After a late-spring opening,
has quickly become the new it-hotel for Las Vegas weekenders looking for a stylish crash pad that's not full of synthetic floral carpeting and bland, beige furnishings.
Once privy to TheHotel at Mandalay Bay and MGM SkyLofts, luxury travelers are demanding more than just oversize rooms and jetliner views from their all-suite hotels. Adjusting to these demands, Las Vegas is on the verge of a watershed architectural moment that will say goodbye to those ubiquitous V-shaped faux-Hausmann and Italianate high-rises and usher in a new era of cutting-edge design by some of the world's top architects, including Libeskind, Pelli and Foster.
What to expect
Away from the taxicab and pedestrian mayhem of the Las Vegas Strip, Palms Place is located adjacent to the original Palms Hotel. That hotel has made a name for itself as the city's prime party pad, like Temptation Island with a casino. But Palms Place is something different. Located in a tower, the luxury hotel offers its own private resort area and casino-free lobby accessed via a separate VIP entrance. Slot-lovers shouldn't fret because the casino is only a people-mover away through a tube-like bridge connecting to the Palms gaming floor.
The first impression
Jon Jerde, the architect responsible for the original Palms Tower as well as the nearby Bellagio, designed the hotel. The architect is helping to shape the new modern aesthetic of Las Vegas with a vertical glass tower topped with iconic LED sticks that illuminate the desert skyline. A glassy entrance opens to a sedate lobby area of Madagascar-wood paneled walls, dark slate floors and sunken leather seating remarkably sedate for a Vegas hotel.
Finding your room
A staff of polished receptionists and buttoned-up clerks assist with efficient check-in that quickly whisks you away to one of the tower's 47-floors, which are home to a series of studios, and one- and two-bedroom suites. Hallways are sleek and elegant, like an edgy urban co-op in Chicago or New York, leading to chunky wooden doors that swing open to apartment-style hotel suites. Studios open to a white marble foyer, passing through to a sexy stainless-steel kitchen and one-room loft with dark wood floors, jetliner views and modern lounge area that looks like the Jetsons-meets-Armani.
We were a bit confused to see a full gourmet kitchen in our one-bedroom suite. It made us immediately want to go out and shop for groceries. All studios, one-bedroom suites and penthouse suites come with deluxe gourmet kitchens with imported china, flatware and cookware should you want to cook a turkey or just bake a sheet of brownies. While we're not sure who would want to cook in Vegas, those who do should book into one of the larger rooms where the kitchen isn't located directly next to the bathroom and where a freestanding bathtub awaits you in the bedroom for a needed Calgon moment.
Bathrooms and details
It's the best bathroom in Vegas, at least for now. As if it snowed Carrera, bathrooms drip in white marble with floating countertops and porcelain sink bowls under wall-mounted chrome fixtures. Free of fluorescent bulbs, white pendant lighting and make-up mirror are complemented by a wall-mounted LCD screen with pre-set music and video channels to get the party started even while you're still in the shower. A separate wet room is divided by a wall of glass from the main bathroom area, containing a rainfall shower and sunken tub with massage jets.
Hit the pool
Not as large or rowdy as the main Palms pool space, the private hotel's resort area is composed of a free-form swimming pool divided by Cabo-style tanning ledge with submerged lounge furnishings where tanning hotel guests flaunt and pose. Those looking for a bit more privacy can book one of the private cube-shaped cabanas for around $350 or simply grab one of the lounge chairs and enjoy the live weekend DJs and poolside swimsuit show free of charge.
New restaurant and lounge
Some of the new perks of Palms Place include a poolside eatery, Simon Kitchen and Bar, by Simon Kerry, formerly of his signature eatery at Hard Rock Café. A bright and airy dining room offers a playful American menu loaded with comfort-food staples and head-on views of the pool and all its swimming creatures that are a natural appetite suppressant. For night spirits, a red-theme lounge space known as Rojo offers a sleek and sophisticated lounge free of door hassles and having to beg or pay $500 just to sit in a booth. It has yet to lure the A-list clientele of Moon or the Playboy Club, but luckily those clubs are also just a concierge-call away.
Drift away at Vegas's only Hammam
Catering to a luxury market, Palms Place is home to the all-new Drift Spa. A staggering two-story Turkish-theme bathhouse offers the city's first Hammam with temperature-controlled soaking pools and state-of-the-art fitness center. Chlorine got the best of your roots? There's an on-site hair salon operated by celebrity colorist Michael Boychuck. And for all the tanorexics, there's also an outpost of Sunset Tan for anyone looking to freshen up their tan and maybe even land a spot on the E-Channel reality show while getting their bronze-on before hitting the pool.
What's the real deal?
Wow. A beleaguered economy means great deals for glutinous luxury. Midweek room rates start under $200 for entry-level studios and around $300 for one-bedroom suites with endless seasonal specials that combine spa and cabana packages. If you're looking for a weekend getaway, expect to pay around 20% more and don't forget the reservations are all prepaid at most Las Vegas hotels.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.