George Maloof flying
high at the Palms

Mar 1, 2005 9:01 AM

George Maloof has 87 percent of the Palms Hotel, 53 percent of the Sacramento Kings and nearly 100 percent of the blondes.

Now that’s the true definition of a triple-threat.

"It’s very flattering to be considered the next Steve Wynn," Maloof told GamingToday following the trendy resort’s opening in 2002. "I want to contribute. I’m proud of the number of jobs (2,000) Palms has created. My goal is to work with the community and be involved."

Maloof has kept his word through the years.

"There is plenty going on here, like a $300 million hotel expansion, the Playboy deal and all our fine clubs and restaurants," Maloof told GT. "We have a full plate."

Even though his family gained fame and prominence in New Mexico, Maloof is not an interloper to Las Vegas. He played football at UNLV and earned a business degree in hotel management, so his success in the field did not come by accident. He got his feet wet building the Fiesta, then selling it to Stations before building his prized creation.

"We designed the Palms to offer a complete gaming experience (in the local market), combining our past successful philosophies with the excitement and amenities that visitors expect from a Las Vegas Strip hotel," Maloof said after his dream $265 million was realized.

Palms opened against stiff competition from the Rio and Gold Coast across the street and the Hard Rock a few blocks away at Harmon and Paradise. He bucked standard building logic, which called for at least 2,000 rooms. Palms opened with 455.

"We went for quality," Maloof said. "We wanted to attract the younger crowd, giving them the best in restaurants, entertainment, lounges and gaming."

The property features a 14-theatre Cineplex, award winning Mexican restaurant, the Chicago steakhouse Nine, the hip ghost bar and the nightclub, Rain in the Desert — a 25,000 square foot facility that doubles as a concert and special event facility.

Palms also hosts the annual CineVegas film festival, which attracts the industry’s most innovative and inventive talent to a city that was labeled lacking in the arts. And the family is generous, once donating $1 million to the UNLV athletic department and the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration.

"We’re proud of what we have accomplished in the short time we’ve had the Palms," he said. "Our poker room is always full, we have been able to attract a younger crowd and our slots and gaming are the best in town."

Maloof also has a tattoo parlor (he even bit the bullet and had a tattoo scratched into his arm) and a psychic, and he has hosted events for MTV, Harley-Davidson and Playboy, along with network shows CSI, The Bachlorette, and Wild On.

His hotel has also become a hot spot for the young and the relentless. It’s not uncommon to see Tara Reid or Paris Hilton "hanging out" with Maloof, and Britney Spears’ infamous short-lived marriage took place mainly in one of the Palms’ suites.

"We believe in offering our guests unparalleled opportunities to let loose and enjoy life," said Maloof, whose venues have attracted celebs Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Carmen Electra, Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson.

"I guess you could say the energy surrounding our nightlife can be electrifying," Maloof said. "We’ll keep moving forward by offering great concerts and other cutting-edge entertainment."