If you remember my review of the renovated hotel room at Planet Hollywood you might recall that I thought the room was fine but saw it as little more than lipstick on a pig. The changes in the room were superficial but not much more than new bedding and decorations.
Full casino renovations recently have been top-down changes that offer much more than just a new look. The transformation of Sahara to SLS was a major change in everything from attitude to amenities. Monte Carlo is currently under major construction and will be rebranded as Park MGM. The new property will move from the bottom of the food chain to the upper middle for MGM Resorts. Expect to see much of this transformation by the end of March 2018.
Station Casinos purchase of Palms comes with a grand vision. Of course, they want the casino to regain its popularity from the early 2000’s (I can’t believe it’s been open fewer than 20 years. That feels like ages ago!). The casino operator is also using the property to change how customers see Station Casinos.
Palms will become the flagship property of Station Casinos. Red Rock Casino and Green Valley Ranch have been the shining stars for the company for years. They’re now looking at Palms as the next step forward in the evolution of their properties.
The location of Palms near the Vegas Strip will allow Station Casinos to spend more money. The property should generate more money than casinos 20 minutes away from where the majority of tourists visit. At the same time, the Station Casinos brand will still appeal to Las Vegas locals. While this may be a forward-looking project, the Palms will still look to attract both tourists and locals.
Plans For Palms
On their recent earnings call, Red Rock Resorts laid out more details than ever on their reinvention of Palms. They’ve already begun work on the casino floor which has been under construction for the past month or so. There are new games being installed and there will be a new layout. The popular center bar is being renovated and the check-in area is being upgraded.
Palms is being reinvented as an affordable-luxury casino. All indications are that property will feel like the next step up from Red Rock Casino. You might find lower gambling limits and some fairly priced dining but there will be plenty of upscale options.
Clique will operate the new upscale lounge. You can probably expect a similar experience as their lounge at the Cosmopolitan. They will also operate the rooftop social club that will take the place of Ghostbar. The latter should be open by end of next year.
The casino floor will see a new high limits room for table games and for slot machines. The biggest changes at the casino will be to the dining options. Lucky Penny and Social Table are affordable options that have already opened. The new buffet will open before the year is over but the biggest changes come next year.
Station Casinos will open three celebrity chef restaurants at Palms in 2018. Bobby Flay will operate a seafood restaurant, Marc Vetri will open an Italian Restaurant, and Michael Symon will open a modern BBQ restaurant.
But wait, there will be a new noodle bar, a “stylish and sophisticated” steakhouse and Tao will open the first Las Vegas location of Vandal. Tao will also operate the new nightclub that will take the place of Rain.
The Pearl Theater will also see a its first major renovation since opening. Expect this to be cosmetic since the venue sounds great. Not only will Station Casinos renovate 282 hotel rooms in the Fantasy Tower but they will be adding 60 new hotel rooms.
The exterior of Palms will get a slightly different look too. There will be a new marquee, new greenery, and 500 new covered parking spaces. Some other renovations will include a new spa, convention space, and an upgrade to the existing movie theater.
Station Casinos is definitely doing a lot of work to improve Palms. The upgrades to the property will cost nearly half a billion dollars. The final product is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 but you’ll see construction finishing on different projects sooner.
When Palms first opened it was considered a casino for locals and tourists alike. The new version of Palms will look to do the same. Its location off the Vegas Strip is great for tourists that don’t want to deal with traffic or pay to park. Tourists will like that Palms is just a quick Uber or Lyft away from the action on the Vegas Strip. For reference, it should take about the same amount of time for a car to get from Bellagio to Palms as it does to The Venetian.
Palms will also be a good option for sports fans and teams when visiting Las Vegas. The slightly off-strip property will offer easy access to Vegas Golden Knights and Las Vegas Raiders football games.
Palms will become the standout property just off the Vegas Strip on Flamingo. Caesars Entertainment has decided not to improve Rio and Gold Coast is a fine option but more of a budget-friendly property. Don’t get too worried about finances. The owners of Station Casinos might have some money leftover from the $4 billion they made when they sold the UFC to WME-IMG.
Photo: Flickr/Tony Webster