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Cosmopolitan, Marriott International announce partnership


Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas debuts its signature marquee featuring full-bleed videos on Aug. 3, 2010.

Updated Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010 | 3:34 p.m.

Map of Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd. , Las Vegas

The under-construction Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas resort has entered into an agreement with hotel giant Marriott International to help funnel Marriott customers to the $3.9 billion property.

The 2,995-room Cosmopolitan, which opens Dec. 15, will become the largest property in Marriott's "Autograph Collection" - a new brand that includes independently owned and operated hotels seeking to tap Marriott's database of 32 million customers.

As part of an agreement finalized Tuesday, the Cosmopolitan will participate in the Marriott Rewards guest loyalty program and be listed on Marriott's Ritz-Carlton website as a partner hotel.

The agreement also gives the Cosmopolitan access to a Marriott network of about 130 salespeople who will sell blocks of rooms for conventions and other groups staying at the Cosmopolitan.

Marriott launched the Autograph Collection last year to give members of its loyalty program access to boutique properties with distinct identities beyond the usual chain hotel. The Cosmopolitan is the first Las Vegas property and the only casino resort to join the group.

"Marriott has been looking for some time for an iconic property in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip and The Cosmopolitan exceeds our expectations for inspiring design, luxurious rooms and meeting space that will draw the world's top customers year-round," Marriott International Chairman and CEO J.W. Marriott Jr. said in a statement.

The marketing arrangement is one way in which hotels are seeking new customers in a sour economy that has slashed travel spending. The Cosmopolitan, planned before the recession, will be opening at a difficult time for the Strip and casino industry, which has seen its share of bankruptcies in recent months.

The deal with Marriott will help establish the Cosmopolitan as an upscale brand competing alongside the Strip's most luxurious properties, resort CEO John Unwin said today.

Marriott won't manage the property yet requires that Autograph Collection hotels be operated to four- and five-star standards of cleanliness and service, he said.

"This platform enables us to build an iconic luxury brand at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip while simultaneously leveraging the 7th largest retail website in the world," he said.

The Cosmopolitan had previously discussed management deals with hotel giants including Hyatt and Hilton. After acquiring the Cosmopolitan out of foreclosure in 2008, owner Deutsche Bank decided against outsourcing management to a third party, instead hiring its own talent to run the resort.

Nongaming hotel companies don't necessarily have experience operating megaresorts in Las Vegas, said Unwin, who ran Caesars Palace before joining the Cosmopolitan last year.

"There's a lot of talent here on the team, from Las Vegas and outside Las Vegas, that we've put together" in recent months, he said.

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