Sporting magnificent modern architecture and top-tier dining, entertainment, pool and spa options, Aria stands tall as a hip resort in the heart of both CityCenter and the Strip.
Totally techie, gleaming and chic, luxury on all levels
Aria opened at the end of 2009 and everything still feels shiny and brand spanking new here. The rooms are a tech lover's dream with all the latest gadgetry -- from keyless locks to personalized automation. Plus you'll have one-touch control of lighting, temperature, draperies, music and more. Simply put, you are master of your domain at Aria -- in a lord-of-manor sense, not in the "Seinfeld" sense (unless that's what you want to be).
Open seasonally, the pool area at Aria is like something out of the Garden of Eden. Three ellipse-shaped pools are spread across a palm tree-laden deck -- and each pool is more tempting than the last. For those of you who already know you want to give in to sin, head directly to Liquid Pool Lounge, a walled-off dayclub in the back where you can frolic with DJ-spun music and copious cocktails.
Open and spacious, the lobby bar at Alibi feels like anything but a lobby bar and this place has some seriously good cocktails. Two of our favorites: the Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed (for when you need a pick-me-up before or after hitting the town) and Her Alibi (for when you need to mellow out before explaining where you were all night).
There isn't a bad room in the house. Since the price point is elevated here, why not just go all out and upgrade to one of the Sky Suites? With the one-bedroom penthouse, you'll not only get postcard-worthy views and more flat-screen TVs than you'd find in a Best Buy display, but you'll enjoy extras like limousine transport from the airport, a personal concierge and access to the private Sky Suites Lounge, where you can indulge in drinks (yes, this includes alcohol) and snacks all day and night long.
If you're thinking of smoking in your room at Aria, don't. At checkout, you might find you've been hit with a $250 cleaning fee. Be aware that most of the resort's rooms (98 percent of them, only a few high roller suites have been exempted) are nonsmoking, so the only places you'll be able to light up are on the casino floor or in various bars.
Parking at Aria seems more confusing than it really is. The confusing part comes from the fact that there are two separate valets, each with different drop-off and pickup points. From the Strip, Aria has two points of access -- via City Center Place to the main valet and via Harmon Avenue to the north valet. There are times for choosing one over the other (see our tips).
OK, so now self-parking...well, what can we say? The only way to access this garage is by turning off the Strip onto City Center Place. Follow the signs (there is no light) as these will indicate where the left turnoff is to a long ramp that goes down into the garage. This feels trickier than it is because you don't actually see the garage they guide you towards.
Now that we've blown your mind in terms of parking, we just want to add that Aria is set way back from the Strip. Of course, most Vegas Strip resorts involve a walk to reach Las Vegas Boulevard, but this is one of the longer ones. To get to the Strip, you'll have to go through The Shops at Crystals or walk along a series of shops parallel to City Center Place and Mandarin Oriental then take a pedestrian bridge across to The Shops at Crystals. Think of it as your workout to burn off those buffet calories.
Remember our earlier discussion on valet parking...use the main valet when you check in because the entrance here leads right into the lobby. And don't forget that you'll pick up your car from the entrance at the opposite end of the porte cochere.
If you're going to "Zarkana," the buffet or the pool club, choose the north valet as it will save you some walking (and keep in mind that you'll have to take an escalator down a level to pick up your car).
Be an art lover. Aria's got an impressive fine art collection, and you don't have to pay a museum admission cost to view it. Several pieces dot the property's indoor and outdoor public spaces. Our favorite is the playful 24-foot-tall typewriter eraser by pop artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. It's on the second-level pedestrian bridge that connects to the self-parking garage. We also like the abstract "Reclining Connected Forms" piece by Henry Moore in the pocket park just outside the lobby. And we laugh every time we see a child try to climb onto Bolt, Bent of Mind and Untitled by Tony Cragg. Let's just say there didn't used to be the protective ring around the silver sculptures.
Spend an afternoon at Aria's Spa & Salon. There are some seriously unique amenities in here including a Shio salt room (its salt-infused air improves both your breathing and skin) and the country's first Japanese Ganbanyoku heated stone beds, which are unbelievably soothing to your muscles.