photo 4During that visit, the massive City Center complex was under construction and riddled with financial hiccups and production delays. Today, however, City Center has become a focal point of The Strip. It’s hard to imagine this complex being anything other than successful.
The Aria Resort and Casino opened on December 16, 2009. The cornerstone of the City Center complex rises 61 stories and contains 4004 hotel rooms and suites. Since its’ opening over 3 years ago, the Aria has garnered a stellar reputation for luxurious accommodations and exceptional customer service. When we recently decided to travel to Las Vegas for a long weekend, we knew we needed to stay at the Aria.
As always, we are always searching for the best travel deals. This time, we found an amazing deal on US Airway’s site ( After picking up our rental car, we drove straight down Las Vegas Boulevard to the Aria. Along the way, we were amazed by the amount of development that has occurred since our last visit. There are new outlet malls, new strip malls, new accommodations. So many new things! The bright lights and the vibrancy of the Strip contributed to our excited anticipation for the next three days.
photo 2The Aria has a very modern and sleek look. The long walk from the self parking garage to the reception area allowed us to take in the Aria hotel and Casino. The design esthetic is different from upscale resorts of years past (think warm florals and European designs of the Bellagio and the Venetian). The color palate of rich grays and browns lends itself to a warm, modern, slightly masculine feel. Although the resort is massive in size with lots of people traffic, the Casino and common space felt uncrowded and not overly expansive. In other words, it felt very accessible and not overwhelming. The layout was clear and easy to navigate. Upon check-in, we discovered that our room was taken. The hotel was filled to capacity due to the Michael Jordan Golf Invitational. Because of this “unfortunate” mix-up, we were upgraded to a corner suite.
The hallways at the Aria are lengthy. If you don’t want to walk a long distance, be sure to request a room that is closer to the elevator. However, if you are assigned a corner suite, the long walk down the extensive hallway system is worth it! Upon entering the room, we were in awe of the space. The marble floored entryway leads to spacious living room complete with a large flat screen tv, sofa and loveseat, minibar and a mini refrigerator. The entire length of the suite (which is quite long!) has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Cosmopolitan hotel, with a peek at the Strip on one side and Red Rock Canyon in the distance to the other side. Directly off the entry way is a half bathroom. Beyond the living area is a separate bedroom with a plush king size bed and another flat screen tv. The master bath is immense. There is a soaking jetted tub with (another) flat screen tv, a separate massive walk-in shower with a bench, a dual sink vanity was lots of counterspace, a large closet, and the piece de resistance: a separate water closet with a “Japanese style toilet” (heated seat, front and back water sprays and drier). Everything in the room is high tech and most everything is managed with a touch of a button. For non-electronic people, don’t fret. There are several cards throughout the suite to help you navigate the technology. We were impressed by the housekeeping service. The suite was pristine with service twice daily. Towels and toiletries were always stocked. The nightly turndown service with a box of chocolates was a wonderful way to end the day.
photo 5If you wanted to spend your entire Las Vegas stay at the Aria, you would never be lacking in food and entertainment options. If you enjoy Cirque du Soleil performances, the Aria hosts “Zarkana” which consists of a myriad of acrobatic and visually stunning pieces. For fun and relaxation, there is a spacious and pristine spa and gym. The pool area is a beautiful place to recharge and enjoy the sun. Dale Chihuly has a glass exhibit on the property for you to browse. Throughout the property, there are numerous sculptures to admire. The front drive hosts spectacular water features, including a color lighted fountain and a water wall. The adjacent Crystal Shops features a multitude of stores and restaurants. During our stay, we dined at several of the resort’s establishments. We enjoyed happy hour sangrias at Julian Serrano, a sinfully rich chocolate cake from Jean Philippe Patisserie, late night pizza slices from Five 50, and our favorite spot of all: Javiers. Javiers has the most delicious jalepeno margaritas and perfectly seasoned and prepared carnitas. And, of course, there is the casino. We have a love-hate relationship with the casino. Some days were great, and other days… well, we prefer to remember the winning days.
The Aria also serves as an excellent jumping off point from which to explore Las Vegas. If you venture across the street to the Cosmopolitan, be sure to say hi to our friends at the Chandelier bar and STK restaurant! Within walking distance are the Bellagio fountains and the new “Linq” shopping and entertainment complex showcasing the “High Roller”, the largest observation wheel in the world. Las Vegas truly caters to all interests and budgets. Stroll down the Strip and enjoy the activities, sights, and sounds of the different casinos, restaurants, and shops. Businesses want pedestrian traffic so many of the offerings are free. If you enjoy the outdoors, take a day trip to Grand Canyon. Or visit our friends at Cycle Vegas  for a wonderful mountain biking trip to Red Rock Canyon. Whatever you desire, the Aria in Las Vegas is there to cater to your every need. It will truly become your home away from home.