With so many hotels in Las Vegas to choose from, how can you possible choose the right one for your personal preferences, preferred location, and budget? It can be a tough choice, but for a value luxury option – at a price point that won’t break the bank – take a look at the ARIA Hotel at City Center.
Enjoy the moment as you approach the resort via the circular drive in front. A fountain stands in the middle of the drive through, and the water theme continues with a wall of water on the side of the entry way. As you walk into the bright and airy lobby you’ll almost forget you’re at a casino property. This LEED Certified Gold Hotel is smoke free and adheres to a rigorous compliance with high levels of eco-standards. And with is location adjacent to the upscale shopping and fine dining of City Center, a stay at ARIA means you’re right in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.
Rooms at ARIA boast state of the art technology, from the flat panel television on the wall to the control console that operates everything in the room. Want a little mood lighting? Set it from the console. Want to read in bed? Set it from the console. Turn on and off the television, adjust the room temperature, set the music in the room, open and close the drapes? All are handled from the control console. It serves as an alarm clock, too, and the television remote is able to provide many of the same functions. It took me some time to figure everything out, and I hit the wrong button a time or two, but it’s pretty handy to be able to control everything from one spot. You should be able to figure it out in no time.
ARIA has 61 floors, and my standard room was located on the 24th floor overlooking City Center. The room was spacious and well laid out, with a king size bed, desk and work space, and sitting area. The bathroom was equally spacious, offering double sinks and plenty of counter space – plenty of room for two people to use the facilities at the same time. One unusual layout was the combining of the toilet with the shower and sunken tub, both of which were enclosed in a separate area from the rest of the bathroom. It worked, but it seemed a little odd.
Since I always travel with a supply of gadgets, I had to check out the in-room wi-fi ($15 for 24 hours). Despite a love and focus on technology, ARIA lets guests down in this area. It was difficult to log in, requiring a transfer to tech support, and even then the problem was unable to be resolved easily. Once I got the connection, the problems continued, with the signal continually being interrupted. I believe wi-fi should be free. But if you’re going to charge $15 for internet access, at a minimum it needs to provide solid, reliable access. It wasn’t.
The room is also equipped with an overpriced mini-bar. I don’t need ridiculously priced bottles of water, wine, or snacks. Does anyone buy stuff from the mini-bar? What I’d really love to have is a coffee maker and complimentary coffee. I’ll still hit the cafe for my latte and specialty drink, but I really need that first cup to clear my head before I hit the shower. I can’t categorize this as a fail, since none of the strip hotels don’t offer this amenity, but it would be a real chance for ARIA to continue to lead the way in room amenities.
The hotel offers three pools to choose from, connected by a series of landscaped pathways. Although I’m sure the pool area can get pretty crowded, the loungers are well laid out in an attempt to keep pool guests from feeling crowded. Pool side service is available – at a price. For example, a delicious, super tall, spicy Bloody Mary priced about $27, not including tip. Cabanas, rafts, an adult only pool, life jackets for kids, and a variety of other pool amenities are available.
The hotel offers a crazy number of restaurants and bars. For fine dining you can choose: Barmasa, Shaboo, Julian Serrano, Sage, Jean Georges Steakhouse, Sirio Ristorante, American Fish, Blossom, and Union Restaurant and Lounge. Prefer something a little more casual? Try: Lemongrass, Skybox Sports Bar & Grill, Cafe Vettro, Breeze Cafe, Jean Philippe Patisserie (offering fabulous pastries), Sweet Chill, The Roasted Bean, and the ubiquitous buffet. And after all that eating and drinking has you feeling a little lethargic, stop off at the gym or Spa for a work out or some pampering.
If you’re feeling flush, you can step next door to the shops at Crystals, and plunk down some of your hard earned cash at upscale retailers like Louis Vuitton, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Prada. You’ll find additional restaurants here, along with some impressive art (both in the shopping areas as well as on the walk here from the hotel). And come evening, there’s plenty of nightlife, including Haze Nightclub, Gold Boutique Nightclub & Lounge, the Deuce Lounge, and more. For a real treat, you’ll find a whole lot of shakin’ goin’ on at Viva Elvis, a Cirque du Soleil performance.
Location: In the City Center complex on the Las Vegas Strip.
Getting there: Like most hotel properties on the strip, ARIA is best reached from the airport via cab. The fare from the airport to the hotel will run about $20, including tip and the required airport add-on fee.
Rates: Vary based on date, room type, and promotions offered. I checked the online booking calendar today, and rates in March are offered starting at around $160 midweek on up to $280 on a weekend. These rates may be affected by March Madness bookings. Always check the rate calendar and look for special promotions for your travel dates.
Photo credits: personal collection
NOTE: I received a complimentary stay at ARIA; the opinions expressed here are solely my own.
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Mary Jo Manzanares is a founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine proving informational and inspirational travel recommendations for curious Baby Boomer travelers. She has been a speaker at various industry events and has a personal travel blog at Traveling with MJ. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Mary Jo’s top travel destinations are Italy, Portugal, and the Caribbean.