This past weekend I spent three nights at Aria Las Vegas, one of the Vegas mega properties located in MGM’s CityCenter. Other hotels that share the CityCenter location are Vdara and Mandarin Oriental… as well as what is left of the Harmon (it is getting smaller each day as they demolish it). Aria, with 4,004 rooms, opened in December 2009 and is considered MGM’s top property alongside Bellagio.
I have stayed at the Aria five or six times, it is my go-to hotel in Vegas. Good location, luxury, and a great spa. I received a deal through Mlife that got me a rate of ~$200* for Saturday night and ~$130* for Sunday and Monday nights (*I include the mandatory $32 resort fee in this price). The deal also came with an included $200 resort credit that I could use at onsite restaurants, spa, or show.
Check in was quick; I used the “Invited Guest Line” as a Platinum Mlife member, but there was no one in line at the regular check in line. It was a Saturday, so most people would have checked in on Friday I am guessing. Most times I have checked in there is a line. I was offered a room on the 18th floor with a strip view. I asked for a higher room, was told this was the highest floor available in the 60 story property. I then asked about an upgrade (one of the benefits of being a Gold or Platinum Mlife member is supposedly a free upgrade at check in, but I have never received this). I was told for an extra $500 I could have a one bedroom suite. Once again, so much for the free upgrade that Mlife advertises.
I made sure my Hyatt Gold Passport number was added to the account, as MGM properties are partnered with Hyatt, they had it on file from my last visit.
The room itself was at the end of the LONG hall, which I don’t mind. It gets me some extra steps in and it is usually quieter, but some people might not like this. The room was exactly as to be expected from my last visits; although I was pleasantly surprised that there were no burnt out lights and the door lock worked (not so on my last visit).
As you enter, there is a dressing area with built in dresser and wardrobe. You are provided with two robes. Immediately to your right is the bathroom with a pocket door. The bathroom is average by Vegas standards, smaller than Wynn but bigger than some older properties. Double vanity. Walk in shower/soaking tub that share a section… it’s a bit of an odd set up but saves space. The towels were always plentiful and in good shape. Soft and bright white.
My room had a King bed (you can pay $30 extra for two Queens). The bed is soft and comfortable. The sheets are good quality but seem to be washed with harsh detergent; it can definitely irritate your skin. Standard flat screen TV and desk. Two chairs in front of the floor to ceiling window. The furniture is showing its age, but my guess is that a refresh is within the next two years or so.
All the room electronics are controlled by an iPad type device that is next to the bed. You use it to control the TV, music, temperature, curtains, lights, and privacy sign. It takes a bit of a learning curve to use for sure, and isn’t always as responsive as I’d like. Definitely not designed by Apple!
I called and requested nightly turn down service through the front desk (another perk of Platinum status). The front desk agent told me he could arrange it for the next night but I would need to call back each day to get the service. This seemed odd to me, so I called housekeeping to see if I can have turn down service that night. She said no problem, and then called me back to ask if I wanted it every night of my stay. I appreciated that she actually called me back to see if this was something I wanted. The turn down service is a nice perk; you receive fresh towels and they prepare the bed. The first two nights I also received slippers and the housekeeper asked if I wanted any other products (razor, toothbrush, bath salts, etc). She was very nice and left chocolates by the bed as well. The final night of my stay I did not receive the additional products; I am guessing it was a different employee. But I was able to call housekeeping and they brought up whatever I requested. I was less concerned about actually getting the turn down service but wanted to see what it took to receive this perk of mLife.
Since I had the $200 resort credit, I decided I wanted to try out some of the higher end restaurants on site. Two were excellent, one was very average.
I had brunch at Bardot, a new French bistro on the promenade level. It is not easy to find; head towards the Zarkana theater or ask a staff member. I did not have reservations (nor did I for any of the restaurants, but they all were accommodating and not busy) and was seated in the bar, probably with the assumption that this was my preference as a single diner. The waitress was very friendly and helpful. I had heard that the French toast is amazing, and being my favorite breakfast food, I of course ordered it. It was huge and tasty; not like any other French toast I’ve had. I also ordered a side of strawberries (not on the menu, but she was happy to oblige) and an orange juice.
The total after tax was $27.57; very reasonable in my opinion for a high end restaurant. I charged to my room so that I could use up some of my resort credit. Tip: when staying at Aria Las Vegas or any MGM properties, always charge everything to your room so that you can get Hyatt points.
After brunch I headed to the spa. For $30 you get an all day pass to use the facilities. I enjoy the Aria spa, it is a great way to relax for an afternoon even if you are not purchasing a service (massage, facial, etc). Just remember your basic spa etiquette. The always have fruit (apples) and small snacks available, as well as water bottles, canned juices and soda.
That evening I had a late dinner at Lemongrass, the Thai fusion restaurant on the main floor. Of the three restaurants I visited during my stay, this was my least favorite. I ordered the Phad See Ew, my favorite Thai dish. It was fine, but definitely have had better. I also ordered a club soda, which the waiter didn’t charge me for which I always appreciate (it’s water with bubbles… I don’t see why some places charge you for this). The staff was attentive but my dish at least left something to be desired.
The following evening I tried the highly reviewed Julian Serrano just off the casino and check in lobby. This time I decided to try the $59 Signature Tasting Menu. The waiter was the best I’ve had at a restaurant, attentive but not hovering, knowledgeable and soft spoken. After ordering the manager came to speak with me. I was told that they were discontinuing the price fixed menu to move more towards their focus on tapas but that they could do it this evening for me. It was nice of the manager to personally approach me. I ordered a salad, risotto, baked chicken and churros, as well as a glass of white sangria. Everything I received was flavorful and well presented. But my absolute favorite dish was the churros and chocolate. This is one of my favorite dishes; when I was in Madrid I ordered these daily. But Julian Serrano had the richest chocolate dipping sauce I have ever had. I would easily go back just for the churros. Worth the price of admission 🙂
Even with the three restaurants and afternoon at the spa, I had a good amount of my resort credit left to spend. I decided to get a hot shave at the Salon as a way to pamper myself on my last night. Not a bad ending to a weekend in Vegas.
Overall, I was again impressed by the Aria Las Vegas property and was glad to explore the various restaurants. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t nice enough to enjoy the pools, but of course that is no fault of the property. I find the staff at Aria to be inconsistent, some will go out of their way to help you, while others act like you are inconveniencing them with your request or just simply don’t know what they are talking about. In this aspect, Aria Las Vegas is definitely a step down from the Wynn. But overall another good stay at Aria Las Vegas.
Update: Remember to add your Hyatt Gold Passport number at check-in, as Hyatt and Mlife have a partnership/relationship. I received credit to my HGP account for 1 stay, 3 nights, and 2,271 points for my recent stay. It did take a week for the credits to post to my Hyatt Gold Passport account.