Aria Resort and Casino, Las Vegas

Country

USA

City

Las Vegas

Hotel

Aria Resort and Casino

Rating

5-star

Room

One Bedroom Penthouse

Notes

The Good
  • Amazing central location, right on ‘the Strip’
  • More than 15 food and beverage venues
  • Free monorail to neighbor Park MGM and Bellagio
The Bad
  • Numerous entrances can lead to confusion
  • Book restaurants well in advance to avoid disappointment
  • Expensive resort fees are a perpetual nuisance
X-Factor
  • Sky Suites guests enjoy access to a private back entrance among other perks

Introduction

Las Vegas is renowned for its excess, yet the Aria Resort and Casino has managed to raise the stakes even higher. Costing a staggering USD$9.2 billion (AU$13.2b) to build, the precinct is the largest privately funded development in US history.

Opened in 2009, the complex is part of the MGM Resorts International gambling and entertainment juggernaut, comprising three hotels with nearly 6,000 rooms, twin residential towers, a luxury mall, dozens of restaurants, bars, clubs and more than 2,000 slot and table casino games .

Just one of several grand entrances to Aria Resort Las Vegas

During a visit to the United States, Executive Traveler rolled the dice at one of these hotels, Aria Sky Suites.

Location & Impressions

Occupying prime real estate, the Aria precinct brings much of the vibrancy, color and glamor of the Las Vegas Strip directly to its front door.

The main driveway leads to a twin-level ring-road. The upper deck affords plenty of room for taxis to drop off arriving guests, with space to spare for tour vehicles collecting adventurers, as well as the display of glamorous luxury cars available to rent.

Aria's entry ring-road is where most guests make their entrance.

Aria’s entry ring-road is where most guests make their entrance.

A lower level is designated to rideshare vehicles (Uber and Lyft) with a dedicated concierge to assist in managing traffic flow.

Gently moving above is the Aria Express, a free three-stop monorail linking Aria to sister hotels, Park MGM (once known as the Monte Carlo), the Vdara apartment-hotel and the Bellagio Resort, home to the strip’s most famous dancing fountains.

The Aria Express is slow, but it beats walking in the desert heat.

The Aria Express is slow, but it beats walking in the desert heat.

Guests at Aria Sky Suites also enjoy return airport transfers in the hotel’s fleet of luxury stretch SUVs.

Room

Accommodation at Aria Resort and Casino is actually divided into different ‘hotels within a hotel’, each offering varying access despite physically sitting on separate floors of the same tower.

These consist of the standard Deluxe Rooms; the wellness-oriented Stay Well Premier category; more spacious Aria Tower Suites; or for larger groups, the multi-bedroom Aria Sky Suites and multi-storey Sky Villas.

Sky Suites guests will be picked up from the airport in this luxury vehicle.

Sky Suites guests will be picked up from the airport in this luxury vehicle.

Always amenable to a great view, we check in to 51016, a one-bedroom penthouse at Aria Sky Suites on the 51st floor. As a premium room category, we’re whisked from the airport to a back entrance and an exclusive check-in desk with no line – a huge plus in a city like Las Vegas.

Our one-bedroom penthouse included separate living and dining rooms.

Our one-bedroom penthouse included separate living and dining rooms.

There’s no disappointment as we step inside, with our suite opening to a grand foyer and floor-to-ceiling view to some of the strip’s most famous properties, including MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood, and New York New York, plus one of its newest residents, The Cosmopolitan.

It's a fantastic view from up high on the 51st floor.

It’s a fantastic view from up high on the 51st floor.

Surrounded by elegant marble, we’re greeted by separate living and dining rooms, the latter enhanced by a bar for its six-seat dining table. The bedroom features a king bed and a similarly-sized ensuite featuring a huge shower vestibule, bathtub, dual vanities and a walk-in closet. cIt’s a heavenly yet homely retreat.

Our spacious bedroom is adjoined to a similarly sized ensuite.

Our spacious bedroom is adjoined to a similarly sized ensuite.

Rooms can be customized to your liking via one of two tablet compendium, which control aspects such as individually-operated curtains, lighting and air conditioning. You can even set some music to flow through the rooms.

This tablet is also your link to all hotel services, such as in-room dining, while some venues also allow you to join a virtual reservation queue for a table and be notified when it is ready.

Work

Forget work. This is Las Vegas and we’re here to play.

Las Vegas is a city mastered in the art of visual deception. A property seemingly just next door can in fact be quite a walk away. Ladies, bear that in mind when selecting your evening footwear.

Near Aria you’ll find the T-Mobile Arena, home to a roster of rotating international superstars and major sporting events including the Las Vegas Golden Knights NHL franchise (that’s ice hockey).

If sports are your game, catch them at Aria's sports bar.

If sports are your game, catch them at Aria’s sports bar.

There’s also the acoustically-taut Dolby Live concert hall located within Park MGM (again next door but catch the Aria Express monorail).

