At nearly $4 billion, this nearly 3,000-room spot sets out to redefine the Las Vegas experience. Will it?
Thursday, December 16, 2010
It's show time. After five years, a foreclosure that gave the keys to Deutsche Bank in August 2008, a concept conversion from condo units to hotel rooms and nearly $4 billion in cash to build, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas finally made its grand debut yesterday. Oh yeah, and did we mention it's now the only hotel with amazing terraces that give you a feeling of hovering over The Strip or the fountains at Bellagio?
And it's a stunner. Adding an entirely new page to the architectural and design dialogue here in Las Vegas, The Cosmopolitan reverses the "bigger is better" trend of mega-casinos here by putting everything back to a human scale. Smaller, more intimate and more personal in feel than its casino brethren that debuted during the last five years, The Cosmopolitan sits in stark contrast to the other new additions on The Strip.
With interiors designed by hotel industry glitterati such as The Rockwell Group, Jeffrey Beers, Adam D.Tihany, The Friedmutter Group, SEED, Asfor Guzy, Studio Gaia, Bentel & Bentel and United, the property looks as if it's an idealized version of what we feel old school Las Vegas must have been like. It's a fantasy version of what never could have been yet it feels as if it's always been a part of the fabric of this city.
The building's design in rooted is color tones and designs of the 1930s and 1940s giving it a martini cocktail vibe mixed with design flourishes of the 1960s and modern era. And it works beautifully.
At an abbreviated press conference and ribbon cutting ceremony held yesterday executives gathered to launch what is most assuredly the last mega-resort that will open for many years to come. But for Deutsche Bank is stands as a testament to stick-to-itiveness they could even get the property open where so many other major resort projects failed or ceased construction in recent years such as the Fontainebleau, Boyd Gaming's Echelon, El Ad's Plaza Hotel, and more.
"We love Las Vegas and are so happy to be here. Welcome to the beginning of a new era, welcome to luxury redefined," said John Unwin, Cosmopolitan CEO. "We deliver it to you all 5,000 of us every day in a spirited and vibrant way that is crafted yet unscripted."
Built on 8.7 acres rather than the customary 80-100 acres the idea here is to go vertical. Not only does it help those poor old feet from walking a million miles every day, but helps craft a sense of intimacy not found in other resorts. Here each floor represents a different neighborhood of gaming, retail, or dining in small approachable clusters.
Other elements The Cosmopolitan include 2,000 rooms with a 1,000 more coming on-line next summer, a 100,000-square-foot casino; Sahra Spa & Hammam; three pools at The Pool District; Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan, a 60,000 square foot multi-level integrated nightclub; myriad restaurants collection; nine retail boutiques, 50,000 square foot spa, salon and fitness center and 150,000 square feet of convention and meeting space.
According to Unwin the target Cosmopolitan customer is part of the "curious class." That is, people that are interested in experiences and are creative by nature. Unwin told Hotel Interactive earlier this year more than 100,000 of these people visit Las Vegas annually and there about 59 million that fall into this psychographic nationwide. His goal is to lure new people to Las Vegas, especially those that have an interest in visiting Vegas at least once but haven't made it yet. "We know there is a big opportunity for this customer and this experience," he said.
To help get people in the doors The Cosmopolitan has a distribution agreement with Marriott's Autograph Collection. It's a smart move considering the resort isn't the latest addition in a family of resorts so there is no deep database in which to mine clientele. For those not in the know, the Autograph Collection is a portfolio of upper-upscale and luxury independent hotels and resorts. More important it gives Unwin and his team access to 33 million Marriott Rewards members, which should help level the playing field against some of the colossal gaming companies in town such as the newly rechristened Caesars Entertainment (formerly Harrah's) and MGM Resorts International.
How the resort will do in the long term is really anyone's guess at this point, but from the bones of the building to the highly trained solution-oriented staff it looks as if the odds are in their favor.