When you picture Las Vegas, you probably see ginormous hotels that have thousands of rooms and are perhaps shaped like fairy-tale castles or the Eiffel Tower. Well, a new player on the Vegas Strip may change your image.
The latest lodging to open there is minuscule by Sin City standards: At a mere 188 rooms, The Cromwell is the first boutique hotel to plant its flag in the gambling capital of the universe. But that’s not all it has going for it. There's a super-luxe pool-side nightclub, Rat Pack–quality sips, and Giada—ridiculously gorgeous cookbook author Giada De Laurentiis’s first restaurant.
1. Giada De Laurentiis’s First Restaurant
Yes, she’s pretty enough to be a spokesperson for Clairol Natural Instincts, and we so want to hate her. But Giada is that warm and lovely mix of girl-next-door and super-chef, someone with whom we want to break bread and swap beauty tips. Her fab big resto Giada seats 300 in its lounge, terrace, and dining room—and every seat gets a killer view of those iconic Bellagio fountains. Wondering what to order? Try Italian classics like lemon spaghetti, chicken cacciatore, or marsala meatballs.
2. DRAI’s BEACH CLUB/NIGHTCLUB
Hello, Gorgeous! The desert oasis by nightlight guru Victor Drai spans 65,000 square feet and hovers 11 stories above street level, offering the only rooftop pool party on the Strip. By day it's a sophisticated outdoor lounge with private cabanas and eight different swimming options. By night it’s a table-service club—and on Tuesdays, guests can pay $40 to swim until dawn to the sounds of a live DJ. Who needs the ocean when you’ve got this stylish of a waterfront?
3. BOUND by SALVATORE
Mixologist Salvatore Calabrese brings his 30 years of cocktail tweaking to The Cromwell’s lobby, where you can go Rat Pack and get a Breakfast Martini (gin topped with orange marmalade—inspired by Calabrese’s wife, who insists he always eat the most important meal of the day) or stay up all night with a Keep Me Awake Bro or a Never Say Goodnight, two espresso cocktails devised expressly for a party city that never sleeps.
4. THE CROMWELL'S ROOMS
It's owned by Caesars, but this retreat is the opposite of the company’s other humongoid casino-hotels at only 188 rooms. What was once Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall amp Saloon (un-ironic mustaches welcome) has been given a $185m facelift, outfitting the sad old casino with guest rooms that clock in at a minimum of 360 square feet (the largest: the six-bedroom Cromwell Suite). It’s not a theme hotel, but a little Parisian je ne sais quoi permeates—note the hardwood floors, vintage trunks repurposed as coffee tables, and tufted leather sofas. Plus, the crowd is more Hollywood glam than Old West denim-and-diamonds.
5. GAMBLING, because this Is Vegas, Baby
The casino has 40,000 square feet of slots and tables, including 440 of the latest machines. A reserved gaming room (is that Ben Affleck playing poker behind the curtain?) hides three tables, and another conceals three high-stakes games, but there are 60 other tables for blackjack, craps, and mini baccarat. Come and test your luck, or just dress up like Michelle Pfeiffer in Tequila Sunrise and swan around nursing your glass of Moët, dahling.