Think of Vegas, and the usual images are conjured up; gambling, shows, buffets, and showgirls. But with resort-style hotels dominating the Strip, there is one more trend that is becoming popular, and that trend is the hotel pools. Vegas pools are becoming a big attraction, and it is easy to see why. They are bigger and more luxurious. Most pools are now offering pool parties, a daytime, outdoor version of the Las Vegas nightclub. The casinos are no longer the only place to cool off in the hot Vegas weather! Some of the more trendy Vegas pools include:

Rehab at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

Rehab/Beach Club at the Hard Rock Hotel – The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas is the hotel that put pool partying on the map. On any given Sunday at Rehab it is packed with twentysomethings drinking fruity cocktails and rocking out to a DJ. When it is not overrun by kids dancing the day away, it is called Beach Club. Regardless, it is a beautiful pool area, complete with crystal blue water and sandy beaches.

Grand Pool Complex/Wet Republic at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino – This is one of the best on the Strip, with five pools, 3 whirlpools, waterfalls, and a river that runs through it. This complex is huge. Even the palm trees are gigantic. Grand Pool Complex also has a pool party called Wet Republic. It's open daily from 11 am until dusk.

Luxor Pool

Luxor Pool – another gorgeous pool on the Strip, the pool at Luxor is a true oasis with four swimming pools and one whirlpool. Located next to the pyramid, it is a lovely place to relax and cool off. The Egyptian theme continues to the pool with columns and other pyramid structures. The Luxor currently does not offer a pool party area.

Mandalay Bay Beach/Moorea Beach Club – The biggest and baddest pool on the Strip. To call it a 'pool' or even a beach is an understatement; this is more like a resort within a resort. It is 11 acres of swimming pools, a huge wave pool, a lazy river, over 100 cabanas, its own 3-story beachside casino, a restaurant, and private villas. Their version of the pool party is known as Moorea Beach Club, which is its own separate area. Mandalay Bay Beach has more beds in the Moorea Beach Club than they do in their hotels.

The Tank at the Golden Nugget – not to be outdone, the Golden Nugget boasts its very own fancy pool known as the Tank. Located in downtown Vegas on Fremont Street, the Tank rivals some of the more well-known pools on the Strip. It has a three story waterslide, a shark tank, a bar, lounge areas, and cabanas. A unique feature of the Tank is that the bar area closes at 2 am, while some of the Strip pools close at dusk.

The Mirage Pool/Bare – The Mirage Hotel and Casino has a tropical theme throughout the entire resort, and this theme is especially apparent at their pool. The pool area is divided among lagoons for a genuine tropical experience. The Mirage also offers a very unique pool party called Bare, which is located in its own exclusive area. They sell it as European-style sunbathing, which basically means the women are allowed to walk around topless. Women get in free; men have to pay.

Flamingo Pool (24033)

Lagoon Pool/GO Pool at Flamingo – A tropical paradise, the Lagoon Pool at Flamingo rivals Mandalay Beach in size. It is split up into lagoons and has beautiful waterfalls and a waterslide. It also has one of those cool grottos that resembles the one at the Playboy Mansion (except bigger and less raunchy). GO Pool at Flamingo has the usual; DJ spinning music, alcohol, cabanas, bottle service, etc. Part of the pool complex includes a wildlife habitat which habitats swans, turtles, ducks, and - you guessed it! – pink flamingos!

Some helpful tips that most Vegas pools have in common:

· Most Vegas pools are not opened year round, and most close when it gets dark (around 7 or 8 pm). Check with each casino to determine exact dates and times.

· Most Vegas pools do not allow admission to the pool area unless you are also a guest at the hotel. If the pool does allow admission for people staying at other properties, there is usually a cover charge.

· Speaking of cover charges, now that a lot of the pools have turned into daytime nightclubs, most of the time ladies get in for free, while men have to pay a cover charge. Again, check with each casino for details.

· All pools that have cabanas require a fee and a reservation for the cabana. The fee can range from $75-$300 per day and up. The rates depend on whether the cabana is reserved on a weekday (less expensive) or weekend (more expensive). The fees also depend on whether the it is a regular pool cabana (less expensive), or one of the pool party cabanas (more expensive). Some cabanas also require a minimum charge for food and/or alcohol. Check a few weeks in advance, especially if reserving for a weekend, because the cabanas can sell out quickly.

· Gaming in the pool areas are usually seasonal, so check with the casinos for times and dates.

So next time you plan your Vegas trip, don't forget to include the pool when making the decision of which hotel to stay in!