VEGAS HOTEL POOL ADMISSIONS FOR VISITORS
We’re often asked by readers about pool access at Las Vegas hotels for non-guests, a common situation when travelers want to visit a pool at a resort at which they’re not staying.
Perhaps a group wants to meetup with other friends in town, or just want to soak up a different atmosphere one day. Can they visit another hotel’s pool? A simple question in the world’s most popular tourist destination, but one with a surprisingly varied answer.
In years past, accessing pools as a non-guest was actually quite difficult. Many resorts forbid access to non-guests and didn’t even have a policy in place to deal with outside visitors who wanted to access the pool for a day, even those who were willing to pay.
Thankfully this has changed in recent years with a trend towards admitting non-guests. Resorts have adapted to the “new” Vegas, where casinos aren’t making anywhere near as much from gaming as they are from daylife and nightlife. Many resorts now offer the daybed/cabana experience not only in their dayclubs, but at their general pools as well. Vegas visitors are still splashing the cash, just in a different way.
Today, we run down the ins and outs of access at some of Vegas’ best and most popular pools:
Two points worth noting: We’re not referring to any of the major pool dayclubs here, ie Wet Republic at MGM, Daylight at Mandalay Bay, or Rehab at Hard Rock. Those are separate properties that in essence, function identically to nightclubs – open to all paying customers, regardless of whether they’re staying on the premises. Hotel guests may be admitted with no cover charge on a slower weekday, or offered a discounted rate but as a rule, they receive no easier access to a dayclub than anyone else.
Second, most pools have daybeds and cabanas for rental, costing hundreds and in most cases thousands for the day. Should you and/or your party decide to rent one, you can of course get into almost any pool on the Strip anyday. Resorts may restrict general admission access sure, but they won’t turn away from that kind of sum. Like most spots in Vegas, if you’re willing to spend enough, you can go anywhere. That doesn’t change with pools.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of pools for all of Las Vegas, just a summary of the most popular resorts we’re asked most about, and their respective policies. And remember, like most “rules” in Vegas, they are flexible:
(Boulevard Pool: Complimentary access Mon-Thurs)
(Bamboo Pool: Hotel guests only)
Cosmo’s pool offerings and policies are a little different. Instead of one traditional pool area, Cosmo offers three distinct and separate pools, collectively labeled the “Pool District.” These consist of the Boulevard Pool, Bamboo Pool, and the resort’s featured dayclub, Marquee Dayclub.
Both the Boulevard Pool and Bamboo Pool offer the full resort pool experience, but with very different atmospheres and setups.
The Boulevard Pool offers an impressive 6-story view of the Strip in a lively atmosphere with music, including a shallow wading pool and a bar, cafe, jacuzzis, a game area with table tennis and pool, and a full service restaurant overlooking it all – The Boulevard Grill. Access is complimentary during the week (Monday-Thursday), depending on capacity restrictions, but is restricted to hotel guests on weekends (Friday-Sunday).
The Bamboo Pool is located off the resort’s West Tower and offers guests a private getaway on the Strip. Access is strictly restricted to hotel guests only.
Step into here, and you’re transported into your own, modern poolside retreat with a spa-like, soothing atmosphere that’s truly unique for Vegas. Perfect for a refreshing, relaxing place to recharge after a long Vegas night out. The noise of the Strip couldn’t be farther away.
Wynn/Encore (Access: Hotel Guests only)
Both resorts offer an impressive pool experience, in a luxurious yet hip setting. Wynn is the larger of the two, consisting of four main pools laid out in direct opposition from one another, and the “Sunset Pool”, a European-style, topless sunbathing pool off to the side offering a more private atmosphere.
Encore has a smaller pool setup, with two main pools connected via canal and a smaller pool that, like its sister property Wynn, offers European-style sunbathing.
Access to both pools is strictly limited to hotel guests, though Wynn and Encore guests are obviously allowed to use the pool facilities at each hotel interchangeably.
MGM (Access: Hotel Guests only)
Long considered the king pool property on the Strip, MGM’s Grand Garden Pool complex is a sight to behold. Consisting of five pools and a lengthy, long-running Lazy River, the entire setup takes up a sizeable chunk of real estate at 6.5 acres and remains the largest general pool area on the Strip.
Strictly speaking, much like MGM, access is limited to hotel guests, though if you’re meeting friends who are staying there, all you’ll need is a borrowed room key to enter. Or, you can simply walk in with your group with one room key. Attendants here are not on high alert checking keys. They just want to ensure the group has one.
That said, MGM’s policy has always surprised us given the size of the place. On most summer days the complex has the facilities and the staffing to easily fit an extra 600-700 guests and extra money for the resort. Its pool is always one of the highest in demand among non-guests but for now, at least on paper, access remains restricted.
Aria (Access: Yes, $40 for non-guests)
One of the most underrated resorts and pools on the Strip, Aria’s pool area is tucked away into a spacious and relaxed tropical retreat in the back of the resort. Non-guests are allowed access for a fee of $40 by purchasing a day spa pass.
While it doesn’t have the higher-energy, music-filled party-vibe as MGM Grand or Mandalay, we do recommend Aria’s pools if you’re in the mood for a relaxing day of lounging. In keeping with the theme of the entire Aria resort, the three ellipse-shaped pools offer a more refined, sophisticated pool experience.
Mirage (Access: Hotel Guests only)
The pool setup at Mirage goes underappreciated in comparison to some of the newer resorts of the Strip, but it still packs a punch. The Mirage Pool offers a tropical garden landscape with several pools, lagoons, and even a waterfall in a fun-filled atmosphere and music backdrop. Like the Bamboo Pool at Cosmo, you’re stepping into a different world for the day. All of these ingredients combine well into a daytime poolside party.
Access is restricted to hotel guests only, but being another MGM-owned resort, this policy is more “relaxed” in line with MGM Grand.
Mandalay Bay (Access: Hotel Guests only)
Possibly the most attention grabbing-resort on the Strip of the past two years, Mandalay Bay has brought in the crowds after its extensive renovation/rebranding of 2013-14. The renovation of THEHotel into the Delano, a Florida-based boutique hotel, along with the opening of Daylight Beach Club and Light nightclub have reenergized the entire resort.
Its main pool layout is large and one of the most impressive on the Strip – serving up 3 main pools, a lazy river, and a giant wave pool with a large beach of natural sand. Here you’ll find a beach bar and the closest thing you’ll find in Vegas to a beach party.
Access is relaxed. Though technically restricted to hotel guests, the resort generally follows a one room key per four persons guideline. If you’re staying here, you should have no trouble getting your friends in or vice versa.
As we said, this is not our comprehensive guide to all pools in Vegas, just our summary of the most popular that we hear and are asked about most often.
What do you think? Are there any we’ve left off the list or ones you’d like to hear more about with an in-depth RLB review? Let us know!
Note: MGM Grand Garden photo licensed courtesy of Flickr