My wife and I (late 40’s, early 50’s) just returned from a fantastic four-night stay at the PalmsPlace Hotel and Spa. This was our third trip to Las Vegas. Ten years ago, I stayed in a suite in the Palms tower just after it first opened. We booked the travel package through Travelocity and got an unbelievably low price for four nights in a “deluxe” (read: standard) room in the original Palms tower. When we arrived, we asked the front desk clerk if we could upgrade to a studio suite in the newer PalmsPlace tower. Even with the upgrade, the room charge was only $100 per night plus tax…for a contemporary suite on the 51st floor with a spectacular view of the Las Vegas skyline!
Overall, our experience was influenced by two main factors:
(1) We stayed during the week. By doing so, we received a much lower rate and our pick of rooms. Even though we arrived on a holiday (Monday, July 4th), the resort was not crowded. It wasn’t dead either -- just the right level of people and activity for us. We would not have enjoyed this stay as much if it was overrun with people and more expensive, as can occur on the weekends.
(2) The ambience of the PalmsPlace matched what we were looking for: contemporary, hip and sexy. The whole place exudes this feel, from the architecture, art and room design, to the music, the pool area and Simon’s Restaurant, to the casino and fabulous nightclubs. If that is the vibe you are looking for, you’ll love it here. On the other hand, if you are looking for staid classical elegance, this is not the right fit. And while we saw some families here, this place is not designed for kids.
Before booking this hotel, we read hundreds of reviews on TripAdvisor. The reviews of this resort told us what to look out for and helped us avoid some of the problems experienced by others.
The Studio Suite: The main webpage of the PalmsPlace has a photo of the suite we stayed in, showing the same view. Go to www.palms.com, and then choose the PalmsPlace link at the very top of the page. The skyline view is even better when you’re sitting on the sectional sofa near the windows. Not shown in the picture are the all-stainless-steel kitchenette and the spacious bathroom with floor-to-ceiling marble tiles, contemporary glass shower and hot tub. The bathroom is amazing. Outside of a few minor flaws mentioned below, the room was spacious, well designed and clean. Another plus is that the PalmsPlace tower is non-smoking, and the ventilation and A/C system worked well.
The PalmsPlace Pool and Simon’s Lounge/Restaurant: The pool area looks like the pictures on the website – perhaps even nicer in person. Free towels are provided and there is a poolside bar. Drinks by the pool are a bit pricey, but not ridiculously so ($6 for a beer, $10 for a glass of wine.) The whole experience was very relaxing. Unlike the other Palms pool, which has a louder party scene, the PalmsPlace pool is quieter, more laid back – and very sexy. We highly recommend Happy Hour at Simon’s, where all drinks and appetizers are only $6. It’s adjacent to the pool, and the ambience is great.
Ghostbar, Moon and Playboy Club: These clubs are worth experiencing, even if only for the views. The Ghostbar, located on top of the original Palms tower, has a near panoramic view of Las Vegas. We were there on July 4th to watch the fireworks. Believe it or not, the fireworks displays were dwarfed by the normal lights coming from the strip! Moon also has nice views, but is primarily a loud dance club frequented by 20-something singles. To bolster the upper end of the age demographic, we got out there and danced too! Playboy Club is best suited for those who like table games, where the dealers are gorgeous Playboy Bunnies. Life is tough! To get into these clubs at low or no cost and skip the lines, make sure you ask for VIP passes when you check in or get onto Chris Hornack’s guest list www.freevegasclubpasses.com We found his service to be great – just send him a text. It’s free.
The Palms Casino: When we weren’t eating, lounging by the pool or hitting the nightclubs, we were playing the slot machines in the Palms Casino (and the Gold Coast, which is directly across the street). As advertised, both had friendly slots and are frequented by locals. The waitresses on the Palms Casino floor provided excellent service in bringing us free drinks while we played. It also didn’t hurt that every one of them was drop-dead gorgeous! We tipped them $1 per drink. Unlike the Palms, the Gold Coast is decidedly non-sexy – it caters more to retirees. But we enjoyed the slot play there as well and earned two free buffet dinners.
