Nights on the Circuit: In Haute Water

The Weekly’s Annual Pool Party Round-Up

Xania Woodman

Sunday, March 11, 5:30 p.m.

At that point no one had any idea that it would become even one-tenth of what it is." Never one to rest on laurels, the Hard Rock's official tastemaker and the face of the legendary Rehab pool party, Jack Lafleur, is cautious about promising to outshine last year's success. Memorial Day 2006 saw a record 7,900 bodies frolicking on Rehab's sandy shores. "I don't know if we'll ever see anything like that again. It was like Woodstock!" he jokes through the phone lines.

Outside, the sun is setting on one of the first beautiful days Vegas has seen since last summer slipped away five months ago like sand through our fingers. According to my calendar, it's not even officially spring until next Wednesday, but just as the candy aisle at my local grocery store is always one or two holidays ahead, Vegas is already investing in base tans, laser hair removal and new pool attire. What did we do with ourselves before the pool party phenomenon? Me, I have vague pre-'hab memories of sneaking into Strip hotel pools using found room keys and borrowed towels.

Summer 2007 is all about strengthening brands. This year we will see the triumphant return of Rehab, the perennial crowd-pleaser at the Hard Rock, back for a fourth season of Sundays; Relax Mondays; and a new Friday night pool-side concert series. Amenity upgrades include improving the flow of traffic, adding more bars and weatherproofing the sound system against those freak desert rain showers. A new VIP area, the Locals Wateringhole—a "sanctuary" Lafleur calls it—will be to Rehab what the Parlor is to Body English. 693-5555

The newest face on the pool party sandscape this season is Tao Beach. After enduring an agonizing wait, Tao will finally offer up this 18,000-square-foot addendum to its already 42,000-square-foot entertainment complex on May 4. We can expect the return of the nighttime pool party (remember Moorea?) beginning with Tao's Secret Sundays, kicking off at 7 p.m. right about the time Rehab is wrapping up. As the moon rises over Tao Beach, guests will find themselves in an open-air nightclub featuring a floating dance floor, four 14-foot fire columns and the same high-energy music Tao nightclub is already known for. 388-8588

Beloved veterans returning for their second season are Bare, Venus and Ditch Fridays. The Mirage's tiny jewelbox of a pool club, Bare officially opens this week with a full lineup of parties soon to follow. Under the watchful eye of the Light Group's marketing director, Kalika Moquin, and Director of VIP Services Rob Mersis, Bare will introduce Asset Thursday (guest-lifeguarded by a society dame or don from LV, NY, LA ...), Status Sundays (where the female-to-male ratio is expected to exceed 80/20) and an as-yet-unnamed Monday. The contemporary pool area features daybeds, cabanas, a huge hot tub, pitcher service and Astroturf lawns to save the footsies. Bare is open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 791-7442

The ultraluxe Venus pool at Caesars palace is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is free with the exception of Saturdays when a DJ spins; cover then is $20. Pure Management Group's white polo'd Venus staff will once again lavish sunbathers with frozen-towel service, cooling Evian face spritzers, poolside massages and a long list of refreshing cocktails. Both Bare and Venus allow European (topless) bathing. 731-7873

Ditch Fridays at the Palms' Pool & Bungalows will give everyone one more reason to dip out of work a little early come May 18. Local ladies are free, whereas all others will pay $20 to enjoy the Palms' four bars, three pools, two waterfalls and one big stage, where we can take in live performances by top-notch DJs and performers.

Rehab, too, is expecting some killer talent, in addition to residents Dig Dug, Shift, Mikee Swift, Scotty Boy and others.

"The names will be just as big and even bigger than last year," says Lafleur, who also notes that he sees no end in sight for Rehab as the Hard Rock changes hands from the Mortons to the Morgans.

Phew! I can't remember life before Rehab; I shudder to think of Vegas without it.

Xania Woodman thinks globally and parties locally. And frequently. E-mail her at
[email protected] and visit to sign up for Xania's free weekly newsletter.

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