Travels with a Gourmet

a food lover's travels, memorable meals, culinary trials and gastronomic experiences

 

On our almost yearly trip to Las Vegas, we spend the night in one of the city’s many high-end hotels.  Last year, we stayed at the Wynn.  This year, we tried the new kid on the block, the one-month old Cosmopolitan which is causing lots of raised eyebrows on the Strip for it’s young, modern interiors and cool factor.

The Cosmopolitan is different from other Strip hotels because of three major details: firstly, you don’t have to walk through the noisy and smoky casino (finally!!!) to get to the restaurants and retail outlets; secondly, the rooms are actually studios because they are equipped with a kitchenette (a sink, a microwave, a dishwasher – although, who would use that when there are no flatware or chinaware in the room?) and lastly, almost all rooms have terraces (the city rooms which have 2 queen beds don’t).

We checked in on a Thursday afternoon.  Upon exiting the parking elevators, we were pleasantly surprised with the modern lobby of video displays on every column and touch screen pads on every counter to make check-in interactive.  The ride up to the 36th floor was smooth and quick and our one-bedroom terrace studio on the West tower was large, roomy and had a fantastic view of the Bellagio’s fountains and the Strip.  There are lots of fun, cheeky and well-thought of design details: two luggage racks instead of the usual one, the closet wallpapered with black and white Fornasetti images with orange hangers, hard-covered Phaidon books, including the Las Vegas Wallpaper guide, litter the room and encourage reading or at the very least flicking through.  Snacks and mini-bar drinks are new labels and the coffee machine is a fancy drip design one (which is great except that coffee and tea are not free-of-charge).  Bathroom amenities are from famed New York Chemist C.O. Bigelow, the leather-topped desk has a glass of colored pencils instead of plastic pens, postcards are on thick stock paper, there are two flat-screen interactive televisions mounted on the wall and the modern telephone has a “Beck and Call” button for everything you might need during your stay.
After unpacking our tiny suitcase, we headed off to the East tower where the restaurants, retail outlets and casino were.  Walking through the conference areas, we noticed the large installation art pieces scattered throughout the hotel – from the metal dogs sitting around in a circle to the large stiletto shoes.  We finally got to the 3rd floor landing of the East tower, where a billiard table was set out in the middle for guests to use or hang around in.  Here, there were several restaurants lining the edges of the open area:  Estiatorio Milos, the Montreal-based Greek restaurant, Blue Ribbon Sushi from New York, D.O.C.G. and Scarpetta, two Italian ones from chef Scott Conant, the former a casual wine bar and the latter, a modern restaurant, L.A. based David Myer’s French bistro Comme Ca, the steakhouse STK, Jose Andres’ tapas bar Jaleo and down a tiny, easy-to-miss, brick-covered alley that seems to lead nowhere is the “No name Pizza place” which doesn’t have a name and sells NY-style pizza by the slice.  Like I said, the Cosmopolitan is cheeky in every way.
We searched for a place to eat and wanted to try the casual modern wine bar D.O.C.G. but ended up in the quasi-French bistro Comme Ca since it was the only place open for lunch.  We sat at one of the few bar tables and ordered from their lunch menu – the crab cake starter (US$14) for A and the 10-ounce flat iron steak frites (US$29) for me.  While we waited, we couldn’t help but notice the incongruous non-French bistro details – lumberjack checked shirts as uniforms for the waitstaff, alioli (!!!) served with the steak frites, we asked for mustard and were given French’s rather than French and on and on and on.  A disappointing meal to say the least.  The service was o.k. until we asked for the check found out that neither could we charge the bill to our room nor pay with a credit card – a computer glitch that was unacceptable in a 2000-room hotel restaurant catering to conference-goers and tourists. Post-lunch, we went back to our room where I watched the Bellagio fountain show several times in a row and enjoyed the full-on Strip view that is Las Vegas at it’s best.
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3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Telephone: 1 (702) 698 7000
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