OUR SUITE LORD: $100,000-per-night Palms suite among Time’s ‘Greatest Places’ in the world

The Empathy Suite at the Palms offers eye-popping views in every direction. Outside, there’s the fabulous Las Vegas Strip, as seen from the 34th floor. Inside, there are the six stunning original installations by British artist Damien Hirst.

Million-dollar views, both.

When you look at it that way, the suite’s price tag — $200,000 for a two-night stay — seems like a real bargain.

Billed as one of the world’s most expensive hotel rooms, the 9,000-square-foot, two-story suite, designed by Hirst (in collaboration with the Bentel & Bentel architectural firm), earned another distinction in August, landing on Time magazine’s second-annual list of the “World’s Greatest Places.”

The list comprises 100 “new and noteworthy destinations to experience right now, from America’s hottest hometown pizzeria to a Tokyo museum bringing digital art to life.”

In addition to Hirst’s installations — including a piece called “Winner/Loser” that features two bull sharks suspended in formaldehyde — Time noted the suite’s cantilevered pool overlooking the Strip, its Himalayan salt room, and the fact that the opulent digs come with car service and a $10,000 resort credit, “in case guests want to try and win back some of their investment at the blackjack table.”

Oh, and let’s not forget the suite’s dedicated butler, available 24 hours a day.

“At $100,000 a night, you need to provide that level of service,” says Joe Yalda, the Palms’ director of butler operations, while showing a Las Vegas Newswire writer around the luxurious suite late last month.

Nearly every aspect of the Empathy Suite, which opened in March, reflects Hirst’s personal touch, from the custom pool table and other furnishings that incorporate his signature spin designs to the repeated butterfly and pharmacy motifs. One of the suite’s many awe-inspiring features is “The Winner Takes It All,” Hirst’s dazzling cabinet installation full of symmetrical “diamonds.” (Actually, cubic zirconia. Let’s not get crazy.)

Hirst named the suite “Empathy” because he wants guests to feel empathy when they’re in it. “Empathy with all of your friends, wherever they are and whether you’re with them or not, and to feel empathy when you’re spending the night with them in the suite and empathy with the whole world the morning after,” he says in a statement.

The Palms itself, which opened in 2001, has been undergoing a $620 million “reimagination” in recent years that has included the unveiling of a property-wide art program featuring work by Hirst, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol and Dustin Yellin, among others.

“We wanted to create a curated, collective experience for all walks of life,” Frank Fertitta III, chairman of Red Rock Resorts, Inc., says in a statement. “It’s really unique because we have everything from street art to world-class museum, collectible art. … We have people walking around that maybe haven’t been exposed to art, and this is the first time they’re being exposed” to it.

(Of course, exposure to the art in Empathy Suite isn’t available to everyone; it comes at a hefty price. But those of us who aren’t million-dollar casino players can find plenty of photographs and footage of it online.)

The Palms’ large-scale renovation also included the opening of a collection of new, world-class restaurants and entertainment venues and a complete casino remodel.

“We want to be the must-see place for everybody that comes to Vegas,” Fertitta says. “We want to be the talk of the town. We want to be the new thing to see.”

In compiling its list of greatest places, Time solicited nominations in a variety of categories — museums, parks, restaurants and hotels — and then evaluated them based on factors including quality, originality and innovation.

Some of the other extraordinary accommodations that made the list: Six Senses Bhutan, InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland, Soho House Mumbai and the Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens.

To offer feedback on this story or suggestions for future stories on Las Vegas Newswire, contact Managing Editor Steve Bornfeld at SBornfeld@lvcva.com.


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by Lynnette Curtis/Contributor to Las Vegas Newswire

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