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Middle Age Miles

Hotel Review – Aria Las Vegas

Aria Las Vegas [featured image courtesy of Aria]

This article is part of our Trip Report – It’s Vegas Week at Middle Age Miles!

Summary

Middle Age Miles loves the Aria.

Philly and I stayed at the Aria for two weekend nights in January 2019, on a last-minute date weekend trip, just the two of us. We thoroughly enjoyed it. The Aria is absolutely beautiful, with fantastic design choices throughout. It’s one of the newest properties in Las Vegas, having opened less than 10 years ago in late 2009. Although it’s a mega-hotel, with more than 4,000 rooms, it manages to feel non-overwhelming.

The rooms are good-sized and nice. The fitness center is marvelous, one of the best we’ve ever seen. And to top it all off on our trip, we got a great rate that included free breakfast and lots of food & beverage credits.

There are other hotels in Las Vegas that we like too, and depending on the reason for our trip and the deals available, we might choose a variety of places. But we’d be delighted to stay at the Aria again, and it’s certainly on our short list of preferred places to stay in Vegas.

Booking and Rate

We booked the Aria through the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection (LHRC) program, and by doing so, we got a great deal that included a room upgrade, daily breakfast credits, and food & beverage credits. We’ve written an extensive, detailed article about our booking process, rate and benefits at the Aria – How to Use the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Program to Score Great Deals in Vegas (and earn points & status too)!

We highly recommend that you read that article. In addition to talking in detail about our specific booking and rate experience with Aria, it walks you through a great method to get an excellent deal on hotel rooms in Las Vegas, step by step. And unlike the hoops we sometimes have to jump through to get great travel deals, this one isn’t complicated. It doesn’t require points, miles or elite status. It doesn’t even require a card with an annual fee. It’s an incredible deal that almost everyone can access – and we hope you will.

The article we just cited and one other (How to Use MGM’s MLife Program to Generate Explorist Status with Hyatt – and for Now, 8 Club Lounge Access Awards!) also contain details about our points- and elite status-earning by virtue of our stay at the Aria, including:

  • Earning enough MLife tier credits to cross the threshold to MLife Gold status
  • Using our MLife Gold status to match both Philly and me to Explorist elite status with Hyatt (and receive 4 Club Lounge Access Awards each!)
  • Earning Hyatt points and elite night credits by providing our World of Hyatt numbers at check-in
  • Earning 3x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points by paying with our Chase Ink Preferred cards
  • Getting 4% statement credit by having enrolled our Chase Ink Preferred cards in the Visa SavingsEdge program

Location

The Aria is centrally located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. It’s part of a complex that also contains the Vdara, the Waldorf Astoria, and the Crystals Shops, which are right outside the door of the Aria. And, with the caveat that everything in Vegas is farther away than it appears, it’s a relatively short walk from the Aria to the new T-Mobile Arena, home of the Las Vegas Golden Knights and site of other big events and concerts.

Here’s a map showing the location of the Aria with respect to other hotels and casinos along the Strip (T-Mobile Arena is immediately west of the Park MGM and New York-New York; immediately across the Strip from Aria are Planet Hollywood and Paris, and just south of that (across from NY-NY) is the MGM Grand):

Arrival, Check-In and Service

We arrived at the Aria by taxi, at around 4:00 pm on Friday afternoon. We didn’t see a bellman, but we didn’t need one as we only had carry-on bags.

When you enter the Aria, the lobby space is large, open and beautifully decoarated. Check-in is to the right – the mobile/self kiosk check-in station is first, followed by the regular check-in desk, and then the “Invited Guest” check-in desk.

Aria lobby

The line-up at regular check-in was fairly crowded but not overwhelming. One of the benefits of our Chase LHRC booking was that could use “Invited Guest” check-in. This was located just beyond regular check-in. It had a much shorter line, but far fewer agents. We ended up waiting about 10 minutes before we reached the desk, which appeared to be about the same amount of time the regular line would have taken. There was also an option for mobile/kiosk check-in, immediately to the right after the entrance, before you reached the regular check-in line.

You can read all of the details about our check-in with Denise the Awesome Check-In Agent in the previous article, How to Use the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Program to Score Great Deals in Vegas (and earn points & status too)! We won’t spoil the story except to say that our interaction with Denise at the Invited Guest check-in desk was very pleasant, helpful and informative.

