T+L Reports: Va-Va-Vegas
A fresh generation of hotel rooms is giving new meaning to the nickname Sin City. The main attractions in the retro-style Playpen suites at the Palms (4321 W. Flamingo Rd.; 866/942-7777; www.palms.com; suites from $1,500)?Dance floor, stripper pole, and Murphy bed. • Guests staying in one of the 14 duplex terrace suites at the MGM Grand (3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 877/880-0880; www.mgmgrand.com; suites from $800) can take the party outside onto a 786-square-foot patio with a three-person hot tub, a wet bar, and sweeping views of the Strip. • A professional-sized pool table, bowling lane, and 10-person steam shower lure celebs to the three-bedroom penthouse in the Hard Rock Hotel (4455 Paradise Rd.; 800/473-7625; www.hardrockhotel.com; suite from $7,500). • Saturday Night Fever fantasies come true in the disco room at Viva Las Vegas Villas (1205 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 800/574-4450; www.vivalasvegasvillas.com; doubles from $69), complete with a mirrored ball and zebra-striped chair shaped like a platform shoe. • Of course, there's always an exception to the rule. Mandalay Bay (3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 877/632-7800; www.mandalaybay.com; doubles from $169) took a comparatively subtle approach with its new hotel within a hotel. The 43-story tower's 1,122 suites all have muted gray and beige tones, plasma TV's, and marble-and-granite bathrooms.
Palms Casino Resort
After a decade of entertaining celebs (and finally getting its hip factor undercut by the Cosmopolitan), the Palms changed management and underwent a $50 million renovation, including new restaurants and lounges and renovated guest rooms. As part of the redo, the Palms Tower’s 428 guest rooms are now a warm cocoon of woods and velvet accents. Perennial favorite N9NE Steakhouse has undergone a makeover as well. And although the pool has been reinvigorated, winning programs such as the popular “Ditch Friday” pool party live on.
Viva Las Vegas Villas
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Known for a (hard) rocking atmosphere, musical residencies that can’t be topped, and long-running summer Sunday pool party Rehab, HRH has been fine-tuning its people-watching opportunities ever since it opened. After a $750-million overhaul in 2010, it became an even better place to see guests, gawk at its $3 million in music memorabilia, and watch the acts that fill the 3,200 seats of The Joint.
The 5,000-plus-room ode to Emerald City on the south end of the Strip is massive. Home to some of the world's top chefs (Robuchon, Puck, Colicchio, Lagasse), MGM Grand also has partnerships with Hakkasan, which runs its spectacularly large club; Wet Republic, one of the most popular pool clubs in Las Vegas; and dozens and dozens of bars, retail venues, restaurants, swimming pools and Cirque du Soleil production Kà. But MGM isn't just about size. A renovation in 2012 also brought 42 "Stay Well" rooms completely devoted to purifying the air, detoxing your body, and even eliminating sleep-disruptive electromagnetic fields.
THEhotel at Mandalay Bay
Fashionably minimalist, THEhotel is meant to feel like a boutique hotel (though with 1,117 rooms, this is hardly the case). A non-gaming property, it adjoins Mandalay Bay but has its own lobby and check-in, full-service spa (The Bathhouse), and high-profile lounge (Mix in Las Vegas) on the top floor. Rooms, in mellow grays and tans, average a generous 725 square feet and have spacious marble-and-granite master baths with separate powder rooms, giant 42-inch plasma TV’s, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Despite the Mandalay Bay’s location right next door, THEhotel is still removed from the fray, with a contemporary art-filled lobby that always feels exclusive and clubby.
HRH Beach Club
Part of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in downtown, this pool and lounge area is next door to the hotel’s infamous club Rehab. In 2010, Hard Rock opened HRH Beach Club with a $750-million-expansion that created nearly five acres of pool space. While its neighboring pool hosts the seasonal, infamously boozy Rehab Sundays, this serene addition to the Hard Rock is comparably quiet to its sister space’s party vibe, and resembles an oasis with palm trees, thatched cabanas, and sandy-bottomed pools. A full menu of massages, including Swedish and deep tissue, are available, as well as swim-up blackjack tables.