Cosmopolitan club features DJ prominence, cabanas, bungalows

A party without bounds.

It's the immersive atmosphere The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas strives for as a whole. And the new casino's major tenant, Marquee nightclub, lays claim to 62,000 square feet of the fun.

The new club, budgeted in the ballpark of $50 million by the Tao Group (with Deutsche Bank), is touted as the largest in America. It will run day and night, indoors and outdoors. A privileged few will even sleep there, in VIP bungalows.

"It's a dream for every hotel president and every club owner to create one massive party, everywhere you go," says Lou Abin, a managing partner of the Tao Group. "And I think that's what The Cosmopolitan (executives) have really committed themselves to doing. Creating that vibe on the casino floor and marrying the nightclub to it."

In November, Tao Group celebrated five years and more than 5 million patrons at its flagship Tao nightclub inside The Venetian.

"At Tao we were nervous. We were buried in the back of a mall," Abin says. "When you have to pull a demographic into your hotel it's a lot more difficult than when it's already there."

The Cosmopolitan is "definitely more of a hand-in-glove kind of fit," he says. The casino targets "a younger, more affluent demographic, which is exactly where we want to be. That's our sweet spot."

The Marquee takes its name from the New York hot spot that launched the company's primary partners, Jason Strauss and Noah Tepperberg, in 2003.

The new Marquee gave the operators early input to the design process. Starting from scratch, rather than retro-fitting an existing space, led to at least three better mousetrap innovations.

■ A $3 million stage and light show giving the DJ center prominence. "The DJ has become the modern-day rock star," Abin says. Marquee's main room is designed more like a live music venue, with circular tiers emanating out from the DJ's perch.

"We realized the DJ is the focal point," Abin says of stars such as Erick Morillo, who will spin New Year's Eve and at least once a month in the new year. "You really want them as close to the public as possible. The people thrive off the energy."

There's a 40-foot LED wall behind the booth, plus a scrim that lowers down in front of it for video projections creating a 3-D effect.

■ Doors open the indoor nightclub out to the day club, doubling the indoor club's 2,000-person capacity in warmer months. Cabanas symmetrically frame the space with minipools, their sheer vertical walls exposing bathers in a "Glass Pool Inn" effect.

The ultimate claim to VIP status is to score one of the 10 three-story bungalows. "We're working out the room rates now, and they're definitely not inexpensive," Abin says.

■ Two smaller rooms are "hidden" behind the main club. "We felt that the guests in Las Vegas wanted that over-the-top, larger-than-life experience, but also at the same time they may want to chill out in a much smaller environment," Abin says.

The Library is outfitted like a Victorian-era men's club with pool table, fireplace and lots of dark wood. The Boom Box is a lounge with an old-Vegas vibe.

Abin acknowledges that a hazard of the nightclub trade is the risk of losing Tao and sister-club Lavo patrons to whatever is new and more exciting. Because of that, Marquee will have an all-new staff instead of allowing workers of the older clubs to transfer, he said.

Plus, "I went out and purchased 10 billboards for Tao and Lavo."

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ or 702-383-0288.