The Pioneer of Vegas’s Boutique Hotel Movement is Ready to Make Its Mark Again
On the heels of a major makeover, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas looks back at its influence on The Strip.
Interview by Kathryn O’Shea Evans
Produced by Surface Studios
September 18, 2018
When The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas opened in 2010, it was something Sin City had never seen: a themeless boutique hotel with a decidedly non-kitschy design and a cool factor thanks to its food and beverage star power. With a distinct identity from other locations on the Strip, it helped set the tone for today’s Vegas. Now, the resort is seducing its hometown again with a major overhaul of its more than 3,000 rooms. Surface spoke to Patrick Nichols, senior vice president of strategy and business development, about working with New York firm Virserius Studio for the redesign and about The Cosmopolitan’s meticulous decision process.
When The Cosmopolitan opened, it was the first non-theme boutique hotel in Vegas. What was the public’s response?
The Cosmopolitan opened at a challenging time—December, 2010, in the heat of the recession. It gave people an escape from their lives and something different they couldn’t find elsewhere. It redefined Las Vegas. The original tagline was: Just the right amount of wrong. We’re a luxury brand, but we balance that out with things like Eggslut, or the hidden pizza shop on the third floor that’s never had a sign since we opened. We have Momofuku by David Chang, Beauty & Essex out of New York—concepts people love in other cities for guests to experience in Vegas. Block 16, our take on a food hall, opens Labor Day weekend, with Hattie B’s Hot Chicken from Nashville, and New Orleans’s District Donuts with Vietnamese iced coffee on tap.
The design touches every surface—down to the wallpapered closet walls. What are your favorite aspects of the room remodel?
We incorporated two completely different designs. Both are super comfortable, clean, contemporary, very inviting—and with all that, you get this really great residential feel. You feel like you’re walking into a friend’s penthouse, and that sets the mood for a good stay. Everything in the rooms was custom made to fit our rooms. The art makes the room and pulls it all together, whether it’s sculptural elements or a big feature wall mural. There’s also something we’ve had since the beginning, and that’s our outdoor terraces. Opening up the doors, having room service at sunset—it’s something you can’t get anywhere else.
How did the design come together?
It was a year-and-a-half-long design process. We pulled the best details from rooms we’ve stayed in around the world, selected twenty designers to put together a proposal, and from those twenty we narrowed it down to eight designers, who were invited to come to Vegas to present ideas and renderings. We settled on four to build test rooms for us. Typically, you build one, maybe two test rooms. We ended up building fourteen test rooms! All different.
How do the new remodels represent the future of the brand?
It’s essentially a brand-new resort—we’ve touched basically every square foot in the building and refinished just about everything. We’ve incorporated cutting-edge technology, including 65-inch Samsung TVs, blazing fast WiFi that’s the fastest on the Strip, and really simple control panels. My favorite part is our sassy chatbot Rose, the resident mischief maker. Shoot a text to Rose and she’ll help you out immediately—new towels, dinner reservations, art tours, whatever you want. She’s better than a virtual concierge—she’s your quick-witted VIP host.