Sky’s the Limit for Tropicana’s New Beach Club

Penn National Gaming VP Howard Weiss talks about the serious business of creating the “fun factor” at the Tropicana’s new beach club

Photo by Krystal Ramirez

Photo by Krystal Ramirez

Warmer weather in Las Vegas means one thing: dayclubs. As temperatures rise, so does the number of high-profile DJs, performances and parties. One forthcoming project, Sky Beach Club, hopes to usher in a paradigm shift from a DJ-centric approach to an old-fashioned good time. We sat down with the vice president of daylife and nightlife at Penn National Gaming, Howard Weiss, to get the scoop about the Tropicana’s shiny new beach club, which opens April 8.

Why have you named the new venue Sky Beach Club?

We just wanted to keep it as simple as possible. In Vegas, the weather is so great, so we thought we’d use the word “sky” since it’s rarely cloudy here. It has a sense of openness, just like the venue. There are plenty of things we can do to play off the name, and since there’s not an actual beach in the city, we hope to bring one to it by doing some beach-themed activations that’ll set us apart from the competition.

How will Sky Beach Club do that?

It’ll be a new experience that’s very different from the typical dayclub. Sky will have a fun, party atmosphere with interactive games on the pool deck such as beer pong and table games rather than big-name DJs. When it comes to programming, we’ll have DJs who primarily spin Top 40, but our performers are going to be a combination of pop, R&B, celebrities and reality television stars who will interact and engage with everybody who decides to walk through those doors. And the challenge is combining the two: getting people to enjoy themselves without them going too deep into their own pockets. We’re planning to make it affordable for locals and tourists alike. We’ll announce [names] in the coming months, but opening day is April 8. That’s gonna be a big one.

What do you have planned for opening day?

We’re keeping that under wraps for now, but we’re doing a soft opening around Memorial Day weekend as the official kickoff to summer. We’ll have a local resident DJ—nothing too crazy.

Sky Beach Club’s daybeds.

Sky Beach Club’s daybeds.

The Tropicana’s party pool has changed hands three times in an attempt to reinvigorate the space. How do you plan to attract the right guest to Sky Beach?

Since Penn [National Gaming Inc.] purchased the Tropicana six months ago, we’ve been doing everything internally. I was [working] with Caesars [Entertainment] on the East Coast, relocated to Vegas and assembled a whole team to activate the space and bring lots of traffic. Together, we hope to make a big difference in how the space works. We partnered with Element Hospitality—which has worked on Chateau, [Budweiser] Beer Park and Fizz at Caesars Palace. We believe they have the best exposure and reach to hit the right type of demographic to ensure it’s the best it could be.

Since Penn also manages DayDream Pool Club at M Resort, how will the two work together?

We’ll cross-market DJ residencies and performances, as well as cross-promote both dayclubs via our websites and social channels. We may also host bikini contests and giveaways with prizes redeemable at the other corresponding venue.

How will you compete with other clubs and pools in the area, such as Wet Republic?

We think they will help us! Hakkasan [Group] and Wet Republic have all the big-name DJs, and when people venture out to those places, they have another option, another place they can visit. It’s another place tourists and locals can check out on the way to the bigger clubs, and we hope to drive some of that traffic into Sky since it provides a different experience.

How does opening Sky Beach Club differ from other endeavors in your career thus far?

It’s a unique asset. The marketing and programming approach will be similar to some of my past endeavors, but the venue is a little different. This type of pool party has not existed in Vegas since the EDM surge. I’m very excited to bring this back to the market. There’s a demand for this type of party.

Sky Beach seems to be heading in the direction of a dayclub. Will there be night events as well?

The club will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We also hope to do a nighttime activation at some point.

What production elements can we expect?

You can expect state-of-the-art visuals and sound, but our main focus will be on delivering an interactive guest experience with an increased fun factor. Although we’re keeping some things secret for now, you can expect cryo, confetti, Champagne showers … maybe even a Slip ’n’ Slide or a dunk tank.