Interview with James Madders of AZURE Luxury Pool

by Marc Jay
06.11.2010

With so many pools opening in Las Vegas, it’s hard to decide where to go; but if you want something a bit more sophisticated and a bit more kind of “St. Tropez,” I would definitely go to AZURE. I am here today with Mr. James Madders, the lead door host at AZURE, to talk about this luxurious pool in Las Vegas.  

Marc Jay: Tell us a bit more about AZURE and what goes on there.

James Madders: AZURE pool at The Palazzo appeals to the more sophisticated demographic in the 22 – 35 year old age range. We have a number of different days, each with a different theme. For example, Fridays are called “Femme Fridays” which appeals to the younger women, the classy sophisticated women who are familiar with places like Nikki Beach and St. Tropez. We have a lot of free giveaways; a couple of weeks ago we gave away free Jimmy Choos in conjunction with the Sex and the City 2 launch. On Saturday, we actually have a day called “Stereo Love Saturdays” which is basically the essence of the world-famous beach parties from St. Tropez, Mykonos, and Ibiza. We play more global house-style music with Latin and Moroccan vibes. Then on Sundays we have “Dolce Vita Sundays.” Basically we do a European brunch with a Wolfgang Puck menu. While enjoying brunch, guests can sit in the rotunda overlooking the views of The Strip and enjoy the day until the sun goes down.

Marc Jay: That all sounds incredible! I noticed that you have an incredible accent similar to mine. Where are you from?

James Madders: I was born in a little seaside town called Brighton, which is just south of London. It is extremely different from Las Vegas; when I lived there I was about ten minutes from the beach. Weather – can’t say it is as exotic as it is here, but it’s an interesting town probably compared a bit to San Francisco with its arty vibe. So that’s where I started, in a little town, and ended up in Vegas.

Marc Jay: What did you do back home in Brighton? Was it nightclub-related?

James Madders: Yes. I started working for a nightclub when I was 17 – I should have been 18 – and I started collecting glasses. Then I pushed my way to the front of this club. When the manager was leaving I said, “Look, let me be the manager.” Everyone thought I was mad, as I was 18 years old. I should have been given an award for the youngest person with a nightclub license in the south of England. So, I started running a nightclub which was a bit like Coyote Ugly, but for women. There were topless firemen behind the bar with about 300 women coming to watch us, so it was good fun.

Marc Jay: How did you end up coming here and running one of the most successful beach club/ nightclubs in all of Las Vegas?

James Madders: I was promoting nightclubs in Brighton, including a classy nightclub where I met someone who was affiliated with Las Vegas. He basically said, “Why don’t you give it a try?” So I tested the water a few times on holidays, staying in hotels, and then decided to buy a one-way ticket and come out here. I could have done London, but I have always been fascinated with the nightclub scene and the entertainment in Las Vegas. This city is the entertainment capitol of the world, so I guess I decided I might as well to go to the top and not mess with the middle man.

Marc Jay: Let’s talk about the crazier times at AZURE pool. I know you have lots of celebrities that come in and out of the place, but who has come most recently? Are there any special weekends when you’ve had crazy customers?

James Madders: We have really had an A-list crowd come through. Recently, we had the Sex and the City cast come through and they celebrated Memorial Weekend with us. Also recently we have had a lot of international soccer players come here. They actually had a Moët champagne spray-off and must have spent over $50,000 just simply spraying each other with champagne, which was truly epic to say the least.

Marc Jay: Did that ever happen in your seaside town in Brighton?

James Madders: I think the most I have seen is maybe a 30-year-old drunk man spraying a bottle of beer in an argument with his girlfriend. I think that’s the most luxurious thing I have seen.

Marc Jay: So if I wanted to come experience AZURE what are the days to come down? And what are your opening hours?

James Madders: Friday to Sunday. Our hours on Friday run from 11-6, hours on Saturday run from 11-6 and once again we’re open on Sunday from 11-6. I suggest you get there early as the cues can actually wrap around the whole pool deck. Also, you should make sure you don’t eat before because we have world famous chef Wolfgang Puck supplying our menu. And trust me, I have tried everything on there and the food is absolutely amazing.

Marc Jay: Does working the door ever get difficult, maybe because you might not know some of the celebrities? Do you ever find yourself asking for IDs or do you have any funny stories about that?

James Madders: A couple of weeks ago, a large gentleman came to the door and he must have been 6’5 weighing 400 pounds. I had to make sure that he had the correct ID on him and he explained to me that he didn’t have it and that he didn’t usually have this problem in this country. I was about to turn him down for not having his ID, when I was told that he was NFL legend, Warren Sapp, which I now understand that he is a massive deal. But being from England, I find that it is difficult to keep up with all the NFL players and the NBA players, but also it can work in my advantage. We have the best of both worlds: being from England, I am a big soccer fan, so only last week had Ronaldinho come to the door as well as Patrick Viera who a lot of people don’t know, but since I knew who they were, I gave them the five-star treatment and made sure they were looked after in one of our cabanas. They get welcomed by familiar accents as well by my being here.

Marc Jay: You have only been here for four months and you have quite an impressive resume so far. What lies in the future for James Madders in Las Vegas or in the USA?

James Madders: There is no limit to me, but basically there are two little roots. I come from an acting background and I have done stage school, drama school, and theater in England, so I may head towards LA at some point and dip my hand in acting. But also I still have a huge passion for the nightclub industry. At this time in 20 years I would like to see myself owning a few nightclubs, one in Las Vegas, one in Miami, and of course one in London.

Marc Jay: Obviously Las Vegas is unique and different to anywhere else in the world, but certainly to England. How are you coping with the differences from driving, to food, to the 110 degree weather? How is your experience so far living in Vegas.

James Madders: Oh wow, where do I start? Well I will start with the weather: I think it must have been two weeks ago where I experienced something I have never experienced in my life. Where I am from in Brighton, the hottest I have never felt is 80 degrees, and that was a major beach day. Last week it was 110, and I honestly felt as though I was behind a car exhaust, as well as a hair dryer, as well as a sauna, all at the same time. A lot of my fellow American friends found it quite amusing, but I think they felt a bit sorry for me. I’m getting used to it, eventually I’ll be okay with it I think, if that’s possible. I love my food. There is such a wide range of food in America, and in Vegas especially. I could go have 50 chicken wings in Hooters for some ridiculous price or I could have the nicest food as if from Wolfgang Puck which is truly luxurious and decadent. I am getting used to the food and I am also getting used to the portions. I know not to order two main courses if I am really hungry, because a starter is enough for me here. And driving. Once again, the roads where I’m from are probably the size of one side of the road here. You can imagine scenic lanes and countryside views—it is slightly different here.

Marc Jay: I’m sure there are people that want to come down and experience AZURE, so what’s the best way for someone to contact you or find out more about this venue?

James Madders: Feel free to contact me on my cell (702-418-9769) or email me at [email protected]. Also check out the website, www.azurepoollv.com. If you come down, ask for me and say that you’ve read Marc Jay’s blog on Clubplanet and I will actually give you a comped entry so that you can experience AZURE for yourself. 

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