Palms in Las Vegas Ready to Reopen Ahead of NFL Draft


New owners running Palms

The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas will officially reopen this spring after it closed its doors in 2020.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians purchased the massive property for $650m from Red Rocks Resorts; reservations are now being accepted for stays beginning on April 28.

We look forward to introducing our guests to our rich history, culture and signature hospitality.”

“We look forward to introducing our guests to our rich history, culture and signature hospitality,” said San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority Chairwoman Latisha Casas. “We can’t wait to make history together.”

The COVID outbreak in 2020 forced Governor Steve Sisolak to order all resorts to halt operations to reduce the spread of the virus. The 766-room Palms, which features suites with bowling lanes and basketball courts, was forced to stop business as a result. Now, it is coming back to life.

Timing with the NFL draft

The tribe hired former MGM Resorts International executive Cynthia Kiser Murphey to be its general manager last September. Since the hire, Murphey has been building a staff intending to reach readiness by spring.

The new GM says that it is purely coincidental that the building— just down the street from where the NFL draft is being held— is opening right before one of the biggest events in the city’s history.

I think the most important thing for us was to get people back to work.”

“We know it’s more challenging to open when it’s really, really busy,” Murphey said. “I think the most important thing for us was to get people back to work. We balanced knowing that the draft was going to be in town against the idea that we really needed to get open.”

The new Palms is just one of several reconstructive projects going on in the area, including a $3bn renovation of land South of the main strip.

The NFL draft was originally supposed to be held in Las Vegas in 2020 until the coronavirus made that impossible.

“This decision reflects our foremost priority – the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at the time. “While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl.”

It took a bit of time, but Goodell has held firm on his promise.

Details of the new Palms

Palms underwent a $600m renovation in 2019 and will reopen with the usual favorite bar and restaurants Scotch 80 Prime and Mabel’s BBQ by Chef Michael Symon.

There will be a pool area with two main pools and 39 cabanas, each with its own pool. Large daybeds and lounge chairs will outfit the area.

The new Palms will be the first Las Vegas resort fully operated by a tribe once it reopens.

The San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority, a government branch of the tribe, runs a string of casinos including the Yaamava’, one of the nation’s largest resort-casinos, in Highland, California. The casino’s customer database is expected to be utilized to draw visitors from southern California.

Murphey has committed to appealing to local audiences, as well as traveling ones.

creating opportunities and pursuing what’s right for future generations”

“I know the database is an important business metric and business tool, but I think our team is focused on creating a welcoming presence because they’ve got a lot of relationships with Yaamava’,” said Murphey. “The tribe’s culture is founded on creating opportunities and pursuing what’s right for future generations and honoring past generations. It really creates long-range thinking and tribal members are talented, thoughtful, successful and humble, which is a beautiful combination.”

Over 900 employees have already been hired and put through the beginning phases of orientation. Murphey revealed that a majority of the staff has been reinstated since the 2020 closure, including over 90% of caterers. 

Several interns from UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality will also be on staff— the tribe heavily invests in education and recently donated $15m to the College of Hospitality and the William S. Boyd School of Law.

The Ghostbar nightclub and 14-screen Brenden Theatres will not open on April 27 with everything else; the theaters will be equipped with graffitied walls, stadium seating, and refurbished flooring when they do reopen. Visitors will have free parking on the surface or in one of two garages.

The opportunity to lead such a huge group and project have not fallen silent on Murphey.

“For me, it’s a dream job of a lifetime,” she said. “To work for the amazing people [of the tribe], it’s really an honor. And the property is so beautiful.”

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