In honor of the Grand Opening of The Palms' $40 Million Pool (yeah, that isn't a typo…40 Million Smackaroos), a few of my friends and I have decided to give you a completely unscientific list of the top ten pools here in Las Vegas. Because Vegas is so scorching hot, here are the best "hot" spots to cool down. Once again, this is just an "unofficial" list not in any particular order according to me and my Vegas buds. (Yep, this is going to be an educational read.)
The Palms: Of course, we'll start out with The Palms because it is the inspiration behind giving you the "inside scoop" on Vegas' cool pools. As I recently found out, it is THE place to see and be seen in Sin City… during the daytime, that is. This concert-friendly pool has been completely remodeled to fulfill any water-lover's dreams. It has the most contemporary and "hip" décor of them all. Even more enticing are your choices of bars within the 4-acre paradise, and there are 27 private cabanas with all the amenities. The coolest part of the whole layout: A glass bottom pool located on the deck of the second level. Guests on the main floor can look up for some really unusual, "undercover" ever-changing scenery! If you just can't bring yourself to leave when the sun goes down, the pool offers three two-story poolside bungalows with an outdoor deck and Jacuzzi. And if you get to Vegas a day early, the Palms' pool has quickly established itself as scene-central for Fridays.
Wynn: I have one word – Luxury. If you want to feel like royalty, this place will fulfill your every decadent desire. (There is kind of a weird "Alice in Wonderland" vibe goin' on, but the 5 star feel outweighs the creepy factor.) The pool has the most well-manicured landscape of them all. The service is impeccable. The cabanas are like actual homes with a live-in maid, cook and butler. If you're going to go big – or if you won BIG at the tables, this is the place to splurge. There is also a European pool toward the back of the grounds where tops are an option. I think your maid, cook and butler stay clothed at all times, though.
Mandalay Bay: When "they" talk about Vegas being one huge playground for adults, I think the Mandalay Bay pool might have been one big reason why. If you're looking to have some serious playtime at the pool, this pool (or pools I should say) have got it all. If you have kids, they will LOVE it here. If you yourself are a big kid, you will be in freakin' paradise. The best part: the wave pool. There is enough sand to feel like you just might be closer to the Pacific than you actually think. Or if you want "more" to feast your eyes on, YES, there is a very private topless beach, named Morea, with a very private entrance and a very tall fence. If you haven't guessed with all these tops-optional pools, Vegas is getting back to its Sin City roots.
Hard Rock: Sand between your toes, underwater music for your ears, swim-up tables to place your bets while you're catching some rays and brand-spankin' new cabanas for your relaxation. What more could you possibly need to "rock" your world? (By the way, I'm not really a fan of the swim-up Blackjack tables because, and this is gross, if a person is on a roll and he has to go to the little boys room, do you really think that little boy is going to mess with Lady Luck by leaving the table? Ewww). The Hard Rock pool offers it all. It is a fun atmosphere that attracts a young hip crowd. The Sunday afternoon pool party, aptly named "Rehab", is complete and utter chaos. It's like Spring Break concentrated. Only for adults of course, this pool party brings out the party in everyone. Get there early though… the line to get in is outrageous.
Planet Hollywood (Aladdin): The only pool that is literally ON THE STRIP. Located on the sixth floor terrace, you can lay out and feel like you're not missing out on any of the action. This is what I like to call a "low-maintenance" pool experience. It's always easy to find a great spot to lay out, waitresses are plentiful to make sure you are cool and refreshed with a slew of tropical drinks to choose from, and a restaurant sits within 10 feet of the pool area. There are two separate pools with a basketball goal in between the two just in case you want to get your Dwayne Wade on!
The Flamingo: If you want an "old school" Vegas experience, the Flamingo pool is where it's at. One of the first pools ever in Vegas, the Flamingo offers everything any other pool could offer you along with some serious history. It has four separate pools to accommodate anyone and everyone's needs. This 15-acre tropical setting, supposedly the largest in Vegas, also offers live gaming action. No need to dry off and head into the casino to test your luck! If you have kids, they will love the 150-foot waterslide and the Chilean flamingos and African penguins roaming around. There are cabanas available to rent for the day and a really great poolside restaurant called The Beach Club.
MGM Grand: A 1000-foot-long lazy river winds around the MGM oasis providing a very conventional way to do some serious people watching, and there are plenty of pretty people to watch. On the first pass, you spot your target. On the second pass, you say "Hi." On the third pass, you exchange numbers. It's the American dream. The 27,000-square-foot extravagant Grand Pool has five pools – FIVE! Seriously, if you get bored here…there is something wrong with you! My favorite part: water volleyball competitions in the summer. Also, instead of going to the spa, you can get a workout in the lap lanes or relax in the three Jacuzzis all while getting some sun.
The Bellagio: This is a decadent sight to behold when you first step foot into the posh area. It feels like you're in a courtyard in Italy with a very romantic and intimate feel. By far, The Bellagio has the very best service of them all. There are different pools ranging from lap pools to regular swimming pools each with a beautiful Italianesque stone fountain in its center. It is impossible to be anything but comfortable here.
Red Rock: By far, in my opinion, this circular water spectacle is the prettiest pool to just sit back and admire. It's so pretty you don't want to get in and make any waves to mess it up. If I'm in the mood to really lounge peacefully and flip through some magazines or doze off for a little while, this is a great choice. There are private cabanas, really comfy lounge chairs sitting in the shallow water and a tasty outdoor restaurant. If you're cheap like me, you'll dig the Blackjack poolside tables. It is definitely a hefty cab ride from the Strip, but believe me, you'll forget all about that once you're basking in the sun with a fresh margarita in your hand.
Green Valley Ranch: Like Red Rock, GVR is off the beaten path, but it is worth the drive. About 20 miles SE of the strip, GVR's pool is THE oasis in the desert. I would venture to say it is the most relaxing poolside I've experienced here in Vegas. The pool décor is crisp and clean in all white. The private cabanas are actually very private and worth the extra dough. Behind some big wooden doors, there is a gorgeous VIP area called The Pond. Not only is it relaxing, but you can continuously use the "Caddyshack" line: "There's a pool and a pond. Pond would be good for you."
There you go. If you hit all 10 in a single weekend, you are my lifetime hero. Oh… for all of you who are wondering why I didn't rank them… If you think I'm going to give up my VIP status at one pool because I ranked it the 9th out of 10, you're nuts. (What? Do you think I'm an ACTUAL journalist?!)
Seriously, if you want to see us rank these masterpieces 1 through 10, watch Extra's weekend show in a week or so, and we will do just that.
And don't forget, what happens in Vegas… happens on Extra.