Thursday, June 5, 2014 | 2 a.m.
The Las Vegas comeback kid story of record visitor volume, occupancy rates and increased convention attendance and business helped convince executives at the giant realty fund Blackstone that the timing was right to go ahead with its $1.73 billion bet in early May to purchase the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
“Las Vegas is really coming back,” I was told. “The Cosmopolitan was an important timing opportunity.” Blackstone is the largest real-estate private-equity firm in the world today with $272 billion in assets under management as of April 17.
Blackstone Senior Managing Director Tyler Henritze told me, “We are excited to join with the Cosmopolitan and work with its employees and management in the next phase of its evolution.
“As a significant investor in the hospitality sector, Blackstone recognizes the value and potential in the Cosmopolitan and Las Vegas and looks forward to working to build on the success to date.”
Blackstone, which has a 1.9 percent stake in Caesars Entertainment, is known in Las Vegas for its equity involvement with the Howard Hughes Center, Hilton Worldwide, La Quinta and more than 1,000 housing and industrial assets.
A senior exec told me: “Blackstone’s other Las Vegas holdings such as the Howard Hughes Center and our industrial properties provided a unique insight into the recovery of Las Vegas.”
Our Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority recently reported that 3.5 million visitors came to Las Vegas in April, which is a 3.5 percent increase over a year to date. For the first four months of the year, Las Vegas is running 4.8 percent ahead of the record first quarter of 2013 with 13.7 million guests during the comparable first quarters.
Our average daily room rates have jumped to $116 — an increase of 1.2 percent, with resulting revenue also up 4.4 percent. Strip occupancy also rose to nearly 92 percent. Additionally, I-15 traffic was clocked in at more than 43,000 daily trips (an increase of 5.1 percent), and all major highways registered a 4.4 percent increase to 107,535 daily trips.
In the hospitality industry, Blackstone controls the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan and the recently sold Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. It also has a 20 percent stake in the Italian luxury goods designer Versace, which has several retail outlets in Las Vegas.
Founded in 1985, Blackstone currently employs 2,000 people, with nine offices across America and additional offices from Sydney to Shanghai and Dusseldorf to Dubai.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas dares to be different. From the hotel’s red reservations desks to fine art found throughout the resort, The Cosmopolitan’s signature style is helping to pave its own path on the Las Vegas Strip.
Upon entering the resort, you’re greeted by pillars of video boards playing video art by Digital Kitchen and David Rockwell Studio exclusively produced for The Cosmopolitan. Just beyond that, you’ll find all your favorite casino games on the resort’s 100,000-square-foot casino floor.
The Cosmopolitan’s rooms standout as the resort’s most unique feature. About 2,220 of The Cosmopolitan’s 2,995 rooms have 6-foot deep terraces that span the length of the room, a first at a modern Strip hotel. Other in-room amenities include soaking tubs, kitchenettes and quirky accessories like artsy coffee table books.
The dining experience at The Cosmopolitan isn’t something you’ll find at other Strip resorts, either. All of The Cosmopolitan’s 13 restaurateurs are new to the Las Vegas market. You’ll find American steakhouse fare in a modern setting at STK, top-notch sushi at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill and the freshest fish flown in from the Mediterranean daily at Estiatorio Milos.
Whether the sun is up or down, Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub is the place to find the party at The Cosmopolitan. The venue is a dayclub/nightclub, complete with a pool and cabanas outside and three different rooms with three different vibes inside.
If nightclubs aren’t your thing, you can grab a drink at one of The Cosmopolitan’s five other bars, like The Chandelier, which is encased in 2 million dripping crystals.