The Gamble That Paid Off – The Palms Las Vegas Has A Very Profound Second Act…

by on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018 with



The Palms Las Vegas has never been one to shirk from pushing the envelop: They opened their 430 room hotel, back in 2001 off the stripe, away from the hustle and flow of places like The Bellagio and Mandalay Bay. So initially, the elephant in the room was IF tourists and travelers would be okay with “cabbing it” off the strip to try out a new spot? Evidently the answer was a resounding “Yes, we’re okay with it!” And The Palms: Rain and Ghost Bars drew unbelievabley large crowds back in the day.  I would know.  I tried, but failed to gain entrance to Ghost Bar one evening in the summer of 2003. No dice (pun intended).

A second way they carved out their niche in Vegas history is by redefining what a Vegas hotel suite is all about. Forget luxurious furniture and bedding… a couple of their suites have full on bowling lanes and NBA friendly basketball courts, should you not want to miss your weekly pick up game back home.  And when MTV came a calling… The Real World Vegas became an overnight hit with Generation X.  It gave the world an intimate, behind-the-scenes peak into this boutique Vegas hot spot!!!  However with the recent change in ownership over to Red Rock Resort Inc., this new team intuitively knew they needed to assemble a group of visionaries in order to up level this Vegas experience for guests.  It’s not only key to understand the Vegas Culture, BUT for this to come together someone needed to crack the code on how to grow The Palms LV brand by delivering something fresh and exciting, edgy and high concept, but also relatable, fun and approachable.

Enter one Jon Gray!  He’s the general manager and vice president of the entire property and then some. Did he get his start in a college hotel management program?  You know, by taking the safe, logical, conventional route? Heck no!  Mr. Gray started at the front desk, a number of years ago. He’s paid his dues, just like so many of us in our respective fields. What’s refreshing is how this reflects in how he’s helping lead this 620 million dollar renovation.  Interestingly, he’s the youngest Vegas hotel GM and VP on the strip.  However what he’s lacking in gray hairs, he makes up for in his grass roots managerial techniques and strategies. One of his keys to success? He, along with his colleagues, constantly are putting themselves in their guests’ shoes (so smart): “We hyper obsess over every detail of the guest experience. And the response has been overwhelming” he said last Thursday in his TV news interview I caught.

They even gave the renovation process it’s own “identity,” if you will, coining the whole project “From dust to gold!” It’s the Palms’ vision of ushering in a new era of Las Vegas by destroying the old. “With the kickoff of our ‘From Dust to Gold’ campaign, we are giving a nod to our heritage, showing off everything that is shiny and new, and providing you a preview of the many incredible things to come at Palms,” Jon explained.

Jon Gray, The Palms LV, GM and VP

So with Phase 1 of this Vegas hotel rebirth “in the fridge” and Phase 2 well underway… what did I see, hear, taste and feel over my 2 night stay at The Palms Las Vegas that’s making me tell you: I NEVER want to stay at the local competition ever again!  So on this enthusiastic note, lets take a closer look at my top 5 things making this Vegas experience different from my previous ones.

  1. PRIDE: I don’t care how nice the linens are in the updated hotel rooms. And mind you, they’re buttery, soft and lovely (I definitely noticed).  Rather, it was the sincere pride of ownership I experienced the moment my running shoes stepped onto the Palm Las Vegas property from EVERY SINGLE soul employed there: the valets, VIP check-in team, housekeepers with their mind blowing turn down service, Michael and Andrea holding things down at Cafe 6 (the pool restaurant), the team at the Lucky Penny Diner, the waiters at Scotch 80 Steakhouse, even to Mr Gray, himself, who very causally pulled up a seat to my dinner table holding a bottle of Dom Perignon. I’m like “wait, who is this man? No, not Wayne Newton… not tan nor old enough. No, not the Wizard Of Oz – wasn’t even born yet. Chris Hemsworth? Yeah, maybe Thor.  Nope, no Aussie accent. And what in God’s name are you doing, Sir, at MY table? I’m just Stacy from Valley Village, CA.”  But this is whole point of the renovation: Make everybody feel AND know they are somebody. It’s one big, never ending get together centered around this notion of inclusion NOT exclusion. We’re all V.I.P. Palm guests and this resort wants you to know. If Jon doesn’t personally meet you, trust me someone else will: A star chef, a manager from one of the restaurants you’re eating at, or the waiter or waitress themselves will chat you up in a fun, interested way that makes you feel a part of the happy energy that surrounds this space. They want to make you feel welcome and want you to understand you’ve landed someplace really different and special.

