Just when we thought all hope was lost for a summer of fun in the sun in Las Vegas, Hakkasan Group and MGM Resorts announced today that popular “ultra pool” Wet Republic at MGM Grand will reopen on July 2 along with Liquid Pool Lounge at Aria. Perfectly timed to what’s normally one of the city’s top-grossing weekends of the season, 4th of July, a modified experience will be unveiled at both venues, which brands them as extensions of the resort pools at each property.
At Wet Republic, which will be open Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to close, you and your friends, whether MGM Grand hotel guests or not, will be able to reserve bungalows, deluxe cabanas or daybeds with bottle service packages—just like its 2019 all over again. But in this brave new COVID-19 world, reservations are required, the “Babes in Blue” bottle servers wearing face masks will now present QR codes instead of menus, furniture will be socially distanced, and rigorous cleaning and sanitation procedures will be more visible than the DJ.
Nevada’s Gaming Control Board policy says that pool parties and nightclubs cannot open under the current phase two of Nevada’s “Roadmap to Recovery”—but resort aquatic facilities and casino bars can. In order to change classification from a club venue, the following switches are being implemented: cover charge is eliminated, dance floor is eliminated, some cabana and daybed locations will be reserved and have a rental fee in order to take the space for the day; and music will be ancillary to the venue’s operation with pre-recorded playlists on most days with the potential of adding a DJ once or twice a week.
So what makes a pool not a party and a lounge not a club? The reason people visit a pool at their hotel is, in theory, to swim, eat, drink, relax, catch some rays—not to gyrate half-naked on a new best friend, make an Instagram Live of Tiësto while he performs or Champagne shower with strangers at a distance of less than 6-feet. The reason people go to a lounge is to drink, mingle with their party and listen to music at their table—not to pack onto a sweaty dance floor, record videos on their phone of The Chainsmokers or participate in general admission tomfoolery at a distance of less than 6-feet.
As a result of this “reclassification,” most of the city’s pool parties and nightclubs have undergone adjustments to their branding. Intrigue Nightclub and Encore Beach Club at Wynn are now Intrigue Lounge and Encore Beach Pool, Marquee Nightclub and Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan is now Marquee Pool and Daylight Beach Club at Mandalay is now Daylight Beach.
“The floorplan has been reconfigured to allow for a minimum of 6-foot spacing per table. Guests are encouraged to remain in their table space as much as possible to avoid risk,” says John Pettei, Daylight managing partner. “Designated employees will be focused on watching for guests and reminding them of what is expected. Signage will be placed throughout the venue to serve as a reminder that safety is first and foremost and that we need everyone to practice social distancing.”
On the financial side, sources say because of reduced capacity venues—most are maxing out at 500 people—and lower hotel occupancy, the staff is feeling the pinch, and while bottle servers normally make between $3,000 and $4,000 on a poppin summer weekend, COVID has cut that in half. Also noticeably absent is headlining talent—the DJ, who spent the last decade front and center as a main attraction, is now either tucked away completely from view or off in a corner somewhere. Gone too are the six-figure paychecks that headlining DJs were making off of Las Vegas day and nightclub performances. And one more time, in case you weren’t paying attention, concerts with an audience are not permissible during phase two—DJs must be ancillary to the operation and not the draw. However, fear not, at Marquee Pool you can still get a 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar-size bottle of Ace of Spades for $90,000—some things will never change!
Heading to Las Vegas in search of a good time? Here’s what to expect
Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub is now The Pool Marquee (daytime) and The Pool Marquee at Night (no swimming at night). The Boombox Room inside Marquee is now operated as a lounge extension of the open-air terrace.
Daytime: 11 a.m.–sunset, Friday to Sunday
Nighttime: 9 p.m.–late, Friday and Saturday
Reservations and Pricing
Guests are given staggered reservation times to ensure social distancing measures are kept in place. There is no entrance fee and reservations are required. If someone walks up without a reservation but there is space available, a reservation can be made on the spot, but there is no general admission. Minimums for daybeds (6 people) start at $500, Bungalow Cabanas (8 people) at $1,000, Grand Cabanas (10 people) at $2,000.
Food is available both day and night, with a more limited menu in the evening. The full beverage menu is available day and night.
There is a DJ performing from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. each day at Pool.
There are two DJs performing from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.—one on the pool deck playing house music, one in Boombox playing open format.
Wynn Nightlife venues are now Intrigue Lounge, Encore Beach Pool, Encore Beach Pool at Night and XS Lounge. XS will only be open July 3 and 4.
Pool opens at 11 a.m.
Lounges open at 10 p.m.
Reservations and Pricing
There is no entrance fee. Reservations are not mandatory and can be made upon walk up, however there is no general admission. There is a minimum food and beverage spend on premium tables. At the Pool, ambassadors with six-foot noodles playfully social distance guests.
Food is only offered at EBC Pool. For 4th of July weekend there will be barbecue specials coming from the EBC grill and EBC Pool at Night.
There is a DJ at Intrigue that plays a wide variety of music: yacht rock, top 40, hip hop and house.
Daylight Beach Club at the Mandalay Bay is now known as Daylight Beach.
11 a.m.–6 p.m., Thursday to Sunday
Reservations and Pricing
Bottle pricing has been lowered to make it more accessible. Table minimums vary based on the day of the week—cabanas range from food and beverage minimums of $750 to $2,000. Daybeds vary from $150 to $500.
Expect a full menu of delicious chicken strips, salads and much, much more.
There is a loungey pool-vibe playlist on Thursday and Friday—starting with tropical house and moving onto upbeat top 40, EDM, house and hip hop, also known as open format. Live open-format DJs are scheduled every Saturday and Sunday.