Aria Mobile/Kiosk Check-In Stations
Aria Main Check-In Desk (early Saturday morning, NOT on Friday afternoon!)
Aria Invited Guest Check-In Desk
We received this letter at check-in, spelling out our benefits at the Aria under the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection program (which they referred to as “Signature Travel Network”)

Service was good throughout our stay at the Aria. In addition to Denise at check-in, we’d also like to give a shout-out to Lily at the regular desk, who helped us with check-out, including fixing a glitch where the MGM/Aria system had not applied the proper breakfast and food & beverage credits to the first night of our stay.

Aside from our check-in and check-out experiences, we didn’t have any major service needs. But other people we interacted with were also nice, including our servers in the Lift Lounge, the bartender at the Sports Bar, the teller in the Race & Sports Book who spotted me a couple of free drink coupons, the gentleman manning the service desk at the fitness center, and our servers at Jean Georges Steakhouse, Five 50 Pizza, and The Pub. Service was slightly less on-point at the Aria Cafe for our two days at breakfast; however, that’s a huge space turning over a lot of people, so our expectations were a bit lower there too.

Room

We were assigned to Room 22-022, a Deluxe Strip View room on the 22nd floor. This was a very fortunate room number, as it made everyone laugh when we gave it to people to charge things to our room, and it was virtually impossible to forget even after a few drinks!

Room 22-022 is a 520-square-foot room which had plenty of space for the two of us. When you enter, the restroom is immediately to the right, with a nice wooden built-in area with closets and drawers to the left. Down a short hallway, the room opened up with the bed and nightstands toward the right, the desk and wall-mounted TV to the left, and two comfortable chairs at the far end of the room by the windows.

Outside the windows was a very nice view of the Las Vegas Strip, including the Cosmopolitan, the Vdara, Planet Hollywood across the street, and mountains in the distance. Buttons in the room opened and closed the blackout curtains and screen automatically. The room also contained buttons that controlled lights outside to request privacy or request housekeeping service.

A few notes on the features of the room:

  • Our bed at the Aria was very comfortable. We slept well, save for waking up early on Saturday morning when our body clocks were still on Central time.
  • Wi-Fi was fast, easy to connect to, and stable
  • One thing that I didn’t notice in the room was a coffee maker. Either there isn’t one, or it was hidden such that we didn’t come across it. We don’t make coffee in our hotel rooms, but I know this is important to many people.
  • The bathroom was nice, with good lighting, double sinks, a granite countertop, a lighted magnifying mirror, and a frosted-glass potty room.
  • Toiletries were branded as “KiNU” and said, “the scent of Asian garden.” The scent was pretty mild and I liked it, enough to bring the unused portion of the shampoo and body wash home.
  • The shower-tub had an unusual feature – the tub was inside the shower stall. When you open the door into the shower stall, first there’s the shower area, then behind it, the tub. I’ve never seen this set-up before. The picture will do it more justice than my words here. I liked that this helped make the shower stall quite roomy. But it must be a massive pain for housekeeping staff to have to bend down and clean the tub every day even if the only “use” has been that some of our shower water splashed over into the tub.
  • Water pressure in the shower was great, as was the hot water. It was easy to control the water temperature with a single knob and find a happy temperature.

Here’s a tour of the room in pictures:

Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – looking from the entry hallway into the room
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – Desk, wall-mounted TV, and counter with minibar items
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – plugs for desk and connector ports for TV
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – comfortable chairs by the window
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – looking back into the room from the far end by the windows
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – left side nightstand with power ports and buttons to control lights and shades
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – right side nightstand, with tablet, power ports, and more buttons to control lights and shades
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – mini-bar contents
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – nice double closets and drawers built-in, on the left side of the entry hall
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – inside one of the built-in closets
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – bathroom counter with good lighting, double sinks, a granite countertop, and a lighted magnifying mirror
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – KiNU toiletries and vanity kit on the bathroom counter
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – frosted-glass potty room inside the bathroom
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – shower stall with a unique shower-tub combination
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – KiNU toiletries in the shower
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – night-time view from Room 22-022, looking northeast toward the Cosmopolitan and Planet Hollywood
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – night-time view from Room 22-022, looking southeast toward the Waldorf Astoria, the MGM Grand, and the Park MGM
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – beautiful sunrise view from Room 22-022
Aria Las Vegas – Deluxe Strip View Room – beautiful sunrise view from Room 22-022

Fitness Center

The Aria’s fitness center is one of the very best we’ve experienced in all our travels. Especially for Philly, this really enhances her hotel experience and is a true difference-maker in choosing where to stay. (Yes, even in Vegas! She is very dedicated.)

