Published September 15, 2009
A 10,000-square-foot suite that includes a basketball halfcourt rents for $25,000 a night at Palms Casino Resort. At MGM Grand's Skylofts, you'll find a bathtub that fizzes with tiny champagne-like massage bubbles, TVs in the mirrors and airport pickup in a $400,000 car.
If you're worried about your mortgage and your job, such luxuries might sound downright obscene. But Las Vegas has always specialized in turning fantasy into reality - for a price. Several Vegas hotels offer suites with futuristic amenities, audacious themes, enough room to hold a wedding along with the honeymoon, and pricetags to match.
There are suites with massage and film screening rooms, 24-hour butler service, pools that seem to hover above the ground, even see-through glass show showers (cue up the thumping music).
Like Absolut Vodka? There's a sweet suite at Caesars Palace themed after its various flavors, though Absolut Raspberri doesn't flow from the faucets. There's also a suite at The Venetian that has its own gym and more than 20 televisions, another at Caesars with a golf simulator so you can work on your swing between hands of blackjack.
Palms Place Hotel and Spa, which opened in 2008, has taken the upscale concept to a new level, offering luxury penthouses in a non-gambling hotel. Sure, the blackjack and pai gow poker tables are only a few steps away, down a walkway called the Skytube that connects to Palms Casino Resort. But the lobby of Palms Place is soothing and quiet in contrast to the usual bright lights and dinging slot machines.
"The idea that you can be still a part of the Palms and not be in the casino atmosphere has been a huge draw," said Palms owner George Maloof. "Palms Place has an upscale feeling and is a place where you can just stay and order room service, but you're also still close to everything."
At MGM Grand's Skylofts, you'll find high-tech crossed with high-end service.
Airport pickup is in a Maybach 62. Butlers pack and unpack your suitcase (might want to be careful what you put in there). Remote controls operate everything from music to drapes. Need a jeweler to bring some ice to your room? The concierge can arrange it.
And no need to worry about missing "Mad Men" while brushing your teeth. There are antifog TVs in the mirrors. And the tub can be filled with tiny, ticklish bubbles.
"When you come to Las Vegas, you want to be in the middle of everything," says Skylofts general manager David Federico. "Here at Skylofts, you have the essence of luxury, privacy and true elegance in the heart of Las Vegas, but you feel like you're away from Las Vegas."
Looking for themed luxury? The Palms is the place to be.
There's the Hugh Hefner Sky Villa, which is furnished about how you'd expect: sexy reds and whites, leather, artwork picked out by Hef himself and a rotating bed with mirrors on the ceiling. The Hardwood Suite, located in the Fantasy Tower at Palms Casino Resort, is hoops heaven: an NBA-sized halfcourt with Murphy beds in the walls so you can wake up and start shooting right away - off the floor, off the bedpost, nothing but net!
You can stay in a suite with two bowling lanes, another with a DJ setup and stripper pole, or the suite where MTV's "Real World" was filmed in 2002 - it looks exactly the same as when Alton, Arissa and the gang were there. There's even a suite designed to look like Ghostbar, a famous hotspot with a transparent floor atop The Palms.
Palms Place penthouses are privately owned and rented out, so despite being high-end, they are more than a place to throw your clothes on the bed in between casino runs. They actually feel homey, with full kitchens and fireplaces. Of course, the casino is just a few minutes away and a view of the Strip is just out the window, giving you the best of both worlds.
"It's always been the same thing: people come here to celebrate and have fun. That's been the identity of Las Vegas forever," Maloof said. "If you're in Las Vegas, I don't care what age you are, you're going to go out, you're going to go do something and you're going to have fun. So the idea of creating these special suites for these particular moments, that was the whole concept."
Palms Place penthouses run $9,000 per night on weekends. Here's a sweet sampling of some other Las Vegas suites, ranging from under $1,000 to $40,000:
HUGH HEFNER SKY VILLA
Hotel: The Palms.
Rates: $40,000 per night.
Square footage: 10,000.
The lowdown: The most expensive suite on the Strip has its own glass elevator to the second floor, an infinity pool - with the Playboy logo on the bottom, of course - that cantilevers off the balcony and, naturally, a rotating bed with mirrors on the ceiling. There's also a massage room, screening room, private gym, an eight-person hot tub and a sauna.
Hotel: Caesars Palace.
Rates: $3,500 per night.
Square footage: 1,800.
The lowdown: Became known as the "Rain Man" suite after the 1988 movie with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman was filmed there. Anyone who's seen the movie - or several others filmed at Caesar's - will undoubtedly recognize the piano and spectacular view of The Strip from the upper level. The suites were designed to encourage social gatherings, with a couch that seats 12, two master suites and two other connecting bedrooms available. There are 10 TVs in the four-bedroom configuration, including in-mirror screens in each bathroom. Touch screen panels to control all electronics, along with climate and drapes.
Hotel: MGM Grand.
Rates: $600 for one bedroom, up to $10,000 for three.
Square footage: 1,400-6,000.
The lowdown: Each loft is filled with the latest technology, including iPod docking stations that can be played throughout the loft. Remotes operate everything from the TV and DVD player to the drapes, temperature and lights. There's also a 24-hour butler to pack and unpack suitcases, airport greeting and pickup in a Maybach 62, along everything from movies and video game systems to laptops and fax machines.
Hotel: Mandalay Bay.
Rates: $500 above the going room rate ($129-$699) on weekdays, $800 above on weekends.
Square footage: 2,160.
The lowdown: A great place to have a meeting or a party or a still-upscale alternative to some of the more pricey suites on The Strip. The living area in each room has two sofas, five chairs and two coffee tables, and the dining room table seats eight. There's also a work station area with a 3-in-1 printer/fax/copier. If you're not having a meeting, it's still a luxurious place to stay, with plasma TVs, a hot tub and elegant furnishings.
Hotel: WYNN LAS VEGAS
Rates: Average $750.
Square footage: 1,816.
The lowdown: Another relatively affordable suite that doesn't skimp on luxury. The Salon Suite has a private massage room off the foyer, an expansive living area with incredible views of The Strip through floor-to-ceiling windows, and bathrooms with marble floors and unique bamboo amenities. The bedroom, featuring what the hotel calls a Wynn Dream Bed, is so comfortable you might never leave. In-room massage, manicure, pedicure and hair styling are available.
Rates: $6,000 per night.
Square footage: 4,000.
The lowdown: With an entryway that crosses a reflecting pool and a 14-foot ceiling, the Chairman Suite exudes elegance. The suite has two master bedrooms, a solarium and whirlpool tubs with views of the city. Each suite has five TVs - two 50-inch plasmas - and remotes control all the electronics, drapes and lighting. It also comes with complimentary limo service from the airport.