After 10 years in the sun, Daylight Beach Club has aged beautifully.
On any given weekend, poolgoers can soak in the sounds of world-renowned DJs like TroyBoi and Tchami or groove to a rap set by Ty Dolla $ign in a vibrant party utopia. It’s a true summertime scene, bolstered by 4,400 roomy square feet of pool space, tableside daybeds for lounging and two extra private pools for cabana splurges.
It has weathered a few storms to get to where it is today. When Daylight opened in 2013, originally under the management of Hakkasan Group (which acquired Light Group) and Cirque du Soleil, it had an uphill climb ahead.
“The landscape at the time was definitely a little bit different than it is now,” says John Pettei, managing partner of Clique Hospitality, ex-Light Group exec and co-founder of Play Management, which took over Daylight operations in 2015. “It was very competitive, with several big nightlife companies with pool clubs competing for business.”
The only way to stand out on the Strip was to offer something unattainable anywhere else. Luckily, Daylight had the musical chops to bring the concert to the shore.
“EDM reigned supreme, and open-format music or hip-hop or Latin was pretty much out of the picture. Daylight, when we launched in 2013, had a really eclectic, highly curated lineup of DJs,” Pettei recalls. “Many of the DJs were up and coming, and some of them you can still see on the Las Vegas Strip playing at other venues 10 years later.”
For instance, Daylight snagged top-billing artist Zedd at the height of his “Clarity” fame, well before he launched Strip residencies. And Daylight’s stage, elevated several feet off the dancefloor and overlooking the pool, offered clear sightlines and a high-end AV system that put entertainment—and a mixture of musical styles—on a pedestal.
Daylight also helped usher in night swims, which Pettei says were blowing up in Ibiza at the time. Nighttime pool parties like Eclipse brought megastars like Ice Cube and Pusha T.
“We were also the first ones to bring deep house to a large-scale pool club with our Sundown event we launched in 2015,” Pettei adds. That momentum lives on now in the reggaeton swim party Neon Vibra.
When Pettei and his Play co-founder, Colin Comer, took over operations for Daylight and Light Nightclub in 2015, they did so knowing the obstacles ahead.
“For years, we were part of the Light Group, which was one of the big behemoth nightlife companies with a huge reach of thousands of employees and a ton of assets,” Pettei says “[Then], we were this small group in a land of these massive nightlife companies trying to compete.”
But those odds only seemed to inspire the duo to do business better.
“We were gritty and scrappy,” Pettei laughs. “And it felt different there. It was not as corporate, not as much red tape. We were pushing the boundaries … taking some risks. And I think that defined Play Management and its legacy for a lot of people.”
So would Daylight have folded if Play hadn’t stepped in? Pettei can’t say for certain, but “I think there’s the chance that it would have fizzled out.” Other nightlife groups with more venues wouldn’t have been as “laser-focused” on Daylight as Play was, he explains.
After a decade of ups and downs, Daylight feels like a dayclub forged by fire. Pettei has seen many clubs come and go, so to have this pillar of the Strip daylife scene still standing speaks volumes.
“People know what to expect at Daylight and they like it for that reason. We’ve got a formula that works,” he says. “So for as far as what the future holds, I see continued success doing what we love, with a lot of the same familiar faces that are there right now.”
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND AT DAYLIGHT SpydaTek, May 26, 11 a.m.; Blxst, May 27, 11 a.m.; Neon Vibra Latin night swim, May 27, 10 p.m.; Ty Dolla $ign, May 28, noon; Simp City R&B party, May 28, 10 p.m.; Big Boss Vette, May 29, noon; Mandalay Bay, 702-632-4700, daylightvegas.com.
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