Las Vegas Sun

April 25, 2015

Cosmopolitan throws open doors to public right on time


Justin M. Bowen

Visitors wait for the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas doors to be opened Wednesday as the new property on the Strip opened to the public.

Updated Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010 | 1:23 a.m.

Cosmopolitan Opens

Visitors wait for the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas doors to be opened Wednesday as the new property on the Strip opened to the public. Launch slideshow »

Cosmopolitan Opening Ceremony

A view of the Chandelier Bar at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Outside Cosmopolitan

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

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.

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 $3.9 billion Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas opened its doors Wednesday night, giving the public its first glimpse inside the Strip’s newest resort — and the last to emerge from Las Vegas’ construction boom years.

Greeted by cheering employees and invited guests already inside, curious visitors poured into the Cosmopolitan from the Strip at 8 p.m. - right on schedule.

Crowds flooded the two pedestrian walkways leading into the Cosmopolitan and stretched past the neighboring Bellagio.

Inside, dealers were eager to pitch the first cards of the night, cocktail waitresses were ready to take their first drink orders and rows of slot machines were asking to be played.

Hotel guests — allowed to check in earlier Wednesday afternoon — were already seated at the gaming tables before the doors opened, ready to place the inaugural bets.

Joe Lombardo of Las Vegas found some opening night luck at a blackjack table near the front doors. The first hand of the night gave Lombardo a 17; the dealer busted and Lombardo decided to end his streak there.

“How many times do you have a chance to make the first bet at a Las Vegas Strip casino? It’s the only in the world like this,” Lombardo said.

Before the public opening, the Cosmopolitan hosted a private party for VIPs and other invited guests, who sampled the resort’s culinary offerings and took in its amenities. Las Vegas native and Killers frontman Brandon Flowers played a three-song set shortly after 6 p.m., followed by a longer performance at one of the resort’s pools late Wednesday night.

Cosmopolitan will host another opening bash on New Year’s Eve when the resort celebrates its grand opening with headliners Coldplay and Jay-Z.

Even executives from Cosmopolitan’s competitors, such as Wynn Resorts owner Steve Wynn, MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren and CityCenter President Bobby Baldwin, were on hand Wednesday to wish the resort well.

Other Las Vegas notables in the crowd included Mayor Oscar Goodman and his wife, Carolyn, Larry Ruvo and Elaine Wynn.

Cosmopolitan Chief Executive John Unwin, who cut the ribbon on the property at an opening ceremony Wednesday morning, spent the evening greeting hundreds of invited guests.

People jammed the casino floor, making it difficult to move through the new resort. Empty seats at the gaming tables and resort’s four bars and lounges were hard to come by. Upstairs in the Cosmopolitan’s restaurant area, visitors browsed menus and played pool in a common area - exactly how Cosmopolitan officials envisioned.

Since the casino broke ground in October 2005, locals and frequent tourists have tracked the evolution of Deutsche Bank’s Cosmopolitan, squeezed on 8.7 acres between MGM Resort International’s Bellagio and the multi-billion dollar CityCenter complex.

The resort continued to pique curiosity when it began a provocative TV ad campaign last month with its tagline: “Just the right amount of wrong.”

Unwin bills the Cosmopolitan 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.

“We saw an opportunity to provide something to guests that hasn’t been in Las Vegas in the past,” Unwin said. “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.”

Design and art are at the core of Cosmopolitan’s mission, with the works of creative minds such as Brad Friedmutter, David Rockwell and digital artist T.J. Wilcox around every corner.

In the resort lobby, guests are greeted by pillars of video boards playing video art by Digital Kitchen and David Rockwell Studio produced exclusively for the Cosmopolitan. Red Louis XIV-style registration desks replace the long check-in counters found in most hotels, a feature that Unwin says will add to a more personalized experience.

Visitors took notice of all of the design touches Wednesday, especially the Rockwell-designed Chandelier Bar at the center of the casino, a three-tiered bar dripping with 2 million glass beads.

Upstairs, guests discovered Cosmopolitan’s most unique feature in most of its 2,995 rooms - 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.

But some of the units are still involved in litigation from buyers who wanted to purchase condos at the resort. When Deutsche Bank took over the Cosmopolitan, the project had more than 1,800 units under contract, but developers settled with most buyers by refunding a portion of their security deposits.

Outside Wednesday night, disgruntled condo owners protested with signs saying “Cosmopolitan is a fraud” and “Why would you gamble here? They cheat!”

But aside from the handful of protesters, success seemed to be in Cosmopolitan’s grasp — at least on opening night.

Rachel and Frank Williams of Las Vegas took advantage of Cosmopolitan’s new rooms during one of the resort’s dress rehearsal days last weekend.

