New Cosmopolitan Hotel makes a big splash in glitzy Las Vegas opening
Star entertainment writer/travel fan Richard Ouzounian was in Vegas this week for the opening of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Even by over-the-top Vegas standards, it was a big show. Here's Richard's report.
The major attraction was the spectacular concert on Dec. 31, which started at 11PM and went on for three amazing hours, with Coldplay, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Beyonce and more. You can read about it here:
All I can say is that when Jay-Z hands your wife a flute of Dom Perignon from the stage, it’s a moment you’re sure to file away in your memory bank!
After seeing it in action for three days, I’m crushing bigtime on The Cosmo (as it likes to be called). The rooms take the state-of-the-art technology thing to new highs. There is no leather-bound directory for example; everything about your stay can be learned from the interactive TV screen and whether you want to book a massage or order up Eggs Benedict, you can do it via your remote.
The public spaces are a wonderful combination of the intimate and the spacious, with great areas for people to hang and relax, shooting pool, playing a game of cards where you don’t have to bet, or strumming a random guitar left out there for the inner Dylan that you might want to access after your fourth Corona. Those of us who were there for the opening weren’t given tacky nametags or ID cards to hang around our necks. Instead, we got discreet wristbands made out of recycled guitar strings, which sums up the hotel’s vibe.
Their slogan is “Just the right amount of wrong,” which is a slyly welcome step up from the “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” mantra which reached its tipping point in The Hangover.
No, this is a much cooler approach to decadence. Two of their special room packages are worth noting. The “Raid the Minibar”, where you get to literally eat or drink your way through everything available over a two-day period. There’s also “Room for Three” where three adults can use a room for the price of two and judging from the photo of a devilish blonde lady and her identical twin gentlemen friends, they’re not talking about family reunions.
Every restaurant I’ve tried so far has been ace and I plan to profile them in depth at a later date, but for now, a special shout-out to their French bistro, Comme Ca, which has one of the best views of the Strip in town and Holstein’s, devoted to burgers and shakes, which features one delight called “Duck, Duck, Goose”, which is a burger stuffed with duck confit and fois gras and topped with duck cracklings. Amazing.
Apart from the music scene, the other big superstar was a foodie one. Chef Scott Conant (see photo) arrived in town to supervise the opening of his paired eateries, Scarpetta and D.O.C.G., both of which make homestyle Italian a thing of beauty. His simple spaghetti with tomato and basil is a dish that everyone who has ever eaten can’t stop raving about. (Note from Travel Editor Jim Byers: there's a Scarpetta at the new Thompson Hotel at Wellington and Bathurst in Toronto, where you can find the signature spaghetti dish).
Throughout the weekend, the tall, dark and handsome Conant set hearts fluttering as he breezed through his restos, making everyone feel welcome. He’s also the star of the Food Network’s 24 Hour Restaurant Battle which starts on Canadian TV in January. Shameless self-promotion: he’s also the subject of my Big Interview in the Toronto Star on Jan. 8.
What else can I tell you about The Cosmopolitan? There’s great shopping, three spacious pools and a spa called Sahra which is one of the most restful and inviting I’ve ever experienced.
Is all this luxury affordable? Surprisingly, yes. Especially during the Sunday-Thursday timeslots throughout January, there are rooms available for as little as $190 a night.
My first resolution for 2011: to go back to The Cosmopolitan again. Soon.