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The Aria Resort and Casino makes a great base for exploring the Las Vegas Strip. The Pros: convenient location, spacious rooms, cool restaurants and bars. The Cons: atrocious in-room Wi-Fi, the gym and pool weren’t open late.
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While in town for the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, I decided to spend three nights at the Aria Resort and Casino. While rates would have been extremely high for the event week if I had booked well ahead of time, waiting out the high advance rates ended up working to my benefit. Here’s what it was like to stay there.
I found a great rate of $225 per night just a few weeks prior to arrival. While the rate itself wasn’t too high (considering the international convention), the nightly resort fees of $35 and nightly taxes of $4.20 certainly added up, bringing my total to $792.60 for a three-night stay.
While I had the option to book directly with Aria, I eventually decided to book via Hyatt so I’d receive the bonus points I was entitled to as a Diamond Elite member at the time — note that Hyatt changed its elite status levels and titles in March of this year. As a result, I earned 5x points per dollar, yielding a total of 3,375 World of Hyatt points for my three-night stay. Additionally, I received a 30% bonus totaling 4,387 World of Hyatt points, a value of $79 according to TPG’s most recent valuations.
Aside from booking and earning points through Hyatt, I earned 2,376 Ultimate Rewards points since I’d paid with my Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, which gives you 3x points for all travel. Since Hyatt is a partner with M Life, I was also entitled to Platinum status with MGM, since MGM properties don’t necessarily honor Hyatt status — I had just had to remember to complete a status match.
Check-In and Lobby
After a five-hour flight from the East Coast, I rented my car and made the 10-minute drive to the hotel from McCarran International Airport (LAS). There were two valet areas — and why not, it’s Las Vegas! One was located near the north lobby, while the other was closer to the main lobby. I dropped my car off at the main entrance, pictured below, since I’d be checking in — this valet area was busy though, so if you’re in a hurry, consider using the north entrance instead.
While this trip required a car for myself, more often than not I find myself just jumping in an Uber. Note that at the Aria, while you could be dropped off by the main lobby or north lobby, you could only be picked up from the north lobby.
The Uber and Lyft stand was located at the north lobby entrance, which was more convenient to the guest elevators. (For some reason, this entrance was sometimes referred to as the “back lobby.”) There was a walkway bridge here that connected the Aria with the Vdara.
I arrived at the hotel in the afternoon and the main check-in line was excruciatingly long. Even though there were many staff members to keep the flow moving, it always seems to be a challenge at most Las Vegas hotels to keep the line short.
An alternative would have been to use mobile check-in, which you don’t actually have to do beforehand. The moment I spotted the long line, I logged onto the Aria’s website and started the process that way. I then walked up to the counter to present my credentials, received my keys and was on my way. This took me a grand total of 10 minutes.
Most Las Vegas lobbies are grandiose, and the Aria’s was no exception. The main lobby was colorful and welcoming.
Even before I was fully checked in, I could test my luck at the 150,000-square-foot casino, which featured slots, poker, a variety of other table games and a Race & Sports Book.
As an M Life Platinum member (which, as I mentioned earlier, I’d gotten through my Hyatt Diamond status at the time), I had the ability to check in at a special desk — unfortunately, I couldn’t find it in time, since it was hidden at the end of the main check-in counters. I was later told that valet parking was free because of my status, a perk which saved me $18 a night.
The elevator lobby was split up in banks for the various floor levels, which was especially beneficial during peak times when many people were going up and down. Never having to wait more than a few moments was a major plus.
The hallway color scheme was interesting. While I usually prefer a brighter, livelier atmosphere, the dark hallways seemed to work here. Unfortunately, my room wasn’t located near the elevators, even after I’d specifically asked for that.
The bright lights and enormous windows made a welcoming entry to my deluxe room.
While it never felt cramped, I didn’t feel like there was ample room in the 520-square-foot space — it had a king-size bed with comfortable bedding as well as table-side chairs. While the chairs felt snug, it was still nice to be able to have an additional (though small) sitting area.
Overall, the main bedroom area was comfortable. The room’s darker walls and blue carpeting made for a good night’s sleep, while there was ample lighting around the bed.
The desk area, along with power outlets, lamps and telephones, made a nice space to get some work done.
Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi was not cooperating at all and even while trying to surf the web, I found it was a struggle. In the end, I used the 3G network on my iPad instead of my laptop, which made this situation far from ideal, especially if you’re traveling here on business like I was.