The Aria fitness center is located on the second floor, which Aria calls the “Promenade” floor. You enter through the spa, through a door that’s immediately adjacent to the pool entrance. Then, you walk all the way back past the spa shop and check-in desk, then down a hall to the fitness center, which has a separate glass-door entry to your left.

When you enter the fitness center, there’s a main desk that’s staffed. You scan your room key on a reader, and the fitness center attendant offers you a towel and small water bottle. This makes for an impressive start to your visit.

Beyond that, the room is large, and there are many options for your workout pleasure. I didn’t count the treadmills, but there must have been at least two dozen, almost all of which face out a window toward the pool area. There are many other cardio machines of different types, along with weight and resistance machines, and as far as I can tell, pretty much everything you’d want in a fitness center. All of the machines are TechnoGym branded. And unlike many hotel fitness centers, all of the machines appeared to be in good shape and working order. There was even an area with 4 TVs tuned to various program choices.

The treadmill had several pre-programmed choices for your run. Philly chose the programs to run through the streets of Rome, and then New York, which seemed like it would be very cool. Unfortunately, these programs were lame. The streets of Rome were just rudimentary animation that barely would have passed for video-gaming purposes 25 years ago, much less today. We were excited that Philly’s “route” would take her past the Spanish Steps, but then the Steps weren’t actually there. Hopefully TechnoGym can move into the 21st century soon and integrate with Google Street View or something similar to vastly improve this experience – because it would be absolutely awesome if it actually worked well.

Here’s a tour of the fitness center in photos:

Aria Las Vegas fitness center – on the path to getting there, through the spa shop and check-in desk
Aria Las Vegas fitness center – front desk with attendant, towels and water
Aria Las Vegas fitness center – huge room with lots of Techno Gym cardio machines
Aria Las Vegas fitness center – cycles and weight/resistance machines
Aria Las Vegas fitness center – another area of weight/resistance machines
Aria Las Vegas fitness center – area with dumbbells and TVs
Aria Las Vegas fitness center – Philly and a few other early-morning road warriors on the treadmills
Aria Las Vegas fitness center – Philly’s view from her treadmill, looking out into the pool area
Aria Las Vegas fitness center – nice sitting area just outside the fitness center
Aria Las Vegas fitness center – sitting area outside the fitness center, from the other direction

Race & Sports Book

Just a quick word about the Aria Race & Sports Book (my favorite place in any casino!). I really like it. It has a variety of lounge-type sitting areas, including some high-top tables and some areas with couches and comfy seats, from which you can see many screens with various sporting events on. It has a separate area focused on horse racing, with about 20-25 desks and a good number of screens tuned to the races at various tracks.

The tellers at the Aria Race & Sports Book have been uniformly nice to me, and they’ve been generous about giving me free-drink tickets on the few times I’ve bet horses there. And although my one horse bet on our most recent trip wasn’t successful, we did very well there last time on Kentucky Derby weekend, including winning with Monomoy Girl in the Oaks, Yoshida in the Old Forester Turf Classic, and Justify in the Derby – so the place has good vibes for me.

I like the bigger auditorium-style sports books, too, but the Aria’s is really nice, and probably more engaging and comfortable for the more casual sports fans.

Aria Las Vegas – entrance to the Race & Sports Book, along with the Sports Bar and Five 50 pizza place (very tasty, by the way)
Aria Las Vegas – inside the Race & Sports Book

Restaurants, Breakfast & Drinks

We had up to $60 of breakfast credit and $100 of on-property food & beverage credit each day of our Aria stay as part of our Chase LHRC benefits. So, we experienced several places at the Aria to use our credits, and I thought it was worth saying a few words about the places we tried.

One fundamental fact about Vegas is that all food and drinks are overpriced. I’ll take that as a given and won’t harp about it when I talk about each place.

Jean Georges Steakhouse – Jean Georges is located on the second “Promenade” floor of the Aria, near a couple of the other high-end restaurants. We chose it because, in addition to the fact that steak sounded good to me, we had also experienced Jean Georges when we were at the Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills. That had fond memories for us, and when we’ve had a good experience, we often like to go to different locations of the same restaurant.

Anyway, I had steak, we shared a modest bottle of wine, and we had appetizers. All of the food was very good. My steak was cooked properly and the meat was high quality. Service was on-point and attentive; in fact, we laughed that it seemed like we were served by a cast of thousands. And don’t miss the restrooms, which are stylish and unique.