“Our room was so great because it had a view of the Bellagio fountains show and you could look down inside the conservatory,” Rachel Williams said.

Even though the Williams’ experienced the resort before its formal opening, the couple waited outside Wednesday night to see everything again.

Those who saw the doors swing open were part of an event that isn’t expected to happen for years to come. Analysts and gaming executives predict the Cosmopolitan will be the last Strip resort to open in the foreseeable future.

But Unwin doesn’t see Cosmopolitan as a bookend; he sees it as a game changer.

“I think we are at the beginning of something new. Las Vegas has a great history of reinventing itself,” Unwin said. “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.

Warren Smith, who lives in Tampa, Fla., remembers a very different Strip when he lived in Las Vegas in the 1980s. As a professional musician, he worked at the Dunes, Sands, Stardust and Frontier casinos - all of which have been demolished to make room for towering glass structures like the Cosmopolitan.

“This whole block represents the rejuvenation of the city. From a personal point of view, I really root for these kind of places to succeed,” Smith said. “I know they are incredibly expensive. But when you look around and see all these people tonight, this is not only what Las Vegas used to be, it’s what it should be.”

Sun video journalist Katharine Euphrat contributed to this report.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 25 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. I wish them well, but I am pretty sure another resort is the last thing the Strip needs right now, especially a costly high priced one.

  2. no mention of the condo owners suing the property that weren't invited and are not allowed to even see their condos. Sun is this purely a propaganda story? Is journalism truly dead?

  3. Hi wakeup, here's the story you're looking for:

  4. Glad to see the Cosmopolitan open and provide 5000 new jobs for the people of Las Vegas.

    I wish them well and know this is another step for Vegas. One at a time.


    No propaganda in this article. The Sun ran stories about the lawsuits and the buyers. This story is about the grand opening.

    I am pretty sure you are not a condo buyer so I can only assume you just like to stir the pot. ;-)

  5. From everything that has been written about the Cosmopolitan, I am pretty sure it is going to outdo and put a strain on Aria, which to me was not very impressive.

    Aria was hard to be in because it has too much in the way of uneven lines in it's decor style and just being there made me feel uncomfortable.

    The whole CityCenter property for me is a turnoff.

    I doubt if I'd ever go back there.

  6. Big Stack, I agree with you and I like your Otto Cycle, 4 stroke internal combustion metaphor---i.e. just past bottom dead center, maybe it will allow for greater volumetric efficiency, lol. Seriously, even in a bad economy with too many rooms on the market, I think the fact that they in effect have no debt will be to their advantage, especially as you say with MGM and Harrahs drowning in debt, plus I really have my doubts about City Center, and then who knows maybe the Cosmopolitan's marketing strategy---going after a more culturally attuned, advant garde, adventurous tourist will work.

  7. Cosmopolitan is impressive. What that means is, if there are too many hotel rooms, another less interesting hotel may close. And?

  8. has anybody from the commentators been there yet? Curious to know details about the players club and if there's a poker room. If it's an independant casino I am sure that Harrah's (Caesars) is eager to buy into it but will probably wait a while. The problem, however, Deutsche Bank owns it and it's unlikely that this company will go in chapter 11 :)

    From Switzerland

  9. Why won't they pay people cheated out of their deposit? This is bad for all real estate sales here. These bad apples ruin the whole market.

  10. It is time to have the death penalty for serous economic crime.

  11. Chunky says:

    He welcomes the Cosmopolitan to the Strip, appreciates their fortitude to open and create jobs in this economy.

    However, why not make good on your obligations to the condo buyers who gave deposit money 4-5 years ago? It is a black eye on the property for not dealing with these people fair, square and in a timely manner. Be a good corporate citizen and do the right thing!

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  12. Good point Chunks, look at all the people, Canadians, Swiss, Japanese, Chinese etc. that might by a condo...and this black eye hurts the whole market.

    Looks like we might need a reserve fund to protect condo, property buyers...

  13. I'll buy it for 3.9 billion if they finance it at 6% on a 30 year note.......... Lead me to the closing table. I will make millions.

  14. "I think we are at the beginning of something new. Las Vegas has a great history of reinventing itself,"

    How many times have we heard this basic same proclamation in the last 10-15 years???

  15. Glad to see the Cosmopolitan open and provide 5000 new jobs for the people of Las Vegas.


    Don't get too ecxcited for those 5000, some of which are probably from City Center and various other casinos when they lost their jobs over at those places.

  16. Boris,
    I have, imagine having Everything (lights in other rooms, curtains and all) remotely controlled. I really liked it. Some places are $$$$ but you should already know that since it is new, otherwise the person is just ignorant.

