When Ashley Lester moved to Las Vegas two years ago, she went from managing one sports bar to helping run 23 bars at Caesars Palace. “It was a huge learning curve for me,” said the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native. “… But I put my hand into everything and learned all of it.”

This season, Lester is back to managing just one venue—Venus Pool Lounge at Caesars. But she works just as hard and is just as dedicated. “I think being a manager means you have to be able to wear every hat,” she said. “You have to be a cabana host at times, you have to be a hostess at times, security at times, a bartender, cocktail waitress. I’m a very hands-on manager. I think it’s being ready to do whatever it takes to make the business run.”

Lester describes the intimate, upscale oasis as a place to chill out but still enjoy a bit of a party atmosphere. And although it’s a European-style pool, she stresses that her guests feel comfortable and secure. “On the weekends, you can’t walk 5 feet without seeing someone that’s topless, and that makes it easier for people to feel comfortable and get topless, too,” she said. “Plus, it’s like one of those only-in-Vegas experiences—you have to try it!”

Every day at work, Lester has her very own only-in-Vegas experience. “Never would I have dreamed that I’d be here at Caesars Palace, one of the most iconic properties on the Strip, managing one of the most luxurious pools in the world,” she said.

Tai Me Up

One of Lester’s responsibilities as general manager of Venus is to help create the seasonal cocktail menu. “It was one of my favorite things to do for Venus,” she said. “I wanted it to be a little more craft-cocktail oriented. The drink names are a blast—they relate to the topless side of the pool.” With more than a dozen specialty cocktails with names like Go Bare, Melon Motorboat and Nice Pear, the Tai Me Up is a popular pick. Served inside a cored pineapple, it combines Mount Gay Black Barrel rum, Appleton Estate VX rum, simple syrup, orange curaçao, orgeat syrup and fresh-squeezed lime.