Posted Nov. 4, 2012
By VANESSA RAMOS
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Everywhere I looked, there were people having fun: drinks in hand, laughing, gambling, talking, cheering, pulling slots, high-fiving their friends, dancing, eating, shopping, and looking like they were having the time of their lives.
Bright, flashing lights in the maze of slot machines were enough to hypnotize you. The pulsing music and clean, perfumed hotel air made the casino at the Cosmopolitan a place you didn’t want to leave. A multitude of restaurants shops were eager to welcome patrons from all over the world.
Walking through the throng of glamorous guests, I heard English, Spanish, French and many languages with which I was unfamiliar.
As my boyfriend Adam and I walked around and explored the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino on our first day in Vegas, I knew I never wanted to leave.
I chose to go to Las Vegas for my 22nd birthday in mid-October of this year because I wanted a change of scenery from Miami. had originally planned to go with a group of friends, but plans changed and just my boyfriend Adam accompanied me for three nights and four days. Everyone kept telling me that was more than enough time, but in the end, I didn’t want to say goodbye to Vegas.
When I booked my flight in mid-August, I had a few concerns: What if this place is just a cheesy tourist trap? What if this turns out to be the worst birthday ever? I knew I wanted to do some shopping, relax by the pool and see a show, but for the most part our schedule was open. Was this a mistake? I had already done the whole 21st birthday bash in Miami the previous year, so how would Vegas compare?
I quickly forgot all these worries as soon as we landed in Vegas on Thursday evening. The sun had set behind the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the first thing I saw was the strip: the illuminated four miles of hotels and iconic buildings like the Luxor, Stratosphere and Eiffel Tower.
I felt like I was on another planet as our cab driver drove us from McCarran International Airport to the Cosmopolitan where we stayed Thursday night. The air was crisp, around 60 degrees, and a pleasant change from the humid 85 degree Miami climate. As we approached Las Vegas Boulevard, “The Strip,” a swarm of billboards came into view, advertising concerts for Madonna, Elton John and other shows like Cirque du Soleil.
Our cab driver, Omar Khan, provided us with a lot of great tips and facts about Vegas. Adam and I asked him if this particular time of year was slower for Vegas.
“Oh no, it’s always busy in Las Vegas. All year. Especially when there is a UFC fight,” he said. However, the weekend we went there were no fights. “I’ve been here for 30 years and have really seen Vegas change. Lots of new hotels,” Khan said. He then talked about the Cosmopolitan, nicknamed the Cosmo, and how it opened only two years ago and is doing well.
To say the Cosmo was “nice” is a huge understatement. As soon as I walked into the lobby, I felt like I was transported into the future. The lobby was enormous and felt like an upscale nightclub with low lighting and luxurious chandeliers and video screens on the walls.
Our suite didn’t disappoint either. One thing that really impressed me was the room’s phone and charging dock. It worked like a tablet where we could touch the screen and have options to control the room temperature, lights, check messages, set alarms, change the TV channels, check the weather, and more. The suite was spacious and the bathroom featured a separate tub and shower and a large vanity. We also had a balcony and view of other hotels, such as the MGM Grand, and shopping centers.
It happened to be raining heavily our first night in Vegas, so we decided to stay in the hotel complex and do some exploring. The Cosmo has 100,000 square feet of casino for guests to enjoy. Adam and I played the slots and won $50.
At the casino, we met a 60-year old couple from California, John and Claire, who were telling us about how best to experience Vegas. They said that they had been doing Vegas trips at least once a year since for decades.
“You kids are young. You should be at the clubs,” Claire said.
I told them that we were thinking about it, but that I mostly wanted to see a show. They told me that all of the Cirque du Soleil shows were great.
The next day Adam and I checked into the Mirage, just a short drive from the Cosmopolitan. We wanted to experience different hotels during our trip and the Mirage was offering discounted rooms for this particular weekend.
Although the Mirage is not as new and chic as the Cosmo, it still had a bustling atmosphere of people and is home to the Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil show. It was a good opportunity, so we bought tickets.
The rest of the day was filled with shopping at Caesar’s Palace, just a five-minute walk from the Mirage. The Forum Shops within the immense Caesar’s Palace complex offers a wide range of luxury stores such as Prada and Chanel, but also houses restaurants as well as opulent fountains and Romanesque murals and statues.
On Saturday, we spent the day tanning poolside and enjoying the warm weather.
That night we attended the Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil performance, which was absolutely incredible. The show transports the audience into another world of bright lights, colors, costumes, dance and skilled acrobatics. There was one segment that was especially captivating. While the Beatles song “Octopus’s Garden” played, the performers and crew of the show covered the entire audience with a giant blue sheet and shook it to make it feel as though we were underwater. The lively music combined with flashing lights and dancers dressed like sparkling silver fish was a feast for the senses.
At midnight, as I was turning 22, Adam and I went to XS Nightclub, located in the Encore Hotel, just a five-minute cab ride from the Mirage. One of my favorite house music DJs, Calvin Harris, was performing, causing the club to become filled with energetic 20-somethings. The music and friendly people at XS definitely made it a memorable birthday.
On Sunday evening Adam and I had a delicious meal at Spago, located in Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops. Adam’s mom, who lives in Las Vegas, also joined us for my birthday dinner. The food was incredible and the staff was very friendly.
Sunday night we departed Las Vegas. During my stay, I realized that Vegas is a city that wants you to have fun and is ready to please. I found everyone I encountered from the hotel staff to complete strangers to be extremely warm and welcoming. I don’t think I would have done anything differently. It was a fun trip that gave me a sampling of what Vegas has to offer and exceeded my expectations. I’m ready to plan another trip as soon as possible.
IF YOU GO
McCarran International Airport
Where: 5757 Wayne Newton Blvd., Las Vegas, Nev. 89119
The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
Where: 3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, Nev. 89109
The Mirage Hotel and Casino
Where: 3400 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, Nev. 89109
Beatles LOVE Show
- Ticket Office: Tuesdays and Wednesdays: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Thursdays-Mondays: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Tickets: $180, $155, $130, $104, $98.50, $79 depending on section (plus tax and $9.95 service charge)
- No children under age five permitted
- Wheelchair accessible seating available upon request
Where: 3570 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, Nev. 89109
Where: Encore Hotel 3131 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, Nev. 89109
Hours: Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 10 p.m. -4 a.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, closed.