People have been saying that the recently-opened Cosmopolitan will be the last new resort opening in Las Vegas for years. I don’t know if that’s true or not, though certainly I wouldn’t want to open a new hotel in Las Vegas right now. I had the opportunity to check out the Cosmopolitan (or the Cosmo as I like to lazily call it) in December, shortly after it opened. I did not stay in the hotel there, so I have no personal horror stories to tell about its “shakedown cruise”, though I have read many reports of technology glitches. The rooms are apparently very high-tech, and whenever you have something high-tech, there’s more room for error. It seems they still have a lot of wrinkles to work out. Here, I’ll give you my initial impressions based solely on my walk-through and dinner there.
What is that in my eye? Oh, it’s a chandelier.
The Cosmopolitan is not much to look at from the outside. It’s a high-rise, pretty much like most city high-rises. . . but with a casino inside. And the biggest damn chandelier I’ve ever seen in my life. It dominates the public spaces completely. Everyone in my hometown could live inside it comfortably. It’s hard to take your eyes off it. It loops, it drapes, it creates walls of beads sheltering little cozy seating nooks and three different bar areas (one on each floor). It’s amazing. That in itself makes it worth going for a look, even if you’re not staying there. I can’t even fathom how much it must have cost or the work involved in setting it up.
That which the city of Las Vegas was built on
If it’s a hotel in Las Vegas, chances are 99.9% good it has a casino in it, and the Cosmopolitan does. The casino itself wasn’t terribly busy when I was there, but keep in mind it was the week leading up to Christmas, which is traditionally slow in Las Vegas. I found the layout of the casino comfortable, and there seem to be a sufficient number of tables versus slot machines. I didn’t gamble here, so I can’t comment on the quality of gambling. I really like the idea of the multitasking Book and Stage lounge just off the casino (sports book by day, music venue by night), mostly for the fact that the music is live, not DJ. I’d really like to see Las Vegas move back toward more (free) live bands in its lounges.
Everyone Into the Pool
I checked out the Boulevard Pool on the fourth floor. With a stage for live music and not a lot of space for lounge chairs, it looks like they’re going to be aiming for a party crowd here, rather than those of us who enjoy a lazy day by the pool reading a good book. But in Vegas, what else is new?
Make Yourself at Home
I will echo what others have said: I love what the Cosmo has done with public spaces (especially compared to all of the wasted space I saw at Aria and CityCenter). There are comfy little “living room” type seating areas here and there, including furnishings that make it look like your dad’s den. They really have made it a point to encourage people to be able to sit and relax without always having to spend money. What a concept!
Eat Your Heart Out
If you have come to the Cosmopolitan to eat at one of its many restaurants, as I did, most are upstairs, so you will head up the escalators to the second or third floor. There are a number of tempting restaurants depending on what you’re in the mood for, including Comme Ca (French), Scarpetta (Italian), Holsteins (burgers), and the ubiquitous buffet, Wicked Spoon.
I had dinner at Jaleo, the tapas restaurant by José Andrés, and was pleased to sit at the chefs counter, where I could watch the chefs prepare people’s dinners. The restaurant is a bit loud, and features a contemporary decor of reds, oranges, and black. In addition to the chef’s counter, typically great for solo diners, there was another bar area for seating as well as tables. The grill with hood is right smack dab in the restaurant, not a separate kitchen area, so you’re essentially dining in an upscale, open kitchen. Service was fine, and my waitress was efficient and helpful.
My Cuba Libre (rum and Coke) was poured over a cinnamon stick in a glass; first time I’ve ever seen cinnamon used before in this drink. Interesting. My waitress suggested 3 tapas plates for a light eater like me. (2 would have been fine.) The scallops were my least favorite dish; they were only lukewarm when they arrived, they weren’t cooked as firmly as I like, and they were too salty. The bacon-wrapped dates were deep-fried and very good (though not as good as Firefly’s), and came served in a shoe–yes, a shoe. I have no idea why. My favorite dish by far was the sauteed spinach, which had toasted pine nuts, tiny cubes of diced pears, and raisins, all sauteed in a flavorful garlic oil. For “small plates,” those plate weren’t cheap. My total bill before tip was $44.
Cosmopolitan’s strength right now is that it’s new and has a good stable of restaurants to try. I will say that I liked the Cosmopolitan’s vibe far more than I did Aria at CityCenter (which seemed a little cold to me). I really hope they can work out all the technical glitches with the hotel soon, because I think the hotel has potential. I love its location; it’s really livened up that section of the Strip and created (along with CityCenter), a new “neighborhood” there (which includes Planet Hollywood across the street, which is easily accessible via overhead walkway). Once they get the bugs worked out, and if the price were ever right, I would consider staying here. . .if for no other reason than to check out those rooms with terraces. The idea of sitting out on the terrace in the morning with a cup of coffee or at night with a drink to enjoy the view of the Strip or mountains appeals very much.
If you’d like to see more photos of the amazing Cosmo chandelier, you can find them in my Vegas gallery at Smugmug.