The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is the latest and likely to be the last casino to open on the Strip for quite some time. I knew it was an opening that I could not miss. I stood outside on the pedestrian bridge waiting among a large crowd. There was much chatter whether or not there would be fireworks. Time ticked away and we were down to the last 30-seconds, collectively we geared up for a countdown similar to those that ring in the New Year. That is until the Cosmopolitan ticker vanished to promote the concert with Brandon Flowers. You could sense the crowd’s dismay by the gasps. With only a second to spare the ticker returned to set to zero. The large screen flashed, “We’re open”. And that was that. The doors opened and crowds flocked inside.
The unprecedented resort delivers 2,995 luxurious suites with private terraces and smart amenities, a fine selection of decadent dining and an eclectic collection of shops including nine retailers new to Las Vegas such as Beckley and CRSVR sneaker boutique, both from California, and Amsterdam’s Droog, a home furnishings store. All the while, it strives to foster an appreciation for art with its rotating artist-in-residence program, and playful Art O Mat machines (refurbished cigarette machines from yesteryear) that dispense small works of art for $5.00.
As we entered the doors steps off the Las Vegas Strip, I couldn’t help but turn my focus to the chandelier, the towering three story lounge encompasses several bars adorned in millions of dazzling crystals. This centerpiece is easily accessible by stairs, escalators and elevators. It provides access to the shops and restaurants on the second floor, the third floor is reserved for dining. Restaurants here provide stunning views of the Strip. The three pools are located on the 4 and 5th floors.
The dining scene at Cosmopolitan has been highly anticipated. Its arrival delivers a collection of fine restaurateurs that are new to Las Vegas. Chef Scott Conant of Food Network fame treats us with Scarpetta. José Andrés continues to fuel the tapas craze with Jaleo and marries Chinese and Mexican fare at China Pablano. This restaurant is equipped with a take-out window for late-night snacking. Comme Ça offers spectacular views and lunch at a great value – three courses for $28. Greek cuisine is brought to the Strip by way of Milos Estiatorio. Other choices include the Bromberg Brothers’ Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, Holsteins, STK, The Henry, Va Bene Caffè and the Wicked Spoon Buffet.
I had the opportunity to tour the Wicked Spoon Buffet. I believe they have raised the bar for buffets. The attention to detail is amazing and the presentations are lovely. They take buffet dining to a fine dining level. Dishes are individually portioned. The menu will change regularly based on seasonal ingredients. Items offered on my visit included roasted chicken, bone marrow, short ribs, clams, seafood risotto, hand rolled sushi plus an array of fresh fruits, breads and cheeses. The Asian selections include sushi, pho and dim sum. The desserts are delectable. You’ll find chocolate covered strawberries, pops, gelato, cookies and assorted pastries. Buffet prices are competitive with other Strip buffets: breakfast is $15, lunch is $19 and dinner is $27. Weekend brunch is also offered at $23. If taste measures up to appearance – a star is born.
The casino offers the latest games and technology. Additionally, beaded areas allow private gaming with friends, aside from that, at first glance, it seemed standard issue. Except there was no poker room and the sports book is not yet open. It will occupy an area known as The Book and Stage. It appears it will only have a small betting window, and the stage (hosting regular live-music acts) and surrounding bar will be the center of attention. The hotel’s rewards program coined Identity takes traditional wagering into account, but members also earn points for restaurant and spa expenditures as well as select retail spending.
The common areas are furnished with plenty of seating, and dozens of art installations, paintings and other works of art. The Cosmopolitan conveys the cosmopolitan feel of a city that CityCenter lacks (despite their best intentions). The Cosmo interiors are a feast for the eyes and a refuge for weary, but it remains to be seen if they’ll generate that almighty dollar. Similarly, the sun-light filled casino and looking glass to the strip may lure gamblers away from slot machines. Then, again, this might just be what Las Vegas needed – a place to fill a niche that other casino resorts have overlooked. Either way, I give major kudos to CEO John Unwin and crew for running with these new ideas during a time so rich in uncertainty. As the marketing machine has told us, this story has just begun. It will be interesting to read the tale that will soon fill its pages.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is located at 3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South Las Vegas, NV 89109.