Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 July 2019

Damien Hirst designs the world's most expensive suite

For $100,000 a night: sharks in formaldehyde, a healing salt room and a private pool overlooking the Las Vegas Strip

The Empathy Suite designed by Damien Hirst at Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas. Courtesy Clint Jenkins
The Empathy Suite designed by Damien Hirst at Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas. Courtesy Clint Jenkins

In a city synonymous with excess, a new suite at Las Vegas’ Palms Casino Resort is taking things to a whole new level.

Designed by the Turner-prize winning artist Damien Hirst, in collaboration with architecture firm Bentel & Bentel, the two-storey, 9,000-square-feet Empathy Suite features six of the artist’s original works – including two bull sharks dramatically suspended in formaldehyde. The resort has not revealed how much it spent renovating the new Sky Villa, but it is estimated that the artworks alone are worth about $10 million (Dh36.7m).

A shark suspended in formaldehyde within the suite. Courtesy Clint Jenkins
A shark suspended in formaldehyde within the suite. Courtesy Clint Jenkins

The unashamedly lavish space, part museum and part adult playground, has two master bedrooms, a custom-made cantilevered pool offering panoramic views of the city, a fitness room, two massage rooms and “private healing salt room”. If you’re hoping to do some entertaining, there’s a dining area for eight guests, a 17-seat bar and a home theatre with capacity for 52 people.

Oversized butterflies flit across the carpet in the lounge area, where a cage-like hanging sofa descends dramatically from the ceiling. Sitting above the bed in one of the suite’s two bedrooms is Hirst’s Casino Royale, from 2018, a ten-panel collection of real butterflies laid out on a canvas. To continue the theme and echo the artwork, the room features a butterfly headboard, curtains and carpets, all designed by Hirst.

In the play room, a colourful pool table and minimalist foosball table sit on translucent legs, to give the impression that they (like the sharks that flank them) are suspended in mid-air. This is fine art, Vegas style.

According to Bloomberg, the suite will be given free to high-rollers who have $1 million or more as a line of credit at the Palms. For the rest of us, a two-night stay will cost a whopping $200,000.

Butterfly motifs are a recurring theme throughout the space. Courtesy Clint Jenkins
Butterfly motifs are a recurring theme throughout the space. Courtesy Clint Jenkins

Guests can avail of a 24-hour butler and chauffeur service, and access to some of the hottest spots on the Strip, including KAOS Dayclub & Nightclub, the Pearl Concert Theater and the Palms’ world-class recording studio. Guests will get $10,000 credit to spend at the resort, as well as “over-the-top welcome amenities”, whatever that might mean.

Updated: March 3, 2019 02:07 PM

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