Pool Time at the Monte Carlo

This entry was posted in Hotels, Recreation on by .

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.

Monte Carlo Pool area

Monte Carlo Pool area

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!

Rows of empty pool chairs

Rows of empty pool chairs

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.

VIP Pool Area

VIP Pool Area

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.

wave pool

Fun time!

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.

Lazy River

Lazy River

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.


Reading time at the pool

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.

Volleyball court

Volleyball court

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.

day beds

Day beds for rent

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?



14 thoughts on “Pool Time at the Monte Carlo

  1. hardware

    some day I’m going to treat myself to the Monte Carlo specifically because of the pool.

    over Halloween week last year we stayed a few days at Orleans. it was still warm and sunny enough at the end of October to enjoy an afternoon in the sun, although it was a bit limited due to the sun’s position in relation to the hotel towers. (always an annoying problem in Vegas if you want to be in the sun.)

    the music wasn’t dance party, and it wasn’t too loud. it was older stuff, basically, but not annoying. the problem, one day, was that some princess had to have her choice of party tunes as the soundtrack of her life was streaming her choice of music close enough to us that it was competing with the house sound system. not sure if a loud, nonstop dance party on the house system would have been more annoying.

    it was funny watching princess strut around with her soon-to-be-out-of-the-closet boyfriend as if she was so precious and special, and that the world should revolve around her. i kept wondering how somebody so precious and special had to lower herself to staying at the orleans. but that’s another story.

    i look forward to the day when i finally get to stay at monte carlo!

    1. Gray

      Wow, bummer about that experience at the Orleans, hardware. You usually don’t see the pretentious types at the Orleans. I’m surprised the staff didn’t put a stop to it.

      1. hardware

        it wasn’t obnoxious, just annoying if you were within 25 feet of princess, who spent half of her time having some meaningless, petty, high-drama conversations with her boy toy. laughable, in some respects.

        and it’s so quiet around the pool area at the end of october that there’s not much staff out there. one lifeguard, sitting in the shade, bored out of his/her mind. maybe one person working the area where they keep the towels and would sell food in the summer, and if you were lucky, one sighting of a security guard making a pass through at some point in the afternoon. despite the “no glass” rule of the pool (common sense, right?) people had bottled beer in hand when they’d walk into the hot tub, because nobody cared enough to police it.

        1. Gray

          Wow, you have an eye for details, hardware! What you’ve just described sounds like a great beginning to a short story. 🙂

  2. Brian

    Stayed at vdara last year but had access to the aria pool.

    We really enjoyed the aria pool. It was the 3rd week in march so it wasn’t too busy yet, but the weather was awesome, music in the regular pool area was fun but not too loud, and the service was great. Poolside prices of f+b were high of course, but we had some resort credit to use so it was all good.

    No lazy rivers or other water attractions so other hotels are better for that, but overall I thought the aria pool provided a great slightly “grown up” but still fun experience.

    1. Gray

      Brian – What you describe as the “grown up” experience is exactly what I look for in a pool. I’ve found it at Bellagio and Pallazzo, and it’s nice to hear Aria has it as well. You do pay more for that experience, though, for sure.

  3. Nate

    Despite having stayed in at least a dozen different Vegas hotels, I have never been to any of the pools. Not because I hate relaxing, but because living near the ocean means I can pretty much go swimming or lie on the beach any time I want (or rather, any time the weather decides to be agreeable.) When I go on vacation, especially to a place like Veags, I mostly want to focus on things I can’t do at home.

    That being said, I am sorely tempted to rent a cabana one of these days, just so I can lord over all the people searching for chairs.

    1. Gray

      Oh sure, rub it in, Nate. LOL. I’m so jealous you live near the ocean. But I agree with you, my time in Vegas is generally spent doing things I can’t do (or don’t do) at home. A pool experience must seem like a real downgrade from the ocean experience.

      One of the downsides of traveling solo is it really just doesn’t make any sense to rent a cabana, but I’ve always wanted to try it sometime, just for the “VIP” experience.

  4. John

    For me, the resort’s pool ranks right up there w/ room quality, so I love
    to see this topic addressed regularly. I stayed @ MC last 12/24-12/25,
    and the pool was closed. I was surprised, because I also had info which said it was open year round. Didn’t matter, high for 3 days was 58. Overall, MC
    is a great value. W/ a little flex, you can score a $40-$60 rate. And your just
    a few steps from upscale Aria ! Your right on the money about loud party music.
    Amazes me how managers treat the pool as a party profit center. Tone it down,
    or I just won’t stay there ! How’s that for your bottom line ! (no pun intended).
    If I wanna party pool it w/ twentysomethings, I’ll stay at The Palms.
    The Mirage is a great pool, w/ a great water falls, but music tends to be a little
    loud at times. Bally’s is a great pool, but they have it set up to party too.
    Mandalay Bay’s is great, bit I don’t care for sand. TI’s is on the small side,
    and has 50% shade. Golden Nugget’s use to be great, bit now it’s only great
    for children, which is still great for Mom’s !
    Hey everybody, please post; would love to read your recommendations !

    1. Gray

      Totally agree on all points, John, though I’m sad to hear that Ballys has become a party pool too. I haven’t been there since 2005, but back then it was a relaxing, mellow pool area. Thanks for the pool analysis!

  5. Clay

    Hey Gray:

    (1) Cute toes! Do you spa/pedicure as part of Vegas vactioning, or before you go?

    (2) I totally agree on the cabana thing. I think we should put that on the “if you ever lose your senses and come in July or I suddenly find myself in Vegas another time of the year” crossing paths, not-quite-solo to do list. 🙂

  6. Sue

    We stay at the Bellagio every year mainly because I LOVE the pool area! While my husband visits the casino I relax in the peace and quiet, surrounded by orange trees (filled with Hummingbirds if its springtime) & roses. There is background music but it is not intrusive. The Peach Mango Bellinis are fantastic & the poolside cafe serves great food. This is my idea of heaven as we live in South East England – where at the moment it is snowing!

    1. Gray

      I agree, Sue, the Bellagio has a very nice pool area. (And I feel your pain about the snow. We just got about 10″ in Vermont this weekend. 🙂

Comments are closed.