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When my wife and I first visited The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas three months ago for dinner, it instantly struck me how much the hotel resembled a cruise ship — and it turns out that’s for good reason. Among the interior designers originally assigned to the stunning property was Adam D. Tihany — also famed for contributing to the flowing aesthetic of new ships from Holland America Line and Seabourn.
Most Vegas resort casinos are sprawling affairs with ultra-horizontal gaming floors that go on and on. The Cosmo certainly has a sizable ground floor casino, but verticality is the name of the game here. Regally rising above the slot machines and card tables is The Chandelier, a triple-decker bar enveloped in purple light and sparkling crystals a la MSC Cruises’ signature Swarovski inlays. Radiating from its center is a staggering array of two dozen-plus restaurants — ranging from a classic buffet and casual quick-service counters to high-end, celebrity chef-operated eateries. In short, the grand atrium is a foodie’s dream.
Returning to the Las Vegas Strip for a three-night stay fully based at the Marriott International Autograph Collection property came with one challenge: acquiring a second stomach or whittling down where travelers can dine.
Given the current health crisis, we were eager to check out the hotel’s handling of the Wicked Spoon buffet, and it was surprisingly simple. The same abundance of all-you-can-eat food was available and ready to gather at will. The only differences were social distancing and stanchions padding the service line, where staff swiftly handed pre-portioned plates to guests to take back to their tables. I anticipate a similar approach to cruise ship buffets for a period of time.
Later during our stay, Jaleo by chef José Andrés served as a perfect pre-dinner tapas and cocktails detour. In fact, it’s the only place on property where you can enjoy a Mexican Coca-Cola as part of its fantastic “Cuba Libre y Celebrando” libation. (Marriott hotels usually serve Pepsi products exclusively.) The greatest dinner of our stay was courtesy of Scarpetta, featuring the best pasta I have eaten outside of Italy. Speaking of Italian cuisine, clients should keep an eye out for an unmarked hallway nestled between dining rooms on level three. It’s here where they will find the so-called “Secret Pizza,” where delicious whole pies and single slices await.
Secret Pizza is just one of several playful hideaways at The Cosmo. Beauty & Essex, which we enjoyed on our first visit, is only accessible through a back door off a pawn shop, while the lounge of The Barbershop Cuts and Cocktails is hidden beyond barber chairs. Ghost Donkey, although temporarily closed, is another watering hole tucked behind a secret passage at the back of Block 16 Urban Food Hall, where we also enjoyed Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. I would love to see such clandestine venues on a cruise ship as a bonus layer of onboard mystery and discovery.
Rounding out our food choices this time around were the gourmet burgers of Holsteins and the award-winning French cuisine of Blue Ribbon. Suffice it to say, there remains lots more to return for.
This particular trip was more about food than anything else because entertainment offerings are still largely on hold in Las Vegas. Still, our Terrace Studio Fountain View overlooked not only the Strip but the kaleidoscopic Fountains of Bellagio for splashy vistas every 30 minutes from the afternoon on, switching to every 15 minutes from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Our suite featured a spacious bedroom, a separate living area and a master bath with a large shower plus a jetted soaking tub. Multiple lighting automation buttons were further reminders of the cruise experience onboard ships such as Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Edge.
The Cosmo made for a super comfortable escape during a lull in cruise travel. Our final pool day — complete with private cabana and fully-served food and drinks — was just the cherry on top.
Of course, the property is not for every client. Its overt sexuality extends to everything from a risque art collection to a copy of the Kama Sutra in every room, but for those who aren’t prudish, the hotel is very welcoming and its service is friendly, attentive and not at all snooty despite sporting a posh, high-design atmosphere.
The DetailsThe Cosmopolitan of Las Vegaswww.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com