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by David Small
The best faux purses are beautiful and, from a distance, give the illusion of a luxury handbag that is almost indistinguishable from the original. The details, like the too bright, too synthetic, yellow or orange thread divulges the truth, at least for one desired luxury brand.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is an exciting and beautiful property on Las Vegas Boulevard – an experience, that is, like the best faux purse, almost indistinguishable from real luxury.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas offered wonderful accommodations and an outstanding location. But the stitching that holds it together is made by the management of the Cosmopolitan, not Marriott. The Cosmopolitan delivered Marriott Bonvoy® “lite”; a glimmering Strip hotel missing personal attention, detailed quality, and elegance.
The hospitality industry divides a hotel stay between the “soft product” and the “hard product.” The hard products at Cosmopolitan are the hotel interior and exterior, the rooms, the physical restaurants, the spa, etc. Some of the Cosmopolitan’s hard products were fantastic.
The Terrace One Bedroom Fountain Suite
The accommodation was beautiful.
Close the door to a 610 square foot, Terrace One Bedroom Fountain Suite and enjoy a shower big enough for a party, Japanese soaking tub, a smart dressing area with changing bench, and of course, the private terrace delivering fabulous views of the Strip and the Bellagio Fountains. After taking a party shower, or soaking in the room’s tub, find true and authentic luxury in the hotel’s Urbana microfiber robe, Powered by Sobel Westex. I loved the robe so much I ordered one directly from the manufacturer.
Cosmopolitan Restaurants — Some Good and Bad Ingredients
Other aspects of the hard product confused at the Cosmopolitan. The hotel offered two Italian dining journeys that delivered decidedly different results. Ingredients included distinctive and wonderful, inspired authenticity, contrasted with absolute transparent faux and just plain weird.
Scarpetta, a New York City transplant, served a glorious and authentic exploration of modern Italian dining at Cosmopolitan. Start with the delictable Octopus Grigliate, refined with yuzu, warm potatoes, olive, concentrated tomato, salsa verde, and agromato. Choose the Branzino for a sublime presentation accompanied by rainbow chard, toasted pine nuts, sun raisins, citrus tomato sauce, basil.
The Tagliatelle of lamb bolognese & truffle burrata produced rich, complex flavors complemented by Chef Michael Vitangeli’ bespoke pasta. Before diving into the entrees or the starter, overload on the homemade Stromboli – magnifico!
Superfrico, also housed at Cosmopolitan, self describes as an “Italian American Psychedelic restaurant journey.” The journey, however, missed at all stops.
The seating was the opposite of COVID-19 safe; tables were squeezed together at 50% occupancy, with a distance of one foot. The Anthony Falco-influenced Mushroom Mogul round pizza, far overpriced at $34 for an appetizer-sized portion, was soggy and floppy. The Carbonara Fusilli Lunghi with guanciale, pecorino, tellicherry black pepper, and egg yolk was inedible at any price. I returned the ice-cold Calamari back to the insane journey that is Superfrico.
The experience at Superfrico attempted to mask the food with odd and unique performers running throughout the dining space. I believed they were running away before diners tasted the food.
Bonvoy® “Lite” at Cosmopolitan
“Operated to Four- and Five-Star Standards of (Service),”
Only Within the Autograph Lounge
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is the only Marriott Bonvoy® property sitting on Las Vegas Vegas Boulevard; flanked to the north by Bellagio and Aria to the south. In 2010, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas CEO, announced the marketing and sales partnership between Cosmopolitan and Marriott for the 2800 room, 242 suite property.
“Marriott won’t manage the property yet requires
that Autograph Collection hotels be operated to
four- and five-star standards of cleanliness and service,”
stated (Cosmopolitan) resort CEO John Unwin in 2010
The partnership offers Marriott reservations booking and support of the Marriott Bonvoy® loyalty program. Remember the “soft product” as an additional defining element of a hotel stay? The soft product is service. The soft product is personal attention. The soft product is the feeling of welcome at the property.
At the Cosmopolitan, the soft product appeared to be confined within the small square footage of the Autograph Lounge. Step outside the glass doors and you may be lost in the crowd as a Marriott Bonvoy® guest.
Within the sanctuary of the Autograph Lounge, Ashley Jimenez, Autograph Lounge Supervisor, ensured enforcement of those advertised four- and five-star standards of service, and she resolved any issue brought to her attention. Outside of the lounge, however, despite the lure of Marriott customers and the brand loyalty of approximately 140,000 Marriott Bonvoy® members, the Cosmopolitan’s own loyalty program, Identity Membership & Rewards, reigned supreme.
The Cosmo Bonvoy® Treatment
So what can you expect as a Marriott Bonvoy® elite guest at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas? A link on Cosmopolitan’s website offers an answer. All Marriott Bonvoy® elite members receive the usual room stay points associated with their tier.