While it pays to plan your trip and secure tickets well in advance, Aria Sky Suites guests have access to a dedicated Concierge who may just be able to secure seats to some shows if your heart really is set on one. No promises, but it’s worth a shot.

Outside of major events, Aria will never leave you bored, with numerous bars, lounges and clubs open almost around the clock.

Test your luck on more than 2,000 slot and table games.

Test your luck on more than 2,000 slot and table games.

These include a theater style sports bar, the Alibi Ultra Lounge for lovers of fine spirits and aperitifs, cocktail connoisseurs at Lift Bar or gaming bars suited to poker, baccarat and high-limit slots, if that’s your game.

For somewhere to unwind by day, Aria’s pool scene is vibrant and varied, with options including the adults-only Liquid Pool Lounge, which sets the standard for summer parties with a rotating DJ roster and lounge-side food and beverage service (but remember to tip the server).

The Sky Pool is exclusive to Sky Suites guests during the warmer months.

The Sky Pool is exclusive to Sky Suites guests during the warmer months.

Guests in Sky Suites have exclusive summertime access to the Sky Pool, with an attendant on hand to check room keys. Note though that this space opens to all guests during the cooler winter months.

Private cabanas are expensive but for larger groups, removes the hassle of finding seating together.

Private cabanas are expensive but for larger groups, removes the hassle of finding seating together.

If you’d like to avoid the hassle of finding a chair by the pool, space can be reserved in the form of a chaise lounge, daybed or a premium cabana, capable of seating up to 15 people. Cabanas all come with towels, shaded lounges, priority F&B service and misting fans, along with other amenities.

Eat

Aria Resort and Casino is home to dozens of restaurants ranging from casual quick-bite eateries all the way up to your fine dining experiences, exquisitely crafted local and international menus delivered in lavish settings.

Whether your taste for the evening is a steak grilled to perfection or expert Italian, French, Chinese, Spanish or Mexican fare, Aria has you covered with premium restaurants helmed by experts renowned for their cuisine.

Sink your line into seafood creations at 'Catch', found near the main hotel lobby.

Sink your line into seafood creations at ‘Catch’, found near the main hotel lobby.

Reservations are absolutely essential, with weekends often booking out weeks in advance. One way around this is to consider eating early (like 4pm) or very late (seated post 10pm).

Renowned across Asia, Din Tai Fung is heralded as having perfected the culinary art of Xiao Long Bao.

Renowned across Asia, Din Tai Fung is heralded as having perfected the culinary art of Xiao Long Bao.

For a less stressful environment, particularly if you have a show to get to, grab some delicious dumplings, some authentic Thai or even just a pizza to share. There’s plenty to choose from.

Relax

Crave a day of pampering? The Spa at Aria is rated five stars by Forbes and is one of the largest facilities in the world, with a treatment menu capable of working out every stress in your body.

The Aria Spa hydrotherapy pool overlooks the resort's main pools.

The Aria Spa hydrotherapy pool overlooks the resort’s main pools.

Treat yourself to a few hours of seclusion in a Spa Suite, where a variety of treatments can be interspersed with time in a private jacuzzi and lounge. Aria also has dedicated Japanese Ganbanyoku stone beds which are said to accelerate metabolism through gentle heating.

Alternatively, the Kalologie MedSpa offers a selection of medically formulated procedures including IV hydration therapy, B12 injections, Micro-needling and Neurotoxins, for when you want your inner glow to radiate outwards and have you looking and feeling your best.

Aria's fitness center features a rock climbing wall.

Aria’s fitness center features a rock climbing wall.

Other features include a hair salon and expansive fitness centre, complete with a rock climbing wall where you can break a sweat individually or as part of a group session with a personal trainer.

Retail therapy is also on tap. The Shops at Crystal include a glittering array of high-end boutiques and art galleries designed to give your credit card a serious workout.

Premium tee times at Shadow Creek Golf Club are available to Aria hotel guests.

Premium tee times at Shadow Creek Golf Club are available to Aria hotel guests.

For golfers, MGM Resorts owns and operates the ultra-exclusive Shadow Creek Golf Course, located a half-hour drive north of the Strip. For a pretty US$600 per person, hotel guests can secure a tee time Monday through Thursday, return limousine transfers, a golf cart and caddy for their round of eighteen. Weekend access is invitation only.

The Verdict

One much-maligned nuisance frequently vexed by travellers to Las Vegas is the dreaded resort fee. Be prepared for this impost to the tune of US$45 per day, plus tax which will take the charge just north of US$50.

For this, you’ll receive access to the hotel’s fitness centre, local phone calls and in-room wireless internet, which most hotels these days offer for free.

The back entrance exclusively for Sky Suites guests has been used by many a celebrity.

The back entrance exclusively for Sky Suites guests has been used by many a celebrity.

This annoyance aside, Aria Resort has slotted into its place on the strip in wonderful fashion. Whether you’re in town purely for an indulgent holiday or book-ending your business trip with some of Vegas’ glamor and excitement, it will leave you feeling like you’ve hit the jackpot, even if you don’t.

The writer stayed as a guest of Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

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