Las Vegas. Sin City. The city of extreme excess and over-the-top everything.
Have you been to Las Vegas? It seems to be a polarizing destination: people either love it or hate it. It's an entertainment hub jam-packed with hotels, casinos, concerts, conventions, shows, restaurants, and brand name shopping, all in one tiny compact area.
I'm in the middle camp; it's not the first place I would choose to spend my vacation money, but it's so close to us, and the flights from Portland to Vegas are inexpensive enough that it makes it a viable spot for a quick girls' trip or weekend away with the hubby every few years or so.
In 2014, a record 41.1 million people visited Las Vegas. I was one of them. Along with two girlfriends, we enjoyed a 3-day girls' weekend trip to Las Vegas -- my first trip back in over a decade. The one thing that you can always say about Vegas: the more things change here, the more they stay the same.
Earlier, I kicked off my Las Vegas Travel Guide with a write-up about my visit to BLVD Cocktail Company (and an awesome private cocktail lesson from Master Mixologist Juyoung Kang). In the next few travel posts, I'll be sharing a look at Las Vegas hotels, restaurants, and shows.
Best Hotels in Vegas
Ask for recommendations for the best hotel in Vegas, and you'll get a huge list of almost every kind of hotel imaginable. You can stay on the strip or off the strip; at family-friendly resorts or adults-only hotels; at low budget accommodations or high-end luxury travel spots.
Whatever your wallet will allow, Vegas will gladly accommodate. And with more than 150,000 hotel rooms available throughout this compact entertainment center, it's also a hub for more than 22,000 conventions each year. So be sure to plan ahead when possible for the best deals; but also know that it's a city where it's fairly easy to secure a last-minute hotel room.
Bellagio hotel in Vegas
One of the weirdest things about Vegas to me is the odd fascination with replicating popular attractions in other cities. You can visit the Eiffel Tower, go for a gondola ride in Venice, and pretend you're walking along the banks of Lake Como at the Bellagio.
I wish I could buy everyone a ticket to Paris, Venice, and Bellagio. It's not the same in Vegas, folks. It's just not. At all.
However, I totally get it: it is a less expensive option compared to visiting the originals, and, like Disney World, you get everything in one tight little space within walking distance.
We didn't stay at the Bellagio, but we walked through it and were able to catch one of the fountain shows.
The Bellagio has a gorgeous Chihuly ceiling display. Being a Pacific NW native and general lover of colorful, creative art, I'm a huge Chihuly fan. I could have sat and stared at this ceiling for a while.
And the atrium is host to a stunning floral display that changes each season.
The Cosmopolitan hotel in Vegas
After reviewing options for the best hotels in Vegas, we chose to stay at The Cosmopolitan.
Located right on the strip, next to Aria, Bellagio, and Planet Hollywood, The Cosmopolitan is an excellent lodging option for a girls' getaway weekend.
What helps The Cosmopolitan stand out in a sea of luxury Las Vegas Hotels is the modern, chic decor, and the smart use of space. Many of the 2,995 hotels rooms have terraces. The suite my girlfriends and I stayed in included a wrap-around terrace, with incredible views of the strip and the city.
The rooms are quiet, large, and a comfortable home away from home. Upon entering our suite, we were greeted by an entryway of full-length mirrors. There was also a stylish hallway bathroom with large shower.
The hallway opens up to a large common room. Here we found the dining space, full kitchen, living room, and a little open office area.
Restaurants in The Cosmopolitan
With 14 restaurants and bars located within The Cosmopolitan, you could choose to dine in the hotel for all of your meals if you wanted. One note: the Vesper Bar located next to the hotel lobby, while a stunningly designed bar and they serve delicious drinks, is the place we received the worst service I have ever received at any bar.
We sat down and the waitress pointedly ignored us for 15 minutes. She wasn't busy - at all. She took a full 2 minutes to straighten up a chair directly across from us while we stared at her. My tip: order directly at the bar, and then find a seat. The Longest Goodbye is a divine cocktail at the Vesper bar, and it was a great drink to both start off and end our Las Vegas trip (once we finally ordered from the bartender).
We also enjoyed a nice meal at D.O.C.G., as well as The Henry, which I will share more info & photos in an upcoming post. Each of the restaurants offers a different type of cuisine and a different type of dining experience. If you're not sure where to start, the concierge is very helpful in helping to guide you to the right restaurant for each occasion.
The Cosmopolitan is also home to the highest grossing nightclub in the country, The Marquee.
Like many of the larger Las Vegas hotels, you could easily get lost in The Cosmopolitan. Toward the end of our 3-day weekend, we discovered the hallways that link the hotel suites with the meeting rooms. If you're looking for a quiet spot during your Las Vegas adventure, this is it. Get away from the elbow jostling on the Strip and walk leisurely down these hallways while taking in the art.
Stores and Art in The Cosmopolitan
If you're brave, you can hop into the art itself (don't worry: I got permission from a Cosmopolitan staffer walking by). And by brave, I mean: it wasn't until I was climbing out of the shoe sculpture that I thought about how many drunken characters must have climbed in and out of that same shoe over the years. . . ;)
There are also a number of fantastic shops in The Cosmopolitan, including an All Saints store. If I were a gambling gal, I would have tried to win enough money to buy out the majority of the store, which sells gorgeous, minimalist stylish clothing and accessories for men and women.
And of course, there are the casinos located on the main floor. I'm not a gambler by any means, which may be part of the reason I'm not enamored by Las Vegas, but there's no shortage of gambling options within the walls of The Cosmopolitan. Overall, I really enjoyed our stay at The Cosmopolitan, and would highly recommend it. The accommodations are plush and provide sweet comfort after a long day and night walking, eating, drinking, exploring. The price is higher than the average Las Vegas hotel ($111 is the current average night's stay in Vegas), but if you are going to go to Vegas with a group of girlfriends, I highly recommend booking a larger suite at The Cosmopolitan. It's very affordable when you split it between 3-5 people.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 698-7000 - Main
(702) 698-7575 - Reservations
In upcoming Las Vegas Travel Guide posts, I'll share some restaurant tips and review one of the top regular shows in Vegas.
Are you a Las Vegas lover, hater, or in-between? What's YOUR favorite hotel in Las Vegas?