Wynn, MGM and Sands Dive Into 'Ultra' Pools

Wynn, MGM and the Sands hotels in Las Vegas open adults-only pools.
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LAS VEGAS (TheStreet) -- The Wynn (WYNN) - Get Report, MGM Mirage (MGM) - Get Report and Las Vegas Sands (LVS) - Get Report hotels in Sin City won't be skimping on adults-only pools, despite the deep hotel depression.

Some credit the trend to Mandalay Bay's beach-wave pool and

Moorea Beach Club

, which brought European-style sunbathing to a mass audience. Others insist it was the weekly Hard Rock pool party called


, a margarita-induced bash of muscle dudes and girlfriends who don't mind the occasional waterborne chicken fight.

The new 200,000-square foot pool at the ARIA Resort Las Vegas.

Adults-only pools, or ultra pools, are the hottest daytime ticket in Vegas, inhabited mostly by 20-somethings to 40-somethings. Slushy cocktails are in hand and a soundtrack of hip-hop and lounge tracks plays on the stereo. No one under 21 is allowed. Some are topless, some offer outdoor gaming areas, most are open to non-hotel guests for a fee, and some even offer celebrity entertainment like performances by hip-hop artists Drake, Snoop Dogg and P. Diddy.

The in-pool seems to change every year and, with it, the crowd of weekend visitors who seek to book hotel rooms, play the tables and flock to the eateries of the latest hotspot. In 2006, it was all about Rehab at Hard Rock, which united aging frat boys with Paris Hilton wannabes inside the freeform resort pool of the Hard Rock.

Soon to follow were the Venetian with its

TAO Beach

, branching out from the main resort complex of the hotel and on to a rooftop perch with Strip views that tied it to the TAO nightclub. The location allows the flexibility of nighttime events, which means the cash registers don't stop once the sun goes down in summer. Add to the mix

Bare Ultra Lounge

at the Mirage, a show-off scene that invites and encourages topless sunbathers among a St. Tropez-inspired micro-pool surrounded by tropical cabanas that book for $500 a day on prime holiday weekends.

In 2008, MGM Grand opened its

Wet Republic

in a sprawling 53,000-square-foot space that upped the ante for the adults-only pool scene and changed the expectations of weekend party seekers. Most summer weekends offered some sort of celebrity entrainment from the various cast parties from "The Hills" alum, album-release promotions for hip artists such as Shwayze and Kaskade as well as regular sightings of the girls in the "Girls Next Door." What MGM Mirage seemed to get right at Wet Republic was marrying the pricey perks of a VIP club like Veuve Clicquot snow cones and $1,500 VIP cabanas with an ever-changing pool party.

New to the market for 2010 is

ARIA Resort

at CityCenter, an MGM Mirage-owned property with a resort pool operated by Light Group, promoters of the nightclub Haze. The staggering 215,000-sqaure-foot pool deck is home to the adults-only

Liquid Pool Lounge

, which incorporates one main pool and two semi-private dipping pools surrounded by rentable cabanas equipped with 40-inch LCD screens, be-seen loungers and a menu of high-end tequilas or Liquid-ritas. Liquid charges a cover fee of about $20.

Wynn Resorts recently released details of its adults-only pool at the center of Encore Las Vegas in what was formerly the hotel's porte-cochere. The

Encore Beach Club

, set to open Memorial Day, cost an estimated $67 million to build and spans an impressive 60,000-square-feet of outdoor space. The 21-and-over pool will include 26 cabanas, eight two-story VIP bungalows and a poolside gaming area similar to that currently found at neighboring Wynn Resorts. The adults-only pool will be home to a new nightclub,


, with direct access to outdoor space.

Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.