Ever-changing lobby at The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas
In Las Vegas, it’s not enough to be the biggest, the brashest, or be rated as 5-star. So the newest hotel in this glitzy city went for the wow factor, with bold design elements and an artistic flair that make this more like a 5-wow hotel instead.
Back before the housing bust, this building was going to be condos. A flip-flop was necessary when the market crashed though and we can all be glad about that. What resulted is a different kind of hotel with a more residential feel in the rooms and something that’s quite rare here: balconies. Every room above the standard level has a balcony, which means that smokers can light up outside and everyone gets to step out and enjoy the view from a sofa or lounge chair. This comes with a slight downside in that these rooms aren’t as immune from street noise as their sealed-in competition, but you didn’t come to Las Vegas to catch up on sleep did you?
It’s clear from when you first step in the doors that this is not your ordinary hotel. The lobby is one giant art installation, with constantly changing images swirling around on all the lighted columns. It’s an impressive display that gives you something interesting to watch while you’re waiting to check in, which as with most hotels this size, can take a while at peak times. (If you’re a VIP, there’s a separate check-in area that’s closed off from the rest, with snacks and drinks.)
Get a serious cocktail at the Cosmopolitan's lobby bar - Vesper
The casino is far enough away from the lobby that you don’t see or hear it until you move down the hall. If you’re in the front tower you go straight up. If you’re in the back tower you do walk through the casino to get to your room. Along the way you pass a series of impressive bars, including the lobby bar pictured here. Each bar has a master mixologist and this one has a whole row of in-house bitters—always a good sign. The hotel claims 150 signature cocktails. The real showpiece though is the multlarge lounge in the center of the casino, with a chandelier that reaches up several stories.
Most of the restaurants and a variety of shopping outlets are on the third floor, reached by escalators or elevators. They range from an unmarked and hidden pizza joint to high-end restaurants bearing the monikers of celebrity chefs. With 13 of them to choose from, there’s something seriously wrong if you can’t find something you’ll love. The hallways connecting these and the conference center are filled with intriguing art pieces and the artistic theme even makes its way into modified cigarette machines that have been stocked with $5 pieces of art you can buy.
Sitting area in a terrace studio
It’s best to skip the lowest “city room” category if you can as this is set up like a regular hotel room and won’t have a balcony. Better bets are the numerous suites, starting with the studio suites that have a spacious living room area, two large TVs, a minibar and wet bar, a furnished balcony, and a larger bathroom. The one-bedroom ones have a Japanese soaking tub with small jets and some look out at the fountains of the Bellagio. The wraparound terrace suites are impressive, with a terrace that’s bigger the whole room of the lowest category, with great corner views and light. These also come with an entrance foyer, a kitchenette, and laundry facilities. For the whales, there’s a penthouse suite as well.
All rooms come filled with stylish details, from hi-tech ones like a TV remote that controls the sound and lighting, to the ultra-cool wallpaper pictured here that’s inside the closet. Finishes, furniture, and fixtures are high-end all the way, looking like they came straight out of a design magazine. You get a robe, slippers, and nice toiletries for unwinding. Service is excellent and there are no silly resort fees here. Unfortunately though, the free Wi-Fi promised at opening is gone already: it’s now $15 per day.
Even the inside of the closet is artistic
If you’ve overindulged, there’s a great fitness center here that’s well-stocked with brand new equipment and there are regularly scheduled classes. If you want to take out your frustrations after losing at the tables, there’s even a boxing ring.
This hotel has also quickly gained a reputation as a showcase for up and coming music acts, often putting indie rock bands on stage right before they explode and become household names. Catch a show at a lounge or in warm months, poolside. The Boulevard pool, one of three here, can accommodate crowds of 2,500 people for a show.
Everything about The Cosmopolitan feels edgy but exuberant, fitting their tag line of “Just the right amount of wrong.” It’s playful, sexy, and hip from all angles, cool without looking like it’s working too hard at it. See the official website for in-depth info, photos, and video tours. Rates start at $160 double midweek, but check out the promotional packages page for deals.
Review and photos by travel writer and destinations expert Tim Leffel, who is also editor of Perceptive Travel, home to the best travel stories from book authors on the move.