COVID-19 won’t prevent Fourth of July weekend pool parties from taking place in Las Vegas, with at least three more dayclub venues set to reopen this week with heavily modified operations.
On July 2, Daylight at Mandalay Bay returns as Daylight Beach, Wet Republic at MGM Grand reopens as Wet Republic Ultra Pool and Liquid at Aria resumes operations as Liquid Pool Lounge. In accordance with Gaming Control Board restrictions, all three are pivoting offerings to serve as extensions of their respective resort pools, removing dancefloor areas and restricting capacities while serving food and drinks to guests 21 and over at physically distanced tables, cabanas and daybeds.
“We want to create a low-risk, safe environment for our guests and employees while simultaneously delivering on our guests’ expectations of an enjoyable experience,” John Pettei, managing partner at Play Management, said via email.
Daylight Beach will operate Thursday through Sunday, opening at 11 a.m. Some days will find a local DJ spinning, while others will offer ambient music. Bottle service will remain part of the experience.
Nightclubs and dayclubs were ordered to stay closed during the current Phase 2 of the state’s pandemic recovery plan, and while some industry officials and observers believe that could change in Phase 3, it remains unclear when that might occur.
Pettei said it’s important to maintain the Daylight experience even under these challenging circumstances. “We are staying within the guidelines and restrictions … to make some noticeable changes such as no dancefloor, no live performances and a large reduction in capacity. The bottom line is that Daylight is still going to be a fun way to spend an afternoon in Vegas, with a great vibe and the best service staff you’re going to find,” he said. “I think some of the changes will allow us to really cater to our guests and go above and beyond to ensure they’re all having a blast.”
Importantly for Las Vegas and the industry, the pool-lounge approach allows the venue to bring back a large percentage of its service staff. Pettei said Daylight couldn’t put its full team back to work immediately, but he sounds optimistic more workers will be rejoining the team as the summer progresses.
Tao Group partner Jason Strauss had similar good news last week when announcing that Marquee Dayclub at the Cosmopolitan, which had reopened for daytime business as the Pool Marquee, was ready to expand into nighttime operations last weekend.
“As far as management and service staff, it’s the same amount or maybe even more,” Strauss said. “But there is some staff that [normally] manages the general admission crowd, and of course we don’t have as much a need for that. It’s pretty close, but it’s not fully staffed.”
Other early adopters of the shift include Encore Beach Club, now operating as EBC Pool, and the Flamingo’s Go Pool. Off the Strip, the Crimson Pool has reopened at the Red Rock Resort in Summerlin, with a $25 admission fee and cabana reservations available.
The Vegas pool club experience might be more relaxed and nothing like the rowdy bottle-popping parties with which visitors are most familiar, but the temporary innovation is taking advantage of safer outdoor entertainment opportunities.
“People are more comfortable being in outside venues right now, and Marquee was an obvious first step for us to work within the current climate to deliver a new hospitality experience,” Strauss said. “We also have Lavo [restaurant at Palazzo] on the Strip with a massive terrace for outside dining, so both of those were timely for us to activate because of this need.”
Strauss said Marquee welcomed some regulars from the East Coast during its first weekend back in business last month, and the immediate feedback on the altered experience was all positive.
“No one said, ‘Where’s the energy? Where’s the crowded pool?’ Everyone liked it,” he said. “Expectations are not set, because there’s such a new dichotomy on how to enjoy this kind of hospitality at this time.”
Pettei said Daylight isn’t expecting a completely different clientele to celebrate the holiday weekend. “We have a tremendous amount of loyal customers that have been coming for years now, and they absolutely love Daylight. A lot of our team has worked here for several years so there is a comfort level and strong relationship that exists with many of our guests,” he said.
“We have gotten a great response thus far and they will be the first to come back. I [also] do think there will be an opportunity to draw some new clientele, especially Mandalay Bay and Delano guests, who are looking for a more upscale boutique feel than what you typically find at a hotel resort pool.”