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Charm: The Cosmopolitan's Calling Card

By MikeE on Saturday, 18th December 2010 12:00pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 21


Several years ago, Steve Friess did an interview with Steve Wynn and asked him what he thought of Mirage replacing the white tiger habitat with BLT Burger. While I can't recall Wynn's exact words, he said something to the extent of a hotel loses its charm when it monetizes every square inch.

By that definition, charm is something MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment don't create. Your room keys have advertisements on them as do your show tickets. The nightstand is topped with the company-branded magazine. Out by the pool, every desirable seat is an extra charge. God forbid you dare to take a seat in a nightclub without table service. The lobbies intentionally lack seating to rest your tired feet and the underperforming ice cream or gift shop is turned into a bar/tattoo parlor where people just resolve themselves to getting a copy of their Affliction shirts inked across their backs. The buildings - even those by world-famous architects - get wrapped in ads. If they could pimp their wares on the floors, they would.

I took a seat in Cosmopolitan's third level restaurant commons where I was struck by a revelation. The sofas were funky and quirky, intentionally mismatched but somehow worked beautifully together. A nearby pool table was never left empty and I plugged my iPhone into the sofa's built in charger to take advantage of the free wifi while catching up on Twitter. Others lounged with their laptops and coffees in hand. Another table doubled as foosball and down the hallway that lead to the "secret" pizza place, one could find a pinball machine and a classic arcade. Up the escalator and in the pool area were ping-pong tables just as common as bars.

Charming indeed.

It's a unique vibe not found anywhere in Vegas. I was surrounded by several magnificent restaurants in a vast open space of free public lounges without any pressure to try the eateries. My visual field wasn't bombarded by ads. And this in prime strip real estate. They could have made private gaming salons taking advantage of some seriously nice views. They could have loaded it with slots. Hell, they could have even put in another ginormous nightclub if they wanted to.

But no. Instead we got a relatively quiet public space that encourages interaction with other guests. Keep the restaurant bars open late into the night and Cosmo's restaurant commons has the potential of becoming the underdog, unexpected hangout hit of the city.

Tagged: cosmopolitan   


Comments & Discussion:

uh oh... had a thought. is this about marketing the property for sale? deutsche bank is not in this for the long term. and once the ownership changes, who knows what will happen with management.

i like the look of the place and cant wait to go in after all the bugs are worked out over the opening. an area to sit and relax in should be part of every hotel.

Bottle service while gambling? Are these comped bottles? Why would I pay for something that is typically provided gratis while playing?

I do think the cabanas are kind of cool, and would be a lot of fun with a group of friends.

Unfortunately, no Wi-Fi on the third floor at this time. That's a critical flaw in an otherwise nice space.

I should maybe clarify - the signal on the third floor popped in and out but mostly out. I tested it on an iPhone, an iPad and my MacBook Pro. Dr. Dave also couldn't connect his Windows laptop up there.

I assume they'll fix that. Hopefully soon.

I thought Steve Wynn said he favored MGM removing the habitat for BLT.. something to the effect that the feature had been Roy's idea and Steve never liked the fact that everyone would crowd that entry.

Anway, I love all these little spaces. cant wait to see for myself.

From the photos I've seen, the pinball machine by the pizza place is a Gottlieb "Vegas" machine. They only made 1500 of those. I want one, bad!

During my three days at The Cosmopolitan, I most returned back to this space. Every single time, I was met by something awesome happening. José Andrés drinking and playing foosball with completely random strangers, people-watching to the garage or guest elevators, women nearly falling asleep in comfortable chairs - it was amazing. No security guards telling people to move along, no one getting out of control. Not to mention the kick-ass selection of 45's in the sitting area in front of STK and Milos. Hell, the people that I thought would have at least SOME criticism of the 'unused' space had nothing but glowing observations.

I want to go to Scarpetta early next time and have a drink and watch the fun. Me, of all people.

I really hope they maintain and keep these spaces. A meeting spot in the restaurant area is going to be a nice feature. Unfortunately, someone will steal a billiard ball before the new year. Their long term survival will depend on DB's patience for early losses and if MGM or Caesars buys the property you can kiss them goodbye.

This area seems like a great idea, last night there were a lot of people there having a good time. The only WiFi signal I could wind was a unsecured Netgear AP. They were installing some funky interactive art pieces in the hall leading to the Wicked Spoon Buffet yesterday.