  17. "Det_Munch": Las Vegas has constantly reinvented itself over the past 110 years, not 10-15. If you cannot handle reinvention and change, if you need the coddling arms of "stability," then Las Vegas is a place not for you, a place you will never feel comfortable in, and a place you will never understand. Give it a rest.

  18. Boris, I visited last night. Yes there is a Players Club, no there is not a poker room.

    The property is beautiful, unique, and very eclectic. Technically, it is not part of CityCenter, but there is no way that anyone who drives up will ever realize that as it feels part of CityCenter.

    I find their food and cocktail program to be extremely unique and ambitious, as well as their art program and entertainment booking.

    The entirety of CityCenter plus the Cosmopolitan presents a major emotional challenge to anyone who was raised on the boom precipitated by the Mirage, which used a very mainstream vacation fantasy (a tropical island) to become immediately successful.

    None of CityCenter or the Cosmopolitan relies on that common, comforting fantasy. Instead, it goes the other direction and asks the question: How can we challenge your perceptions?

    I'm not sure if challenging visitors' perceptions is the future of Las Vegas, but I can say that it is a wonderful experience for those open to such things.

  19. "Det_Munch": Las Vegas has constantly reinvented itself over the past 110 years, not 10-15. If you cannot handle reinvention and change, if you need the coddling arms of "stability," then Las Vegas is a place not for you, a place you will never feel comfortable in, and a place you will never understand. Give it a rest

    Oh, the old man "history professor" speaks again! Damn! Did you take notes 110 years ago when they spoke of Vegas reinventing itself??? BTW - since I am obviously not as old as you, everytime a new casino/resort opens, we hear that SAME line, most recently when City Center opened and now the Cosmo people pulled it out and used it again.

    Honey, I LIVED in Vegas for 7 years and LOVED IT!!! But I am also a realist. I got out before it totally went down the toilet or else I would have ended up homeless. I miss it all the time (especially since I was up and out today shoveling snow at 6:30 am!); I miss sitting on my patio with my coffee watching the sun come up (I tried it now and it really isn't as much fun - my coffee froze in the cup!!) But I also moved back to an area that would only make Vegas jealous - we have jobs here and no 14.8% unemployment rate. And we have history, a history that shaped our nation.

    So get off your high horse.

  20. I find their food and cocktail program to be extremely unique and ambitious, as well as their art program and entertainment booking.


    With all due respect, Reza, have you EVER travelled anywhere else besides Vegas? Or LIVED anywhere else? Have you ever been to a "real art museum"? It seems you are grasping at straws in the hopes that Las Vegas will somehow turn into another New York/Chicago/Paris/London because some casino hangs original art in its hallways. I guess I'm still a "big city b*tch" who grew up with this stuff around me all the time. Seeing it in a Vegas hotel is no big deal. Most tourists probably can't tell the difference between original artwork and a $19.99 framed print from BIg Lots. Or don't care. That's not why they are in Vegas.

    I will concede Vegas has some of the best entertainment in the world. No place else can match it. It will never be a "cosmopolitan city". It will always be fun, glitzy, tacky at times, irreverant Las Vegas. So enough of the "reinvention" stuff.

    PS How can booze be unique and ambitious? Food, yes - but a good aged scotch and a smooth, chilled vodka is perfect the way they are on the rocks with a twist - no need to be ambitious. Don't tell me - you drink those "fru fru" drinks, the ones with embellishments other than an olive or a slice of lemon or lime or nothing at all. (I'm not surprised).

  21. I have to chuckle at that crowd picture with the Airman front and to the right!! Hope he had a good time! And wasn't supposed to be on duty. Our tax dollars at work!! But hey - good for him! I hope he won something and was treated right.

  22. I've found so many of these anonymous and unaccountable commenters are those who ran from Las Vegas with their tail between their legs and now, like a jilted lover, believe that by ranting from afar they can make some real assessment of something they obviously have no stake in and very little knowledge of.

    Like so many other of those critical of Las Vegas, they use the term "real" to differentiate between what we have in Las Vegas versus what other cities have, which is an utter waster of time given our history versus the history of these so-called "real" cities. They have little or no appreciation for the character and history of Las Vegas; they do not understand what it is, but only present armchair analysis for what it isn't. Snooze.

  23. Det_Munch: Go shovel it somewhere but here.

  24. So, because Las Vegas has an engaged and concerned citizenry, we get criticized from afar for that as well, Dennis? Don't you folks have anything better to do?

  25. Thinking rationally, is there any reason for the over-saturated Las Vegas Hotel / Casino market to be optimistic about ANY new property ?

    If so, precisely what would that reason be ?

    The Cosmo' is obviously a pretty attractive new neighbor. So ?

History: Table of contents »