Are you looking for a one-of-a-kind experience? How about a stay in a Damien Hirst-designed suite at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas? Imagine winning the gigantic online roulette jackpot, so you can indulge yourself in the outdoor jacuzzi of the $100,000-per-night Empathy Suite. Created in collaboration with the architecture firms Bentel & Bentel and Klai Juba Walk, the suite opened just last month.
Who is Damien Hirst?
Damien Hirst is a British artist born in 1965 who grew up in Leeds and studied at the Leeds College of Art. He first emerged onto the international art scene in the late 1980s. His style is pop culture-related and over-the-top, challenging contemporary belief systems. He won a Turner Prize in 1995, the UK’s most publicized art award since 1984.
One of his most well-known and iconic pieces is The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, created in 1991. He commissioned an Australian fisherman to catch a tiger shark which he then submerged in formaldehyde. The initial shark was poorly preserved and has since been replaced. He went on to create an entire Natural History series with more preserved and taxidermized animals, highlighting death as a central motif of his work.
Another theme Hirst has worked a lot with is the medical field, particularly the cultural role of prescription drugs. He has created medicine cabinets filled with medication packaging, pill cabinets with thousands of hand-painted resin and plaster pills, and paintings representing medications. He wishes to highlight the power people place in pharmaceuticals.
He is also known for his many butterfly-themed pieces, some of which used real butterflies – or just their wings. For Hirst, the butterfly is a universal trigger of happiness and a reflection of the circle of life.
What are the features of the suite?
The suite is two levels and 9000 square feet (836 square meters) – more a villa than a hotel suite! There are two bedrooms, two media lounges, a theatre, a gym, and massage rooms. You can also enjoy an outdoor Jacuzzi infinity-style pool overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. The suite even has its own bar that can seat 13 people.
At $100,000 a night and with a two-night minimum stay, the Empathy Suite is currently the most expensive hotel suite in the world. The record was previously held by the $80,000-a-night Royal Penthouse Suite at Geneva’s Hotel President Wilson. The million-dollar casino players at the Palms Resort also are given free access to the suite.
Included in the nightly price are a 24-hour private butler service, extraordinary welcome amenities, a private chauffeur, VIP access to all of the hotel’s amenities, a private tour of the suite, and $10,000 in hotel credit.
What are Hirst’s artistic touches?
Some of Hirst’s most well-known works have been integrated into the suit, including Winner/Loser featuring two bull sharks suspended in formaldehyde. Along with butterfly designs found in the jacuzzi and on the flooring throughout the suite, a collection of real butterflies on canvas that he made and named Casino Royale is in its rightful location at the Palms. Continuing with the gaming theme, you’ll also find The Winner Takes It All, 18 feet of cubic zirconia on shelves.
The aforementioned curved bar is also a piece of artwork in itself as it is filled with medical waste. This contrasts with well-ordered medicine cabinets placed around the villa. Above the bar is Here for a Good Time, Not a Long Time – two vitrines, one containing a marlin skeleton and the second a taxidermy marlin.
Continuing the medical theme are oversized pills embroidered on chairs and cushions and stuck to the windows as well as a “Pill” wall covering. There is even a 12-feet-wide by 6-feet-high glass and stainless-steel display full of thousands of plaster pills (Money).
Staying in this Vegas casino suite is almost like sleeping in your own personal modern art museum.