Go Sell It on the Mountain

Vegas brings its message of sin and skin to Sundance

Park City, Utah, experienced a higher-than-average dose of Sin City during last month’s Sundance Film Festival when two Vegas brands showed up in force. And they didn’t come empty-handed.

It took U-Hauls and SUV caravans driving through the night, but 5,000 Cosmopolitan cookies—the ooey-gooey ones from room service that I later spirited away in my purse—arrived safe and sound to Cosmo’s festival outpost above the Sundance Channel HQ. There, celebrities and invited guests learned about the new hotel by actually experiencing the property firsthand—sort of.

The who’s who blissed out with aromatherapy from Sahra Spa & Hammam, had their boots serviced by boot butlers and sipped on five-spice Patrón margaritas prepared by Bond GM/property mixologist Kristen Schaefer and bartender Paul Nguyen. After a few of those cocktails, others—myself included—tried out the costumed photo booth. Celebrities Emmanuelle Chriqui, Paul Rudd, Zooey Deschanel and Patrón co-founder John Paul DeJoria sat on Cosmopolitan furnishings in rooms decorated with actual Cosmopolitan suite wallpaper and light fixtures, all of which was shipped in to turn a business office into a little slice of Las Vegas. As suites go, it was pretty sweet.

Cosmo’s Sundance debut was punctuated by a party in celebration of the Salvation Boulevard premiere, starring Jennifer Connelly, Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear at Park City’s new restaurant Silver, co-owned by Prime Las Vegas alum, chef Todd Mark Miller. Dinner was accompanied by Schaefer’s creations with sounds by Vegas’ DJ Zen Freeman and, later, signature cocktails from STK.

Meanwhile, late night belonged to Tao Group. In this sixth year of Tao’s Sundance takeovers, the bicoastal group once again set up camp at local bar Lindzee O’Michaels, which was transformed into a gifting suite, the House of Swagg at the Samsung Galaxy Tab Lift. But this year, when the sun went down, the party relocated to the parking garage.

Typically, garage parties feature as their showpiece a keg or kegerator and maybe a pool table. But Tao Group threw out the rulebook and faithfully re-created Tao Nightclub right there in the garage, Friday through Monday. “Our new spot is the best at Sundance,” Tao Group partner Noah Tepperberg said following Night 1. “It’s got an underground vibe, but it also has the wow factor that everything we in do in Vegas has.” Wow, indeed.

Descending into the garage, New Yorkers, Los Angelinos and homesick Las Vegans such as myself eagerly swept past large potted palms and through a familiar round entrance before coming face-to-face with a little brother to Tao’s iconic Buddha statue. Inside this faux club, an endless expanse of red carpet and curtains enveloped the VIP booths, chaises, go-go boxes, Asian bric-a-brac and DJ booth.

Usual suspects such as Lil Jon, Jermaine Dupri and Shwayze were joined by Juliette Binoche, Susan Sarandon and Tinsley Mortimer.

Flanked by actress Bridgetta Tomarchio and her handler, I braved that crowd, bumping along the way into Ty Ku co-founder Kirk Spahn and enjoying sounds by DJ Vice only to emerge hours later into the driving snow, our bodies steaming. And when I closed my eyes—well, ever wonder what it’s like inside one of those Vegas snow globes?

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