The revamped Palms Las Vegas is staging a major comeback this month

Apr 7, 2022

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A towering resort just off the Las Vegas Strip that left multiple marks on early aughts pop culture is ready for a comeback following a more than $600 million renovation.

The Palms Casino Resort is slated to reopen on April 27 after a pandemic-induced two-year shutdown, the San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority announced this week. The SMGHA is part of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which bought the Palms late last year for $650 million.

The renovation left much of the resort’s decor intact, but there have been upgrades to the casino floor to include an updated sports betting area and new layouts of slot machines to enable more conversation among players.

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The Palms upgrades include an overhaul of the property’s 14-screen movie theater, a remodeled lobby and new experiential elements at the 73,000-square-foot pool area. This could range from DJs to poolside brunch, but the Palms’ general manager, Cynthia Kiser Murphey, indicated to USA Today those plans are still in the works.

The resort temporarily closed in 2020 as a result of the global health crisis, but the property’s popularity had faded years prior from its glory days in the early 2000s as the host venue for “The Real World: Las Vegas” and regular mentions on popular reality shows such as “The Girls Next Door” and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” In fact, original “RHOBH” cast member Adrienne Maloof is part of the Maloof family, the hotel’s original owners.

The Great Recession hit The Palms, like much of Las Vegas, severely, and the Maloof family significantly reduced their stake in a sale to new owners. Red Rocks Resorts later bought The Palms in 2016 and sold it last year to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. The Palms will be the first Las Vegas casino resort to be owned and operated by a Native American tribe.

But neither new ownership nor a hefty renovation means ignoring the past.

The Real World Suite — capable of sleeping 12 and featuring a four-seat bar, full kitchen and a video confessional in case you want to vent about your travel mates — is still available to book, according to the Palms website. The room has been renovated since it first debuted on MTV in 2002.

There’s also the Hardwood Suite, which includes a personal basketball court, and the Empathy Suite designed by artist Damien Hirst, who included two bull sharks suspended in formaldehyde.

Other features at the Palms to survive the renovation include restaurants like Scotch 80 Prime, Mabel’s BBQ and Send Noodles. Ghostbar, the resort’s rooftop bar overlooking the Strip and once a mainstay for celebrity appearances, is also included in the resort’s reopening plans.

Related: Vegas is back, baby: From shows to slots, what it’s like to visit Las Vegas right now

The resort’s new approach to wooing customers appears to be focused more on local and regional guests.

The Palms will now be a part of the Club Serrano loyalty program, which also includes the Yaamava Resort & Casino, a property also run by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians about 3 1/2 hours away in Southern California.

“We’re working hard to make the gaming floor very attractive to locals,” Kiser Murphey told USA Today. “The movies are really important to locals, the restaurants, the bars. And then when we roll out the entertainment a few months down the road, we will definitely have locals.”

It’s a vastly different approach from when the Maloof family first opened the resort with a strategy that seemed to focus almost entirely on young Hollywood. But it isn’t necessarily the wrong one.

Competition in Las Vegas is heating up, and there are better deals out there for travelers devoted to more global loyalty programs.

Resorts World Las Vegas opened last year and features three different Hilton-flagged hotels. Hilton Honors members also have other new options like the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, which is part of the Curio Collection.

Marriott Bonvoy loyalty members can earn and redeem points at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (though you can usually find a better redemption value at Marriott’s Grand Chateau, part of the Marriott Vacation Club).

And Wyndham Rewards and Caesars Rewards are linked, though not as easily as before, while World of Hyatt members can redeem points within the MGM Resorts International portfolio, including properties such as the Bellagio and Mandalay Bay.

Featured image courtesy of The Palms Casino Resort/Facebook.

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