I spent a night at the renovated Palms Casino Resort Las Vegas and didn't miss staying on the Strip at all
Wednesday 4th March 2020
I stayed in an upgraded Executive King Suite and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to those who prefer a spacious Las Vegas suite. Closer to $200, it's more expensive but is still a great value considering the level of luxury offered.
I'm a frequent traveler to Las Vegas, for work and play. One of the things I love most about staying in the city is the high bar for accommodations. Since resort-casino properties make the bulk of their money on the casino floor, it's incredibly easy to find a world-class suite for a fraction of what it might cost elsewhere.
An excellent example is the new Palms Casino Resort, which recently completed a massive, property-wide $690 million renovation.
The Palms is said to offer some of the most expensive suites in the city, including infamous over-the-top themed suites, such as the Hardwood Suite, with its regulation-sized half basketball court; and the Kingpin Suite, with two full-sized bowling lanes. Those were part of the overhaul, as were revamped rooms and suites for regular folk, too. The result is luxurious accommodations at a competitive price.
On a recent visit, I checked out one of the new suites and found it more accessible than in the past, making it an exceptional choice for business travel with a side of fun.
For review purposes, the hotel comped my Fantasy Tower Executive King Suite, though the starting rate for such suites is $229. It's a terrific bargain given the sumptuous-feeling of the room with a sprawling footprint.
If you plan to spend most of your time on the casino floor, an updated standard room might present the best value. A spot check of standard Fantasy Tower King Rooms showed results on Palms' website around $50, so the barrier to entry is quite low. But take note: the hotel's daily resort fee is still $39 per day.
As for the Palms' long famous party vibe? I didn't register any remarkable evidence of it on this trip, noting instead a range of business travelers and tourists. But, I was visiting midweek and had no ambition to hit the party scene. So, that's evidence you can avoid it too, if you're there to stay focused on work .... or just want to stay out of trouble.
Keep reading to see why I was so impressed by Palms Casino Resort Las Vegas.
I arrived at the Palms by rideshare and was greeted by a cute and Instagram-friendly balloon wall right outside the lobby in the porte-cochere. It was a subtle hint to the fun-loving vibe found inside. It was a Sunday afternoon in November, and I found no crowds or congestion out front, which can be a rarity in Vegas.
As I followed the signs to check-in, the lobby and casino floor grabbed my attention right off the bat for its bright, gleaming look. It immediately read like a recently renovated space that was fresh, clean, and modern.
Graffiti-style public art was abundant, and the property features pieces from the likes of Damien Hirst, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and Takashi Murakami. I noticed cool angular metallic chandeliers overhead, too.
I approached the airy reception desk backed by the neon message, "Wish You Were Here!," another nod to the fun, whimsical feel.
I was greeted by agents with no delay, and somehow, there was no one in line ahead of me. It might have been the time of day, week, or year - about mid-day on a Sunday in late November before Thanksgiving. It was quite calm and quiet, enough so for me to snap a picture of the wide-open area with nary another soul in it.
The entire process was seamless and fast, and I headed across the casino floor to the elevators en route to my room.
My room was a 10th-floor Fantasy Tower Executive King Suite, with a generous 840 square feet, and included a bedroom and separate living room with not one but two 65-inch TVs. There was one on the wall behind a lounge area with sofa seating, and another in an area appointed with a six-seat conference table, which was a completely unnecessary but decidedly apt fit for the word Executive in the room's title.
In the bedroom was yet another massive TV, which I fell asleep to watching. I woke up feeling rested nine full hours later in the extremely comfortable bed, with no noise disturbance.
The renovated space felt brand new, done up in sophisticated, neutral tones, with light wood cabinetry and nary a loud patterned carpet or dizzying wallpaper pattern insight. Another Vegas rarity.
My bathroom featured a large walk-in shower outfitted in cool striped marble, plus a deep soaking tub, which I enjoyed thoroughly with overflowing bubbles. During my bath, I accidentally dropped my wedding ring. When I got down on the floor to look for it under the bathroom vanity, I discovered a couple of discarded Doritos missed by housekeeping.
I also love nothing more than luxuriating in a plush hotel bathrobe while I work in my room on business trips; in this case, I was surprised that I didn't find a robe in my room, especially given the fact that I was staying in an upgraded suite.
All the extra space was nice, but if that's not a must, you'll likely fare just as well in a standard Fantasy Tower King room, which is still are quite sizable, at about 460 square feet to start. They start in the two-figure price range and still include many of the features of the suites.
