Vegas Pool Clubs Kick Off Early in 2012

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The season of Veuve Clicquot snowcones and topless sunbathing arrived earlier in Las Vegas this year, as the summer pool clubs roar back to life a full two months ahead of schedule.

The combination of a warmer winter coupled with ambitious owners and promoters looking to cash-in on the thriving business model led some clubs like the massive WET Republic at the MGM ( MGM) Grand to open as early as March with a season kickoff that had no shortage of bikinis and celebrities like Kendra Wilkinson, Ryan Scheckler and star DJ Bob Sinclair.

Star power will be an even more important ingredient for the city's top pool clubs this year, hoping to differentiate themselves from the onslaught of recent openings recently as well as attracting guests that now pay upwards of $30 for mere entry and sometimes $5,000 for a coveted cabana or poolside bungalow.

At the Cosmopolitan, one of the world's hottest house artists known as Swedish DJ Avicii, of whom even Madonna is a fan, will kick off the season at the strip-facing Marquee Day Club on April 21. While some may complain about the $60 ticket price, double the $30 for ladies and tough 'guy to girl' ratio maintained at the door, lines can be better avoided with upgraded VIP admission or cabana rental.

At the Palms you'll find weekly theme events like Ditch Fridays and Palm Pool Saturdays revamped for 2012 with more star wattage starting April 20. Offering more of a resort-feel given the Palms' removed location from the vertically congested strip, Ditch Fridays will headline hip-hop artist Kelis for its kickoff celebration. The Palms parties have a smaller price differentiation between the sexes, with guys paying from $28-$34 for tickets and ladies paying $23 a pop. There will be a rotating lineup of deejays throughout the season that includes names like Roger Sanchez and Jazzy Jeff as well as superstar headliners like Flo-Rida and Busta Rhymes.

The Wynn is also home to some robust pool power this year at the Encore Beach Club and the Surrender Nightclub, which is already well into its season despite the fact that its grand opening celebration isn't until April 21. A sprawling space that can even give WET Republic a run for its money, Encore Beach Club opened in late March to host rotating spring breakers during a warmer than expected early season. On April 21 the club will kick into gear with Swedish House Mafia's Steve Angelo hosting the 'Size Matters' pool party. Tickets are priced from $50 for ladies and $110 for guys. Earlier that weekend Calvin Harris will kick off the weekend on Friday inside Surrender Nightclub while DJ Tiesto will host DayStar Sundays poolside to closeout opening weekend.

Those that like a little more St. Tropez and a little less Ibiza at their Vegas pool club should stop by Moorea Beach Club, one of the first exclusive pool clubs on the strip located on the main resort deck of the Mandalay Bay. A moody red scene of VIP opium beds and lounge anthems began as a European-style beach club that was strictly tops-optional. In an attempt to be more family friendly, the club went to a more reserved swimsuit-required policy for the past few years. For 2012, however, the tops are off again within the boutique day club that joins the likes of Bare at the Mirage, Liquid at the Aria and Venus at Caesars Palace.

Spa-style experiences are also a theme for 2012 with some pool clubs going in the direction of holistic retreats and five-star luxury to lure visitors. A more boutique-style pool experience is a good fit to the all-suite guests of Venetian's Palazzo at Azure Pool, offering outdoor massage treatments and a showy fusion menu a la Wolfgang Puck to complement anyone's magnum of champagne.

At Tao Beach, guests can enjoy a massage menu by Canyon Ranch, which shares a Venetian address, in addition to its own Asian-fusion poolside menu cooked-up inside Tao. But the ultimate poolside retreat comes at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas where its cabana scene along the eighth-floor pool deck offers a City Center view complemented by a designated 'quiet area' free of kids and menu of grilled octopus, tuna tartare and Japanese bento boxes that are a welcome refuge from the boom and bass pool clubs of the strip.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of, a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in InStyle, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine and on ITV and the BBC.