|By Andrea Domanick, Las Vegas
SunMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 25, 2012--In a town with famously slack sartorial codes -- you can dine at a fine restaurant or attend a top-tier show in jeans and a nice T-shirt -- strict dress codes are being enforced in what might seem the most unlikely of places: at Las Vegas' risque pool parties.
MGM Grand's Wet Republic requires women to wear a swimsuit with a sundress or wrap and encourages them to do their hair and wear heels. Men should sport board shorts, a T-shirt and sandals or flip-flops; undershirts, cut-off shorts and athletic wear like gym shorts, sneakers and sports jerseys are forbidden.
The same goes for Encore Beach Club, where baggy clothes, chains and see-through swimwear will get you no further than the door. And don't expect to get into Marquee Day Club at the Cosmopolitan or Tao Beach at the Venetian without similar pool-appropriate attire and footwear to keep you covered as you navigate the hotel.
Inside the club, however, guests are free to keep clothing to a minimum, provided they meet the minimum requirements. Tiny bikinis and Speedos may spice things up, but don't expect a string-and-pasties ensemble or mesh male thong to qualify as swimwear.
"Guests have an expectation of a five-star experience. Our bungalows, cabanas and lily pads go for a high premium, and that sets the attitude for what the people paying for them expect and how guests should behave," said Pauly Freedman, director of operations for Encore Beach Club. "That includes dressing appropriately. We want people to have fun, and we encourage it, but we're at the Wynn, not down the street. Dress to impress."
Indeed, pool clubs are enforcing dress codes in a scene that's more "ultralounge" than "lounge by the pool." As with the clubs' indoor nighttime counterparts, a stroll past a pool club entrance on a weekend afternoon often reveals long lines snaking back into the hotel, with guests waiting up to an hour to pay premium cover charges (which average about $30 for women and $50 for men) to get past the door. Inside, pricey cocktails and even pricier day bed and cabana rentals await, but so do star-powered DJ sets and raucous dance parties; for many, it's a price tag worthy of the experience.
The day club pool party trend evolved out of the burgeoning nightclub scene of the late '90s, emerging in the early '00s with upscale pool clubs like Moorea Beach at Mandalay Bay (which also has a strict dress code, despite being top-optional or "toptional").
Despite the upscale atmosphere, you don't have to invest in a designer swimsuit or risk slipping in a pair of stilettos to partake in pool club festivities. Like many of the Strip's nightclubs, the dress codes aren't usually on display but exist largely to set parameters for what is and isn't appropriate rather than to screen guests for chicness and style. Still, consider a quick phone call to the venue beforehand to check up on dress codes and cover charges to ensure your time in line isn't spent in vain.
"If you're going to a formal event, that doesn't mean you have to have a tie or tuxedo, but there are certain things that look out of place, and the same thinking can be applied to our pool clubs," said David Long, the director of security for Tao Beach Club and Marquee Day Club.
His hard-line concern is that guests are covered and wearing footwear as they migrate between the hotel and the pool out of respect to other patrons.
Though pool personnel largely have to deal with guests being underdressed, they do sometimes encounter the opposite problem.
"We have a lot of guys who show up in suits," said Rebeccah Gannon, director of guest services for Angel Management Group, which handles Wet Republic. "I think they're dressing to impress the girls, which I get, because who doesn't like a guy in a suit? But that's not exactly proper pool attire."
She encourages guests to have fun with the dress code and show off their personal style but adds that there is one must-have fashion accessory for this summer's pool party circuit: a valid photo ID.
(c)2012 the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, Nev.)
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