You'll get the same renovated feel with a sophisticated, soothing neutral color palette, and the sleek striped marble bathroom, a 65-inch TV, marble minibar, backlit vanities, and curated art.
These high-end details are standard at the Palms, but might be considered high luxury in other properties elsewhere around the world.
On the opposite spectrum, Grand, Sky and Theme Suites are also available at a higher price point and start at about 1,000 square feet. The higher the price, the more elaborate, up to the famous penthouses that are not really for mere mortals' consumption.
The Palms has three distinct towers and a formidable mix of dining and drinking, plus live entertainment including the famous Pearl Concert Theater. Downstairs, there's a 95,000-square-foot casino, where I was pleased to find $5 minimum tables, which is something hard to come by on the Strip. No, I still didn't win - but I lost at a more comfortable pace.
For dinner, I ate at chef Bobby Flay's new seafood restaurant, Shark. I sat at the bar solo and enjoyed a very flavorful taco duo in a relaxed, unfussy atmosphere.
For breakfast, I took my laptop down to the buffet; I like access to bottomless coffee while I write. The regular cost of a weekday buffet was just $17, which is approximately the cost of a pot of coffee from a typical Vegas room service menu. I found this to be a notable bargain, and a tasty one, too.
I also spent an afternoon in the brand new Spa at Palms. I enjoyed an indulgent and relaxing 80-minute facial, flanked by time to decompress in the steam, sauna, and hot tub. The spa sprawls over three stories, connected to a fitness center, and is a true sanctuary.
Palms is located just west of the center of the Las Vegas Boulevard Strip. Despite the off-strip location, Trip Advisor gives it a walkability score of 89 out of 100. It's also conveniently located just three miles from the airport, making it a quick 15 minutes drive or so each way.
The Strip's endless attractions are moments away by rideshare or taxi. For context, the Bellagio and its famous fountain show are only one mile away. And the enormous High Roller ferris wheel is 1.5 miles away at the Linq.
Palms Casino Resort has nearly 3,700 reviews on Trip Advisor, averaging a "very good" score of 4.0 out of 5.
Reviewers note the impressive renovation with one reviewer that called the property "current tops in Vegas," and noted, "The renovated rooms are fantastic, feel completely new with high-end finishes and nice views of the strip."
Reviews also appreciate that the property has a luxe vibe in line with some of Vegas' higher-rent five-star properties: "At this resort, you get a high-end experience without the price gouging of Wynn/Encore and the Caesars and MGM properties. The lines to get in the clubs are not as obnoxious, the covers are lower, the room prices are lower - but you are getting at least 90 percent of the experience you get at those places."
Be warned, however: several reviewers did feel nickel and dimed, in particular when it came to their requests for late checkout. One wrote, "We had a late flight out on Thursday and called down to ask if we could possibly have a late check out and they offered two hours for an additional $40."
Another echoed a similar sentiment: "We needed a noon check out and he demanded a $50 fee for it."
Who stays here: Because of the Palms' wide array of on-site amenities, visitors include a huge range of Vegas travelers, from party people to serious gamblers and business travelers. I saw a few kids, but not many, as minors are not permitted to linger on the casino floor.
We like: The Spa at Palms is an incredible way to spend an afternoon. Book a treatment, but make sure to come early or stay late for steam, sauna, and hot tubs spread over three floors.
We love (don't miss this feature!): The newly redone rooms and suites are highly affordable, welcoming, and even calming. The executive suites in particular offer sprawling space for getting comfortable - and staying focused - on a work trip.
We think you should know: The Palms is not located on Las Vegas Boulevard, so you will need a taxi or rideshare if you want to get to the Strip action. It's not walkable.
We'd do this differently next time: I didn't have time to try out the new restaurant Tim Ho Wan, just opened in September 2019. The dim sum restaurant seems worth a visit for foodies, serving Michelin-starred modern Chinese.
Palms Casino Resort Las Vegas underwent a nearly $700 million renovation project, and it shows. The property feels brand new again and the off-Strip address means the prices are incredibly reasonable. Standard rooms are still upscale, but cheap, and easily under $100 per night. Suites feel luxurious for not that much more.
Yes, it's still preferred by Vegas revelers with its concert venues, nightclubs, and sprawling casino. But it's also an excellent choice for business travelers and those who prefer to avoid the party scene.
With rates beginning under $50, it's an excellent value to work, rest, or take advantage of the action always available on-site.