Adjacent to the desk was the mini-bar and snack area. Non-refrigerated snacks included potato chips and Aria-branded nuts.
The mini-bar housed chocolates, chips, non-alcoholic beverages and some small alcoholic beverages.
While I was out and about, I put my valuables in the safe in the front armoire near the doorway.
The room offered a generous amount of storage space so I didn’t have to live out of my suitcase.
Inside the wardrobe were two comfortable bathrobes.
A spacious bathroom was located behind sliding doors just to the right of the entrance. The toilet was separated from the sink by frosted glass.
A double vanity is a must in these types of properties, and the Aria didn’t disappoint here.
There was a walk-in shower with a large soaking tub next to it. I would have liked to see the frosted-glass theme continue in this area as well, though.
After a long day of walking up and down Las Vegas Boulevard, you may not want a standing shower, so the large soaking tub was certainly a great option. It also gives your fellow guests more room in the bathroom.
Small bottles of body wash, shampoo and conditioner were provided by Kinu Spa. It would’ve been nice to see more toiletries provided besides these essentials.
My favorite part of the room was the in-room tablet — the Control4 technology allowed me to control the curtain, climate, lighting and even put a do-not-disturb notification on. I could also order room service and look at spa options without ever having to get out of bed.
While Las Vegas is known for shining like a diamond in the desert, I didn’t have a great view. It was a small drawback, though, and being able to see the nearby Vdara and Cosmopolitan hotels was certainly nice as well.
Food and Beverage
Diets go to Las Vegas to die. Near every corner were great bakeries, bars and restaurants.
Whether I needed a scone with coffee, a mid-day buttery croissant or an evening cake, the Jean Philippe Patisserie offered just the right guilty indulgence.
So many snacks, so little time.
Javier’s Mexican restaurant featured menu options ranging from traditional Mexican dishes to more Americanized ones, along with a wide variety of drinks — I’ve been here for dinner many times on several trips to Vegas and still want to come back every time. Note that the restaurant does tend to get crowded and loud and isn’t well-lit, if that’s a concern.
If I’d had a good feeling about my favorite sports team, I would’ve placed bets at the Race & Sports Book, where you can have drinks delivered as you make your millions.
There was also great pizza and other traditional American bar food available.
The Burger Lounge was open for late-night stragglers.
The Lobby Bar (located right across from the check-in desks) was the place to go for liquid courage if you needed to face the long check-in lines.
I wasn’t able to try the food at Herringbone this time around, but the seafood restaurant certainly looked like a nice spot for brunch or dinner.
My favorite dining option was Julian Serrano Tapas, the place I could usually be found in during happy hour.
The atmosphere inside this restaurant was lively and vibrant. To access the happy hour tapas selection, just sit at the bar, which was quite large.
Among the tapas I tried were spicy shrimp, chicken croquettes and chorizo with mashed potatoes. Each dish was well-presented and delicious.
The Aria Casino was large but easily walkable, relatively quiet and generally not jam-packed. I was able to snap a quick picture of it before a member of the security team politely asked me to stop.
The spa and salon were open from 5:00am until 8:00pm — it would’ve been nice to have the option of a late-night visit — and rates for massages ranged from $170 to upwards of $400.
The 6,000-square-foot fitness center offered more than enough cardio and weightlifting machines and there was never a wait.
I decided to go down to the pool area on my last day, but it was completely blocked off at the time because of high winds. If the weather had cooperated, the pool area (which also closed at 8:00pm) looked like it would have been fun.
As I drove up to the back lobby of the hotel, I spotted The Shops at Crystals, a mall next door that boasted 15 flagship stores and dozens of other shops that were open late.
It also offered the usual mall eateries and coffeeshops, such as Starbucks.
My decision to stay at the Aria Resort and Casino was one that I didn’t regret. While there are many other fantastic hotels in town, such as The Vdara Las Vegas, the Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace and The Wynn Las Vegas, if the opportunity came again to stay here, I wouldn’t hesitate at all. Checking out was easy, too.
From the service and amenities to the plethora of restaurants, bars and the overall luxurious atmosphere, the Aria Resort and Casino would make a great option for business and leisure travelers alike — as long as it fixes that atrocious Wi-Fi situation.
Have you stayed at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas? Tell us about your experience, below.
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