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Vegas is a walking cliche, but I kind of love it. I know I’m not the only one, so let’s all fess up now…

…cricket, cricket…

Okay, fine. If you won’t admit to it, you can check out this deal from the privacy of your own computer.

Stay at Planet Hollywood for 20 percent less, plus two-for-one deals. Book trips anytime for travel before February 28. Rooms start at $47.95 for a minimum two-night stay. Visit


Ahh just another night in Vegas. One minute you’re at a formal awards gala eating beef short rib and lobster tail (all part of the job) and the next you are in the front row for a Foster the People concert. It’s good to be with the media. It’s good to be in Vegas.

I’m staying at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, the newest hotel to open on The Strip. After three visits to Vegas this year I can begin to consider myself a bit of a connoisseur and I can say with certainty that this is my favorite hotel. It’s different for Vegas. Sure, it has your all-you-can-eat buffet, and outposts of some of the world’s best restaurants, and a nightclub but….where is the casino? Normally in Vegas hotels the casino is shoved right up your….something…that makes it impossible to avoid. Not at The Cosmopolitan. Yes, of course one exists. This is Vegas, after all, but it is located on the ground floor, away from the majority of the specialty restaurants, pools and conference facilities. You can only get there if you really want to find it.

The hotel’s focus is music, which I can totally get on board with. Several of the bars have DJs spinning every night, the Book & Stage bar/restaurant has a live band, the Chelsea Ballroom can accommodate up to 4,000 people for concerts, and The Boulevard Pool can hold up to 3,000. Music is always thumping from the exclusive Marquee Dayclub/Nightclub, but you best be dressed as naked as possible if you have even a shot of getting in.

My idea of a perfect Cosmopolitan night? Start with cocktails at The Chandelier, a three-floor bar dripping with crystals. After a sexy cocktail grab dinner at Blue Ribbon Sushi. Tip: Sit at the sushi bar and watch the masters at work. My dinner companion was a lobster chilling on ice, still alive. He wasn’t much of a conversationalist, but if he could speak he would tell you book your stay around one of the many fantastic concerts that the hotel hosts (like Mumford and Sons and Foster the People).

Check out my live video of the Foster the People concert at The Boulevard Pool. Flashed my press pass and got to the front row. (Note: You will see in the video a giant speaker blocking the lead singer. I write for a travel trade magazine, not the New York Times).

You guys know what it’s like when you walk into a casino steakhouse for a filet mignon by yourself and you end up meeting a millionaire and gambling away $500 of his dollars, right? No, just me? Well then…

Perhaps it’s best to start at the beginning. When I’m in Vegas (all two times) I like to treat myself to an excellent steak dinner. So there I was at Union Restaurant & Lounge at Aria Resort & Casino, sipping my glass of Shiraz, minding my business. A gentleman, let’s call him “Jeff,” began harmless chitchat, as men in Vegas do with girls sitting alone at bars. As the topic of careers came up I innocently said, “well you can always make your millions and retire somewhere quiet.” To which Jeff replied, “Well I’ve got the first part covered.” Ahh my first millionaire.

They are usually easy to spot, ladies. Fancy threads, usually some leather accessory, be it a wallet or shoes and maybe a gold cigar in his mouth. But Jeff was camouflaged as your average Joe: white long-sleeved shirt, jeans and absolutely no leather (he had a moneyclip!). But found me a millionaire, I did. I told Jeff that I didn’t know how to gamble and apparently that was unacceptable, so we headed to the tables for a little Three Card Poker.

Tip: It’s a lot more fun to gamble when it’s not your money.

Three hours flew by in a span of what seemed like half an hour (damn you, casinos and your free drinks, no windows and no clocks). My pile of chips dwindled miserably. (Jeff seemed to care about that as much as if a lump of pennies had fallen out of his pocket and onto the sidewalk.) If you want this story to end with me winning thousands and going off and blowing it all on hookers and cocaine, I’m sorry to disappoint you. But I walked out of there with my head held high, three $5 chips in hand, proud of the work I did. Our buddy at the table, Doug, on the other hand, walked away with a cool $1,000, bid the dealer and us a Texas ‘night y’all’ and headed up to bed.

Note: I’m not recommending this to all the ladies out there. This probably wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but Jeff didn’t ask for my number or creepily follow me back to my room, so I’m still cashing the night out as a win. It’s too bad I’m taken, though. A girl could get used to Jeff’s ranch and villa in Cabo San Lucas. Yes, Jeff has a ranch and villa in Cabo San Lucas.

I just checked in to Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. For someone who tries to lead the quiet life, I sure end up in a lot of high roller situations. Please take a look at my City View room overlooking the Strip.  Wipe your mouth, please.


How about that view? Ahh Vegas, how I missed your neon sexploitation and all-you-can-eat goodness.

Okay, time to get into character. Time to explore this behemoth that is the CityCenter complex.