Las Vegas is an easy and popular weekend getaway, and while I’m not jaded about what the city has to offer, it takes a lot to impress me. A recent stay at the ARIA Hotel at City Center did just that – impress me.
Driving up to the ARIA entrance, you almost forget that you’re among the neon of the Las Vegas Strip. The bright and airy lobby further reinforces that this is not your usual Vegas hotel. ARIA is a LEED Certified Gold Hotel, meeting high levels of eco-standards. This means that ugly smoke odor that often permeates a hotel is blissfully absent. ARIA provides a whole new way to stay in Las Vegas, more of a luxury resort than a Las Vegas hotel and casino, and the smoke-free environment alone makes it a real value.
My room was on the 24th floor, there are 61, and was a gadget lover’s dream. With its state of the art technology, you could operate everything from a control console next to the bed. When I say everything, I mean everything – the flat panel television, lighting, room temperature, music, alarm clock, and even to adjust the drapes. It took me awhile to figure out how to work everything, but despite hitting a few wrong buttons, I eventually got it all working. My run-of-the-hotel room had a King bed, desk and work space, and sitting area. It was spacious and comfortable.
The bathroom was big enough for two to use at the same time, with double sinks and plenty of counter space. The toilet was in a separate area as was the shower and sunken tub, combined in a way that I thought was rather odd.
This is one area where ARIA doesn’t quite set that standard that it could. Despite its braggadocio about technology, the in-room wi-fi was both overpriced ($15 for 24 hours) and lackluster in performance. Wi-fi should be free, but if you’re going to charge for it, it darned well needs to be working. And working well. The overpriced mini-bar would be better swapped out for a coffee maker, allowing guest that first cup of coffee before hitting the shower. None of the other Las Vegas Strip hotel have coffee pots either, but it’s a shame that ARIA missed the opportunity to set a new standard.
The Rest of the Essentials
There is a casino. While smoking is permitted in the casino, the air filtration system does a good job of whisking it away as quickly as possible.
ARIA has the de rigueur pool areas with loungers, cabanas, and high priced cocktail service (many drinks at $25+). There is an adult only pool, but if you want a less risque environment head to one of the others. There are life jackets available if you need one for the kids.
Restaurants on property range from the upscale to the ethnic to the casual. The tapas at Julian Serrano were a hit with me, and the beautiful pastries at Jean Philippe Patisserie tempted me way too much. If the nightlife calls to you, there are several nightclubs to choose from, and upscale shopping is available right next door at the shops at Crystal, along with additional restaurants and bars. Looking for entertainment? There’s a whole lot of shakin’ goin’ on at Viva Elvis, the newest Cirque du Soleil production. Look for some of the many discounts currently offered on tickets.
If you’ve overindulged a bit you could always work off those calories in the gym, but I’d opt for some pampering time at the Spa. A Thai Poultice Massage ($190 for 50 minutes) should help you clear your head and get your body aligned. And don’t rush! Allow yourself plenty of time for soaking in the pools and enjoying the extensive amenities at the spa – it’s all part of the spa experience.
There’s always a deal to be found in Vegas, and ARIA is no exception. Current summer promotions start at $289 for a 2-night weekday, $446 on weekends. Sign up for special email offers and you’ll keep up with the latest deals.
Photo credits: Author’s personal collection
NOTE: The author received a complimentary stay.