32. Best Pool
Encore Beach Club at Encore
For the first-timer, stepping into these environs must be like being transported to some heavenly European hot spot, a pulsating Mediterranean party palace in far-flung Ibiza and St. Tropez. Awash in vibrant ochre and burnished gold, the 60,000-square-foot pool complex opened its doors Memorial Day weekend, drawing thousands to experience the hypnotic sounds of house DJ/producer Kaskade, who held a weekly residency at Kaskade Sundays. Throughout the summer, Encore Beach Club welcomed DJs Groove Armada, Chuckie and Afrojack and served as an urban retreat for celebrities, fashionistas and trendsetters jetting in from all over the globe. Dreamt up by Sean Christie and Steve Wynn himself, Encore Beach Club’s eight decadent bungalows, 26 private cabanas and three pools complete with floating lily pads and daybeds, the luxurious daytime escape gracefully blew all other pools parties out of the water.
33. Biggest Opening-Day Splash
Wet Republic Ultra Pool at the MGM Grand
With a closely guarded celebrity host lineup and heavily marketed war-on-nightlife ad campaign, Wet Republic aggressively opened for the 2010 pool season with a kind of wall-to-wall energy that made everyone want to get their feet wet. In the days and weeks that followed, Wet Republic parlayed its opening-day success into a season filled with A-list celebrities bathing in the Las Vegas sun and world-renowned DJs keeping the crowds washing up on its shores.
34. Hottest Local Pool Party Scene
Tao Beach at the Venetian
It’s open seven days a week, locals are always admitted free, and the fact that it’s a celebrity favorite doesn’t hurt, either. Sure, the Tao Beach party puddle isn’t the biggest on the Strip, but let’s face it: No one comes here to swim. Instead, this Balinese-inspired rooftop oasis is the place to sunbathe and be seen, and you can do so while enjoying a range of tasty cocktails and snacks. What’s more, things really heat up on the weekends, when some serious DJ talent (such as Roger Sanchez) has been known to follow-up (or warm-up for) the night’s performance with an afternoon set. Consider it the perfect place to pre-game for a big night, or recover from one. Just don’t forget the SPF.
35. Biggest Celebrity Roster
Wet Republic Ultra Pool at the MGM Grand
The pool season is just a few months long, but the team at Angel Management Group knows how to make the most of it, keeping Wet Republic crawling with celebrities. 2010 proved to be no exception, as a range of celebs—including Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Will.i.am—popped by.
36. Actual Immersion Pool Pick
Ditch Fridays, the Palms Pool & Bungalows at the Palms
Surprisingly, a pool party does exist in Las Vegas where more people are in the water than not, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to actually see people swimming laps as the DJ plays on. Ditch Fridays at the Palms, which caters to a wider clientele than most, is just such the place where you can be at your pool-party coolest without being afraid to actually get in the water and smack your best friend with a floating noodle.
37. James Bond Stealth Pool Award
Rumor Boutique Resort
Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but we’ve heard it said—well, whispered really—that there is a pool in Las Vegas that isn’t three feet deep or cloudy with beer and melted piña colada mix. One that is open year-round, including a hot tub that will fit the whole cheerleader squad. Where the pretty and helpful cocktail servers come to you instead of you chasing after them, where the pool-floats float and are not capsized by men of the meathead persuasion (you’ll know them by their tribal tats) and where locals—we are told—are welcomed to dive in, gratis, with identification. Of course, this is just a rumor …
38. Best Nighttime Pool Party
Surrender Your Wednesdays, Surrender at Encore
While XS throws a great Sunday night pool party during the summer, it’s the club and pond next door, Surrender and conjoined Encore Beach Club that achieves nighttime pool-party supremacy. The combination of ease of access (just off valet), size (60,000 square feet total) and the extended party season (thanks largely to 150 space heaters) helps this locals favorite clinch the top spot. Booking resident DJs such as Steve Aoki and Lil Jon doesn’t hurt, either.