For the last two years, I've been fortunate to stay with Dan at Palms for his annual Las Vegas trade show. I've actually accompanied him to Vegas for this show every year from the first year that we started dating, but these last two years we stayed at Palms, a hotel that neither of us had stayed previously.
In 2017, we were living in Oregon and quite frankly, really tired of the endless gloomy weather. Dan works so hard at the trade show, that he never gets time to relax. It's a holiday for me and a lot of long hours of hard work for him. I don't spend any time with him during the show. I'm just along to take care of his ironing! In 2017, we had planned to arrive the weekend prior to the show and have pool time together. Unfortunately, we messed up the booking and arrived late on a Friday evening to realize that we didn't have a place to stay.
Vegas has so many hotel rooms, that you'd think we'd have an easy time finding alternative accommodations.
We drove around for hours, calling ever single hotel that we could think of, both on and off the strip. Most were booked solid. A few had rooms that were going for a few thousand a night. Yikes! We were exhausted and discouraged. Giving up, we decided to just drive to our home in Big Bear Lake, about three hours away.
We got to Jean, Nevada and decided to just check if Gold Strike had rooms available.
I don't think that Gold Strike is a hotel that anyone actively seeks out. It's old, smoky, run-down...but it had rooms. It had a few rooms at a great mark-up.
Exhausted, we took a room. As we were getting our keys, a tour bus pulled up and determined that the rooms were too expensive, so they would carrying on to Vegas. We tried to warn them that they would not find a better deal, but they didn't listen. I felt bad, because it was a group of senior citizens.
Our room was nothing special, but it was clean and it had a bed.
In the morning, we got to see our view. The window could use a clean.
We were determined to use the pool. When we asked a security guard for directions to the pool, he responded that he didn't know that the hotel had one. He wrangled an older security guard, who knew where the pool was located, but couldn't imagine anyone who would use it.
You're looking at them.
It was next to the loading dock and had the vibe of a pool that you'd find at a scummy apartment complex. It had a few broken lounge chairs. But we were so sun deprived from the PNW, that we were happy.
Gold Strike has a Denny's and a small quick-serve food kiosk. After our trauma of trying to find a hotel, the first thing we did after dumping off our luggage, was head back down to the casino for a drink. It was about 3am. There was one bartender that was also working the casino floor as a cocktail waitress. It wasn't exactly bustling, but she could have definitely used some back-up.
I'm grateful that we were able to get a room at Gold Strike. Other than sleeping and using the pool for a few hours, we just drove into Vegas for movies and food that weekend. It wasn't the weekend that we had envisioned. I wouldn't likely stay at Gold Strike on a future trip, unless we were desperate, but I have to say that every employee went out of their way to be kind and helpful. A wonderful group of people work at Gold Strike, which adds value to the hotel.
They also have funny, low-budget signs in the elevator.
And a car museum! We actually stopped here with Felix when he visited us during Christmas. A car museum and Denny's is pretty much the definition of heaven for an eight-year old.
Our experiences at Palms in 2017 and 2018 were very different, primarily, because during the second stay, the hotel was in the middle of 485 million dollar renovation. I'm sure that it will be stunning when the renovation is complete, but 2018 is not the year to stay at Palms.
The rooms are contemporary in style and thoughtfully designed. On our first stay, we were given a standard room with two queen beds. The room had a view of the front of the hotel, including of the nearby Rio.
Our recent trip, we were given a much larger corner room with a king bed and strip views.
In 2017, I enjoyed the pool at Palms. So many people are in Vegas for the trade show, that the pools are virtually empty during the day. On a previous trip, I was the only person using the pool at The Palazzo and I was able to swim laps. It was surreal. At Palms, there was just a handful of people in the giant pool complex. I was a little put-off by the strict security, which was gruff and would not allow me to bring a closed bottle of water into the pool area. However, I made friends with the bartender, who gave me two, very strong, Mai Tais for the price of one.
Here's some tipsy pictures from the Palms pool complex.
And in 2018, the view of the same pool complex from our room.
While the pool is being renovated ( I heard that it won't be ready until summer 2019), Palms guests can use the pool at Palms Place. Palms Place is located just a ten minute walk through the casino and a sky bridge. It's a nice pool area, but small and it has a lot of shade. I was only able to use it one time for about fifteen minutes. We had high winds during our visit and the pool was closed for safety issues on most of the days of our stay. The winds were scary and although I was disappointed, I understood. The lounge chairs were flying around! I can't imagine staying at Palms this summer, as there is no way that the pool at Palms Place can hold everyone. It's so small and intimate.
I like the food court at Palms, which includes two of my favorites: Earl of Sandwich and Coffee Bean. Chronic Tacos is also delicious.
A recent addition to the hotel is the Lucky Penny, Palm's answer to a twenty-four hour diner. I ate breakfast at Lucky Penny every morning and had the same thing: coffee, sourdough toast, and the AMAZING banana-split parfait. I've been craving the banana-split parfait. It's heavenly. I also love the name of the restaurant, as my mom's name was Penny. My mom would always look for shiny pennies and use them to sign her name in greeting cards. Every time I visit her grave, I see that people have left her pennies.
One of my favorite parts of Palms is the Brennan Theatres. As those reading my movie reviews already know, my experience at Brennan Theatres was hit and miss. It was a big miss on five-dollar ticket Mondays, when all of the locals came out. However, I was happy to have a movie theatre right in our hotel, especially when the pool was closed. Going to movies is one of my all-time favorite activities and if we hadn't been staying at Palms, I would have driven to the AMC at the Town Square mall to get my cinema fix.
Dan and I both agree that we wouldn't go out of our way to stay at Palms. It's a good, mid-range hotel, but its off-strip location makes it inconvenient. I'm sure that it will be much nicer when the renovations are complete. If his company puts us up here next year, I'll be interested to see how much the property has changed.