For years, the Las Vegas pool scene has been dominated by clubs such as Drai’s, operated by Caesars Entertainment, and MGM Resorts International’s Wet Republic, with celebrity DJs, thumping electronic music and steep cover charges. Wynn Resorts’ Encore Beach Club even had poles in its pool for dancing.
With Circa Resort & Casino, which opens to the public on Wednesday, Stevens is aiming for something different. Stadium Swim is more of an aqua sports bar than a nightclub, with six rooftop pools heated to as high as 39 degrees Celsius (103 degrees Fahrenheit) and a 143ft-wide TV screen showing sports.
On days with big games, Circa will open kiosks where guests can deposit money for poolside mobile wagering. Of course, hosting pool parties during a pandemic isn’t an ideal scenario, but Circa is taking precautions, including temperature checks, social distancing and frequent cleaning.
Circa is the first newly built resort on this scale since the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas opened in 2010, according to Chad Beynon, of Macquarie Research. It occupies the site of the former Las Vegas Club in downtown, an area undergoing a renaissance in part due to heavy investments by Stevens and his brother, Greg, who also own the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate Hotel nearby.
The sports-themed pool area and an adults-only policy throughout the resort could help it stand out in a market with a lot of competition, said David Schwartz, a gaming historian at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
“Appealing to aspects of Las Vegas that many people love in a different way can be a formula for success,” he said.
Stevens originally considered calling the spot the Backyard, to convey what he wanted. “Kind of a like a great backyard, with a great pool scene, great food, sports on, and just a ton of fun,” he said.