Cosmo Cool

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas opened with a lot of buzz and has so far sustained it. How? A $3.9 billion price tag has a little to do with it—that kind of cheese can build a pretty good mousetrap (all of CityCenter cost just twice that amount). But some specifics make this place especially interesting. Here are a few.

Access is a good place to start. You can get there fast from either side of the Strip by using Harmon Avenue. That’s good, but the real convenience comes from the underground garage. The underground orientation means you save the walking distance necessitated when a garage is built adjacent to a casino. Only the Cosmo and the Palazzo have underground garages, and they’re the two best parking setups in town.

The restaurant lineup ranks with any in Las Vegas. Most are pricey, but there’s a bargain play. It’s the “hidden pizzeria.” This place has neither a sign nor a name. There’s no menu either. No matter—it’s pizza! A slice of cheese is $3 and toppings are 50 cents extra. You can get a beer with your slice for $3.50, then pull up a seat (or stand) at the counter to eat. The experience itself is kinda fun, not to mention that the pizza is outstanding. Look for it on the third floor next to Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grille.

The Cosmo has balconies, and that’s a big deal. Attaching balconies to casino-hotel rooms just isn’t done, you know. But these rooms were originally slated to be condos, so they’re there, and I’d say that the Strip views they yield make this Vegas’ ultimate romantic “staycation” play.

There’s more. Domestic beers are just $5.40 (they charge the tax) at any of the bars, including the awesome three-level Chandelier. The Book & Stage bar is a live-music powerhouse. Seven of the restaurants are open late, including a 4 a.m. closing seven days a week at STK. I’ve seen foosball tables in at least three different locations. They’re not good tables, but it’s foosball in a casino.Next week the Boulevard Pool opens. It overlooks the Strip from about 100 feet up, doubles as a concert venue, and at least some part of it will be open to the public. My expectations are high.