Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Artful Vegas

I've flown to the west coast a few times. I always get excited when crossing the Rocky Mountains. I've never been to Colorado and need to make a stop to visit cousins, best friends and a very special wine cellar.

And also want to see the Grand Canyon for real. It's only an hour by helicopter from Vegas. Next time with E. for sure.

I'm a geek for America's purple mountains and red rocks.

There were a ton of pals on the plane and we were happy to make it without any snow issues or delays. I was able to change my flight without any fees. Go Southwest!

For those of you who have never been to Vegas it is one of the most bizarre and manipulative places I've ever been. Don't get me wrong. There are parts that I love, but I truly can't stand the fact that you have to wait for your bags to arrive for nearly thirty to forty minutes EVERY time you land. The reason you ask? So you can play the slot machines at the AIRPORT. This lovely lady won $40.00 while we waited an agreed to the photo. 

It's loud in the baggage claim with show advertisements pumped at maximum volume on large screens. Once you get your bags you can stand in a taxi cab line that is 50 yards long and four rows deep. I was shocked and amazed to walk out and get a cab without having to stand in line. These little travel victories make me fist pump to the heavens.

The mountains are beautiful, if you can see them. And the airport is literally two miles from The Strip.

The weather was beautiful when I landed. Sunny and 60 degrees.

The Cosmopolitan Hotel staff are very friendly and none of them wear name badges! That was the first thing I noticed and LOVE that detail. I hated wearing a name badge while working at Mandarin Oriental. Napua signed her name on my check-in envelope. She's from Hawaii. My room was ready even though I arrived three hours early. Fist  pump number two.

The lobby is separated by a few huge, tall columns that have LED screens built into them. They change every few minutes. I was there when the library books were revolving. It looked like Hogwarts. 

Inside the elevators had the same LED screens lining the walls.

This beetle then turned into The Cosmopolitan "C" logo.

Then some fishes swam by. It was seriously so cool. 

The room was pretty standard. Another Vegas detail is that the rooms are small so you won't spend a lot of time in them. They did have a pillow butler and when you called the front desk they answered, "beck and call."

There was a great view of the Bellagio Fountain and the strip. See the mountains in the distance? No snow this visit.

I liked having colored pencils in the room. What an inspiration to sketch and be artsy. That is the one thing that really impressed me with my stay. The artwork!

The Water Closet wall paper was so fun. See the ladies lounging?

The robes and slippers were a nice touch for just a standard room.

Ty, the bellman, helped me with my bags and three huge boxes we retrieved from the Business Center together. He pulled out this handy Door Prop. I love that someone thought of this brilliant tool. All hotels should buy them!

With any new property, there are bound to be bumps. My safe was broken and they had to replace it so I could lock up my laptop. E. just gave me his MacBook so I'd be in DEEP trouble if I lost it. The security guy Chris came immediately to take care of it. Within his first three words I could tell he was born in Michigan. He thought I was pychic. Ah no, just from Michigan and we have a distinct accent. 

I went exploring. Aria is next door and is a sparkly new complex that opened last December 2009 where the Mandarin Oriental is located. There are luxury boutiques, LV, Tiffany and Hermes to name a few. I couldn't tempt myself to go near them.

This kayak artwork was my favorite piece I saw the whole trip. It's called "Big Edge" by Nancy Rubins and she used reclaimed kayaks and canoes. The City Center also has a piece by Claes Oldenburg outside.

Back in the lobbies at the Cosmopolitan the extra wide hallways have unique artwork lining the foyers and walls.

This shell cape evokes lots of emotion. I would like to be a beach warrior wearing a seashell cape to save the waters. I'm an Aquarius.

Cheryl Ekstrom is the sculptor and artist.

Then I rounded the corner to find this beautiful Amy Soczka cut out. She's from Wisconsin and has an Etsy page called Amy Marcella. I would kill for one in our breezeway!!! Hint, hint Uncle Charlie.

There are so many fun stories about her and one here on Design*Sponge.

It made me want to know more about the curator for the hotel. I read this in W. Magazine:

To bolster the odds of success, CEO John Unwin has recruited some big names—New York art-world doyenne Yvonne Force Villareal’s Art Production Fund created an artist-in-residence program and has already shown videos by T.J. Wilcox and Yoko Ono on the 65-foot screen that fronts the hotel. 

Read More 


I could have done a whole post on just the artwork in the hotel. Next time I will. I wish I had more photos of the fun pieces throughout the lobbies. Now that I'm home I can't stop thinking about some of the other pieces, like the dog sculpture, and a hot pink shoe.

When checking out at 7:00 am there were people still drinking in the bars and smoking. Oy. No thanks. But this is the one bar to visit when you travel to The Cosmopolitan. The Chandelier Bar was pretty incredible. I actually didn't have one drop at this location but couldn't take enough photos.

The Chandelier Bar is quite literally a three level chandelier surrounding the center bar in the Cosmo. It's so pink and pretty!

The stairs are marble and cascade down the center of the bar. 

I don't think the photos even do it justice.

From the first level you get a great perspective of the size. 

Inside there are light images moving up and down the crystals.

I was on the hunt for more art however and had to avert my eyes from the sparkly crystal bar. These are recylced cigarette machines and are now being reused as a vehicle to sell ART!!!

It's called the Art-O-Mat. Clark Wittington from Winston Salem is the master behind this brilliant recyling and art project and The Cosmopolitan is the only resort to have them in a hotel, not in an art gallery. Check out the video to see how it works.

For five bucks you are swiming with an original piece of art.

This little bird caught my eye.

I bought a second one that had a whole story with the pressed leaf on a tile.

I went back for more birds. I couldn't get enough of the awesome original art pieces for $5.00 each.

I then headed to lunch per Richard Blais' suggestion at China Poblano, Jose Andreas' take on Asian and Mexican cuisine.

I sat in front of the dumpling counter.

I ordered the scallop ceviche.

My waiter demonstrated how they were to be eaten. You squeezed the juice of the lime into your mouth as you bit into the scallop.

But before doing so I had to wait for the vodka spray finisher!

That's so VEGAS! 

This gorgeous snow pea salad with pomegranate seeds was the most delicious thing I've had in a while. It had an orange dressing and was so healthy and fresh. I used the chop sticks provided.

My first bite was a culinary joy. I love things that are so simple but so creative. The flavors were  smoky from the chili pepper that covered the lime and they all blended perfectly. I think the whole experience began when I smelled the Vodka to whet my appetite. It was really pretty neat.

The lobby columns changed to these cool black and white lines the next time I walked through.

As cool as the hotel was, I missed my work colleagues all staying at the MGM for the conference. I was exhausted that first day and ordered room service for dinner. You have to wear very comfortable shoes in Vegas. Everything is miles and miles away. It's nice to walk but it is exhausting. Even in the same hotel it can be one mile from your room to your conference meeting room. 

The brick cooked chicken was just what I needed after a long travel day and was where comfort food dreams are made of. 

And the views of the fountain at night were spectacular. That thing is massive and LOUD. I regret that I didn't walk over to see them at night live. But my view was just too good to be true and I was in bed by 8:00 pm.

I woke up at 3:00 am every morning due to jet lag and time changes. The sunrises were so pretty over this city that never sleeps.

I want to thank the Cosmopolitan for the importance it has given to the artwork in the hotel. Every where I looked people were stopping to take photos. It was wonderful to see. You think of many things when you think of Vegas and I didn't expect that art would be the most memory I left with after my trip.


LPC said...

Oh that food looks just out of this world.

Pigtown-Design said...

i am not big on vegas, but this does sound like a lot of fun and very interesting.