The Palms first planted its stake in pop culture as the home to seven strangers in the first installment of Real World: Las Vegas, then as a constant backdrop on E! reality show The Girls Next Door when Hugh Hefner–mates visited the Playboy-branded tower, now known as the Fantasy Tower. These days, Palms has maintained its cool factor without needing any camera time and is fresh off a nearly $700-million head-to-toe renovation that includes the Fantasy Tower, the casino floor, nightclubs, and new restaurants. They’ve already completed work on the casino floor, four restaurants, and several nightlife options, not to mention the marquee and exterior of the hotel itself. (And we must say the addition of art by Damien Hirst, Basquiat, and Andy Warhol, on loan from the personal collections of Palms’ owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, raise the entire aesthetic of the property.)
You’ve got to be a serious high roller to even think about staying in the insane suites of the Fantasy Tower, like the two-floor Hardwood Suite, complete with basketball court, or the coyly named Make Good Choices Suite, which clocks in at 1,470 square feet with two bedrooms and a sleek living-room area accented by a long onyx wet bar. The real stunner is the Damien Hirst-designed Empathy Suite, which goes for something like $200,000 for two nights. Over-the-top does not begin to describe this 9,000-square-foot homage to excess, which includes massage tables, a salt relaxation room, and a hot tub that juts out from the side of the building, all with Hirst’s signature touches. His artwork features prominently as well, such as a shark in formaldehyde (similar to the one on the casino floor).
The Ivory Tower (home of the still-pimped-out Real World Suite), is the original building of the Palms, and with its 428 guest rooms, is still super swank, even at 440 square feet. Warm wood furnishings nicely play off the fuchsia, teal, and silver of the throw blanket and chaise lounge. A stark-white bathroom is meant to evoke being in the spa, and it’s pretty close, with open showers (no tubs, sorry), frosted glass, and lots of marble. If you really need to stretch out, upgrade to a Superior Room with a Jacuzzi, or if you’re feeling especially fancy, a 1,200-square-foot one-bedroom at Palms Place with a state-of-the-art whirlpool bathtub.
The nightlife scene is going through a little facelift; now the top of the hotel has Apex Social Club, which removed the DJ aspect of going out and built an atmosphere where guests can have fun and talk to each other (imagine that!). But if you still need your club fix, there’s a 29,000 square-foot venue in the works. The Palms overhauled its restaurant portfolio, revamping both their buffets, calling it all A.Y.C.E, and steakhouse, now known as Scotch 80 Prime. More celebrity chef names have also been added to the roster. Michael Symon opened his fun Mabel’s BBQ. while Bobby Flay surprised us with Shark, his Mexican/South American/Mediterranean-influenced seafood restaurant.