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Las Vegas

All Dressed Up w/ Places to Go

The lobby at the new Cosmopolitan Hotel

Las Vegas has done it again. The desert metropolis has one-upped itself to forge a super-hip new paradigm with hotspots that are artier, sexier and more sophisticated than ever.

"We've been waiting for this," says Francine McKanna of PRA Las Vegas. "We've evolved with this reinvention—the next step is avant garde."

For evidence, check out the much-heralded $1.8 billion, 2,995-room Cosmopolitan Hotel. The Dali-esque ad, with a pantless bellman and scattering white kittens, is a YouTube hit.

Digital installations are ubiquitous. The lobby has eight hi-def video columns with beautiful continuous loops. Similar installations light up the elevators. Outside, displayed on the hotel's 65-foot marquee, Yoko Ono's Imagine Peace memorial in Iceland adds whimsy and worldly drama to the grand entrance.

Jaki Baskow of Baskow & Associates DMC, who began booking events before December's opening, says, "It's a perfect mix of retro hipster and new multimedia. And I always want to take the lobby videos home with me!"

It's not all video. Repurposed cigarette machines scattered through the hotel sell $5 pieces of art. The parking garage has graffiti murals by Kenny Scharf and Shepard Fairey. The three-story Chandelier Bar was constructed with two million twinkling glass beads so you can experience life inside a chandelier.

"Cosmopolitan is flat out awe-inspiring," says McKanna. "We've all been committed to changing the vibe of the city. With properties like this, we'll be ahead of the curve when things come back." Other jaw droppers include a 46,000-sf Sahra Spa & Hammam built with 420 tons of local sandstone, semi-private Casino Cabanas with bottle service, and Marquee Night Club & Day Club where Coldplay rocked New Year's Eve.

Amid all the art, the drama and 100,000 sf of gaming, the hotel remains boutique-y.

"It feels small because of the vertical twin tower layout and excellent service," says Alene Waxler with the Alan Waxler Group DMC. "Instead of one endless reception bar, the lobby offers eight charming stations. Each is near the elevators, so no schlepping bags past dozens of slot machines to reach your room." We like the smart tech control panels, Japanese soaking tubs and majestic views—from the balconies. Yes, balconies.

Alene confides, "The best word is probably edgy, but my first guests were most impressed by the gorgeous rooms and private terraces."

For events, the first four floors house 150,000 sf of meeting space, including seven ballrooms ranging up to 37,000 sf, with 46 breakouts. Some are linked to a glam pool above the Strip.

Try to have some fun while you're here too.

"One morning, we showed a video to a group whose boss was being 'kidnapped," says Alene. "We broke everyone into teams and sent them looking for informants along the Strip. They got to know Las Vegas and each other in new ways, but they were all glad to return to the Cosmopolitan at day's end."


The non-smoking bar Vdara

Las Vegas always ranks high in entertainment and nightlife, but for visitors seeking all of that and peace and quiet, the 1,495-suite Vdara Hotel & Spa is going to feel like home.

"There is a huge demographic of people seeking a no gambling, smoke-free atmosphere, and they've loved our concept from the start," says Stephanie Windham, VP of Sales.

Upon entering the capacious lobby, you could be anywhere except the Strip. Breathe in the fragrant ambiance—a green fig scent dispersed through public areas. But where's the action? We can't hear the slot machines!

"Guests get all the Vegas they want," says Windham, reminding us that Vdara is part of the LEED Gold-certified CityCenter's arty new eco-opolis. There's gambling next door at ARIA Hotel & Casino, while steps away Crystals Mall is stocked with Stella McCartney and Tom Ford. But the limos are powered by compressed natural gas, and the 18,000-sf health center is the only Green Network spa on the strip.

"Vdara is Zen," says Baskow. We agree. The chill ambiance extends to the suites with their great views, generous amenities, and truly functional kitchenettes. Guests can buy supplies at Market Cafe for fresh meals to prepare in their suites.

For business, the fantastic 10,000-sf conference space just off the lobby is full of Czech glass chandeliers.

"A large group can get an all-space hold here," says Windham. "They love the big fish treatment, and we're getting repeat business."

-- Alexis Quinlan

Spring, 2011

Reprinted with permission of Prevue/prevueonline.net (edited version). To read the original article visit: http://www.prevueonline.net/blog/themes/culture/the-new-luxury/2