So what are they planning for Marquee? For starters, according to Tao Group partner Lou Abin, it’s 22,000 square feet and comes with the kinds of attractions that will lure high rollers and line the pockets of its owners. For the biggest spenders, there will be luxurious poolside bungalows. “You’ll have a private cabana that leads into the living room,” Abin says. “The living room then leads into your personal cabana. On one side, you’ll have a raging pool club and, on the other side, a private Jacuzzi for more intimate partying.”
And how much do these elite accommodations cost? At the moment, they’re priceless. “Right now,” Abin says, “they are being reserved only for the biggest players” — who have everything comped and pay by gambling away mind-boggling sums at the casino’s gaming tables. In terms of financial upside, Abin says, “Pool parties are just as profitable as nightclubs. You sell the same product. You don’t have the benefit of lighting, but you do have the benefit of the sun. And the window-dressing is astounding.”
Besides Marquee Dayclub, this summer will also bring the Vegas debut of Nikki Beach, a spinoff of the same-named pool party in Miami Beach, which will happen at the newly renovated Tropicana. As management at the Trop will most assuredly discover, the value of pool clubs to casinos goes beyond the immediate profits. Such is the case with Wet Republic, which did about $16 million in revenue last year. Now going into its fourth season, Wet Republic is a magnet for celebrities. Among those who’ve sunbathed in the shadow of the MGM Grand are Diddy, a brace of Kardashians and tabloid fixture Lauren Conrad.
Their presence — and the well-heeled noncelebs that they attract — can have a broad impact. “When Wet Republic is open, you feel the vibe across the property,” says Anthony Olheiser, director of nightlife for MGM Grand. “It brings in a hot, young crowd. That’s reflected in the gambling, the dining and the nightlife. People want an experience that they can’t get at home.”
And, much to the benefit of Vegas’ top operators, they are willing to pay for every drop of it. At Steve Wynn’s St. Tropez–inspired Encore Beach Club, which opened last summer and was the hot spot of the season, the cost of a cabana starts at $1,500. The sum translates to $1,500 worth of food and drink, but when a bottle of Goose goes for $495, the minimum will take you only so far. However, with all the competition, operators around town must work hard to reap those inflated bar tabs.
“You need to start outdoing yourself,” Abin says, acknowledging that this is precisely his plan with Marquee. As he sees it going this summer, “You’re out on your Cosmopolitan balcony, looking down on a hot pool scene and a great party with a DJ at the center of it all. Hopefully, it will just be impossible to resist.”