Since it opened in 2009, the Aria Resort & Casino has been a leading example of the post-kitsch, post-theme-hotel era of Las Vegas luxury accommodations. As the 61-story centerpiece of CityCenter—a cluster of hotels, residences, and shops on the Strip—the Aria impresses with its scale, its up-to-date technology, its glass-and-light favored design, and, for a hotel with 4,004 rooms to look after, its surprisingly good service. Even the Aria’s standard rooms, and their marble bathrooms, are large, and the drapes on its floor-to-ceiling windows know when to open themselves. It also boasts eco-credentials: Along with Vdara, another CityCenter property, the Aria was the first Las Vegas hotel to achieve LEED gold-certified status. Its 150,000-square-foot casino, one of the largest in Las Vegas, dazzles even those who only occasionally look up from the tables. The nightclub, Haze, is among the hottest on the Strip. And the video Game Room is state of the art, although—because there must be limits—children under 18 can’t get into the room unless accompanied by an adult.
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The Aria sits near the center of Las Vegas Boulevard, also known as the Strip, which is 3.5 miles of liveliness. From gambling to dining to seeing a show, much of what people come to Las Vegas for is located in the Strip’s many luxury hotels, so cruising from one to another is a popular entertainment in itself. A free tram runs between the Monte Carlo and the Bellagio hotels, with a stop at CityCenter, where, along with the Aria, the upscale Shops at Crystals is located. Or the more culturally inclined could grab a taxi for a visit to The Pinball Hall of Fame, which, it perhaps goes without saying, is nonprofit.
Need to Know
Rooms: 4,004 rooms, including 568 suites. From $129. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: Aria’s 16 restaurants (and seven bars), have more celebrity chefs than some cooking channels. Some standouts include Jean Georges Steakhouse, Masa Takayama’s modern Japanese barMASA (where the time from the sea to the plate is less than 24 hours), and Shawn McClain’s two venues: Sage, with its artisanal American cuisine, and the less formal Five50 Pizza Bar—550 degrees, for those not in the know, being the ideal temperature at which to cook a pizza. Spa and gym details: As at most Las Vegas hotels, the vast 80,000-square-foot Aria Spa and Salon, with its 62 treatment rooms and 6,000-square-foot fitness center, charges even hotel guests a daily fee to use its facilities. The menu of services is extensive, ranging from a spa suite couples romance package, to expectant mother massages, to bridal facials—although not necessarily in that order.
Who’s it for: High rollers who like high tech and knowing that the best of everything else Las Vegas has to offer is only steps away. Our favorite rooms: It’s generally expected that the bigger the hotel, the less personal the service, a shortcoming many megahotels attempt to overcome by setting aside blocks of rooms with special features and increased levels of pampering. At the Aria, those are the Sky Suites, which not only have the best views, but also include perks such as airport pickup and drop-off (in natural gas–fueled limos), a separate entrance for check-in, a private elevator, and concierge services. Going for green: For golf-playing guests who can afford to splurge on a $500 green fee, a unique golfing experience awaits at Shadow Creek, 20 minutes from the hotel. Only guests of MGM properties—of which the Aria is one—can play. Given that greens fee, if the course has to be shared with anyone, they will probably be local or visiting celebrities and dignitaries. The fee does include limo transportation, a cart, a caddie, and equipment rental.