5 to 1. Don't order the food here--it sucks. The drinks were awesome though and VERY strong. If you don't have an open mind, don't go here. I saw more sexual craziness than I saw at all of the other pool parties combined. Topless is permitted (or preferred, if you ask DH's best friend). There were plenty of ladies taking advantage of this, many who could pull it off and many more who couldn't. One thing I found interesting at Moorea was the median age, which I would guess was in the low to mid 30s. Not that 30 is old, but it definitely is older than I would have expected, especially based on the scene at the other pool parties.
5. Wet Republic- MGM: One of the newest of the group. It kinda looks like a club straight out of South Beach at first glance. After we were there a while I though it was a little too much concrete for me. Take out the beautiful people and the DJ and all you really have is a VERY crappy pool. I was there opening weekend so things could have changed, but there were plenty of lounge chairs and not as much craziness as Rehab and Palms. People were still drunk and crazy, don't get me wrong, they just weren't as nutty as the Rehab and Palms crew. If you want to check out a pool party but you don't want to see the all out nudity and drunken debauchery, this may be the one for you. UPDATE: This last season (2009)brought more publicity to this pool. Many celebs hosted birthday parties there and many other celebs were spotted hanging out in the cabanas. For that reason, this pool has really taken off. I'd say it's now one of the hottest pool parties in town and definitely one of the most crowded. Beware--you WILL wait and you WILL have to fight for a chair/spot in the pool/drink, etc. And the pool still sucks, but the party and atmosphere make up for it.
6. Flamingo: I've been to the pool but never the pool "party." This isn't really an organized party, just more of a free for all. Free admission, cheap drinks, fun crowd (not a 'see and be seen' type place like the others). It's like the difference between a bar and a lounge in Vegas. If you consider yourself more of a bar person than a club or lounge person, choose Flamingo. Just don't go in expecting the lobster when you've only paid for (or in this case, received for free) the bay shrimp.
7. Bare- Mirage: Not my scene. Very small compared to the others and even more like a lounge. Big chairs/couches, lots of deep, dark colors. Call ahead and get on the guest list, or you'll be waiting in line forever. And bring your wallet--$50 to get in and $15 per drink. They don't care whether or not you are staying there. Regardless, you will pay an arm and a leg. It's a cool atmosphere, but not worth the money in my opinion. Oh, and almost all ladies were topless.
8. Day Dream- M Resort: The newest of the group, the M resort's pool party is much more of a locals scene, mainly because locals receive free admission. The main pool seemed like most pool parties to me--fully of "sharks" sizing up every woman that walked in. Villaggio del Sole is the private, smaller pool that costs $15.00 to get in, even for local ladies. The interesting part--the drinks are double the price in Villagio as they are in the main pool area. Not sure why, but definitely a good thing to know before deciding to opt for the private side. The music is mostly rap and R&B without much variation. Overall this pool was ok, nothing special. If you are staying further North on the strip, don't make a special trip here--not worth it.