Bold is the word I keep coming back to at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. From the layout to the design, from the casino to the rooms, everything about this hotel is bold, visual, and different from any other Las Vegas hotel that has come before it. The closest comparison is to its neighbor Aria Las Vegas, a hotel that moved away from the traditional into modern, contemporary, cutting edge design. But Aria is practically staid in comparison to The Cosmo; the older hotels that once had big "wow" factors seem almost quaint.
Located on the imaginary border between South and Center Strips, the hotel is wedged onto a narrow chunk of land between Bellagio and CityCenter, directly across the street from Planet Hollywood, offering a great location for getting to a million different things nearby.
There is no theme here unless you count art and design as one. From the moment you enter the property you are treated to a visual feast that at times almost borders on overload.
Come in from the parking garage and you are greeted by a gorgeous lobby done in black marble with leather walls. The support columns are covered in giant video screens that can change the mood of the space, at one moment a pink field with butterflies and at another sparkling champagne bubbles. Notice the red desks and baroque white chandeliers at the registration area; covet the high backed, French bordello banquettes complete with built in pedestals for old-fashioned dial phones. Adjacent is a lobby lounge Vespers done in radiant, shimmering silver surrounding a traditionally designed wood bar.
Or come in from the southern Strip entrance directly into the casino and you are welcomed by a three-story "chandelier," featuring over two-million crystals surrounding three bars on multiple levels.
Enter from the northern Strip entrance and you'll find a bar called Bond, complete with LED panels built into the walls and ceilings that make the space change almost constantly.
The moment you step in, you understand that this is not a typical Las Vegas hotel even though all typical things you'd find in a Las Vegas hotel are present and accounted for.
The main floor is mostly casino; about 100,000 square-feet of it. Although that's a lot, it seems small because it follows the footprint of the building - long and narrow. The visual statements continue here with white, gold, and reddish blown glass light fixtures and lots of texture on the walls. It's cutting edge contemporary with just a hint of retro flavor.
There are lots of slots of all denominations and a fair amount video poker with most of the machines operating on a central server, meaning either the casino or you can change the theme, denomination, and style at will. They even have built in video interfaces that allow you to track your players' club activity, make restaurant reservations, and more. Table games are scattered throughout the casino in clusters offering everything you'd expect from blackjack to craps to pai-gow and more. A high limit parlor has table games and there's also a separate high limit slot area, which features the casino's "Fastpay" system, where you don't have to wait to get hand pays of jackpots over $1,200. Instead you register your tax info ahead of time and then wins are credited to the machine instantly .
Although there are a couple of bars and one small restaurant (their version of a 24-hour cafe) on the main floor, the vertical nature of the hotel's design means that most of the rest of the stuff you may want to visit is on the levels above you.
The second floor has the retail outlets and a couple of restaurants. Shops are mostly high-end boutiques, most with names you've never heard of unless you are from Europe but include clothing, home accesories, swimwear, gfits, cosmetics, and more. The coolest shop has to be EatDrink, a small wine and grocery store where you can essentially create your own picnic to take back to your room from their selection of fine meats, cheeses, breads, spreads, and libations. It's a great concept that should be done at every Las Vegas hotel.
Dining takes up the bulk of the third level with the Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill by restaurateurs Bruce and Eric Bromberg; New York City's fantastic Estiatorio Milos Greek seafood by Costas Spiliadis complete with its own fish market; Spanish tapas restaurant Jaleo and China Poblano, a Chinese and Mexican concept by celebrated chef José Andrés; Scarpetta Italian cuisine and casual winebar D.O.C.G. by award-winning chef Scott Conant; STK, the popular steakhouse from The One Group; and an upscale hamburger joint called Holstein's Burgers and Shakes. Most are grouped on the third floor around a central common area that offers a space for socializing before and after your meal with comfy seating and amusements such as a pool table.
The Henry is the 24-hour cafe on the first floor and note that Holstein's and China Poblano are on the second floor near the shops. There's also a "secret" pizza joint hidden down a hallway with no signs. I could tell you where it is but then I'd have to kill you, apparently.
