After pulling up to the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas by cab, I was offered assistance with my small carryon which I declined. There are two doors to walk through, the first was opened for me but the second was not. I faced long lines to check-in, which I thought was odd for 1pm on Monday. But this is a very large hotel (in terms of number of rooms, though not overall size of the physical plant). And it’s brand spanking new, just opened in December, so I was really looking forward to checking it out when I arrived last month. A very friendly guy checked me in, he was taught to try to connect with guests, saw my home town and noted that he had been to one nearby. And later in the process he asked how long I’ve lived there. The check-in process needs to be improved, there are several independent lines and all were several people deep when I arrived. Of course, as they try to be friendly with the person checking in, they’re just lengthening the checkin lines. And some people are chattier than others — it’s important here to guess right who is going to be friendly and who is going to be efficient and choose your line accordingly. The person checking me in was clueless about Marriott Rewards. I asked whether my Gold status got me anything at the hotel, he hemmed and hawed and then said he didn’t think so. Looked at the screen and said, “I think you’ve been upgraded” though it’s not clear that I was, I booked a “Terrace Studio with King” and I was told I was being given a “Terrace Studio.” Now, I haven’t done extensive comparisons of the rooms, I didn’t have much of a view, though perhaps my room was somehow better than some of the other rooms within the category though it’s far from obvious. Not that I actually cared, I was here alone for a single night and my breakfast was taken care of by the event in any case. I do understand that they’re recognizing Platinum status, though it took a few days after opening before they got that worked out. There are so many suites here that it would be a challenge not to receive one. And Platinums get their breakfast at the hotel’s Wicked Spoon buffet. There are some reports of Golds with upgrades as well, but I felt no reason to push the issue and I wound up thoroughly pleased even with my basic room. The public spaces are nice, the hotel isn’t all that large considering it features nearly 3000 rooms, but there are plenty of well-decorated places to walk and plenty of places to sit and congregate along the way. The elevator are interesting, with LED screens displaying different scenes and scenery throughout the day. Televisions are commonplace, moving electronic screens less so except in the newest and most modern properties. The elevator here reminded me of the W Hong Kong, except their screen is on the floor of the elevator. The room is very cool, stylishly decorated with a separated living room from the bedroom and a large bathroom. The bathroom has a separate tub and walk-in shower as well as dual sinks and a separate toilet room. The wallpaper in the toilet cabin is ‘interesting.’ The living room has a television, desk and chair, and large L-shaped couch. And the bedroom has another television as well. I really liked the wallpaper in the toilet room, it seems to demonstrate the level of detail and creativity that has gone into the rooms and into the hotel. The TVs are the centerpiece of the room. You can control lights from the TV, browse the room service menu from the TV, and check out any spa or other bookings you’ve made on the TV. It’s a neat concept, but controlling lights from the tv is a bit gimmicky, I don’t mind a separate remote control for lights in fact I rather like it, but the television took too much menu scrolling in order to manage the lights that it hardly seemed useful. The TV stopped working sometime in the middle of the night. I called down and learned that it wasn’t just me, it was the whole hotel. And while the TV began functioning again after several hours, some of the features never worked. I tried to checkout using the television but it just returned an error. (I just called down to check out, I wish I hadn’t because it took several minutes. They did offer to email me my folio but it never arrived.) Housekeeping left a little to be desired, I had a nice balcony but my glass door that opens to it had hand prints. Shortly after I arrived housekeeping knocked on the door to see if I needed the room serviced, she hadn’t realized that I was a new guest in the room. (I hadn’t yet noticed that I actually did need the room serviced…) As I was packing up the next day to check out housekeeping entered the room and declared, “I thought you were already gone!” I ordered room service coffee in the morning and had to wait on hold for about five minutes before anyone picked up. Typical for larger Vegas hotels, but not the standard I’m looking for. And when my order arrived, they forgot to bring my toast. And when they came back with my toast, it was the wrong kind. Ah, little things. Housekeeping came by to pick up the tray without being asked, but while I was getting dressed. Proactive is good, and I never saw any trays out in the hall during my stay, but I prefer them to wait for me to request service than to interrupt. Still, I could have flagged the room for privacy and didn’t so I wouldn’t complain. I asked them to come back in 30 minutes for the tray, they said they would but did not. These are all absolutely minor things, and none of them bothered me. If it was meant as a special stay, or a vacation stay, I probably would have minded. The hotel does seem to offer the best entry-level rooms of any Vegas property curently. At over 600 square feet, with separate living area and large bathroom, plus they’re new and with latest technology, at the entry level I’d probably choose the Cosmopolitan over others in its class like Bellagio or Venetian for sure. In order to beat the upper level competitors, however, they’re going to need to iron out some of the wrinkles. But once you understand the property as basically being in a soft opening, even if they don’t call it that, the whole thing makes a good bit more sense. They only opened less than four weeks back, and they probably weren’t ready at the time. But they needed the holidays and the Computer Electronics Show, so they made it happen albeit not quite ready for prime time. Everyone on staff comes from different hotels and it’ll take a bit of work to standardize the routines. But I don’t doubt that they’ll get there, certainly by Vegas standards anyway. First night Conde Nast hosted a reception in the Chandelier bar, which is a very cool space. And since it’s not enough to just pour high end drinks in a spiffy location, they had an artist painting throughout the evening. (I never went back to check on what it was when she had finished.) The next morning I was speaking, got to meet some fascinating travel specialists who specialize in booking trips with amazing attention to detail from rural China to safaris in Rwanda to excursions in Madagascar. Lovely people, had a great time, and the Cosmopolitan can only improve.