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Adrienne in Wonderland (Las Vegas)

Author: Adrienne L.
Date of Trip: December 2009

On a brisk December afternoon while cruising Las Vegas Boulevard we were drawn to a new establishment in the City Center. Although we are very familiar with most of the Strip hotels, this one was unlike any other that we had visited.

We were immediately surrounded by sights that amazed and astounded us. There were bright colors….LED screens that projected bubbles and moving geometric patterns…futuristic furniture. We felt like we’d stepped through the looking glass with Alice. Suddenly I was surrounded by a pack of giant stone dogs. In my effort to escape, I ran smack into an 8-foot patent leather shoe! Things just kept getting “curiouser and curiouser”.

We wandered down a hall and came upon a standstone oasis with mystifying sand sculptures and an enchanting moonlight canopy of stars overhead.

In an effort to find some normalcy, we headed back toward the center of the hotel. But even there we encountered an unexpected sight. We craned our necks, along with other visitors to see what turned out to be a 3 story Swarovski crystal chandelier. Wow!

Where were we? We were at the Cosmopolitan, the newest addition to the City Center complex. Unlike any of the other major resort casinos on the Strip it does not boast a central theme. It is a completely unique experience. The artwork and design elements reflect their commitment to whimsy and creativity. The hotel has a modern, urban vibe with multi-story windows that allow lots of natural light, which is not commonplace in most of the Strip properties.

We were treated to a guided tour where we were able view each of the room and suite types that include a Terrace Studio, Terrace Suites and even a Lanai Suite. Each was well appointed, beautifully furnished and many offered panoramic views. Our favorite was the Wraparound Terrace Suite that featured a 480 square foot private terrace, a modern kitchenette with microwave and refrigerator and even a washer/dryer. Talk about a home away from home.

That sandstone oasis was actually the Sahra Spa & Hammam, a full-service spa with a reimagined steam room, heated hammam, personal rejuvenation suite and holistic body treatments.

In recent years Las Vegas has been touted as a “foodie’s paradise”. The Cosmopolitan excels in this area as well, with a restaurant collection like no other on the Strip. China Poblano showcases Chef Jose Andres’ personal take on Chinese and Mexican cuisines. Noodles and tacos come together in a festive, stylish setting. Scarpetta offers modern Italian fare. Holstein’s is an exciting new burger concept with an emphasis on fresh, natural and organic ingredients. The signature burger is the Gold Standard Burger, a dry aged beef burger, smoked bacon, aged goat cheddar cheese, tomato confit, arugula and garlic-chive aioli. I thoroughly enjoyed a turkey burger complete with dressing and cranberry sauce. There are creative appetizers like street tacos made with shredded duck confit, foie gras and truffle crema with cranberry relish. If we’d had room for dessert we would definitely have tried the Lollipops in lemon meringue, red velvet cake, brownie, blondie or strawberry cheesecake.

True to Las Vegas style, the Cosmopolitan has a buffet. But true to the Cosmopolitan style, the “Wicked Spoon Buffet” is a unique culinary experience. It blends familiar staples with imaginative dishes. The entrees are presented in single-serving portions. Of course diners can take as many as they like, but the small servings make it easier to sample many dishes without wading through mountains of food. The food was so unique that we had to eat there twice during our stay to make sure that it was as good as we thought – it was.

We gorged ourselves on dishes like ricotta cream spinach with whipped ricotta and a parmesan panko crust and mac and cheese with smoked ham hock and fontina cheese. The meat carving stations were a carnivore’s delight.

An indescribable selection of desserts included fresh seasonal berries, house-made gelatos and sorbets, specialty candies made in-house and of course staples like crème brulee, tiramisu, and other petit fours.

The nightclub scene is unique. The spectacular Marquee Nightclub opened to rave reviews on New Year’s Eve 2010 with a performance by Jay-Z. The venue is more than 62,000 square feet with 50-foot-tall ceilings and an unparalleled multi-million-dollar sound stage that has to be seen to be believed. It draws a non-stop celebrity clientele. In the warmer months, the Marquee Dayclub is a daytime entertainment choice complete with three-story Bungalow Lofts, a cabana, living quarters and a party deck on top, with lots of eye candy to enjoy.

That 3-story crystal chandelier that we saw in the hotel centrum has been described as a “living, breathing architectural wonder created by luminous beaded curtains of light.” There are lounges on each of the three levels that allow patrons to enjoy a libation along with the artistry of the Chandelier.

Of course there is shopping. The Cosmopolitan has the most eclectic collection of shops on the Strip with stores like Stitched, Jason of Beverly Hills and even the CRSVR Sneaker Boutique that specializes in limited edition sneakers and men’s and women’s casually dressed up fashion.

As we took in all that the Cosmopolitan has to offer, we realized that this was not a dream. This is just the latest example of how Las Vegas continues to evolve. We were once told by a savvy cab driver that one needs to visit the Vegas at least once every 4 months just to keep up with the evolution of the city. So it wasn’t Alice in Wonderland, it was Adrienne in Wonderland and I’m sure I’ll find the Mad Hatter the next time I step through that looking glass.

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