My Stay At The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

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This Vegas blog is gonna get better and better now that I’ve actually been to Vegas again.  Last week I spent 4 nights at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.  When deciding where to stay, I searched through expedia.ca, and looked at the hotels on the strip.  I don’t have the patience to stay off the strip at this point, although maybe in the future I’ll branch out a bit.  I had stayed at the Cosmo last year, so I did have a comfort level with it, as I had really enjoyed my time there.  It’s a little pricier than most of the hotels I was looking at, but it fulfilled all of my requirements, being centrally located, with lots of cool restaurants, and great rooms.  Expedia had a deal which included free breakfast at the Wicked Spoon each day.  That put me over the top, and made it easier to justify paying the extra money.  In a previous post I’ve talked about some of my favorite buffets in Vegas, and The Wicked Spoon tops the list.  Not only were we not going to be buying breakfast every day, but after feasting there, nobody wanted lunch most days either.

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The service there was great.  It is a 5 star hotel and it’s first class all the way.  I had my son staying with us, so we needed a crib.  When we checked in, the lady at the desk co-ordinated crib drop-off and also asked if we were going to be using the mini-bar, warning us that moving items in the mini-bar would result in a charge to the room.  Anticipating that we might need the fridge for milk for our son, she offered to have someone come up and clear out the mini-bar.  This was thoughtful and a nice touch.  By the time we got up to our room, the crib was there in under 5 minutes.

I love the second floor.  This is going to sound crazy, but one of my favourite parts of the hotel is a spot where there is almost nothing going on.  There are two towers at the Cosmo, and the distance between them is substantial.  On the first floor, it’s mostly casino, but on the second floor there are some shops and restaurants in the front, but there’s a long carpeted path to get to the back.  Pretty quiet there most of the time, but actually a great place to bring a 15 month old who needs to run around a bit.  They play obscure 70’s soul music, and have a lot of great pictures of classic Vegas performers to look at as you walk through like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Harry Belafonte.  There are 3 TV screens with footage of old Vegas, and some people just stop and watch it for a bit.  It’s a sharp bit of decor that gives a great retro feel without being tacky.  The rest of the hotel doesn’t seem retro at all, but I think its ultra cool that there’s this little quiet pocket where you can take a trip through time as you walk to your elevator.  I also like that they’re paying homage to old Vegas, even though it’s a newer hotel.  

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I’ve eaten at a few of the restaurants there as well.  I had previously eaten at STK which is a chic steakhouse that usually has a DJ spinning while you eat.  I remember really enjoying it there.  This time I went to China Poblano which is a Chinese Mexican fusion restaurant which is worth going to for the originality of their offerings.  Holsteins is a burger place that has a great beer menu, and specializes in adult shakes.  Probably the most interesting place is the pizzeria which not everybody knows about.  This pizza place (I believe) is open 24 hours, and is located down a hallway with no signage.  I don’t even know what it’s called.  It’s not on The Cosmopolitan website.  It’s a secret pizza place!!  How cool is that??  I had a White Pizza slice.  It was really really good.  Might be the best $5 I spent while I was there.  I would include a photo of that, but I don’t want to blow their cover.

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If you’re going to go to Vegas and get hooked on it like I did, get a rewards card.  The Cosmopolitan has a good one.  The drawback is that they only own that one hotel, so you can only use it there, but the awesome part is that you can swipe it for any money you spend there, so even if you aren’t a big gambler, you can still get points for staying there and eating in their restaurants.

I don’t have much to say that would be considered negative regarding my trip to the Cosmo.  If I have to nit-pick, I’d say that the doors to your room are loud enough to hear at Caesar’s Palace, so it’s difficult to sneak in after a night of gambling when you have a baby in the room.  Light sleepers beware.  Also, there’s a significant difference between the views from the windows.  If it’s your first time, try to get a room that faces the Bellagio.  That’s the best view.  If you get a suite, you get a balcony, and that’s the only place on the strip where that is the case to my knowledge.

All told, The Cosmopolitan is an amazing hotel, and I haven’t told you about half of the stuff there.  I highly recommend it, and it’s worth a couple of extra bucks in my opinion.

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Back On Track!

This Vegas blog has had one HUGE fundamental problem.  An author who hasn’t been to Las Vegas since the blog started.  That’s unacceptable!!  I need to get this blog back on track.  Not because it’s a New Year’s resolution, but because it’s the right thing to do.  The only way to do that my friends, is to sacrifice my time in the comforts of my own home, and a bit of precious vacation time from work to take a trip to Las Vegas.  I’m willing to make those sacrifices for you, the reader!

I am booked for later in the month, and on a mission to see things I haven’t seen, do things I haven’t done, and eat at places I haven’t eaten at.  All while doing all the same things I’ve always done, going to the same places I always go, and eating the same things I always eat.  How is that possible?  It’s not, but I’m gonna push myself harder than I’ve ever pushed myself to experience as much of Vegas as I can, so I can share those memories (and most importantly pictures…. otherwise I’m going to have to keep posting pictures of the Bellagio fountains like this one) with you.

