Jamie says: "Just three more waves, OK? Please?"
Price of a Coke: $2.50
Price of a rum and Coke: $5.25
The scene: Here's a new hotel that understands the importance of a top-class water feature. Mostly the Palms triumphs by offering the most intriguing and diverse options for how to sit and relax. There are double-size bed-like lounge chairs, hammocks, tables and seats built into the shallow end of the pool, purple mattresses on a sandy beach and taupe canvas canopies. Even the normal lounge chairs have better vinyl cushioning than those at most other hotels.
They pay homage to that Vegas classic, the Glass Pool Inn, with a 3 1/2-foot-deep above-ground glass pool with windows in the side for taking funny pictures of friends underwater. The aim is clearly to attract a young, happening crowd, in part by calling the pool part of the hotel the Skin Pool, with a bikini top as a logo. You can even rent backgammon sets for $10 a day or shoot a round of pool on the deck.
Jamie says: "Very cool. Add a waterfall somewhere and this would be an A+."
Swimmability: 10. But lounging in a hammock has its appeal.
Price of a Coke: $2
Price of a rum and Coke: $6
The scene: Elegance is the calling card of the MGM Mirage's most upscale destination, and the pool area does not disappoint. Several pools flank a lovely central walkway of ivy-covered arches, and each pool is surrounded by tall, well-groomed pines and bonsais. Three of the pools have mushroom-like fountains in the center for guests to sit under, proving that you can be classy and fun at the same time.
An extra perk: Free water aerobics classes at noon for guests. Our most significant concern, though, was that the water had a strangely unpleasant salty taste found at only one or two other pools in our survey.
Jamie says: "Pretty, but the hot tubs aren't very warm or bubbly."
Swimmability: 7. Nice to cool off, but not much more to do in the water than that.
Price of a Coke: $3