The Palms

If these walls could talk

Inside the Palms’ new Barbie suite

The Barbie Suite at the Palms.
Photo: Denise Truscello
E.C. Gladstone

In a city where every good idea is copied three times over, you have to give the Palms points for originality. On June 1, the resort unveiled the first redesign of its 2006-vintage Fantasy Suites, rededicating the former “Pink suite” as the “Barbie suite.” And they didn’t just stick a logo on the door: Beyond a collage-walled entry, there are Barbie-cloth upholstered chairs with lace-up backs and tutu skirts, a Barbie dining set, a unique vintage-Barbie mirror and art canvases, silver lamé ottomans, foil-print wallpapers, Pucci-print pillows and pink everything, all with the blessings of Mattel, the ubiquitous doll’s parent company.

Barbie in a casino? Someone’s finally gone off the rails, right?

Barbie @Palms

Well, not if you ask … virtually every woman I’ve mentioned it to. “What took them so long?” wonders Shellee Renee, former lead dancer for Crazy Girls and an avid Barbie collector, with some 200 dolls. Only half-kidding, Renee—who could be defined as a grown-up Barbie herself, in the best sense—notes that Vegas has several rabid Barbie collectors (her brother Shaun Derek, assistant head of wardrobe at Jubilee!, being one of the most prominent), and “the Barbie look is in here: thin girls with long blond hair and large chests.”

Part of a global marketing “celebration” of Barbie’s 50th anniversary, the suite was decorated by Jonathan Adler, based on the actual “Malibu Dream House” he staged for an event earlier this spring. Adler used prototypes of his Barbie Loves Jonathan Adler home collection (yes, that’s what it’s called), as well as unique art pieces commissioned for other events, balancing his more overt choices with subtle touches like shelves of books for Barbie on women’s careers, makeup tips, dating and shoes. Conveniently, the suite’s original sparkly purple-pink floor fit the theme perfectly, and the existing Jacuzzi tub, overkill sound system, wet bar, fireplace and powered curtains also remain. As does the show-shower’s stripper pole.

Barbie Opens Luxury Suite

Come again? Yes, the chrome pole (now referred to as a safety bar??) stands proud, though the glass window to the living room has been frosted. To their credit, representatives of Mattel’s Barbie marketing division at the suite’s press reception did not deny its existence—or act oblivious to the complications of putting a Barbie suite in a palace of decadence. Even designer Adler acknowledges the irony, with two needlepoint throw pillows that read “Lust” and “Hugs” placed next to each other. Still, if these walls could talk (at least based on the debauchery I’ve seen in this room), they would recall the kind of behavior that would probably make Barbie pull a Britney with hair clippers.

But hey, if the guys get their “Hardwood” and “Kingpin” and “G” suites (the latter directly across the hall, ladies, in case you’re trying to find the spot), why not a girls’ playpen? After all, the possibilities seem almost endless. “You could do a botox party in the Barbie suite,” Renee suggests, “or hair extensions … have cupcakes, pink champagne … For some people, me included, that is a fantasy suite!”

The suite (which goes for $4,000 per night, including $250 food-and-beverage credit and VIP amenities) will only exist this way for one year, say representatives for the Palms and Mattel. After that, no one’s saying. But I have a suggestion. One word: Smurfs.


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