    The Stark, Contemporary Hotel Check-In, Of Course Adorn With One Their Many Fun Neon Signs

  2. CHARACTER & CULTURE It’s everywhere from the moment you walk in and spot Damien Hirst’s 16 Spot Paintings and a glass encased tiger shark separated into 3 parts in the Unknown Bar. Perhaps “the Jaws” sculpture’s a nod to the changing of the guards at this resort. Destroying the old in order to allow the newness to emerge? There’s 150 different pieces of contemporary art and sculptures total displayed from one end of the Palms to the other. Building off of this, another distinct signature of  “From Dust To Gold” is their playfulness and sense of humor. It pops up everywhere especially on big bold, bright neon signs. My favorite one hangs behind the bar of Camden. It’s say’s “The only thing I ever wanted was everything!” And I’m making my therapy check out payable to who? Ha!
  3. ACCESS If we’re all V.I.P.s then we’re going to have “rockstar” experiences with regard to concerts shows, the pool, gambling and dining right? Correct. The newly renovated Pearl Theater is such a wisely designed space. Because no matter where you’re seated you’ll be able to see sweat coming off the brow of your favorite singer, band or comedian. And the pool of talent The Palms is painstakingly choosing to perform, are in a word – cool – whether you’re a fan of their art or not. It’s super clear when you in take the talent roster there’s thoughtfulness and strategy to how they’re booking talent. From the Blink 182 residency to Janelle Monae to Alanis Morrisette… the 2018 summer concert series is eclectic and soulful blending a variety of cultures with new sounds and nostalgic ones. The pool also offered a more intimate vibe then you’re ever going to experience at some of the hotels with the “super pools” as I refer to them.  What was especially nice? I noticed people chatting one another up who clearly were meeting for the first time. The community spirit was floating free, no water wings needed.

    The Pearl

  4. THE WAY TO OUR HEARTS IS THROUGH OUR BELLIES Having fun is a full time job in Sin City, and it builds up quite an appetite. However, the days of cliche buffets and mediocre meals are “bye Felicia.” Their 24 hour diner, Lucky Penny, would put any NYC or LA establishment to the test, it was THAT good.  Scotch80 Prime is only… one, I think it was, of 5 Vegas restaurants certified to serve A5 Japanese Kobe Wagu Beef. And the hotel’s buffet called A.Y.C.E. is taking kicking butt and taking names with it’s innovative spin on the Vegas buffet. I thought it was “Ghost Bar” reborn because the long line confused me. It was out the door and around the corner. But this wasn’t for a night club experience and to dance.  Nope!  It was simply to eat. But eat in a way that’s innovative and fun. Looking forward, throughout the next twelve months, Palms will also unveil new restaurants from award-winning celebrity chefs Bobby Flay, Michael Symon and Marc Vetri, along with the highly acclaimed “Vandal” restaurant brought by TAO Group from New York City. These exciting new venues will be joined by spectacular new nightlife and day life concepts.
  5. IN THE END, IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS Why stay here vs your million other options? They are obsessing over the little details and trying to make sure our time and money are well spent. From the cheerful manner the valet team greets you upon arrival, to the way the housekeepers mobilize like a room beautifying army, to the waitress remembering you sat in her section the day before and acknowledging you with joy and gusto… guys your warmth isn’t going unnoticed! It’s greatly appreciated and makes the organization as a whole stand out.  Another detail I’m obsessed with? If you forget to pack your makeup and now you’re in Vegas without your beauty arsenal, The Palm LV has your back with a sweet box set of makeup from Wilson And Gabrielle x ColourPop. It’s available this summer… you’ll be able to purchase eyeshadow, lip gloss and eyeliner right from the comfort of your hotel room. It’s like the Honor Bar when you want a can of Pringles.  BUT this is guilt-free and helps get you ready for a little evening fun at one of their concerts or Apex Social Club (the view alone at Apex is worth your patience. So should you encounter a line to get in, take a deep breath and chill! Once inside or actually outside, it”ll take your breath away). And lastly as I lightly touched upon earlier in this write up, the rooms have been redecorated and oh my goodness are they chic, sexy and fun to enjoy after a long day of swimming, gambling, concert going, art gazing and eating. Throughout the next twelve months, Palms will also unveil new restaurants from award-winning celebrity chefs Bobby Flay, Michael Symon and Marc Vetri, along with the highly acclaimed “Vandal” restaurant brought by TAO Group from New York City. These exciting new venues will be joined by spectacular new nightlife and daylife concepts in partnership with Tao Group, as well as retail partnerships

    The Beautiful View From Apex Social Club

    A King Suite Hotel Room

LAST THOUGHTS I flew to Vegas with a little hesitation… because I know I’m not the quintessential “Vegas Party Girl” I’m sorta well, a hybrid – like a Prius with really hot shoes and a great blowout. However I left 72 hours later feeling pampered, rejuvenated and ready to set the world on fire! (For a more intimate look at my Palms LV adventure, head over to my instagram account @stacycoxbeauty. I posted an additional 16 photos for you to enjoy)

DISCLOSURE I was gifted a 2 night hotel stay, flight and car service to and from the Vegas airport. However I was NOT monetarily compensated for writing this blog post. All the idea and opinions I’m framing here are my own.


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