Checking Out Renovations At Palms

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We’re going to take a break from hotel news to share a first-hand report that follows up a recent news post. A few weeks ago we shared news of the completion of the first phase of renovations at Palms. After writing the article I decided to stop by to see some of the upgrades and renovations in person.

Approaching valet at Palms didn’t feel like a new experience. Looking back there’s a small area at the entry with this grassy Palms sign was a subtle hint. This was a subtle sign that the casino inside was a little different than it used to be.

If you’ve been to Palms walking into the casino there’s a feeling it’s both the same and different. The layout on the casino floor is similar to the way it’s always been. However, the new center bar is stunning and the table games area feels a little different.

The 13-foot shark above the bright white marble center bar is a piece of art from Damien Hirst. Part of the bar is open to the casino floor but it also feels closed off. Station Casinos is attempting to make Palms an upscale casino with these upgrades and you see that in the prices. Cocktail prices are more than a locals casino but slightly less than you’ll pay on the Vegas Strip. I think each Old Fashioned was $15 while a friend had a Bloody Mary for $12 each.

The table games surround the center bar. I visited early in the evening so it wasn’t very crowded. Some of the tables seemed as though they’d be a bit cramped when busy but that’s something that can easily be changed. The slot floor looked the same. Some of the chairs didn’t have much room to pass through between them without people. When the casino busy this could be annoying. Again, this is something that can be easily addressed.

While much of the casino floor has new tables, machines, and carpet there’s one part that remains unchanged. The CG Technology operated sportsbook is exactly the same as it’s been since day one. There’s a sign over the bar outside but that’s about it. Don’t expect any changes as long as CG Technology operates the sportsbook.

After drinks, we headed to Lucky Penny Cafe for a small bite. Before dinner, we noticed some more artwork. The skulls above are another piece from Damien Hirst. Station Casinos cafes generally serve food with similar recipes. Lucky Penny is a nice departure from the norm for the casino company. Everything in the restaurant from the environment to the taste of the food was a bit more modern and nicer than the typical Station Casinos cafe. This wasn’t an amazing meal but it was exactly what you want in a casino cafe.

We took a look and some more of the artwork after dinner. This Takashi Murakami piece is one of my favorites on the property. It just evokes happiness. It’s probably not ironic that it’s across the hall from the skulls piece from Hirst. They work really well together and that’s really how I felt about the casino renovations at Palms.

The renovations at Palms are work nicely together. The casino feels modern and like the kind of new casino you’d expect to walk into in Las Vegas today. That said if you’ve been to Palms before you’ll definitely recognize that while different, it’s still the same casino.

You can see that phase 2 of the renovations is underway as there are still some walled off areas in the casino. That said, the casino floor appears as if it’s totally operational and is no longer a construction zone unlike the renovations at Monte Carlo/Park MGM.

I first started visiting Las Vegas when Palms was a hot spot. This used to be the place to see athletes and celebrities milling around the casino and club as if they were normal people. I saw Britney Spears perform an awesome three song warm-up set at Rain. This is where I rolled dice with a guy named Cotton Candy and learned how to blow up a fist bump while playing 3 Card Poker with a guy from Chicago.

Palms was a special place for me and my friends before I moved here. Unfortunately, things changed. This was only my third time at Palms in almost seven years of living in Las Vegas. Hot spots come and go and the thing that made Palms special was gone. The first phase of renovations is very nice and a place I will definitely visit again.

The casino at Palms is certainly worth a visit – especially if you’re already at Rio or Gold Coast. However, I’m not sure that I feel that certain special vibe that the Palms used to give me or what feel when I walk into the Cosmopolitan today. I look forward to seeing what the second phase brings.