The last restaurant is the Wicked Spoon, a buffet that turns the buffet concept on its head with small prepared plates instead of the regular trays of food that you scoop your meals out of. It's still all-you-can-eat but more along the lines of a never-ending tapas menu than a Las Vegas buffet.
The fourth floor has the hotel's main pool overlooking The Strip and complete with a cabanas, a grill, and a stage for concerts. The 14th floor of the West Tower has another, quieter pool area, a spa, salon, and fitness center, and tennis courts.
That 14th floor pool area is the one that caught on fire in July of 2015. No one was seriously injured, thankfully.
The third pool is on the 17th floor of the East Tower operating as a day club. It features a shallow pool, gaming, private cabanas with their own infinity pools, and DJs from the adjacent nightclub.
Speaking of which, Marquee is the main nightlife component, a multi-level space with a big booming dance floor; a smaller "Library" space complete with books, a fireplace, and a pool table; and an ultralounge space called Boombox that offers big windows overlooking The Strip. Other bars and lounges include Vesper Bar, Chandelier, and Bond bars plus Book and Stage that doubles as a sports book and entertainment lounge and more.
The Chelsea showroom is a concert and events venue that can hold more than 3,000 people. It's more intimate than it has any right to be, with a funky, industrial design, comfy chairs, and great sightlines. Bruno Mars and other big names have performed here and they also do concerts by the main pool..
Finally we get to the rooms. There are nearly 3,000 of them in two towers - the sort of squarish East Tower is the one closest to The Strip, while the longer West Tower stretches back toward Vdara and the rest of CityCenter.
They are bigger than average, starting at 620 square feet. That makes them on par with the standard rooms at The Venetian and among the biggest on The Strip. They are done in cool tones (white, blue, beige) with modern furnishings and a continuation of the artistic design and decor concepts seen downstairs. For instance real, honest-to-gosh coffee table style books are found in each room, the closets have striking wallpaper inside them; and the sides of some of the bedframes are done in a soft plushy fabric with pastoral murals or design.
Studios have a small sitting area with a couch and/or chairs, a writing desk, and a TV. Adjacent is small kitchenette with a refrigerator, microwave, and sink. The sleeping area has a bed, of course, and another TV while the bathroom has its own TV along with Japanese soaking tubs and rainfall showers.
One interesting feature of the rooms is that most come with their own private balcony or terrace. That's very rare in Las Vegas and they offer some pretty spectacular views of The Strip.
My single complaint with the rooms involves the frustrating amount and functionality of light switches. There are too many of them, they don't seem to always work with any predictability, and the best way to deal with it is to either have them all on or all off with the master switch by the door and nothing in between.
Although the property does not carry the Marriott name, The Cosmo does have a marketing partnership with the hotel chain so that you can find it on the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton websites and use your Marriott rewards points to book rooms. You can also sign up for their Identity membership program, which will earn you points for all dollars you spend at the property not just the ones in the casino.
Service, every time I have visited, has been stellar. Pit bosses in the casino introduce themselves to players who join the tables and the dealers, cocktail servers, and the rest of the staff have been unfailingly friendly and apparently very happy to have customers to attend to.
Prices are high and seem to be staying there. You can expect to pay between $150-250 during the week and $225-400 or even more on the weekends. It's hard to believe they can keep those prices when there are $59 rooms going unfilled on The Strip right now at other hotels, but there is something undeniably special about this place that seems to make people think it's worth paying that much. This puts them in the same neighborhood as hotels like Bellagio, Venetian, and Wynn Las Vegas and if that's the kind of budget you want to spend, you'd do very well spending it here. Note that they have added a $39.68 (incl. tax) resort fee on top of the nightly rate, among the highest in Vegas.
The Cosmo also charges for parking like most of the other major resorts on The Strip these days. Rates are $7 for up to 4 hours and $10 per day for both self and valet parking.
The overall vibe of the place is contemporary, hip, and young. Most of the people I talked to who were under 40 loved it and those that were over 40 were mixed at best.
I had a mostly positive impression of the place. I love the design elements and the modern interpretation of classic Las Vegas, but as a whole it is a bit overwhelming from both a visual and sound perspective at times. It definitely is not for everyone but if you can embrace the different direction it is heading in, The Cosmopolitan will be happy to embrace you back.