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After a long Las Vegas night, look no further than the 34th-floor Palms Casino Resort Sky Villa to find some very expensive artistic pain relief, courtesy of Damien Hirst.
Within Hirst’s Empathy Suite — the British artist’s latest addition to the property — discover an Advil window decal, a Valium emblem stitched into a dining room chair and a host of other prescriptions strewn around the 9,000-square-foot space in the form of bathroom stools, well-organized, oversized pharmacy cabinets and a 13-seat curved bar top filled with medical waste.
Touted as the world’s most expensive hotel room, you will have to sign up for a minimum of two nights at a total of $200,000 with a $10,000 deposit to see the multitude of original works as well as design elements, custom furnishings and textiles created by the Hirst for this space.
Configured with two master bedrooms and massage rooms and two and a half bathrooms, the suite stuns with a cantilevered Jacuzzi with mosaic inlaid butterflies overlooking the Las Vegas Strip and pill decals on the surrounding glass. The bar is flanked by two lounges and media/theater areas that can accommodate up to 52 guests, with Hirst-designed furniture, drapery, carpeting and serpentine-shaped Italian leather sofas that all feature his butterfly motif. The dining area seats eight guests.
“I love what Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta have done with the Palms. It’s amazing being able to work with them because they are great collectors and totally understand art,” says Damien Hirst. “They have allowed me to create a suite in the hotel and design everything and completely fill it with my art.”
While the representations of drugs could be interpreted as a cheeky stab at Las Vegas’ city of sin reputation, this motif, which Hirst made iconic in his legendary London restaurant, Pharmacy, is pop art at its core, using recognizable, everyday objects to convey the narrative that art by its very nature heals, while playing on themes of decay and preservation.
Pharmaceuticals aren’t the only Hirst theme present — laser-cut butterflies and sky/clouds flutter throughout, skulls emerge, colors spin, and wall coverings in the bathrooms, exercise room, spa, and pantry, as well as the millwork and the dresser drawers, are lined in pills.
Bentel & Bentel Architects, designed the five other Sky Villas, which have been completely re-imagined and range from $25,000 to $50,000 per night. The Fertittas gave Hirst carte blanche to do what he wanted with this space, the sixth Sky Villa.
Hirst and his team, over the course of many months, found ways to intermingle Bentel & Bentel’s architecture, design and furniture with his work. This included making room for six large-scale works commissioned specifically for the Villa, making modifications to furnishings and superimposing skulls and butterflies on materials throughout.
An all-new work created in 2018: Winner/Loser, features two bull sharks suspended in formaldehyde in a white tank set into the suite’s wall; “Casino Royale” is a 10-panel collection of Hirst’s butterfly motifs on monochrome gloss-painted canvases; a Medicine Cabinet called “Vegas” hangs from a prominent wall; “The Winner Takes It All” fills a translucent cabinet with symmetrically lined cubic zirconias; Money exhibits a translucent cabinet filled with symmetrically lined pills; and “Here for a Good Time Not a Long Time,” hanging directly above the center bar, showcases two vitrines, one containing a marlin skeleton, the other a taxidermied marlin.
Hirst collaborated with Bentel & Bentel to embroider and emboss butterflies, pills, and skulls on various pieces of furniture, leather walls, sofas and drapery. Spin paintings can be found on the billiard stools and table. Butterfly and skull carvings pop out of Himalayan salt block walls in the salt therapy room. Two hundred forty colored Dots on each column flank the pool/spa, and there are 200 vinyl pill appliques on the Villa’s exterior and interior.
Reserved for million-dollar casino players, the stay comes with 24-hour butler service, a private behind-the-scenes tour of the Palms collection, chauffeured car service, a $10,000 credit to use at the resort, and celebrity-style access to venues such as KAOS Dayclub & Nightclub, the Pearl Concert Theater, and the famed on-property recording studio.
Bearing a storied legacy, this suite was formerly the Hugh Hefner-themed Villa when Palms partnered with Playboy from 2006 to 2012.
Hirst has a whopping 24 installations sprinkled around the resort—not counting those found in the Sky Villa—including the 60-foot-tall Demon with Bowl that will be the centerpiece of the soon-to-open KAOS dayclub.
Palms will complete its $690 million renovation this year and has added an unrivaled publicly displayed collection of contemporary, blue chip and street art with works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Jason REVOK, Dustin Yellin, Takashi Murakami and KAWS making an appearance, among many others.
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