In my early years of traveling to Vegas, I never used the pool. I always felt like there was too much else to do to “waste” time just sitting around, and besides, I only burn in the sun. My friend Colleen showed me the error of my ways during our trip to Vegas in 2005. She’s a busy mom of young daughters, so she wanted relaxing pool time on the trip.
Once I realized how wonderful it was to slow down for a little while on my vacations, I became a convert. Pool time has become my “me time” in Vegas, when I get to read a good book or even close my eyes and nap a little. I try to build time into my schedule for at least two mornings out by the pool on every trip.
One of the reasons I chose the Monte Carlo for my last stay was its reputation for having a great pool area. That reputation is not exaggerated. I’m not going to go all crazy and claim that the Monte has the best pool area in Las Vegas.There are way too many contenders for that title, and each of us has different criteria for what makes a “best” pool area. But for my purposes, it compared favorably to many other pools in town that I’ve experienced.
My first pool day was Labor Day. I was a little nervous about whether or not I’d even be able to find a chair in the shade on a holiday, especially since I stopped to have breakfast in the Cafe first. I’ve been burned (no pun intended) so many times by hotels where you have to get up at the crack of dawn and stand in line before the pool even opens in order to snag a seat before all the D-bags creep down to “save” chairs with towels–and then go back to bed for a few more hours, leaving you to sit on the hot concrete if you want to actually enjoy the pool area. (I hate those people, by the way.)
So I was stunned when I walked out to the Monte Carlo’s pool area and found I pretty much had my pick of chairs. There was hardly anyone out there. Score!
I wandered all over the place, checking out the pools, the sitting areas, where the restrooms were, everything. Finally, I decided I liked a row of chairs in the shade near the VIP pool area, where there was no one else around. It was great for quiet reading, since most of the other people had snagged sunny chairs over near the Wave Pool.
Not only was it like this every day that I went out to the pool, it was like that all day long. It got a little busier as the day grew hotter, but every time I was coming and going via the monorail, I’d peek over the railing to check out the pool area. There were always plenty of chairs available.
Speaking of the shade vs. sun debate, I know some people want a sunny pool area for tanning, while others of us seek out shade because we burn too easily. I was very pleased with the balance of sun vs. shade here—at least in the morning. As I said, most people were sitting in the sun, but there were plenty of chairs in the shade, too.
The Monte Carlo is one of the better pool areas on the Strip because there is a good variety of splashing options here. There’s a regular pool, a 400 foot-long Lazy River, a Wave Pool, a hot tub (of course)–even that “VIP” pool area you can rent to throw a private pool party with 30 of your closest friends. There’s a beach volleyball court if you feel like working up a sweat with some new friends before you take the plunge.
And now for the true test of a “relaxing” pool:
How loud was it?
If there’s one thing I hate about pools in Vegas, it’s the nonstop, loud music. Background music is fine, I just don’t want to feel I have to wear earplugs out to the pool in order to enjoy it. Here’s a newsflash for you, resort operators: Not everybody is in the mood for a nonstop dance party 24/7. When I’m out at the pool, I’m there to relax with a good book. It’s hard to do that when the music is so loud you can’t hear yourself think.
I have heard reports that the Monte has a weekend pool party and the music can get quite loud. Fortunately for me, I wasn’t using the pool on the weekend and it was blissfully peaceful when I was out there. I don’t even remember the music, which is a good sign.
Was there anything I didn’t like about it?
You aren’t allowed to bring any food or beverages out to the pool with you–not even a bottle of water. They sell their own food and beverages, of course. However, they also have free water coolers and paper cups available, so if you’re too cheap to buy a drink, you won’t get heat stroke or anything. I tried it, and it was cool and refreshing.
Overall, this was one of the most enjoyable pool experiences I’ve ever had in Las Vegas. If you’re looking for a budget hotel on the Strip with a great pool area that’s not too loud and has a good mix of sun and shade, this one should be on your shortlist.
Other things to know about the Monte Carlo Pool:
- It is open year-round from 9am to 5pm, but the Lazy River and Wave Pool are closed during the winter months.
- You can rent daybeds and cabanas, as well as inner tubes for the Lazy River.
- It is not topless (sorry, guys).
Do you enjoy pool time when you’re in Las Vegas? Which pool is your favorite, and why?