There was a time when Palms was the hottest place in Vegas. Opened in 2001, celebrities like Britney Spears and Michael Phelps famously partied there and it's been featured on reality TV shows from Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" to MTV's "Real World: Las Vegas."
But more impressive resorts begun opening on Las Vegas Boulevard, from 2005 to 2010, like Cosmopolitan of Vegas, Wynn and Palazzo, appealing to young crowds with swankier, bi-level suites, celebrity chef-helmed restaurants and glitzy bars and nightclubs on the casino floor — everything Palms lacked. Eventually, the resort faded in the desert landscape.
Palms is experiencing a revival, one with a $620 million price tag, the largest resort renovation in Vegas history (Caesar's is spending $350 million, and split among four properties: The Flamingo, Bally's, Planet Hollywood and Caesar's Palace).
The first phase of the overhaul, announced by new owners Station Casinos in 2016, debuts Thursday. The transformation includes the opening of bar Unknown, Scotch 80 Prime steakhouse, APEX Social Club (replacing Ghostbar), Camden cocktail lounge and a redesigned casino floor, with a high-limit lounge, and Pearl concert theater.
The next phase will include a 29,000-square foot nightclub and 73,000-square-foot pool club, opening spring 2019, both developed in partnership with TAO Group. (The original TAO Vegas is the top-grossing restaurant in the world, bringing more than $40 million a year.)
Also on the deck are celebrity chef Bobby Flay's new seafood and sushi restaurant; a barbecue restaurant helmed by ABC's "The Chew" co-host Michael Symon (his first Vegas restaurant); James Beard winner Marc Ventri's new Italian restaurant; a 20,000-square-foot spa; and an outpost of Tao Group's NYC restaurant Vandal.
The current phase also features a new collection of contemporary and street art in public spaces. There are more than 150 pieces of art on display, including works by art legends Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Dustin Yellin.
"We're weaving a vast collection of contemporary, street and blue-chip art, many of which are rarely displayed publicly, throughout every aspect of the hotel," ceative director Tal Cooperman tells CNBC Make It.
"We're seeing more and more that guests are looking for a 360-degree experience. They want to be impressed visually and experientially," Cooperman says. "We are in a hyper-visual society that has created even more interest in art. The collection is created for this millennial generation."
The newly renovated Pearl Theater will house Blink-182's first-ever Las Vegas residency, along with other leading acts performing this year like Charlie Puth and Alanis Morissette.
There are 260 rooms, 77 suites and six Sky Villas, the highest-category accommodations on high floors that start at 6,100-square feet and include a private pool and butler service. All rooms and suites are currently undergoing a redesign with Avenue Interior Design, and there will be 60 new rooms. The transformation will be fully completed by fall 2018, although certain rooms and suites are available online now for booking for stays starting this summer.
Rooms average $199 per night on weekends.
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