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January 25, 2015

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Cosmopolitan prepared to take its place on the Las Vegas Strip tonight

Las Vegas’ newest hotel-casino opens its doors to public at 8 p.m.


Leila Navidi

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is seen on Dec. 13, 2010.

Inside the Cosmopolitan

Get an inside look at the last resort to open on The Strip for the next few years. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas seeks to appeal to "the curious class," from a "restaurant neighborhood" with a secret pizza joint to its unprecedented number of rooms with outdoor terraces. The Cosmopolitan opens its doors Dec. 15, 2010.

Outside Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is shown at sunset from the roof of Planet Hollywood on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010. Launch slideshow »

The Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is seen on Dec. 13, 2010. Launch slideshow »

By the Numbers

  • Opening: Dec. 15, 2010
  • Groundbreaking: Oct. 25, 2005
  • Initial cost estimate: $1.8 billion (Oct. 2005)
  • Final Cost: $3.9 billion
  • Land: 8.7 acres between CityCenter and Bellagio
  • Strip frontage: 335 feet
  • Permanent jobs: About 5,000
  • Rooms: 2,995
  • Rooms with terraces: About 2,200
  • Casino size: 100,000 square feet
  • Restaurants: 12
  • Bars and lounges: Four
  • Nightclubs: One
  • Retail space: 36,000 square feet
  • Convention space: 150,000 square feet
  • Spa: 43,000 square feet
  • Pools: Three

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas first piqued curiosity when it sent a horde of furry, little animals through the resort in its national TV ad campaign.

Tonight, curious travelers will get to discover what the resort is really all about when Deutsche Bank’s $3.9 billion Cosmopolitan opens its doors.

Set on 8.7 acres between the Bellagio and the multi-billion dollar urban metropolis that is CityCenter, the Cosmopolitan is striving to set a new, more modern standard of luxury on the Las Vegas Strip.

Cosmopolitan Chief Executive 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 Cosmopolitan’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 they 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 $1.8 billion.

The company defaulted on a $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.

Cosmopolitan is different in a lot of ways. It’s built on less than 10 acres, unlike most Strip hotels, which boast double-digit acreage, giving it a more vertical, urban feel. Inside, the resort’s 12 restaurateurs and nine retailers are new to the Las Vegas market.

Cosmopolitan’s commitment to design is evident from the moment visitors enter its lobby. Guests are greeted by pillars of video boards playing video art by Digital Kitchen and David Rockwell Studio exclusively produced for Cosmopolitan.

They’ll check in at one of Cosmopolitan’s red Louis XIV-style registration desks, instead of the long check-in counters found in most hotels, a feature that Unwin says will add to a more personalized experience.

Yards away from the lobby and unseen from the main entrance is Cosmopolitan’s 100,000-square-foot casino floor. With 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.

“The Chandelier Bar came out of an opportunity I saw when I got involved with the project, and that is so much of Las Vegas is experienced horizontally and I felt like this building is very vertical,” Rockwell said. “The idea to have a central, vertical focus and the idea to imagine what would it be like to be inside chandelier were both simultaneous.”

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.

And like every neighborhood, there are hideaways that only those in the know are familiar with. 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 Cosmopolitan’s 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 150,000-square-foot convention center and a 43,000-square-foot 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. Curious yet?

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  1. One word for the Cosmopolitan --- Optimism! There is no reason why the Cosmopolitan should not be successful in generating revenues to cover all operating cost, and opening cost, given the location and the management team.

    A note of caution!
    To my knowledge, this will be the first real attempt by Deutsche Bank to produce a winning investment in Nevada (courtesy of City Center). The concern is, Deutsche Bank is not a casino operator, they are a bank. At some point, very soon, Deutsche Bank will want to sale this property. The current managment team does not have the funding to purchase. In addition, will this property generate enough revenue to satisfy the loan of $3.9 billion? Given the Cosmopolitan's products and the pricing, this is a huge question mark!

    So the question is, what is the real strategey of Deutsche Bank for the Cosmopolitan?

  2. Best of luck to Cosmopolitan, and hopes that they can maintain their unique approach.

  3. I had a chance to tour this property a couple of weeks ago. It's stunning. They have done an amazing job.

    All the best on the opening tonight, and a bright future in Las Vegas!

  4. "Fluff"? It's a casino featuring an adjacent collection of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops, and art, and none of those featured were previously seen in Las Vegas. How is that "fluff"?

    Further, Las Vegas doesn't "need" more visitors, it needs fewer residents.

  5. I know the Jockey Club was given all kinds of free upgrades including an underground parking garage. I wonder where we can find a list of the freebies given to them.

  6. Nice, very nice, good luck Cosmo.

  7. I'll be out after the frist,I can't wait. Best of luck Cosmo. PS. give us a fair gamble.

  8. The real question: What property(ies) will the business be siphoned off of the most? There will not suddenly be 2,995 rooms worth of "new" cusstomers. While I wish them all success, the reality is that others will probably be cutting prices and offering other deals in order to keep the rooms full (or closing). The lower end places are dropping off (Binion's, Sahara, Plaza, all shutting down all or a portion of their rooms) as once "higher" priced places like TI, Luxor, Excallibur, etc. have lowered prices toward the price territory once occupied by them, while offering a nicer place. I still am more the IP type (I.E. "cheap") but the mid range places are moving downward into that territory. It's certainly good for the customer. Like City Center a year ago, I'll certainly stop by for a look, but I'll go "home" to the IP or maybe TI at the end of the day.

  9. "So the question is, what is the real strategy of Deutsche Bank for the Cosmopolitan?" CAPITAL PRESERVATION! They will never make back their investment, but probably figured they can recover more of it by finishing the hotel and then selling off the established operation. I wish them luck too. They certainly seem to have a unique product.