Concierge Confidential: Las Vegas
The's Cosmopolitan's Chef Concierge shares the city's best-kept secrets
This is Concierge Confidential, a series in which we learn about a city’s best-kept secrets from people who specialize in exactly that: long-serving concierges from the swankiest hotels in town.
Featuring 3,033 rooms, a 100,000-square-foot casino and more than 30 restaurants, bars and lounges (including Momofuku, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken and Ghost Donkey), the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is a pretty busy place.
No one knows that better than Chef Concierge Angela Cooper, a 15-year industry pro who’s worked at the Cosmopolitan for the better part of a decade.
“There’s definitely no typical day at the concierge, but if you need it in Vegas, we’re gonna find it for you,” Cooper tells InsideHook. “We have access to preferred seating at all of the shows and all of the sold-out concerts and events. We can get you into any restaurant that’s saying they do not have availability. We have access through a network of people throughout the city, so I think that we’re definitely a group who are here to help our guests create the best experience they can possibly have in the city.”
Given that Cooper knows all the ins, outs and middles of Sin City, we thought she’d be a great person to talk to for an insider’s perspective on the Cosmopolitan, getting around town and the best places to go that aren’t on the Strip.
Below, a 12-pack of questions with Cooper as well as a few (minimal) insights from your humble narrator.
What’s an underutilized part of your hotel?
Rose. Rabbit. Lie. It’s this secretive bar where you’re completely taken out of the hotel and the casino [figuratively speaking]. Once you enter into the study, it’s like being in a different world. All of a sudden you’re taken back into this rabbit hole — I think that’s something our guests would find uniquely interesting to the Cosmopolitan and it would be great to see them taking more advantage of that.
I need to get some fresh air. Where do I go?
We’ve got things like Red Rock for hiking. A couple of different companies do incredible hikes out there or you can do it on your own. You could go up to the Valley of Fire State Park. We also have helicopter tours that’ll go out to the Grand Canyon. And not too far out of town is this really cool old ghost town, the Eldorado Canyon Mine. It was set up by the Spaniards back in the 1800s. But the concept is that you get to go through this old ghost town, and you get to go through the mines and it’s just a really cool experience. It’s also only about an hour out to Mount Charleston and a little bit farther out to Lee’s Canyon.
What’s the best time to get my table of choice to myself?
I think you probably have like two periods of time that are ideal for getting any machine or any table that you want: Super early morning, because everyone has just gotten home and the casino’s really cleared out. I would say anywhere between 5 or even 8 a.m. And then maybe a little bit later into the afternoon — 4:30 to 5:00 — when everyone goes back to change to go out to dinner.
Is there a time of year when that’s even easier to find?
The best times that people can come is probably around October to November, especially over Thanksgiving. It’s a bit quieter in the city, so there’s a lot more freedom to relax without so many people around.
I’m hungover and need a low-key brunch. Where to?
Vegas is a unique place and we’re busy all the time, so for finding a quiet spot, the best option would probably be ordering room service or something from eggslut. Another place people will sometimes go is to Overlook Grill. They have a wonderful brunch and you can sit indoors or outdoors. It’s very calm, relaxing and you have the water right there. Off the Strip, what downtown has done in revitalizing the east side of Fremont Street is great. You’re going to find a ton of smaller, unique, quirky restaurants and breakfast locations. It has a completely different feel than being up here on the Strip, so it gives you a completely different perspective of the city. Getting an IV treatment from REVIV is also an option.
It doesn’t have tours — you have to find someone to get you into that, which yes, I can do.
Where can I get a cup of coffee and go for a good walk?
Anywhere you walk on the Strip you’re going to have an awesome view and you’re going to have a lot of people watching. Starbucks works for that. If you’re looking to do something a little bit more on the unique and natural side you could always go slightly off Strip. There’s this great coffee place called Gäbi Coffee & Bakery. Pick something up there and go right out to Springs Preserve, which is just a little bit farther — it’s this great outdoor preserve right here in the city, and it gives you a lot of information about Nevada, the history of the area and what we want to keep nice and beautiful.
I blew my Uber budget on craps. How do I get around?
There are a lot of different modes of transportation people can take. Big Bus Tours is one of our favorites because it’s a hop-on/hop-off experience. So not only are you getting a tour of the city, you’re staying right in the heart of it. And you have the opportunity whenever you want to get off and get back on. Most of those tours take like three hours and you just get a really great experience that way. The other major mode of transportation is probably going to be the monorail. It covers a lot of ground. And of course, we always have our public transportation with the buses. Our bus system is incredible. You can pick it up in front of most hotels, so it makes for a really simple and fairly inexpensive way of getting around.
My ‘Gram needs a selfie. Where’s a good spot to take it?
You’re going to find a lot of selfie locations on the Strip, even if you’re not in a hotel or casino. Artwork is something you see popping up everywhere throughout the city. Go towards the T-Mobile Arena where the Golden Knights play. Or go downtown to the Fremont Street area. If you’re looking to get off the Strip, you could go out to Red Rock Canyon, which is stunning. You could to the Springs Preserve. You could go out to the River Dam.
Author’s note: Freemont Street would probably be a good area to try out the $20 sandwich trick for a room upgrade.
Anything else to take into account when getting around?
Even though everything looks very close together, it’s probably best not to walk more than three hotels down, because they are a lot, lot bigger than people think they are. Especially in the summer, that’s a really bad plan. One reason is the heat, but also they are much, much farther apart than you think.
How worried should I be about my airport wait times?
TSA is really good: really, really fast, really easy. There can always be a hiccup, but for the most part, they are a well- oiled machine. What’s great about our airport is wait time is about 15 minutes to an hour max.
I want a great meal. Thoughts?
There are some really great executive chefs that have opened restaurants off the Strip. Like three chefs from Michelin-star restaurants opened a restaurant called Partage which is located in Chinatown. It is this completely unassuming location, but the food is absolutely top-of-the-line incredible. Chef Ryan Howard, who just got an award for 40 Under 40 here in the city, continues to make waves at his restaurant Sparrow + Wolf. Or any of the other places that just opened up like Mama Bird or The Black Sheep, both of which are run by the people from the industry who are looking to do something awesome for locals.
Anywhere else I should try to see while I’m in town?
This is a really fun one. Not too far off the Strip is this two-story house that you would never think twice about, but one of the prior owners wanted to make sure that he was ready with a bomb shelter and therefore created this 15,000-square-foot underground shelter that includes a pool and spa with a waterfall. The house just went up for sale and it’s selling for $18 million. It doesn’t have tours — you have to find someone to get you into that, which yes, I can do. It is really a unique experience. There’s also a piece of the Berlin Wall at Main Street Station Casino. It’s in one of the men’s restrooms.
Author’s note: The Sigma Derby mechanical horse racing game on second floor of the D Las Vegas Casino is the last one of its kind in the city. Worth a visit and a cup of quarters.
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