osmopolitan CEO John Unwin bills the resort as “polished without pretense,” a resort tailored to the “curious class” — a group of travelers who are creative, enjoy foreign foods, the arts and new experiences. Design and art are at the core of Cosmoplitan’s mission, with the works of creative minds such as architect David Rockwell and digital artist T.J. Wilcox around every corner.
“We saw an opportunity to provide something to guests that hasn’t been in Las Vegas in the past. We know design is something customers are interested in when the visit other cities. It only makes sense that people would want to experience that when they come to a great destination like Las Vegas,” Unwin said.
When doors open to the 2,995-room resort at 8 p.m. tonight, the public will get its first glimpse of a project that has been more than five years in the making, one that has faced uncertainty and financial challenges around almost every corner.
The Cosmopolitan’s original developer, 3700 Associates, led by Ian Bruce Eichner, broke ground on the hotel-casino — and once condo development — in October 2005 with an initial expected cost of us$ 1.8 billion.
The company defaulted on a us$ 760 million construction loan in January 2008, and Deutsche Bank eventually foreclosed on the resort in August 2008. Earlier this year, the Cosmopolitan quietly canceled its plans for condos, leaving its two 50-story towers to house only hotel rooms — for now. Condo owners and the resort are still in the midst of a legal battle.
Analysts and gaming executives predict the Cosmopolitan will be the last Strip resort to open in the foreseeable future, but Unwin sees the Cosmopolitan as a game changer rather than a bookend. “I think we are at the beginning of something new. Las Vegas has a great history of reinventing itself. I don’t see this as an end to an era; I see this as a beginning of an era. People are going to stand up and recognize that we have something different to offer,” Unwin said.
Its 9,290 sqm casino floor has more than 1,400 slot machines and 80 table games, much of it is like any other casino floor on the Strip, except for its draping around a small area of games called “casino cabanas,” which allows for private gaming with a group of friends. In the center of the casino floor sits Cosmopolitan’s literal crown jewel. Designed by David Rockwell, the Chandelier Bar is a three-tiered bar and lounge encased by 2 million crystals dripping in strands from the ceiling to almost the floor.
A few floors above the casino floor sit some of the resort’s dining offerings from a roster of celebrity chefs such as Jose Andres, Costas Spiliadis and Scott Conant. Most of the resort’s restaurants sit around a common area, rather than being spread out through the casino like other Strip properties. Sandwiched between two restaurants and down a corridor covered in old vinyl covers, guests will find an unnamed, unmarked pizza shop. It’s one of the secrets that Cosmopolitan has left guests to discover as they walk through the resort.
Cosmopolitan’s rooms are perhaps the resort’s most unique feature. About 2,220 of its 2,995 rooms have 6-foot-deep terraces that span the length of the room, a first at a modern Strip hotel.
The original condo plan of the Cosmopolitan has translated into a residential feel in its hotel rooms. Also designed by Rockwell, the rooms feature kitchenettes, large bathrooms with soaking tubs overlooking the Strip and sitting areas with dark indigo couches and strategically mismatched pillows.
Quirky accessories and coffee-table books on art pepper Cosmopolitan’s rooms, adding to the feel of a collected downtown apartment.
“I felt like the rooms could respond to a customer looking for luxury, but those also looking for a level of curation and interesting design. Five-star luxury rooms tend to look like they were all ordered at once or feel like it was all bought in the same place. People are going to find it’s more of a collection of interesting pieces than a kind of homogeneous whole,” Rockwell said of Cosmopolitan’s rooms.
Cosmopolitan’s other amenities include three pools areas, a 13,935 sqm convention center and a 3,994 sqm spa. Marquee nightclub/dayclub, which will be operated by Tao Group, will open on New Year’s Eve.
The Cosmopolitan will host an invite-only opening night party before the doors open to the public at 8 p.m. tonight. Local artist and Killers frontman Brandon Flowers will be Cosmopolitan’s first major headliner when he takes the stage at 10 p.m.
Two weeks after it officially opens to the public, the resort is planning a grand opening bash on New Year’s Eve with a concert by musical odd couple Coldplay and Jay-Z.