Hotel Review: Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has gotten kudos for its rooms, but it doesn’t exactly roll out the red carpet for families with kids. Given that nightlife and high-end dining–two things that go as well together as books and a Asian high-limits room–are the property’s chief appeal, its not surprising that you see many advertisements asking you to bring your kids. If you know what you’re doing, though, the Cosmopolitan can be a decent choice for you and your little ones.I’d gotten a one-night comp for some previous play, so I figured this was as good a time as any to test the waters on the next phase of Viva Tot Vegas–Vegas hotel rooms.

Met the rest of the Vivas there after a hard day’s work with the plan that we’d check in, head over to the Bellagio’s Chinese New Year display, grab some dinner, and then call it a night.

That’s a reasonable agenda for a night on the Strip with kids. You don’t want to get too ambitious, and you need to keep walking to a minimum. Yes, it might have been nice to head over to MGM to see the lions before they go, and it would be totally do-able if you didn’t have small kids with you, but by the time you could get down there and back, it Fountain viewwould be about 9 at night.

My own completely arbitrary Vegas-with-kids rule of thumb? You should be back in your hotel by 7 at the latest (and probably closer to 6) and in your room by 8. There’s just nothing good for them out there after that hour, and with fatigue setting in you’re just asking for a major meltdown.

So, we’re at check-in, in the beautifully-appointed lobby. I’d heard horror stories about the check-in process (and seen one first-hand), so I steeled myself for a politely smiling desk clerk telling me that there was no record of my reservation. But the process couldn’t have gone any better. The clerk addressed me by name and was super-polite and helpful. We got spontaneously upgraded from a City Room to a high-story Fountain View Terrace Studio. I was even told that if I wanted to hit the VIP lounge and get some water, they’d be happy to give them to me.

Keys in hand, we headed up to room 5515, which did indeed have an excellent view of the fountains. We could hear the fountains (not the music, just the crashing water) all night, but it was more of a pleasant ambient distraction than an annoyance.Terrace Studio

The Terrace Studio itself was a nice enough room, mercifully lacking sharp edges on the coffee table and other banes of toddler travel.

One word of caution: they’ve got some pricey artsy books on the coffee table and elsewhere that I’m sure look very inviting to little hands. Best to put them far out of reach before they get ripped/drawn on/spilled on.

Also, the snack items in the minibar area are weighted, so if you remove them, you’ve bought them.

The kitchenette was more than sufficient for the needs of a young family. Naturally, they Terrace Studio kitchenettedon’t have plates or cookware, so if you plan on eating in, bring some paper plates with you, or buy some at one of the numerous drug stores on the South Strip.

Venturing out on the Strip at about 6 at night was a bit of an adventure, with the proliferation of pornslappers, nightclub promoters, and various and sundry hustlers not making the simple walk to the Bellagio’s people mover a particularly pleasant one. But once we were inside the Bellagio, the gardens were great.

The walk back was equally annoying if uneventful, and that led to the big decision: where to have dinner. As I’ll elaborate on in a future post, I have very definite opinions on where it’s appropriate to take your kids for dinner on the Strip. Fine-dining is pretty much out, so that meant that the highest up the food chain we’d be trying would be Holstein’s, China Poblano, or The Henry. None of them were particularly inviting for kids, particularly for an infant. Lots of noise, and not really well-priced for a meal that you’re probably not going to enjoy.

So it was on to the Secret Pizza Place, where a whole pizza and salad came to less than $30. ┬áThe rest of the family went up to the room while I waited for the pizza, which I delivered, piping hot, up to the room, with a certain sense of deja vu (a few people will know what I’m talking about here).

The pizza was delicious, if a bit salty, and combined with the salad was a fine meal for the three of us who were eating solid food. With the sounds of the Bellagio fountains thundering outside the window, we were able to get everyone cleaned up, ready for bed, and wound down by a little after 8–not too bad.

There wasn’t any appreciable noise from other guests during the night, and the next morning checkout on the TV was a breeze, even though I wasn’t able to view the folio. I’ll let you know if I get hit with any bogus charges.

TV inputsIf you’re not turning in that early, the TV has several inputs, so bring your DVD player/iDevice loaded up with family entertainment, and you’re good to go.

All in all, tackling the Strip with two young kids wasn’t nearly as awful as I thought it would be. You’ve got to have a very well-defined plan, though, and if I didn’t have a definite agenda and instead just drifted around the Strip looking for someplace to eat this might have been a disaster.

The Cosmopolitan itself was great. The room was clean, everyone working there was polite, and my only real beef was some trouble with the room key reader in the elevator. I was very pleasantly surprised, and I would feel good about recommending the Cosmopolitan to a family with kids.

One caveat: I stayed during the week. Things might get considerably rowdier on the weekend. But I’d certainly be willing to do another mini-staycation at the Cosmopolitan, and I’ve got no problem recommending it for others.


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