^ This area reminds me more of a student union than a casino. And I think that's good. It's different at least. And, Misnomer, I'm pretty sure that is a Gottlieb "Vegas" machine in the pizza place. The Galaga's kind of funky, though...it's some kind of bootleg with slightly different graphics and gameplay than I remember.

I like this space also, but have a couple of thoughts on it - firstly that despite the vague impression that there are somehow several spaces like this scattered throughout the property, there is only one, and it's a functional waiting area shared by the restaurants. Unlike the tiger cage at the front door of Mirage, this space is located at an intentional dead end at the furthest possible public point from the entrances. No matter where you are going to or coming from anywhere on the property, if your journey doesn't start or end at one of the restaurants, you would never see this space.

That being said, the space is well designed and the pool table definitely gives it some life. I'm sure it will be very dynamic during CES and on weekends. However my guess is that it will clear out every night shortly after the last restaurant closes as opposed to becoming any kind of late-night hang out.

Secondly - as charming as the space is, Cosmo's reality is that it is not and cannot be a non-profit interactive gallery of art for art's sake. It HAS to generate millions of dollars of revenue every day simply to cover operating costs and keep the doors open. This seating area will probably survive in some form because it serves a function for the restaurants. The pool table however, may only last until some frat boy passes out on it in a pool of his own vomit still clutching his yard margarita, or a tipsy couple sneaks out of Marquee at 3am and clumsily tries to 'christen' it.

One real comparable place I can think of that the space reminds me of is the shops at the Time Warner Center in New York. Maybe not as cool or 'city' as that location, but it serves the same function and pulls it off quite well.

I still can't believe they took out the tiger habitat! ITS UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!

I want to interject, in the first weekend night of operations this space was amazing. There were people playing games you'd never expect. Uno, pool, backgammon. This space was happening in a far out way.

Chris77, in terms of it being the only space of its kind, it is not. There are several areas around the property, the so called Commons spaces, that have pieces of art that served as major draws and hang out areas at all times of the day. They may not have the games, but they have the draws for photo ops and kids entranced by the giant sculptures and art. And the area is readily used, not just for those going to the restaurants, but those coming out of Marquee and going to the pizza place.

As far as the art for arts sake...it can be. The art is a project that seems to be driven by getting art out there on an approachable level, not a Wynn or Bellagio-esque collection. They really are giving up and coming artists and established ones a chance to get there work out there, and they end up with a beautifully decorated resort. Its a win win situation. The bottom line is about the gaming/F&B/hotel, and that is the same regardless of the art throughout the property. These people are in it for the long haul, and they're willing to maintain the little things to keep the property what it is.

It's cute, but I can guarantee you that the pool table is not going to last long. It draws the wrong kind of crowd. The chairs and couches were drawing a typical resort crew tonight; but the pool area was heavy on saggy pants, and loose shirts with sports team insignias.

^snob :P

I'm not really familiar with the layout of the place, but I'm wondering if these common areas are a result of the original condo-hotel design, which obviously anticipated more "residential" clientele. God knows you'd expect some decent common areas for the sky high HOAs I'm sure they charge. I agree it's a really great, refreshing concept. But as noted, whether its Duetsche Bank or a future owner, the bean counters are going to want to see money coming out of every corner. Sooner or later someone is going to see this as wasted space because there's not a cash register milking customers. Obviously there's residual benefits of something like this, but it's a question if the corporate types running the place can actually see that.

Sorry to off topic but is there an exact link to the interview with Steve Wynn talking about what he thought of the tigers closing? I can't to seem to find it anywhere.

It was his Nov-Dec 07 interview with Wynn, the one where he was going on about sales in his Rolex and Vuitton stores.

Back at the time, there was guessing that Mirage would close the Secret Garden and dolphins exhibit to build another hotel tower (can't have too much capacity, you know!) and Wynn gave a short lecture that if you squeeze in as many opportunities to make a profit as possible into a given space, people begin to recognize that they're being fleeced.

I've cited that speech when talking about Bellagio in recent years, as they transformed a small public phone closet near the conservatory into an eyewear store that is clearly built on a budget.

Slightly off topic, but this is a very interesting comment that SW made. It reminds me very much of what Disneyland is doing today--close a ride and open a "restaurant" in it's place. Disgusting.
What would happen if Steve Wynn became the head of Disneyland?

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