Cosmopolitan is hip bet in Vegas

Hotel brings in edgy brands, architecture to draw L.A. crowds

Even though it’s barely a month old, the Cosmopolitan may never fully feel at home in Las Vegas.

After years — make that decades — of trying to capture the attitude of Hollywood, Sin City’s newest resort has managed to pull off the vibe with a sleek modern design housing edgy offshoots of L.A. eateries and unique-to-Vegas shops that hope to cater to a young Hollywood demo.

Cosmopolitan’s owner, Deutsche Bank, needed to nail down a hot concept for its $3.9 billion, 2,995-room property in a town reeling from the recession and where competition to fill its 151,397 rooms is fierce.

Marketing “cool” isn’t easy, however.

For its launch, Cosmopolitan embraced a quirky ad campaign that bowed during the finale of AMC’s “Mad Men,” with the slogan “Just the right amount of wrong,” featuring visuals that mix the bizarre (waiters in pools, sexily clad women walking past puppies and kittens running rampant and a lone deer standing in a hallway) with an air of offbeat naughtiness (an old woman grabs the butt of a younger man while dancing) to promote a lifestyle and experience.

The ads have attracted the attention of the “curious customer,” according to Lisa Marchese, the hotel’s senior VP of brand marketing.

“It’s not an age or income, the people we’re targeting are adventurous, they’re creative, they like to travel and they like to try new food,” Marchese said. “They’re open to new ideas and new experiences, and they seek them out. Everything has been chosen with the target guest in mind. Entertainment is a big component of that.”

Twitter feeds are heavy on discussions of art; celebrity architect-designer David Rockwell, who planned the guest rooms, is also the star of a short series that aired on IFC and Sundance Channel that discusses his approach for the hotel.

Eshewing established such Rodeo Drive brands as Gucci and Versace, the hotel opted for a hipper line of retailers like British brand AllSaints Spitalfields, Stitched, Beckley, Molly Brown’s Swimwear and sneaker store CRSVR from DJ Vice — all seem more at home on Melrose Avenue than along the Strip.

Restaurants surround a den-like lounge that feature offshoots of successful L.A. establishments Comme Ca and STK, Gotham’s Blue Ribbon Sushi and Scarpetta, as well as Jose Andres’ Jaleo and China Poblano (Andres owns L.A.’s the Bazaar at SLS), among others.

Cosmopolitan’s marquee is a sequel to New York’s celebrity haven. The hotel’s three rooftop pools would seem at home at Beverly Hills’ trendy SLS.

Its showpiece, however, is the Chandelier bar, a three-story watering hole housed inside a massive chandelier made up of more than 2 million sparkling crystals, and featuring a drink list of 35 cocktails that vary depending on which floor you’re on.

In a town short on intimate music venues, Cosmopolitan will also host an ongoing series of concerts at three of its bars across the property, which have already featured the Killers frontman Brandon Flowers, Mayer Hawthorne and Australian sisters Liv and Mim Nevro. A larger concert venue, built inside a ballroom for the New Year’s Eve grand opening launch, featured performances by Jay-Z, Coldplay and Beyonce.

“The idea is to bring back the live performance as part of the music experience” offered by casinos in Las Vegas, Marchese says. “We’ve tried to create a sense of discovery.”

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