In a few months, the Palms Casino Resort is turning eighteen. The milestone birthday usually marks the turn of the key from naïve adolescence to mature, developed adulthood. However, for a unique resort like the Palms, maturity came early - very early.
The Palms has always been ahead of its peers. Since its inception, it never played by the rules that Sin City had set. It was too cool for The Strip, it wasn't sensational in its thematic design, and its residents (Real World Las Vegas), as well as its entertainers (Britney Spears' 2007 VMA Performance took place there) had to be the center of attention, even if they're up against the wall.
However, even an early bloomer has growing pains. In 2011, the resort was hit with financial troubles which led to an exchange of ownership. In 2016, in the second transfer of ownership, Station Casinos took over the resort and immediately began investing in the property, culminating in a multi-year renovation.
The centerpiece of that restoration was welcomed with fanfare on the weekend of April 5th-7th, 2019. From a diverse roster of musical tastemakers to a grandiose fireworks display, the four-day-long celebration was anything but calm. It was KAOS.
KAOS is the dayclub and nightclub at the heart of the rejuvenation of the Palms. It is a breath of fresh air for a resort that is soon to become of legal drinking age. And, like a teenager desperate to showcase it is full-grown and developed, the Palms could not contain itself to flaunt that it, too was in full bloom.
The dayclub component is by far the star of the show. Immediately upon entering the 73,000-square-foot adult oasis, revelers were overwhelmed by the towering male figure positioned in front of them. The 60-foot bronze sculpture by Damien Hirst, titled “Demon with Bowl,” looms over partygoers below and sets the tone for the rest of the venue.
The statue sits on a platform in the center of the main pool, which itself is surrounded by overhead cabanas with personal pools and individual cabana audio controls. The pool complex expands to an open courtyard, which acts as a dance floor when artists take to the adjacent stage.
The outdoor stage, though small in size, packs a punch with lights, fog machines, and a state-of-the-art sound system. LED screens adorn the front of the DJ booth and the back wall, allowing for cohesive visuals.
On Saturday, Marshmello officially opened KAOS dayclub with a poolside set. The masked DJ and producer brought out the crowds who were dancing throughout his entire time slot.
Kaskade continued the grand opening celebrations on Sunday, with an intimate afternoon set. The chart-topping EDM heavy hitter played to a more subdued crowd but still managed to bring out a legion of fans who sang along to his most popular tracks.
Throughout the grounds are high-end furnishings, capable of taking a beating from the desert sun and spilled drinks, that give the pool area a sophisticated feel - as do the swinging chairs, daybeds and plush lounge areas. The pearl-white color of the walls, which blend into the towers above you, also add to a sense of elegance.
Following the palm tree-lined terrace, the dayclub contains another set of pools and reserved spaces ending in yet another art installation by Damien Hirst. Titled "Warrior and Bear," the 23-foot statue greets visitors approaching KAOS from street level.
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The entirety of the dayclub complex has a direct view of the resort's Ivory Tower, and KAOS is taking advantage of that commanding structure. Running the length of the east side of the tower is the largest LED wall in Las Vegas.
The 270-foot-tall screen dominates the skyline and, during performances, will play video clips to guests below. It is a clever way to unite the major components of the complex while creating a stimulating advertisement for the resort.
The nightclub element is seamlessly conjoined by a moveable glass wall that marries the two. The nightclub's main stage and DJ booth are fixed upon a rotating stage, allowing for performances to take place to indoor and outdoor attendees simultaneously.
The 29,000-square-foot nightclub has a similar design to other Vegas nightlife venues, with a bar in the back and the stage to its front. However, what sets it apart is its impressive Tesla coil ceiling, which uses its many disco balls to enhance sound and production special effects, including “weather elements."
LED screens surround the entire ground level of the nightclub, allowing guests to be enveloped in the sights and sounds of the performance. Dotted throughout its dancefloor are podiums for their professional dancers. Dressed in metallic and black, these sci-fi showgirls add a touch of mystery, with their shielded glasses and broody moves.
On Friday, the festivities included performances by Skrillex, Travis Scott, Saint Jhn, Austin Mahone, and Xzibit. The next day, chaos ensued as the biggest night of the weekend brought the complex to capacity, forcing many to wait hours in line outside of the venue. J Balvin, G-Eazy (who brought out Machine Gun Kelly), and Cardi B (who took to the stage at 4:00 AM), put the newly opened club to the test as crowds packed the venue.
Wrapping up the grand opening weekend was Zac Brown Band, who kicked off KAOS' Pool Concert Series. The Georgia country band delivered a slew of country favorites to a sea of diehard fans.
KAOS has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in Sin City. It is dead set on disrupting the Vegas nightlife scene by borrowing elements from its competitors. In doing so it has built a sophisticated, refined nightclub and poolside experience. Its late arrival to the crowded Vegas dayclub scene is its advantage, not its burden. The elevated feel of the venue space, the festival-caliber of its stages, the technology that surrounds you, and the fine collection of artwork that can be found at every corner, blend together to create the next level of Vegas entertainment.
The grand opening of KAOS marks the coming-of-age of the Palms. As it approaches its eighteenth birthday, the resort leads the pack, relishing in its youthful yet nubile history. Having cemented itself as a haven for mischief and lawlessness, the Palms Casino Resort will continue to be the center of KAOS in Las Vegas.