Travel

Vegas’ Beautiful Aria

by Jim Halterman
Contributor
Thursday May 10, 2012
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There are more choices than ever when venturing for a trip to Las Vegas and finding just the right place to stay can be overwhelming; but on my trip to the desert last month, I decided to give a new property a chance and I’m so glad I did.

Aria Resort & Casino, located in the new City Center, can make your trip as laid back and relaxing as you want it while also offering the excitement of casino gambling, an intoxicating nightlife and enough fantastic food choices to keep your hunger satisfied well after you leave Las Vegas. But what does Aria really have to offer? Let’s break it down...


Size Matters at Aria’s Hotel

While I like to think size doesn’t matter, I have to admit that first thing I noticed upon my arrival at Aria Resort and Casino was how big it is! At 4,000,000 sq. ft and 600 ft in height, it’s both the largest and tallest structure at City Center. However, one of the charms of Aria is that despite its grand size, it’s as comfortable and homey as a smaller property would be.

With over 4,000 rooms at Aria, you’ll find the room that best suits your tastes. Whether you want a smaller, cozier room or something more spacious, Aria has it all and can accommodate your personal and business needs without hesitation.

All that said, how are the rooms? The perfect blend of comfort, subtle luxury and relaxation. With the color scheme of earth tone browns and beiges, there’s an instant laid back quality to the hotel rooms. The bathrooms are spacious and luxurious with both shower and soaking tub as well as plush robes to lounge in. And the entire room has a one-touch control for the room’s TV/video system, lighting, temperatures and even electronically opening and closing the drapes. And if you want a little more luxury and privacy, check out the Sky Suites that come with limousine pickup at the airport as well as private check-in and elevators at the hotel.


Pamper Yourself At The Spa & Salon at Aria

Spas can be hit or miss, even in Las Vegas. They all seem to offer the same massages, facials and services as simple as a mani/pedi; but, for me, it comes down to a combination of the services and the staff. Thankfully, you can mark the Spa & Salon at Aria as one spa that does everything just right in an elegant setting with friendly and knowledgeable staff that is there to help you escape.

You cannot go wrong with one of the many massage therapies at the spa. If you’re with your partner, go for the couples massage but if you’re solo or just want your own experience, I highly recommend the Hot Stone Massage or the Essential Stone Massage. And before you sit back and zone out, make sure to add an enhancement (only $25 more) like a warm scalp treatment or a warm stone leg and foot treatment. (You’ll thank me later)

And while the right massage can leave you walking on air, the same can be said for just giving your face and skin some much-needed attention. On my visit, I chose the Signature Revitalizing Facial and I’m so glad I did. Created to be customized for any skin type, you’ll receive a clinical strength treatment that will plump, smooth and soften fine lines and (the thing we all can use more of) increase hydration. And with my hands and feet given the paraffin wax treatment, I couldn’t have been happier when I floated out.

And make sure to give yourself ample time to hang out in the spa where you can breathe in the air in the Shio salt infused room, sit in the angled Japanese Stone Beds or just sit in the several Jacuzzis. And, if you’re there with a member of the opposite sex, you can hang out in Las Vegas’ only coed balcony.


Something For Everyone’s Appetite at Aria

Why let the indulgences stop with the spa? That massage or facial probably helped you work up quite an appetite so head down to one of the many fabulous restaurants at Aria.

While there are 16 different restaurants in Aria, my mouth started watering the minute I saw the word STEAKHOUSE. Of course, it didn’t hurt that it was one owned by renowned chef Jean Georges. The best thing about this restaurant is that it doesn’t need pretentious spins on traditional steakhouse choices - it’s smart enough to just do the classics right.

For example, start out light with the Pear/Apple Endive Salad before you dive into the main courses. Then, you can either go the seafood route with the delectable Salmon served with mashed potatoes topped with just the right hint of truffle oil. (The result? Heaven.) Or you won’t go wrong by ordering up a nice cut of steak, which, in my case, was an expertly cooked piece of filet mignon with sautéed spinach that I can safely say was the best I’d ever had. And, whether you have room or not, top off your dinner with some Prosecco and a salted caramel sundae.