So don’t expect it to be cheap, but if you want a high-quality dining experience, Jean Georges is a great choice.

Aria Las Vegas – Jean Georges Steakhouse


Five 50 Pizza – Five 50 is located on the first/main floor of the Aria. You’ve seen it in our earlier picture in this review, immediately adjacent to the Race & Sports Book. We had lunch there on Saturday afternoon. It’s wood-fired, thin-crust pizza, and I thought it was terrific. I’d be delighted to eat there again. You can get slices at the take-away counter or at the bar, or you can order full pies in the sit-down section of Five 50.

The Pub – The Pub counts as an Aria on-property restaurant, but it’s actually located just outside the Aria in The Shops at Crystals. Take the short hallway from the lobby, just past the “Invited Guest” check-in desk, and you’ll be there in a few steps. We ate at The Pub on Saturday evening while we watched the second half of the Cowboys-Rams playoff game.

The Pub had a standard selection of American/British/bar food. It was fine – and a very good place to watch the game – but nothing special. My drink there, a Midori sour, was actually very good. I probably wouldn’t go back to The Pub for the dining experience, but I’d be glad to go there again if I wanted to watch a game while grabbing a bite.

Lift Bar – The Lift Bar at the Aria is located on the first/main floor, just outside the access point for the guest room elevators (hence, the name Lift Bar). We thought this was a comfortable place to have evening drinks. It wasn’t too crowded, the people-watching was good being close to the elevators, and the service was very good. Small live bands played there on both Friday and Saturday nights, covering traditional hits; the Friday night band was quite good, and we liked the Saturday night band a little less. It was a very comfortable place, as we were able to score some couch seating. And it wasn’t far to walk home when our night was done.

The Aria Cafe – Our breakfast credit benefit gave us three choices – the Aria Cafe, The Buffet, or room service dining. We chose the Aria Cafe each day, as we prefer to order breakfast from a menu and eat in a restaurant rather than in the room. It’s located on the first/main floor, along the wall between the main lobby and the guest elevators.

Aria Las Vegas – one of the on-property breakfast options, The Buffet, is located on the second “Promenade” floor

We ordered quite an assortment of things during our two mornings at the Aria Cafe, and we’d say it was all plenty good although not spectacular. Our bill (pre-tip) was $56 the first day and $46 the second, so we were able to eat all we cared to eat, within our allotted credit.

The Aria Cafe is a huge space (but beautiful), and there are a lot of people coming and going. As a result, service can be a bit inconsistent. The people were friendly; it just took longer and more effort to get things than you’d ideally hope. Set your expectations accordingly, and you’ll be fine.

Aria Las Vegas – this is a picture down about 2/3 of the length of the Aria Cafe, to give you an idea of how huge the space is (and how nicely it’s done, with the big windows and other design elements)

The Aria Property in General

We really like the Aria property’s overall look and feel. Everything is so nicely done, clean and well-maintained. There are fresh flowers and pretty decorations, all done on a grand scale. It’s huge, but it never seems overwhelming; in fact, there are intimate-feeling spaces throughout the property. The attention to both the design and the upkeep are amazing. Obviously, we’re big fans of the property itself.

Early Saturday morning, while Philly was still on the treadmill, I took about 30 minutes to just wander about the Aria in wonderment, taking a few pictures along the way. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I hope you also enjoy a few photos of my wandering journey:

Aria Las Vegas – second lobby area, with its unusual-and-captivating “numbers” sculpture piece
Aria Las Vegas – second lobby Buddha
Aria Las Vegas – entry from the second lobby into the casino area
Aria Las Vegas – cake decorations at the Aria Patisserie (just inside the entrance from the second lobby)
Aria Las Vegas – casino floor
Aria Las Vegas – casino floor (Jurassic World!)
Aria Las Vegas – beautiful arrangement (just outside the High Limit Lounge and Lemongrass restaurant)
Aria Las Vegas – peeking inside the High Limit Lounge
Aria Las Vegas – some friends I met in the main lobby (shout-out to my Leicester City Foxes!)
Aria Las Vegas – restaurants at the end of the main lobby (Julian Serrano Tapas, Catch seafood, and Sage contemporary American)
Aria Las Vegas – beautifully-appointed Lobby Bar

I hope you’ve enjoyed this review of the Aria Las Vegas. As you can tell, we were treated well there, we thought it was beautiful, and we’d be glad to return during another Las Vegas trip sometime soon!

What are your thoughts about the Aria and your experiences there? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!


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