Ever since MTV's Real World took over a floor at the Palms, owner George Maloof has shown a Midas touch for keeping up with everybody from twentysomething hipsters to blue-rinse daytime gamblers. At night, the Palms attracts a Who's Who of Hollywood players and sports stars with nightclubs, a new concert hall, chic restaurants, a tattoo parlour, 'bachelor suites' replete with dancer poles and some rooms with giant beds (Maloof and his brother own the Sacramento Kings basketball team). But the magic also works on locals, with a movie theatre, a food court, a slots-driven casino and, most of all, quality service. And still the expansion goes on: Palms Place, a condominium hotel and spa (and the 'final' installment in the hotel's $650-million expansion), will connect to the hotel and all of its amenities via a moving walkway called the SkyTube.
The rooms at the Palms aren't giant, but many compensate by having great views - and you get to curl up on the same beds as those you would find at the luxury Four Seasons. Two floors of Fantasy Suites include a Hugh Hefner Sky Villa with balcony pool; the Hardwood Suite, a vast playpen with a jacuzzi and a half-court basketball court; the Kingpin Suite, with a pool table and a bowling lane; and an Erotic Suite, with a circular, 8ft rotating bed with mirrored ceiling. The 'What happens in Vegas' line has surely been uttered more here than anywhere else.
Eating & drinking
Up in the penthouse of the original tower is Alizé, André Rochat's third French restaurant. Downstairs, there's Little Buddha, where you can dine on Asian dishes with a French twist or nosh with the beautiful people at the sushi bar. From Chicago comes N9ne, a steakhouse, champagne/caviar bar and celebrity hangout; the folks behind it also run Nove, an extravagant hotspot decked out in crystal chandeliers, purple leather and crocodile skins. Garduño's offers tasty Tex-Mex and the Sunrise Café is a serviceable 24-hour diner that's not as hip as it should be; there's also a buffet and food court.
The first Playboy Club to open in 25 years arrived in the Palms' Fantasy Tower in 2006. The first venue in town to combine gaming and lounging, Hef's haunt brought even more cachet to the Palms by injecting it with added sex appeal. Above it is Moon, a nightclub with a retractable roof.
Elsewhere, Pearl, an intimate concert hall, gives the House of Blues and the Joint serious competition. The three-storey Rain shines as a proper nightclub; high above it all (and with an equally lofty attitude) is the white-on-white Ghostbar, kind of LA East. When the weather heats up, so does Skin, a twice-weekly pool party complete with cavorting 'mermaids'.
Underpinned by a classy hardwood floor, the casino includes 2,400 slots, 55 table games (many with $10 minimums), and a race and sports book. A survey conducted just after the casino opened found the slots to be the loosest in Las Vegas; judging from the video poker, this relative generosity lives on.