Elia Beach Club at Virgin Hotels Grand Opening

The first glimpse of Élia Beach Club at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas (formerly Rehab Pool Party at the Hard Rock) was definitely an unexpected experience relative to Vegas pool party culture. Venue staff, local and national media, and invited VIPs followed along from the dancefloor as mogul Richard Branson and other Virgin executives participated onstage in a breath work and meditation session. It wasn’t the typical form of relaxation for a Vegas space once known as the rowdiest and wildest pool party on the planet.

As Branson pressed play on The Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” and launched the resort’s “Unstoppable Weekend” grand-opening celebration, the answer started coming for the next question about Élia: Can a seemingly serene, transportive dayclub destination still party hard? Celebrities such as supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio, rapper Flo Rida and reality star Audrina Patridge checked in throughout opening weekend, while guests enjoyed poolside massage and cryotherapy from LA-based wellness spot Artha Sanctuary. Get you a pool party that can do both.

Élia comes from a partnership between Virgin’s ownership group JC Hospitality and nightlife executives Mio Danilovic, Jason “JRoc” Craig and Michael Fuller. The club was designed by Francois Frossard, who also shaped Danilovic’s Joia Beach Club in Miami, with inspiration from the beachy party scenes in Greece’s Mykonos, Mexico’s Tulum and Miami.

Those destinations have been referenced often by nightlife and daylife creators in Las Vegas when it comes to influential music, decor and vibes. But Élia is a more visceral manifestation of those inspirations. Cabanas and daybeds look like tropical mini-huts with wood frames and draped fabric. Palm trees are everywhere, and you can saunter into the main pool from a sandy beach entry. The stage and DJ booth is shrouded by a curved, straw-thatched roof, and the entire space feels like an actual oasis set apart from hotel towers and energetic restaurant patios.

To the right of the stage is the Living Room, a place to find refuge with shade and cool cocktails but one unlike other pool club bar spaces. You’ll want to linger there a while, and there’s a rooftop area perfect for private parties overlooking Élia and the Virgin resort pool.

“We are trying to create an energy that not only lives uniquely in the space musically but also in the way the venue feels,” Craig said in an opening-weekend statement. “An energy and vibe in a different lane than your typical Vegas pool experience.”

Though its debut brought Deadmau5, Loco Dice and Sofi Tukker, deep house sounds are expected to be the soundtrack of the summer. This weekend offers surfer-DJ duo Coast Club, electro-house favorite Laidback Luke and LA future-house expert SNBRN.