Las Vegas has no shortage of incredible places to stay. In fact, the only thing more overwhelming than the flashing lights of Sin City, the thrill of winning big (or the crushing blow of losing) and the sheer excitement of it all is deciding where to make a temporary home there.
Over the years, I’ve been to Las Vegas dozens of times and I know that not all of the city’s many hotels are created equal. Even if you think you’ll hardly be spending any time in your room, you still want to be comfortable when you are there.
On a recent trip, I forwent my favorite rooms high above The Mirage’s explosive volcano for the Palms Casino Resort, an off-Strip property I’d always heard packed a powerful punch — and it lived up to my expectations. If you’re considering a stay yourself, here’s what you need to know.
What is the Palms Casino Resort?
Dating back to 2001, the Palms (as it’s casually known) is a multitower casino resort located off the famed Las Vegas Strip. In its first decade alone, the Palms was a celebrity hot spot and embedded itself in pop culture, playing host to “The Real World Las Vegas” in 2002, the 2007 MTV Music Video Awards (who can forget Britney Spears’ “Gimme More”) and was where the music video for Katy Perry’s bop of a song “Waking Up in Vegas” was filmed.
Before the pandemic, the Palms underwent a $690 million renovation but was ultimately forced to close for over two years, reopening in spring 2022 under new ownership by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. Today, the resort is alive and popping, featuring a world-class art collection, rooftop bars with sweeping views of Las Vegas, over-the-top suites you have to see to believe, and so much more.
How to book the Palms Casino Resort
Your best way to save on rates at the Palms is to book directly, especially if your dates are flexible and you can use the website’s booking calendar to see when rates are least expensive. Rates start as low as $79 per night for weekday stays but jump to over $200 a night for weekend stays. Note that with the seemingly endless array of events and conventions in Las Vegas, rates at all resorts fluctuate dramatically, and the Palms is no exception.
Away from the Strip doesn’t mean away from the fun
As someone who has spent a ridiculous amount of time in Las Vegas (probably too much!), I was curious to see if being off the Strip would feel limiting, considering so many of the reasons you go to Las Vegas are located on Las Vegas Boulevard.
In my experience, that was absolutely not an issue, and I actually appreciated that, though the casino and public areas were definitely full of people gambling and roaming around, it didn’t feel like it was overly full of people simply passing by and taking up space. It felt as if everyone there simply wanted to be there — and it made for a pleasant experience.
Sign up for our daily newsletter
Getting to other properties on the Strip was a breeze; I never waited longer than five minutes for an Uber, and there were always taxis waiting at a stand outside the main entrance. Normally, in Vegas, the key to getting around quickly is to avoid going down Las Vegas Boulevard. Leaving from the Palms means quick access to highways and backroads that can help you quickly get to where you’re going and (usually) avoid some traffic on the way.
That said, there’s so much going on in the Palms itself, you could easily stay there and never have to leave.
It has some of the coolest suites in town
If you’ve spent enough time in Vegas you’ll know that its hotel suites are unlike suites anywhere else — and the Palms takes that to a completely new level, with a whole spectrum that ranges from standard suites with plenty of room to spread out to giant, hyperthemed suites that are perfect for a birthday milestone, a bachelorette or bachelor party, or just a once-in-a-lifetime stay you can share all over Instagram.
During my stay, I experienced two amazing but very different types of suites: a spalike Salon Corner Suite and the Kingpin Suite, which had, wait for it, its own two-lane bowling alley.
1 of 2
TANNER SAUNDERS/THE POINTS GUY
In the Salon Suite, which measured over 600 square feet, I found a light and airy living room with a big couch, a stacked minibar and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the Las Vegas Strip. In the bedroom, a plush king-size bed had those same floor-to-ceiling windows behind and to the side of it. Opposite the bed, there was a large desk area where I was comfortable working on my laptop.
But the real star of this suite was the bathroom, thanks to a huge soaking tub I used to wash away the pain of (quickly) losing my (very little) gambling money, a walk-in shower, dual sinks in a marble vanity and a closet that inspired me to actually unpack all my clothes.
1 of 5
WYATT SMITH/THE POINTS GUY
But the Kingpin Suite was truly something else — and a place I’d love to share with a big group of friends one day. This long suite was centered around a two-lane bowling alley that guests can use anytime (it’s totally soundproofed from the other rooms). This suite, as you can see from the photos, was moody, modern and full of art and color. There’s a huge bar area, stadiumlike seating facing a wall of TVs so everybody can watch what they want, and a butler who can assist with any and every wish.