Package Extras: On check-in, we received vouchers for two free breakfast buffets at the Palms Casino, four $20 per day drink credits at the casino bars, a free bottle of liquor, two VIP passes for free entry to the nightclubs, and free entry passes to the fitness center.
Cons- Real and Perceived
Resort Fees: Along with the room charge, the PalmsPlace resort charges a $15/night resort fee ($16.80 including tax). We knew this going in – so it wasn’t a surprise. Many resorts in Las Vegas are now charging this extra fee; apparently the Palms started charging it a few months ago. In light of the low room rate and fabulous amenities we received, we didn’t mind too much. However, if you wish to use the fitness center, it is located inside the spa, and access is not automatically included in the resort fee! We avoided this problem by asking the front desk clerk on check-in; he gave us free passes to the fitness center.
Room wear and tear (minor): Some of the wood veneer furniture was chipped in a few spots, exposing the particle board underneath. Also, the paint along the edges of the dark brown door was chipped from people banging their luggage against it. A bit of cosmetic patchwork by the PalmsPlace maintenance staff would go a long way to fix these problems and return the room to top condition.
Hallway area: The décor in the hallways is dark brown. While we liked it and thought it was sexy, the dark color scheme had a way of exposing dust along the baseboards and edges of the rugs. The hallways would look better if someone went through with a vacuum cleaner crevice tool and some touch up paint. (Unlike the hallways, our room was not dark and was nicely cleaned.)
Table service in nightclubs: Another unfortunate trend in Las Vegas is that you have to pay exorbitant prices to find a place to sit at nightclubs. Again, we knew this going in, primarily because of Chris Hornack’s informative website. Rather than pay for table service, we just found a good railing to set our drinks on – and enjoyed the spectacular views!
SkyTube: Some of the reviews we read complained of the walk between the Palms Casino area and the PalmsPlace tower. We did not find this to be a problem at all and enjoyed the short 2-3 minute walk. It’s a nice transition from the noisier casino. Even the SkyTube’s ambience is sexy!
Off strip location: While some others complained about this, there are several options to get to the strip: (1) take the free shuttle bus from the Gold Coast to Bills, which is mid strip, (2) take the 202 city bus, which runs along west Flamingo Blvd. The bus stop is right in front of the main entrance to the Palms casino, (3) take a short cab ride costing about $8-10, or (4) Walk, if you are really adventurous, not wearing heels and it is daylight. It’s about ¾ mile to the strip, but you have to cross a very busy interchange with I-15; possible, but not recommended. We had such a good time in and around the Palms, we never made it to the strip. (We had been to the strip on prior trips.)
Tips for enjoying your stay-
--Stay during the week, if possible, to get the best deals
--Book a basic room, and then ask for an upgrade after you get there (unless it’s a busy time period). You can get a great upgrade at little or no cost at the last minute when the hotel is not fully booked. You have more flexibility if you book directly with the hotel.
--When you check in, hand the desk clerk a $20 bill folded up underneath your credit card. He/she will be more inclined to get you the best deals on room upgrades, VIP and fitness center passes, etc. Then don’t be afraid to ask for what you want!
--Speaking of cards, use a credit card, not a debit card, when you check in. The Palms automatically holds a $100 per night security deposit on your card. If you use a debit card, you funds will be tied up for days afterward. (We learned this the hard way while staying at a Washington, DC hotel.) Also, tell the desk clerk that you won’t use the minibar, and he/she may knock that security deposit down by half.
--Speaking of the minibar, don’t touch it or move the items around, unless you want to be charged. The items sit on a pressure sensor, which automatically adds charges to your bill when you touch them. We avoided this problem by not going into the minibar at all. Our studio suite had a separate refrigerator which we used for food and drink items. Don’t use the minibar fridge for that purpose!
--You can keep dining costs down by buying some groceries. There’s a grocery store about a half mile or so west on W. Flamingo and a convenience store closer than that, within walking distance. There’s a Starbucks and some fast food places nearby as well. The 202 bus can take you to the grocery store.
--Be sure you get on guest lists for free or low cost entry and line skip passes to the nightclubs. Otherwise, you may have huge cover charges and have to wait in long lines. Chris Hornack will set you up at no cost.