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I’m going for 4 days and I’ll be staying at the Cosmopolitan.  It will be my second time staying there, and third if you count the time that I had friends staying there, and I hung out in their suite all the time before retiring back to my modest headquarters of the moment which was The Carriage House.  I like a January trip to Vegas because it’s pretty much the cheapest time to go.  The weather isn’t hot, but more of a spring type of temperature during the day.  It gets a bit chilly at night.  That said, for those who don’t know me, I am Canadian!  Therefore Vegas in January is a welcome relief from Toronto in January which is quite a bit colder.  The swimming pools aren’t open this time of year, but I’m not much of a swimming pool kind of guy.  I would probably go once per trip if it was open, but I won’t miss it if it’s not.  I absolutely love the Cosmo.  I had to pony up a bit extra to stay there instead of many of the other hotels on the strip, but I did get a package that came with free buffet breakfast every day.  As I’ve explained in a previous post, I love Vegas Buffets, and the Wicked Spoon is my fave!  I’ve also signed up for their rewards program, so I’m trying to get my comps up.  I’ll probably dedicate a whole post to the Cosmopolitan at some point, but I’ll wait until I’ve stayed there again, and can get some more pictures.

The last time I was in Vegas which was about a year ago, I fell in love with Garrett’s Popcorn.  This is an outfit from Chicago, and they make the most incredible popcorn I’ve ever had, and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.  I’ve tried every brand that seems to be coming out with a knock off ‘Chicago Mix’, but nothing has compared.  I haven’t been to Chicago since the 90’s and it isn’t a regular stop for me, so I go to the Garrett’s in the Miracle Mile shops at the Planet Hollywood Hotel.  I’m told that Oprah attributed some of her weight problems to Garrett’s, and I definitely understand why.  The key is not to pig out on Garrett’s all day because there are restaurants I need to check out, and I don’t want to spoil my appetite.  I don’t want to hit that vacation wall I sometimes hit, where I just lose my appetite completely and start ordering salads.

Wish me luck!  If nothing else, I’m sure I’ll have a lot more pictures to share with you, and hopefully some stories and recommendations.  Can’t wait!!

NBA Finals in Vegas???

I wish…..

I’m sitting in my condo in Toronto which is finally getting some good summer weather.  I’ll be watching Game 7 from the comfort of my own couch.  I’m cheering hard for the Spurs. I really don’t like the whole ‘let’s get all our buddies together and create an unbeatable super-team’ thing that the Heat has going on.  Now that they’ve already won, I guess I don’t care, but I wanted them to lose soooo badly last year.  Guess where I was???

VEGAS BABY!!!

We went to Town Square the day of the deciding game.  This is about a 5 minute cab ride south of Mandalay Bay.  Don’t try to walk it…. that’s another story for another blog.  We ate dinner at Kabuki which is an excellent Sushi restaurant.  We were there in the late afternoon because we wanted to finish before the deciding game started.  This worked out well because they have a Happy Hour between 3-6 pm where a selection of sushi and specialty rolls are discounted, not to mention cocktails.  I have a picture (which I’m not posting here) of my with an unreasonably sized can of Asahi Extra Dry (which is my favorite Japanese beer).  Kabuki was awesome…. it really got the night going in the right direction, well before it took that awful turn. \

Speaking of Happy Hours…… First let me tell you why Happy Hours in Vegas are the best. If you’re a sports fan like me, and you’re used to watching the games in the Eastern Time Zone, then your favorite team probably has a game at 4 pm Vegas time.  With most of the Happy Hours being around  3-6 pm, you can go have reasonably priced drinks while you watch your favorite team, and the night is still young when the game is over.  I’m tired of all these people telling me that Vegas is just sucking all the money out of us….. if you know where to go and when, Vegas can be the most reasonably priced place around!!

Speaking of Happy Hours, we moved over to the Yard House to watch the first half of the game.  They have an absurd selection of beer from all over the world, and even though it’s a chain and there’s quite a few of them, I’d never been to one before.  I wish I had more time to spend there because there were a lot of different beers there that I wanted to get acquainted with.  Since we’d already eaten at Kabuki, and who can remember how early in the day I actually started drinking, I was no match for Yard House.

We decided to go back to the Cosmopolitan to watch the 2nd half in my friend’s suite.  The Cosmo is a gorgeous 5 star hotel, and this suite was really nice.  I love that they have balconies at the Cosmo, because most Strip hotels do not have them.  I’m not sure why, but I would suggest that liability issues are at play.  We had beers in the fridge that we had purchased at the new Walgreen’s earlier (the Walgreen’s on the corner outside of the Planet Hollywood hotel has a walk in beer fridge with excellent selection, so we weren’t stuck with Bud Lights), so it was just a matter of drinking away the pain of the Miami Heat beating the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 2012 NBA championship.  When I would get upset at the game, I could go out onto the balcony and watch the Bellagio fountain show.  We were so high up that they looked like lawn sprinklers, but if you’ve seen them up close you know how massive they are.

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I’m hoping and praying that San Antonio wins tonight.  I don’t have ‘chillin in an elaborate suite at the Cosmo with a breathtaking view of the strip in Las Vegas’ to take the edge off a Heat championship this time.