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Here’s to clear skies for Cosmo

I’m not a big omen guy, but it seems dark clouds constantly float above The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.


A thunderstorm five years ago forced the project’s groundbreaking ceremonies indoors. Three years later, developer Bruce Eichner defaulted on the half-finished Cosmopolitan. German-based investment house Deutsche Bank stepped in and completed the Strip hotel-casino, which cost $3.9 billion.

On Wednesday, as The Cosmopolitan readied for its grand opening celebration, storm clouds were above Las Vegas. But by the time VIP party guests arrived, the clouds lifted and clear skies appeared.

An omen? I hope so.

The Cosmopolitan is beautifully designed. Outdoor terraces, included on 2,200 of the resort’s 2,995 rooms, offer one-of-a-kind views of the Strip. Because they were originally condominiums, the rooms are larger than the average Strip hotel.

The 100,000-square-foot casino has a contemporary feel. The eastern edge of the gaming floor opens to the Strip, placing slot machines a few feet from the sidewalk.

The multiple-tiered public areas — casino on the first floor, shopping on the second level and restaurants on the third floor — are easily accessible.

With an 8.7-acre footprint, vertical was the way to go.

Now that The Cosmopolitan is open, the questions won’t center on its edgy advertising campaign.

Everyone wants to know if the property will grow the Las Vegas market, rather than just steal business from the neighbors.

Deutsche Bank made the right moves in correcting obvious design flaws, such as the original idiotic idea of placing the casino on the 2nd floor. A deal with Marriott International puts The Cosmopolitan in front of potentially 32 million customers.

The rivals weighed in with mixed reviews.

Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn told freelance journalist Steve Friess that The Cosmopolitan was “an extraordinary example of ill-conceived plans.”

MGM Resorts International Chairman Jim Murren said he was optimistic for The Cosmopolitan’s chances.

“The property is quite beautiful,” he said.

I was interested in what customers thought.

Wednesday I waited on the Strip with Steve Dickey and Debbie Bonter for the public opening. Dickey, a Las Vegas resident since 1983, has seen his share of casino openings and implosions. Bonter, attending her first opening, wanted to see The Cosmopolitan’s three-story chandelier.

Dickey planned to buy a Cosmopolitan casino chip as a souvenir. He hoped the casino was as spectacular as had been hyped.

“The town needs it to do well,” he said.

Howard Stutz’s Inside Gaming column appears Sundays. He can be reached at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. He blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/stutz.

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