But that’s not all: The Blush Suite is perfect for bachelorette parties, the Hardwood Suite has a basketball court and NBA-style locker room, and the over 9,000-square-foot Empathy Suite, designed by British artist Damien Hirst, has a museumworthy collection of art as well as a private pool facing out to the Strip.
To make it easy to book, the resort has a dedicated website that can help you find the right suite option for you and travel companions.
The buffet is 1 of the best in town
Even though the pandemic changed the landscape of Las Vegas buffets, the A.Y.C.E. buffet is stronger than ever — and it draws a huge crowd on Wednesday nights, when guests can get all-you-can-eat lobster for $64.99. It’s so popular, in fact, that people arrive hours before the buffet opens to get their names on the list for a chance to get in.
If lobster (or a line) isn’t your thing, Thursday is the Crab Feast Dinner and Friday night is all about classic Vegas-style prime rib. Whatever your taste buds find appealing, though, you’ll likely find something at one of the buffet’s seven food stations that range from international cuisine to plant-based options.
There’s a Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant that won’t break the bank
1 of 2
TANNER SAUNDERS/THE POINTS GUY
The first time I had Tim Ho Wan — frequently called the “world’s most inexpensive Michelin-starred restaurant” — I was in Hong Kong, it was 2019, and I haven’t stopped thinking about its savory siu mai (steamed pork dumplings) and baked barbecue pork buns ever since.
Luckily, if you’re an old fan like me or have just been dying to try some of the world’s most famous dim sum, one of the few locations outside of Hong Kong can be found in the Palms. And a word of advice: Those pork buns are a great midnight snack after a night out doing the things one does in Vegas.
And there’s a celebrity-loved steakhouse
1 of 7
TANNER SAUNDERS/THE POINTS GUY
If you want a very filling, meat-heavy meal with a side of celebrity sightings, you’d be remiss to skip a meal at Scotch 80 Prime. There, I ate scallop crudo with uni and caviar ($24); creamed corn with jalapeno, bacon and cilantro ($14); lobster fried rice with egg ($22) and so much mouthwatering steak (various prices depending on what you order) that I honestly felt like I wouldn’t need protein again for the rest of my life — and I mean that in a good way.
You can have a private pool at the pool
I’m notoriously unlucky, which is why I usually spend most of my time in Las Vegas at the pool instead of at the casino. But, during my early April stay at the Palms, just as pools around town were opening up for the season, a freak windstorm kept me from spending a day with a book in my hand and the sun on my skin.
But that’s not usually the case, and if you want a great pool day, there are two options to choose from at the Palms: the Laguna Pool and the Soak Pool. But the move here is to head to the Soak Pool area, the bigger of the two, where you can book a private cabana and have your own plunge pool as well. Nothing says VIP like looking down on the main pool from your own private pool, am I right? Just don’t forget to reserve ahead of time because cabanas tend to sell out quickly in Las Vegas.
Related: The best hotel pools in Las Vegas
There’s art everywhere you look — especially the bars
When you walk in into the Palms, start looking around immediately because there’s incredible art around every corner. (Hint: There’s an Andy Warhol on the right.) One of the most stunning pieces hangs above Unknown, the central bar. That piece is a larger-than-life (and somewhat controversial) shark split up and suspended in three boxes of formaldehyde. It was created by Damen Hirst, who also created all the dot art, part of a series called “Stearic Acids,” around the bar.
And, at the rooftop Ghostbar, with sweeping outdoor views across the entire Strip, you’ll find a series of human body-like works of art in glass cases made by Dustin Yellin as part of a series called “Pyschogeography.”
Whether you’re into art or not, grab a drink at either bar, take in the art, take in the views or simply take in the people and, trust me, you’ll have fun.
All in all, I was truly impressed by my stay at the Palms, and would stay there again in a heartbeat. Despite its location slightly (seriously, just a few minutes) away from the hustle and bustle of the Strip, this upscale resort has everything you come to Vegas for — just without the frenzy of it all. Not that it doesn’t get busy, because it does, but I never felt that overwhelming sense of chaos that I’ve experienced at other Las Vegas resorts.
It’s a great value, has terrific restaurants and bars, and those suites are some of the most fun in town. I’m glad I got to have a taste of the newly revitalized Palms and, just sayin’, if I ever get a reality show, expect a trip there.