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Casino pool culture

Written by James Potter

This article first appeared in the Mar/Apr 2012 issue of World Gaming magazine.

Casino culture has seen the humble pool turn into far more than a place to bathe. Pools are becoming the epicenter of casinos and for many it’s party time!

It is claimed the citizens of the mighty Roman Empire were the first to take up the pastime of relaxing at the side of man made pools. In Asia the Japanese have always been big on taking a dip. Since then we have never looked back and the option of plunging into cool water on a hot day is something a modern casino complex simply must offer its guests.

Relaxing by the pool has become an art form. The pool party has gone from a few friends enjoying a drink to a full scale nightclub style venue, complete with private cabanas, thumping music and VIPs entering on red carpet. There are still some casino pools where you can find peace and quiet, but more and more pool decks are transforming into hot party destinations.

Casino resorts today are still measured by comparison to the Las Vegas model that sprung from the desert all those decades ago. What better place to have a luxurious pool than a casino resort? Vegas pools have become bigger and better and are still the yardsticks by which modern casino resort pools are measured.

Macau sets many trends that Las Vegas follows. But when it comes to pool culture Macau is still learning from its American forerunner. Macau is the world leader in gaming, but is still finding its way when it comes to other forms of entertainment. All of Macau’s major casino players realize the importance of providing non-gaming entertainment and activities. A drawcard pool deck is one of the most important pieces of this jigsaw puzzle.

Let’s have a look at ten of the most famous casino pools from all over the world and see what makes them special.

Flamingo Hilton, Las Vegas

Opened in 1946, the Flamingo Hilton was the first resort style casino in the world. The Flamingo is a Las Vegas strip icon and still stands strongly today, while those around it have been imploded and replaced by bigger and better models. Over the years, the Flamingo pool has had a facelift or two, but it still firmly retains its position as the founding father of casino pool culture.

Hard Rock, Las Vegas

Hard Rock can lay claim to the original Vegas pool party. It started on Sundays as an after party for the beautiful people to lounge away their hangovers, after a big Saturday night on the town. As word spread, it soon evolved from being the after party to the main event. The hottest ticket in town, partygoers started to travel to sin city solely for this party. Entry was easy for Hollywood celebrities, or at least those that looked like them. For the rest of us, it became nearly impossible to get through the door, let alone secure a poolside deck chair.

Tao Beach at the Venetian, Las Vegas

Many consider Tao Beach the hottest pool deck in Vegas right now. Music pulsates all afternoon as the alcohol flows and the partygoers get serious. There are a host of luxurious cabanas, each complete with their own security detail. It’s a great day but bring a credit card (or two!) as this place can see you part with some serious cash.

Tao Beach at the Venetian, Las Vegas

Tao Beach at the Venetian, Las Vegas

Bellagio, Las Vegas

Bellagio is synonymous with class. This is the classic style Vegas pool deck, complete with amazing pools and excellent service, all in a relaxed atmosphere. While the kids splash around, there are plenty of quiet places for the adults to soak up the Vegas sun whilst sipping on a cocktail.

The Star, Sydney, Australia

By world standards, a much smaller pool, but the pick of the Australian outdoor casino pools. The city landscape stands this pool apart from its competitors. The Sydney skyline and harbor provide a magnificent backdrop. There are no over the top parties here and kids are made to feel at home. For the fitness focused there is a small but well equipped gym.

Maxims at Resorts World Manila

Maxims screams opulence and rightfully lays claim to being Manila’s best hotel. Maxims’ pool deck is a big contributing factor to this claim. Its tropical setting and glass sided pool make this a fine place to relax. Private villa guests are already poolside in two ways! As well as each villa boasting a private pool big enough for most hotels, guests staying in these apartment-style suites are just a few paces from the main pool deck.

Galaxy Macau

Galaxy Macau has set the bar high when it comes to outside entertaining areas. The pool complex is one of the most impressive in the world and attracts the crowds with its own wave pool. Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas made its name on the back of its pool area and wave pool, but Galaxy has trumped it with their new Macau mega resort at Cotai. They are not yet chasing the party angle, but if you want to go to the most exciting pool in Macau, look no further.

Galaxy Macau

Galaxy Macau

The Venetian, Macau

By teaming up with the UK house-label Hed Kandi, the Venetian brought hedonistic pool deck parties to life, adding a much needed form of nongaming entertainment to the Cotai Strip. If you can’t make it to Ibiza, a Hed Kandi pool party at the Venetian is your second best option to find yourself surrounded by high heels and string bikinis!

The Venetian, Macau

The Venetian, Macau

Hard Rock pool at City of Dreams, Macau

CoD has been taking on the Venetian, chasing the pool party crowd in the battle of the next door neighbors. Last year CoD hosted a series of SPLASH parties at the Hard Rock Hotel pool in conjunction with MTV Asia. The Hard Rock poolside is one of the nicest places to spend some hours away from the felt, and if you’re lucky and it is a non-party day, the pool can be pleasantly quiet. Don’t forget to check out the sand volleyball court and then soak those sore muscles in the outdoor jacuzzi which is big enough to fit twenty of your closest, scantily clad friends.

Wynn, Macau

You won’t be finding any pool parties going on at Wynn. Steve Wynn is all about creating resort luxury at the highest possible level. This is a pool deck where you can expect to unwind and chill out. You will be well looked after here with unsurpassed service in luxury surroundings without having to endure the party set and loud music.