Image: Cove Atlantis, penthouse suite living room
Dana Neibert / Courtesy of Cove
Considered Atlantis, Bahamas' premier suite at the newly opened Cove resort, the penthouse occupies both the 14th and 15th floors of the hotel and casino. A domed ceiling and Murano glass chandelier in the foyer greet your grand entrance. The ten-seat dining area includes a full chef's kitchen, butler's office, dry bar, plus a refrigerator and wine cooler. The nearly 360-degree view includes the ocean, harbor, the nightclub Cain and the poolside casino. ($15,000 per night)
updated 10/2/2007 2:15:46 PM ET 2007-10-02T18:15:46

Once upon a time, a casino's best suites were reserved exclusively for its highest rollers. If you were willing to risk big money on a throw of the dice, management tipped its gold-braided cap to your foolhardiness by comping you a night in the El Presidente room.

That's still the policy at some casinos today. The Bellagio and the Venetian are among the Las Vegas properties that continue to reserve their most coveted suites for high roller comps. To qualify at the Bellagio, gamblers must place a minimum bet of $100,000, backed by a credit line of $4 million to $5 million.

But in Vegas and elsewhere, this policy is changing.

Take, for example, the Hugh Hefner SkyVilla at the Palms.

Suites don't get much sweeter than this. It's got a pop-up plasma television and a round, rotating bed measuring eight feet across. But you don't have to be a high roller to stay here. All you have to do is pay up — in this case, $40,000.

Without ever having set foot in the casino, you can whip out your black Amex card, and voila — you're in Hef's bed.

This is good news for people who don't want to log the hours to qualify as high-rollers. Gambling, after all, takes work.

"To be a high roller, you have to spend an amazing amount of money at the table, but you also have to spend an amazing amount of time," explains Inna Matveichuk, head of client services at, a travel web site and 24-hour concierge service. Many of Matveichuk's clients want to pursue the Rat Pack persona without gambling away thousands.

Indeed, "The Britney Spearses and Lindsay Lohans of the world don't necessarily want to gamble, but they do want to have a good time," says travel agent Steven Striker, founder of Striker VIP, a Las Vegas-based travel agency and concierge service. Party people who may be uninterested in gambling, he says, are still drawn to the casino world's rambunctious nightlife and outrageous apartment amenities.

Prime-time perks
Amenities don't get much more outrageous than a basketball court in your suite. For a mere $25,000 a night — no gambling required — that's exactly what you get at the Palms Hardwood Suite.

Image: Fiore suite at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa
Courtesy of Borgata Hotel and Casino
So much more than a resting place, this suite at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, N.J., boasts 300-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets and towels, granite countertops and marble walls and floors, plus a space for in-room spa treatments. For those taking a break from the tables downstairs to make some real money with a business transaction, there are three phones, each with dual lines, and high speed Internet access. ($5,000 to $8,000 per night)
The only suite in the world with an indoor court, this two story, 10,000-square-foot stunner includes a pool table, lounge with full bar, a dance floor and even an electronic scoreboard to post points like the pros. After an intense game, guests can relax in the living room — it's equipped with a 42" plasma TV, three super-sized Murphy beds and a Jacuzzi.

According to Striker, some of the NBA's biggest talents have hosted parties in the space.

Or perhaps your tastes tend more toward cigars, brandy and winning world wars. If so, head for Monte Carlo, and be prepared to spend $11,000 a night for the Winston Churchill Suite at the Hôtel de Paris. The apartment has a private elevator, two lounges, and 24-hour butler service. It used to be off limits to anyone but high rollers.

Back in Vegas, you can keep the chaos of the Strip at arm's length by staying in the Viva Las Penthouse Suite at the new Red Rock Casino Resort Hotel. For $10,000 a night, you get a view of the Red Rock mountains through floor-to-ceiling glass in every room. You also enjoy access to the resort's acclaimed spa. Want to watch people throw money away? There's a private casino just downstairs, open only to guests staying at the resort.

When it comes to the high life — casino style — there's only one certainty: To live well, you must pay. Or play.

© 2012


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