At Gold level and above, skip the line at the Wicked Spoon Buffet and jump over the crowd for the coveted steamed crab legs with drawn butter. Marriott Bonvoy® Platinum elite and above receive a 15% discount at any seating.
Standing in the “skip” line and reaching the Wicked Spoon Buffet pay station after the meal cut-off (example — breakfast seating ends at 11am) resulted in a $26 upcharge for two. What happens if you go visit the Bonvoy®-friendly Autograph Lounge to question the extra charge for the same food served at 10:59 or 11:01?
The general manager of Wicked Spoon
answered with a faux smile:
“If you go down there (the Autograph Lounge),
I will not let you in.”
Thankfully, our experience at Wicked Spoon was saved by the warmth and charm of senior manager, Stacey Harris. Missing anything at all at the buffet? Harris will call you something endearing, and then she guaranteed the answer and the result with an authentic and gracious smile.
Working during your stay at Cosmopolitan? According to Marquis, the guest relations manager for the Cosmopolitan, WiFi in the room is a luxury afforded Bonvoy® guests who can provide their MAC address (a hardware ID for each device on a network).
Marquis held me hostage on the phone for an hour and blamed the non-working WiFi on our two iPhones and laptop, requiring our MAC addresses. How many guests know how to find MAC addresses on their computer or mobile devices, or have the time or are willing to spend the time troubleshooting during a stay? Instead of sending help to solve the issue, Marquis proved how unimportant I was as a Marriott Bonvoy® guest, and stated:
“We just have a partnership with Marriott.
We run the hotel.”
The WiFi was never fixed.
The Cosmo FHR “Hack”
- Rate: $123 per night plus taxes and fees through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts (Resort Fee $51.02 daily).
- Marriott Bonvoy® points earned (6,818 Base + 5,114 Elite + 7,818 Extra)
Double dip with Marriott Bonvoy® and American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts (FHR) and enhance your Bonvoy® stay, as well as earning Marriott Bonvoy® points and elite night credits. Marriott Bonvoy® elite free breakfast and 4pm late check-out were not offered to Bonvoy® guests. Book your stay on the phone with American Express Platinum Travel and complement Cosmopolitan Bonvoy® benefits with Fine Hotels and Resorts perks.
Receive a room upgrade upon arrival, when available
through FHR (received a four-tier complimentary upgrade
from City Room to One Bedroom Terrace)
“Enhanced 1-tier room upgrade” for
Bonvoy® Gold status through Bonvoy® Ambassador
I entered the Autograph Lounge upon arrival and received the FHR welcome letter. The websites for marriott.com, FHR, and The Cosmopolitan’s own website solely offered two queen beds – what I booked – and a very poor Vegas gamble for an FHR upgrade to a king room. Jesse McLin, the Cosmopolitan VIP Supervisor, introduced himself and offered a FHR complimentary king Terrace One Bedroom upgrade, or a Terrace One Bedroom (Bellagio) Fountain View on the 28th floor for $30 extra per night. I hid my smile, and swore no more gambling. I bet the sure thing for $30 extra per night for the breathtaking Bellagio Fountains view from the Cosmopolitan terrace.
Noon check-in based on availability through FHR
Not available with any elite tier of Bonvoy® at this hotel
Daily FHR $75 breakfast Credit for two through FHR (double Dip with Bonvoy®)
Bonvoy Platinum Elite and above 1x $10 Food and beverage Credit
$100 experience credit through FHR
Tip: Ask FHR to convert spa credit to a F&B Credit
Guaranteed 4pm check-out through FHR
Bonvoy priority 2PM late check out (subject to availability)
What is Next for Cosmopolitan?
MGM is Not Buying the Property
There is no purchase consummated at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Blackstone still owns the property; Cosmopolitan still operates the casino and the hotel for the current owners. MGM Resorts offered a prospective ownership group $1.625 billion, plus $200+ million annually in lease payments to get inside the Cosmopolitan for the lucrative gaming revenue. MGM is not buying The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
What does this mean for Marriott Bonvoy®? My personal guess is MGM Resorts cares more about the casinos and the enormous database of Marriott customers, compared to cannibalizing its own footprint in Vegas by enticing customers to abandon other MGM properties for a Cosmopolitan hotel stay, rather than a MGM Bellagio hotel stay. My bet is the marketing and sale partnership with Marriott will remain, regardless of if and when MGM is approved to assume operations under the proposed, new ownership group.
I wonder what odds would be on that bet?
“At this time there is no change. The resort will communicate any updates to its guests as more information becomes available,”
official sources associated with
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas exclusively shared.
David Small has a love affair with travel, and he “sees the world” through the eyes of his wife and children when they accompany him to destinations in the States and abroad. He is a Marriott Bonvoy enthusiast who enjoys every brand offered – rewarded by the richness of each experience and the people involved at each property.
Small runs a national media company, and he previously managed airline points loyalty programs for Sprint — in partnership with United Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airlines and Midwest Express Airlines