But dinner isn’t the only meal you’ll need covered while staying at Aria and Lemongrass serves a lunch in its casual yet classy dining room that will fill you up but not leave you feeling heavy for your afternoon on the Strip. A modern spin on Thai cuisine, do what I did and order several dishes and share with your table mates. You won’t go wrong with the Lobster Satay (or any of the other meats) from the Satay Bar and the Soft Shell Crab Fried Rice as part of your meal but make sure you also order the Pad Hoy Shell (stir-fried scallops with red chili, garlic, spring onion as well as oyster and fish sauce).

Lemongrass also offers an early evening menu ($39) or a Signature Tasting menu ($59) so you can take the chef’s suggestions and try a little bit of everything this fine establishment has to offer.


Cirque Shows and Closet Sundays at Revolution

When you think of Vegas, you think of the gambling, the shopping and the fine restaurants but you also think of the shows and "Cirque Du Soleil" productions are everywhere.

To be honest, I saw Viva Elvis on a previous Vegas trip and despite it being a "Cirque" show, I found myself underwhelmed since it was heavy on the Elvis biography and light on the "Cirque" elements we all love.

Thankfully, the show has been fine-tuned with the help of notable choreographers NappyTabs ("So You Think You Can Dance") so I gave it another chance and I’m so glad I did. While the show is still a fabulous tribute to The King, it’s now a much-balanced mix of his life story with music beautifully integrated in the art that is "Cirque Du Soleil." "Viva Elvis" is now a must see!

And while we’re at it, "Beatles Love" (housed at the neighboring Mirage Hotel & Casino) is still a can’t-miss-show that perfectly blends the love for the music from the Fab Four with the awesome "Cirque" style. You’ll find yourself singing along with all the classic songs and be visually blown away by the performers in the show.

After the amazing spectacle that is "Viva Elvis" and "Beatles Love," it’s time for a cocktail. The Mirage hosts the only regular LGBT club party at Club Revolution every Sunday night called Closet Sundays. Grab a drink and hit the dance floor and you never know who you could meet to spark your already fabulous Vegas trip, right?


Taking A Dip At Aria

While everything I’ve mentioned so far will keep you on the go for the most part, there’s nothing wrong with coming to Las Vegas and doing nothing but lounge by the pool, and Aria will not let you down there either.

With a 17,000 square meter pool deck, Aria has three distinctive pools that are each surrounded by meandering pathways and planting themes to make you feel you are in another world of relaxation. Grab your vacation book and lounge in a chair on the deck or, if you want a little more seclusion, cabanas are available for your comfort.

And when you get thirsty, you won’t be going far since the Breeze Cafe and Pool Bar are close by for food and beverages. And we’ve all ventured to a pool area to relax only to be inundated with the sounds of kids playing in the water. So Aria has also thought of an alternative in the Adults-Only Liquid Pool & Lounge, where two luxury VIP pools will help create a space for comfort, quiet and relaxation.


In Conclusion...

...I couldn’t have been happier with my stay at Aria. Whether it was fine dining, pampering in the spa or at the pool, seeing a show or dancing to a disco beat at Closet Sundays, there’s truly something for everyone at Aria Resort and Casino.


Jim Halterman lives in Los Angeles and also covers the TV/Film/Theater scene for www.FutonCritic.com, AfterElton, Vulture, CBS Watch magazine and, of course, www.jimhalterman.com. He is also a regular Tweeter and has a group site on Facebook.

This article is part of our "Summer 2012" series. Want to read more? Here's the full list»

Comments

  • Anonymous, 2012-05-10 11:57:16

    I stayed there two months ago. I enjoyed my stay. Definitely going back soon.


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